Domestic Violence, Anger, and Diabetes

Mature couple having a fight

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You may be wondering if anger is a normal part of dealing with diabetes. Is it normal for someone with type 1 diabetes to erupt into violent anger and take it out on his or her partner? Frustration and anger are often experienced by people who deal with chronic illnesses like diabetes. Fluctuating blood glucose levels can also contribute to mood swings and cause people to exhibit angry behavior. But when does that kind of anger cross the line into domestic abuse?

Anger Can Be a Part of Chronic Illness

Anger and frustration can be common reactions when someone has a chronic disease like diabetes. It's a lot to cope with, and at times it may really be upsetting to have to deal with diabetes day after day for a lifetime. Plus, physiologically, when someone's blood sugar fluctuates, spikes, or drops, it can produce feelings of anger, anxiety, or depression that are really out of the control of the person experiencing them. Your partner's diabetes may make it easier for you to overlook or make excuses for angry reactions, which is okay to an extent. However, anger that escalates into physical, verbal, or emotional abuse is not a normal reaction.

When Anger Becomes Abuse

Every person has a right to get angry sometimes, but if that anger is expressed violently to hurt or scare you, then it becomes domestic abuse. Abuse can be actual physical contact, like hitting, slapping, pushing, or otherwise inflicting bodily harm, but it can also be threatening, belittling, or making you feel intimidated or scared.

What to Do If You're Struggling With Diabetes and Anger

If you have diabetes and anger is a problem for you, whether it's because you're angry that you have the condition or because you have frequent blood sugar fluctuations, try these methods to cope:

  • Take good care of yourself. Taking your medication and eating right and regularly are key components of keeping your blood sugar under control. Since the hormones that regulate blood sugar also regulate stress levels, when your blood sugar is off, you can become enraged or depressed, which in turn makes it harder to regulate your blood sugar. Keeping track of your blood glucose levels may also help you determine how and when your anger affects your levels.
  • Calm down. Learn techniques to help you calm down when you do feel your anger getting out of control. Perhaps taking a walk, writing in a journal, or simply breathing deeply for 30 seconds will do the trick. Regular exercise, meditation, and yoga are also great ways to balance yourself.
  • Consider getting therapy. Talking about your ongoing feelings of anger can help you learn how to deal with them better.

What to Do If You're in an Abusive Relationship

If you're in a relationship that's abusive, it's important to tell someone that you trust: a friend, counselor, social worker, or your healthcare provider. Abusive relationships are often isolated ones, where the abused partner lives in secrecy and fear. Telling others breaks the silence and enables you to more easily seek help.

Resources for Abused Partners

If you or someone you love are in an abusive relationship, here are some resources that can help:

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