Many feel that stress and a lack of finances are two of the leading causes of failed marriages. But marital strife goes much deeper than stress or money problems. When someone’s lost their ability to love, it doesn’t matter if they’re rich or poor. There are plenty of people who have a lot of money and still feel a sense of anger at themselves, their life, or their past. And this anger inevitably has a huge impact on their relationships and their marriage.
Statistics show domestic violence happens in all ages, all social classes, and all financial brackets. I should know. Years ago, my marriage was one of those statistics. I was married to a man with a lot of rage and past pain that had taken over his life and I became his punching bag. We lost a lot of income, and all of my retirement funds had dwindled to nothing. He became unpredictable and turbulent. His mind was already unstable in normal circumstances, and when our finances changed and the heat of life’s circumstances was raised, he was set aflame.
A pivotal time for me was when I made the choice to live my life more consciously, and to exercise self-love. I wanted to lead a healthy, happy life for myself and to pursue a path of consciousness and understanding of the world around me. This bothered my husband. Seeing me wake up and go to bed happy every day, was utterly and undeniably disturbing to him. Anger, and even rage, controlled his life. Eventually it destroyed our marriage.
Anger doesn’t have to destroy you or the people around you. I made the choice to live more consciously and to remove anger and fear from my life. Part of that was leaving my husband and the rage that came with him, and part of that was learning where anger comes from and how to turn my mindset in another direction.
Anger Comes from the Absence of Self-Love
It’s easy to think of anger as a force or as something almost tangible, but I’ve learned that anger comes from the absence of self-love, and the absence of self-love comes from living in fear. When someone is full of rage, it’s typically based in fear. People who are said to be mean spirited, are actually pretty frightened individuals. They act out with anger because they don’t know how to handle their fear. By living this way, they are pushing love further and further away from themselves. It’s so paralyzing that they even forget how to love.
Both people in a marriage, or any relationship for that matter, need to be conscious and aware of each other and the larger world around them—and they also need to exercise self-love. Otherwise, the differences in awareness will separate them from each other. Sometimes you can help bring someone to the light, but sometimes people are simply not ready to evolve. People need to make a choice on their own to love themselves and to lead a healthy, happy life. No one else can do it for them.
And when that rage turns physical, it’s a deal breaker. No one is put on this earth to be abused. Anyone who feels like their life is in danger because of a partner needs an exit plan.
If you’re ready to remove anger from your life and put yourself on a path towards self-love and acceptance, there are a few things you can do to get started:
1. Practice self-inquiry.
Self-inquiry is the first step to letting go of anger. If you’re currently in a situation that makes you feel anger, see if it’s possible for you to look at the situation and say, “I no longer want this in my life. I no longer want this pain.” If you’re hurting, see if you can tell yourself, “I am hurting. But I am okay.” This kind of self-inquiry can bring tremendous inner growth. And will prepare you to walk away from the situation and leave the anger and pain behind.
2. Listen to your heart.
The second step is to go to your heart. Go to your heart and listen to it intently. Ignore the thinking mind. The thinking mind wants you to believe what it’s telling you. Don’t believe it. Go to your heart and listen to what is it’s telling you. Your heart will always speak the truth. It will bring a sense of peace and calm.
3. Shift your mindset towards peace.
The third step is to shift your mindset towards peace. You’re responsible for your own changes in life and how they play out in your marriage and relationships. No one else can change your mindset for you. The shift toward peace can only take place when you are fully present and love yourself.
In a marriage or in our other relationships, it isn’t anyone’s job to fix or save someone else. We are only here to love and to try to become our best selves as we navigate through life and its inevitable ups and downs. Marriage is not what completes you. Another person is not what completes you. When two people come together in marriage it’s beautiful and harmonious when it’s two people coming together from a foundation of self-love.
For more information on domestic violence and abuse or to learn what to do if you or someone you know is being abused, visit the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, & Mental Health.