Living with an angry husband can feel like you’re walking on eggshells. One wrong move and the fragile peace you’ve created can come crashing down. Often with no forewarning that it’s about to happen. When something finally does trigger him, you may be left anxiously wondering to yourself: is it my fault?
As women, we tend to be more agreeable than our male counterparts. It should be no wonder that dealing with uncontrollable behavior can be so uncomfortable and emotionally damaging. Even more hurtful, though, is when your husband blames his anger on you. Today, we want to help you understand why your husband’s anger is never your fault. We’ll explain some of the possible causes of your husband’s anger. Plus, we’ll give you tactics you and your spouse can use to cultivate a more peaceful, loving environment at home. Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.
First Things First: If Your Husband Is Always Angry, It’s Not Your Fault
“If you hadn’t provoked me, I wouldn’t have raised my voice!”
“Stop acting like an idiot, and I’ll stop calling you stupid!”
“You shouldn’t have made me angry if you didn’t want me to hit you!”
Do any of these phrases sound familiar? If the answer is yes, you aren’t alone. Nor are you alone in feeling like you’re to blame for your husband’s anger. After all, each of the statements above tells you that your husband’s anger is your entire fault.
Yet, when your husband blames his anger on you, he also disowns his responsibility to deal with and potentially change that angry behavior. Because, in the end, it is just that: his responsibility to choose a better way to deal with his anger than taking it out on you. The ability to take responsibility for one’s feelings and actions is the hallmark of a healthy, well-functioning adult. Experts suggest that when an adult fails to take responsibility for their behaviors, a few things can happen.
Firstly, blaming others for angry behavior reinforces your husband’s anger issues. Think about it: if your husband believes his anger is always someone else’s fault, he may begin to believe he has no control over his angry outbursts. When this happens, he may spiral even further into this victim mentality, causing worse and more frequent outbursts as he feels more and more out of control.
Secondly, blaming others can create unhealthy dependency in a relationship. Taking responsibility for any action can induce anxious feelings in even the most secure person. When your husband instead places the responsibility for these feelings on you, he may subconsciously expect you to soothe him, too. In his eyes, it’s your responsibility to calm him down, and, if you don’t, he sees this as a provocation— an excuse to blow his top.
What’s the bottom line? Blaming others for our feelings is a coping mechanism we all use to protect ourselves from the shame and guilt of knowing that no one is to blame but ourselves.
Yes, you read that right: the only one to blame for your husband’s angry outburst is your husband.
Cultivating a loving, stable relationship with an angry husband requires more than knowing where the blame lies, though. You—and he— also need to understand where your husband’s anger issues come from. Only then can you and your spouse both make strides toward a better, healthier home environment.
Mental And Physical Issues That Could Be Prompting Your Husband’s Anger
Some amount of anger is completely normal and even healthy. In fact, anger evolved as an advantage necessary for human survival. Anger only becomes an issue when it gets so out of control, one says or does things they regret— when it grows out of control.
Out-of-control anger is often a sign of a more significant underlying condition like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or a substance abuse problem.
Other conditions that include anger as a symptom are:
Depression Major depression affects 1% of the US population, the majority of which are women. However, studies suggest that the rate of depression in men isn’t lower; it’s just woefully under-reported. Considering that anger and irritability are hallmark symptoms of depression, your husband may be dealing with an undiagnosed mental health disorder.
Grief If your husband is experiencing an unordinary amount of unexplained anger, grief could be to blame. Anger is one of the stages of grief, which can occur after the death of a loved one, a recent divorce, or even losing a job.
High Stress Like anger, some amount of stress is good for you. It can push you to get that promotion you want or finish that 10K race you’ve been training for. Yet, failing to manage high amounts of stress at work or in the home can lead to adverse health symptoms, including anger.
Unaddressed Emotional Trauma Anger is one of the most common symptoms of unaddressed emotional traumas like childhood abuse or a workplace disaster. For example, veterans with PTSD report feeling like they’re in survival mode at all times. As we’ve mentioned, anger is a survival instinct, which explains why many people with PTSD also suffer from uncontrollable anger.
Low Testosterone There’s a common misconception out there that testosterone induces anger. Unless your husband uses synthetic testosterone (i.e., steroids), the opposite is actually true— low testosterone is associated with anger and irritability.
One final reason your husband is always angry could be due to societal norms.
