aggressive or warlike behavior.“The reaction ranged from wild enthusiasm to outright belligerence”
What it looks like in relationships
During a conflict, the belligerent person will seem to be looking for a fight. They will appear provocative or combative because they are expressing anger from in an aggressive manner.
From the Gottman Institute website:
Belligerent responses often involve unfair teasing or a dare:
Zoey: “Could you help me with the dishes?”
Mark: “What’ll you do if I say no? Hit me? Throw some dishes?! Go ahead! I dare ya!”
What to do about it: Make a Repair Attempt
When we think of an antidote we tend to think of something that neutralizes a toxin. Belligerent toxicity is neutralized with a good-faith attempt to repair any damage that has been done. This communicates accountability, understanding, and a desire for things to be better. It isn’t tough to see how this is much better than provoking a fight.
An example of a repair attempt might be:
“Hey, this got really heated and that’s not really what I was hoping for. Could we take a 20-minute break and start over?
To learn more about red-flags to look out for and how to fix them, please visit my Couples Counseling page. Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s has worked in the helping profession since he started college in 1990. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin in 1994, he attended the highly-regarded University of Minnesota to earn his Master’s degree in 1997. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is recognized as a Board Approved Supervisor by the State of Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Jonathan has completed Level-2 of the Gottman Method of Couples Counseling, and in 1998 received training by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management & Debriefing. To learn more about Jonathan’s practice, click here: Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s.