We all get angry, and that is alright. But when the partners get on each other’s nerves, lose patience, scream nasty comments and say hurtful things to each other, it is not alright.
Anger can be a powerful emotion when channeled the right way. Otherwise, it could be detrimental to the relationship and leave it in the doldrums. Whether you are the angry husband/ wife or the one bearing the brunt of your partner’s anger, this MomJunction post is for you.
Here, we tell you about the signs of an angry spouse and how they can deal with this emotion.
Signs That Your Spouse Has Anger Issues
If your partner is always ready to snap, making you feel like you are walking through a minefield, then they could be dealing with anger issues. Here are the signs suggesting that you’re living with one angry spouse.
- Only unhealthy anger is expressed: Like the many human emotions, anger cannot be suppressed or eliminated. It must be shown in a healthy way that does not involve hurting the other person physically or emotionally. But people with anger issues tend to let it out in an unhealthy way: they would get irritated over little things, shout, accuse, and sometimes give you the silent treatment.
- You feel depressed: Constantly facing heat and criticism is not an easy task. You could ignore their anger once or twice, but at some point in time, it will get to you. And when it does, it will leave you depressed and sad. You might be feeling that the love and affection towards your spouse are being replaced with hatred and resentment because of their temper tantrums.
- Intimacy fades away: When you are always walking on eggshells to avoid the wrath of your spouse, there is little space for you to be emotionally involved with them. You are so scared all the time that you refrain from sharing your dreams and desires with them. As the feeling of love fades, physical intimacy becomes a chore. If your spouse is the one always talking and making decisions impulsively, and you are always listening and walking away to avoid a fight, then it is not a happy marriage.
- It starts to affect your kids: The effects of a partner’s uncontrolled anger can be worse on the children if you have any. Kids usually learn from their parents. When they see a parent shouting and throwing a fit, they start to believe that such behavior is the way to get things done their way. They could also become timid and introverted fearing loud voices and anger. Constantly being exposed to anger and ridicule would also bring about changes in their developmental patterns (1).
- They blame it all on you: One of the most apparent signs of an angry spouse is that they use their anger to cover up their mistakes. For example, if you find something suggesting that your spouse was cheating on you and confront them with it, they could react by screaming at you about false accusations, leaving you either feeling guilty or terrified to bring that topic up again.
Dealing with an angry partner is not easy. But learning what triggers their temper could make dealing with them easier.
Why Does A Person Get Angry Over Small Things?
Can you relate to one or all the above signs in your relationship? Then the next step is to figure out why they get angry so often. Keep reading, and you’ll know.
- Hormonal changes: Sometimes, even the usually sweet and calm ones get irritated and temperamental suddenly due to hormonal changes. In men, low testosterone can cause heightened anger, whereas in women, low estrogen is the cause of mood swings (2) (3). Lifestyle factors, such as diet and sleep, can influence the levels of these hormonal.
- Increased stress levels: Stress because of work, or financial troubles or anything else, can make one frustrated and eventually angry. If your partner is almost always under pressure for whatever reason, then they could get irritated at small things.
- Unaddressed childhood issues: Aggression can also be the result of childhood trauma. If your spouse grew up in a harsh environment where they were not appreciated and valued, then they could become aggressive individuals trying to suppress those emotional wounds.
- Failures in life: Certain incidents in life such as infidelity, loss of a job, or infertility can make the partners angry and depressed. The fact that they were not able to succeed in life could also make them feel depressed and lonely. And all these negative emotions could be brought out in the form of anger.
Your spouse could be angry due to any of these reasons or others, and may not even know how their anger is affecting the people around them. So, before judging your partner and labeling them as moody or temperamental, try to understand what is making them angry and figure out ways to deal with them.
Ways To Deal With An Angry Spouse
- Never deal anger with anger: Getting angry with an already angry spouse will only fuel their temperament and make things worse. As the saying goes, ‘an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.’ So, instead of ‘giving it back to your husband’, try to stay calm and give them time to calm down.
We know it is easier said than done. Your spouse’s angry words could be provoking, but try not to lose it. Count to ten or take deep breaths to calm yourself. If you can practice this for a month, you will be amazed by the changes it can bring in your spouse’s behavior.
- Set clear boundaries: To stay calm when your spouse is angry doesn’t mean you tolerate anything and everything. Set clear boundaries as to what you can tolerate, and let them know calmly whenever they are crossing boundaries. For example, when your spouse resorts to name calling, then tell them in a calm voice that this is not acceptable. Setting boundaries is an effective way to keep your spouse’s anger in check. When they realize their mistake, chances are they will not repeat it.
- Choose on what to fight: An aggressive spouse will always look for an opportunity to get angry with you. The smart thing to do is not give them that chance. This doesn’t mean you agree to whatever they say, but pick your battles wisely. There are a few things where you can easily compromise, and a few you cannot. Choose to argue with your spouse only on those non-negotiable issues and not for every silly thing.
- Never tolerate disrespect: No matter how much you endure your spouse’s aggressive behavior, never tolerate disrespect. If you start tolerating this, then you are indirectly telling your spouse that they can get away with anything. Always take a stand if you feel that your partner is disrespecting you and let them know it is not okay. Use words like ‘this is not acceptable,’ or ’we can resume our discussion after you calm down’ and leave the room.
- Find out the real reason: If you feel that your spouse’s anger is due to pressure at work or some other reason, then try to get them to talk about it. Listening to their issues without judging them lets them know that you are there for them and they can trust you. If necessary, you can try and convince them to seek professional help on how to manage their anger better.
- Focus on the good things: Your partner might get angry often, but they may also be loving and caring. Invest in those positive emotions, and try to nurture them. Pretty soon, you will start seeing them from a place of love and not hatred. Your spouse might have uncontrollable anger, but once they cool down if they apologize, then forgive them.
- Know when to leave: Unfortunately, you cannot always work things out with someone who is always angry. No matter how hard you try, their aggression may not seem to subside; it could even turn into physical abuse. If your spouse doesn’t see their aggression as an issue and refuses to seek help, then it is not on you to suffer. Walk away from things you cannot change.
When you have reached a saturation point, take a call, and do what is right for you and your kids.
Anger is just like any other emotion and can be managed if one wants to. Healthy anger management makes life easy not only for them but also for the people around. It is okay to get angry but letting your anger get the best of you is not acceptable. Do what it takes to manage it better: practice yoga or meditate if necessary. Seek therapy or attend anger management sessions. There is nothing to be embarrassed about seeking help to become a better person.
What is your opinion on an angry spouse? Let us know in the comments section below.
2. Menelos L. Batrinos; Testosterone and aggressive behavior in man; US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
3. Esperanza Navardo-Pardo; Carol A.Holland; Antonio Cano; Sex hormones and healthy psychological aging in women; US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.