Society doesn’t tolerate emotional expression in men, as well as it does emotiveness in women. Unfortunately, parents tend to encourage their young sons to suppress their feelings, especially negative ones like anger, fear, and sadness. Emerging research points to suppressing emotions at a young age as an indicator of health complications in adulthood. Complications like a higher rate of depression, vulnerability toward substance use and abuse, and a greater likelihood of experiencing high stress, all of which are known to trigger out-of-control anger in adulthood.
How To Deal With An Angry Husband Without Sacrificing Yourself
Now that you understand some of the possible reasons behind your husband’s anger, we want to help you learn how to deal with it. Here, we’ll give you our tips for the best way to deal with an angry husband without sacrificing your happiness.
Change Your Perspective
Feel empowered because though you don’t have much control over the way your husband responds to you, you do have control over how you react to him.
Remember: your husband’s anger is a sign he’s feeling weak. Come at him from a place of empathy rather than fear or rage of your own (no matter how justified).
Changing your perspective may also mean being honest with yourself. No, your husband’s anger isn’t your fault, but are you doing something to aggravate the situation? If so, maybe it’s time to change your approach, seeking de-escalation rather than victory.
If the answer is no, but your husband still refuses to take the blame, it’s your responsibility to show him where he misunderstands you. Show him you want to love him, not make him angry. Though, we recommend waiting until after he’s had a few hours to calm down.
Encourage Your Husband To Seek Help
Sometimes, a husband’s anger is entirely a personal problem rather than a marital issue. Here, it’s his responsibility to seek help for his physical or mental ailments.
As a loving spouse, though, you can help by encouraging and supporting him along his journey toward recovery. Talk to your husband about getting help for his latest angry outburst. Some therapists specifically work with people with anger issues.
Encourage Emotional Expressions At Home
Society and his workplace probably expect your husband to keep his emotions under control. Often, the home is the only place a man can safely express how he really feels. For this reason, be careful to encourage healthy emotional expression at home.
No, the emotional expression doesn’t mean taking his anger out on you, the pets, or the kids. A healthy emotional expression does mean dealing with anger when it happens and talking through it without losing his head.
If you’re raising young boys, you can use your husband’s journey toward emotional expression as a teaching moment. Help your sons learn to experience the full range of their emotions healthily.
That way, you can save their future spouses from wondering: why is my husband always angry?
When It’s Time For Marriage Therapy
So, you and your husband have followed these tips, but he still can’t seem to get his anger under control. You may be wondering: what now? When even your greatest efforts don’t feel like enough to help if your husband is always angry, it’s time to see a marriage therapist.
Family and relationship therapists like those on ReGain are experts at helping couples just like you find relief. Find a ReGain couples counseling professional right now to finally get back to the marriage and the man you love.
My Husband Is Always Angry - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How do I deal with an irritable husband?
Women have often been called the fairer sex, and this has partially been due to the predilection of men to react with, and experience anger far more often and with more aggression than women tend to. Nevertheless, dealing with an angry or irritable husband can be extremely difficult and make it feel like your quality of life has significantly diminished. Although you cannot control someone else’s behavior (nor should you try to), it can sometimes feel like your responsibility to make your partner happy, especially if your partner is a constantly angry person. Nevertheless, one of the best ways to deal with an irritable husband—or just a generally angry person—is to give yourself and the angry person some space. Giving both of you plenty of space can help give you a breather from the person’s irritability and can perhaps give your partner some much-needed space, as well.
Giving space is a temporary solution, at best; however, a constantly angry person can quickly and easily wear on your nerves and cause a lot of strain in your marriage. Over time, a constantly irritable husband can make your relationship feel stifling and unbearable, and your home can feel unsafe. Constantly walking on eggshells is certainly not healthy. Although the immediate reaction to a constantly angry person as a spouse is not to get divorced, there are some boundaries you can set and tactics you can use to try to diffuse the situation.
If your husband is angry constantly, potential tools include:
Communicate your concern with your partner. If you are struggling with your partner’s constant anger, don’t hesitate to reach out to your partner and know how their behavior affects you. While it may not immediately change the air in your home, your partner may not be aware of how his behavior is affecting his family, or may not even be aware of his behavior, at all. You can come to the conversation with anger management techniques, anger management classes, or even just a list of reasons why your husband’s anger is of concern to you.
Offering designated space for your partner. If your partner’s irritability seems to be linked to something in particular—a pet in the home, for instance, or the state of your finances—try to develop a plan together to reduce the source of the tension and improve the atmosphere in your home.
