Style #3 – Slow Burn and Eruption
Perhaps because they have difficulty asking for what they want, some partners swallow their resentments, disappointments, and thwarted desires, until they can no longer tolerate the way they feel. At that point, they are likely to erupt into a tirade of rageful accusations and explosive threats.
The other partner may have no idea that these feelings are brewing prior to the venting. Or, they do sense them and try to resolve them before the blow-up. In any case, these types of eruptions often cause serious cumulative damage.
“The sharpest sword is a word spoken in wrath.” – Gautama Buddha
Style #4 – Rapid-Fire Extermination
This mode of expressing anger appears intended to annihilate the other partner’s status in the relationship. It is a focused attack, a verbal machine gun, using whatever is more likely to undermine and devalue any defense on the part of the other partners. Partners who use this anger style need to win at any cost by silencing the other, then disconnecting immediately afterward.
If they are not triggered into their own angry reaction, the partners on the other side of the rapid-fire exterminator have learned over time to stay silent during the tirades. They know that it has a predictable pattern of intensity and duration, and often just wait it out.
Style #5 – Hit and Run
Angry partners who are fearful of their partner’s response often wait to express their own negative feelings when they can rapidly disconnect before facing retaliation. They depend on their partner’s being less defensive at a later time.
These styles can cause the other partner to become increasingly resentful. It depends a lot on how quickly the attacked partner recuperates, or whether he or she becomes a counter-predator when the relationship resumes.
“Rage is fine as long as it doesn’t deteriorate into bitterness.” – Cornel West
Style #6 – Cold Withdrawal
Partners who exhibit this style of anger exhibit patronizing, robotic, silence during their angry interludes. Their behaviors may last for a short time or for days, and usually, do not end until he or she gets what they want.
Partners on the other end of this behavior can be severely traumatized if they have a history of rejection by others. If they have the confidence to weather the other’s attempt to control by withdrawal, they can still be available to connect when the boycott ends and the perpetrator has “self-thawed.”
Style #7 – Martyrdom
Continuous, repressed, anger that is blamed on the other partner can easily turn into martyrdom. Martyrdom is a silent, self-effacing anger style but effectively communicates cumulative distress. People who fall into this behavior are often trying to appease or to adapt to the other’s demands, hoping their pain will be recognized without their having to express it directly.
Partners on the other end of martyred anger styles rarely win. They don’t always know what they’ve “done” that caused the silent suffering. Secondly, they are denied information to help them understand whether to agree or to deny the charges. Third, that martyred partner may actually feel noble when they sacrifice their needs and become wedded to that role.
Style #8 – Escape
Some people cannot bear any kind of angry interactions. They will use any means to avoid them. The most typical of those escape behaviors is to abuse alcohol or other drugs. But any addictive escape behaviors can be just as effective, even those that appear on the outside to be more legitimate like intense working-out, spending huge amounts of time committed to work or hobbies. What is in common is the way and when those escapes are utilized.
People on the other end of partners who refuse to engage in any kind of negative interaction know they are being avoided. But their partners use behaviors that do not lend themselves to resolution. The escape experiences are evidently preferable to engaging, and often impossible to challenge.