Choose your battles. Reacting to your partner’s anger with your own anger is likely to escalate a situation rather than improve it. While you are not responsible for your partner’s emotional state, you can pay close attention to your own behavior and make sure that you are maintaining your own emotional and mental health.
If your partner’s anger and irritability are not harming you or your children, it may take some time to ride out the waves of irritability and frustration if you have children. If, however, that anger morphs into aggression, abuse, or unhealthy behavior, it may be time to seek out help from a mental health professional and look into the options that are best for yourself and your partner.
How do I cope when my husband is always angry?
Very often, the best way to deal with someone who is constantly angry is to give them plenty of space. People who are always angry can quickly damage your self-esteem and put a great deal of strain on the relationship. Depending on the exact nature of the relationship in question, you can either put some distance between yourself and the person constantly exhibiting signs of anger, or you can put some firm boundaries in place to make sure your relationship has some protection, and you are not subjected to constant outbursts.
If a spouse is a person who is always angry, you cannot put the same amount of space between the two of you as you might be able to put between yourself and a friend or yourself and a coworker.
Instead, you can utilize the following tactics:
Reach out. For some, constant anger is a symptom of depression and warrants a gentle inquiry into the state of their mental health. If your spouse is constantly angry, ask how they are doing, if they feel stressed, and if there is anything the two can do to more effectively support your relationship and your respective mental health. You can even suggest attending anger management classes together to help develop healthier coping mechanisms for constant anger issues.
Offer some space. If anger has been directed at you, offer your partner some space. Anger can come from resentment quickly, and if your spouse is constantly expressing anger toward you, it may be necessary to give said partner some space. Even your body language can indicate that you are irritable and angry. Giving one another space can help avoid showing that you are irritable and angry alongside your partner through body language and other nonverbal communication.
Try to remain calm. Anger can quickly flare and escalate if two parties are expressing anger at the same time. Yelling, name-calling, and even physical aggression can occur if one person grows angry and quickly meets another person’s tidal wave of anger. When an angry person greets you, try to be moderate in your own responses.
Create boundaries for yourself and your relationship with the angry person. Creating boundaries can help you keep yourself safe while maintaining your mental health. If you are constantly confronted by an angry person or you are constantly told that you are causing the anger in question, whether that angry person is an irate repeat customer or a beloved partner, it is perfectly appropriate to create boundaries, such as saying, “I do not feel comfortable discussing this right now. Let’s take a few minutes and talk about it when we’ve gotten some distance from the subject.”
Although anger is a perfectly normal and healthy emotion, it can present an issue if an angry person never seems to let up or uses anger to tear other people down. If you are constantly dealing with an angry person or angry people, use some of the tactics above to maintain your mental health and effectively manage interactions with angry people.
What anger does to a marriage?
Anger can quickly and easily become toxic to a marriage. Although anger is a normal emotion, and healthy emotional expression is a fundamental part of maintaining personal mental health and the health of your relationship, if it goes unchecked, anger can become an issue and can negatively impact relationships. Healthy emotional expression can strengthen the bonds and trust between husbands and wives and reveal shared convictions.
When expressed inappropriately, however, anger can damage a marriage in the following ways:
Trust can be eroded. Outbursts of anger can quickly erode the trust in marriage because one or both partners can feel as though they are constantly on the verge of a fight or are constantly being belittled. If communication is frequently being met with anger—or behavior is frequently met with anger—the partner experiencing the anger will likely begin to feel trepidation or fear about communicating or even simply being with the angry partner. Being in an intimate relationship with an angry person inflates existing issues and destroys trust.
Resentment can be fueled. If one partner in a marriage shows constant anger, the other partner can easily grow resentful. If it feels as though one-half of the relationship is constantly responsible for maintaining an atmosphere of kindness and consideration in the home, they may feel they are facing a far too heavy burden.
Guilt and shame can quickly compound. Anger is the perfect fuel to the fire of guilt and shame. In a marriage, anger can readily lead to guilt and shame because constantly having anger directed at you can make you feel as though you are constantly wrong or are perpetually flawed. This can lead to feelings of guilt regarding your seeming inability to please your spouse and shame about your supposed failure to manage your marriage.
Anger is a useful, healthy emotion when it is moderated and expressed appropriately. When anger is your default, however, and you have constant anger issues, it can quickly place a lot of strain on your relationships, including your marriage. Imagine living with someone who is perpetually angry, irritable, or easy to upset, and you can likely see: this situation is painful and exhausting. Constant anger is not healthy for an individual, nor is it healthy for a marriage.
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