7 Ways To Deal With An Angry Spouse

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Anger is a powerful emotion that can hurt the other person’s feelings if not kept under control. And handling an angry spouse can be all the more challenging? Situations at home can get difficult to deal with if one of the partners is angered and displeased and starts throwing temper tantrums and getting on the other person’s nerves. The anger might also lead them to lose their patience and say objectionable things to their partner, which can permanently damage the relationship. If you’re in such a situation, read this post to know about effective ways to deal with an angry husband/wife.

In This Article

Signs That Your Spouse Has Anger Issues

If your partner is always ready to snap because he is vexed and fuming, 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.

  1. 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 aggravated over little things, shout, accuse, and sometimes give you the silent treatment.
People with anger issues let it out in an unhealthy way.

Image: IStock

  1. 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 a resentful feelings because of their temper tantrums.
  1. 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 there is an imbalance in your marriage.
  1. It starts to affect your kids: The effects of a partner’s uncontrolled outraged behavior can be worse on the children if you have any. Kids usually learn from their parents. When they see a parent shouting, throwing a fit, and all riled up, 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 patternsiXThe ways in which children acquire important milestones or skills as they grow older (1).
Kids could also become timid and introverted.

Image: IStock

  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 and ranting at you about false accusations, leaving you either feeling guilty, terrified or chafed to bring that topic up again.

protip_icon Point to consider
People with anger issues may often feel remorse for their actions, but do not apologize for their actions. They are impatient and cannot handle an opinion different from theirs.

Dealing with an angry partner is not easy. But learning what triggers their temper and makes them so spiteful 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.

  1. Hormonal changes: Sometimes, even the usually sweet and calm ones get incensed and temperamental suddenly due to hormonal changes. . In men, low testosteroneiXA male sex hormone involved in muscle growth and sexual development can cause heightened anger, whereas in women, low estrogeniXA sex hormone responsible for the development of female sexual characteristics is the cause of mood swings (2) (3). Lifestyle factors, such as diet and sleep, can influence the levels of these hormones.
  1. Increased stress levels: Stress because of work, financial troubles, or anything else can make one frustrated and indignant. If your partner is almost always under pressure for whatever reason, then they could get exasperated at small things.
  1. 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 piqued individuals trying to suppress those emotional wounds.
Aggression can be the result of childhood trauma.

Image: IStock

  1. Failures in life: Certain incidents in life, such as infidelity, loss of a job, or infertility, can make the partners crossed and depressed. The fact that they were not able to succeed in life could also make them feel depressed, lonely and belligerent. And all these negative emotions could be brought out in the form of anger.

Chris, a blogger who has had anger issues, says, “I have a huge, huge problem with using my words as darts when I’m angry. My words pierce the hearts of my loved ones and continually chip away at any capital I might have remaining. The words I’ve said to the one I love so deeply are vivid in my mind these days, likely because I now go days without speaking with her. She brings up many of these angry words again in the limited conversations I have with her, proving that words are never able to be unspoken (i).”

A study conducted in 2018 showed the percentage of Americans who said they experienced stress, worry, and anger. As shown in the graph below, the stress and anger rates significantly become higher in individuals in the 15-29 age group. While stress levels remained the same in the 30-49 age group, anger slightly reduced. Anger and stress is shown to further reduce in people 50 and above.

U.S. respondents experiencing increased stress, worry, and anger by age

Source: Percentage of respondents in the U.S. who experienced stress, worry, and anger a lot in the year 2018, by age; Statista

protip_icon Quick fact
Occupational stress due to ambiguous work expectations, or unreasonable workload may lead to anger issues (6).

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 incandescent, moody, or temperamental, try to understand what makes them angry and figure out ways to deal with them.

How Does Anger Affect A Relationship

Anger can cause irreparable damage to a relationship.

  1. Communication breakdown: Anger leads to erosion of communication. In a fit of rage, your partner may say hurtful things that they may not even mean. However, it may impact you mentally and you may become wary of interacting with them, which can lead to communication breakdown.
  2. Loss of trust: Relationships sustain trust. But when your partner has anger issues, it becomes difficult to trust them as you may not know how they may react to a certain situation.
  3. Noble mistake: You may start repressing your anger, hoping your partner will eventually recognize your sacrifice. However, this seldom happens and instead, you are trapped in a vicious bubble of silent suffering where you believe yourself to be doing a noble deed by putting up with or absorbing your partner’s negativity.
  4. Decreased relationship satisfaction: Eventually the positive aspects of your relationship can be overshadowed by the negative caused by anger issues. This can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction in a relationship.

Ways To Deal With An Angry Spouse

  1. Never face 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 have provoked you, but try not to lose it, get aggrieved, and cause a feud. Count to ten or take deep breaths to calm yourself in order to prevent a blow-up. If you can practice this for a month, you will be amazed by the changes it can bring in your spouse’s behavior.

  1. 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 and causing a hissy-fit. 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.
Let them know calmly whenever they are crossing boundaries.

Image: IStock

  1. 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. Discuss those non-negotiable issues and don’t dwell on every silly thing.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
Try to get them to talk about it.

Image: IStock

  1. 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.
  1. 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.

protip_icon Quick tip
A professional therapist can help manage your spouse’s anger issues by addressing them at the grassroots level.

When you have reached a saturation point, take a call, and do what is right for you and your kids.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What mental illness is associated with anger?

Borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorderiXThe psychological condition that makes the person experience severe mood swings and behavioral changes , oppositional defiant disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorderiXA childhood condition of extreme irritability and anger that may lead to frequent temper tantrums are some mental illnesses where extreme or recurrent anger may be seen (4).

2. What does the Bible say about dealing with an angry spouse?

“Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (James 1:19-27), instructs Apostle James. God instructs one should learn how to express anger instead of lashing it out. Experiencing anger is not wrong, but having wrong thoughts, behavior, or reactions in response to your anger is condemned. The Bible teaches people that anger should be short-lived and should be dealt with in a Christ-like and Biblical manner. One should not sleep with their differences unresolved (5).

3. Are anger issues permanent?

Anger issues are not necessarily permanent. Individuals with such issues can learn to control and reduce their anger over time with the proper approach, commitment to change, and solutions. It’s critical to realize that everyone experiences rage to some extent because it’s a common emotion. On the other hand, unchecked or persistent anger that interferes with daily life and relationships can be detrimental.

4. Is it normal for a spouse to be angry all the time?

Being constantly angry as a spouse is not regarded as normal or healthy. Although experiencing anger now and then is common, persistent and severe rage can destroy relationships, foster a toxic environment, and even cause physical, emotional, and psychological harm. To understand the underlying causes and create healthier coping methods, one must address persistent anger and seek the proper support.

5. What role does past trauma or emotional baggage play in an angry spouse’s behavior?

Unresolved emotional trauma or scars from the past can affect how people see and react to situations, including their expression of anger. Traumatic events or unresolved emotional problems can cause emotional triggers. These triggers may cause an individual to respond with anger in situations that remind them of the original trauma or evoke strong negative emotions associated with their past.

Occasional disagreements and disputes amongst married couples are normal. However, if it becomes chronic, frequent, and unmanageable, it can harm the family equation as well as have a negative impact on the kids. Accepting the problem is the first step toward becoming the best version of yourself. Learning tips and techniques for anger management is essential if one wants to manage their outbursts without hurting their spouse. Therapy or anger management sessions are some options for getting mental health support.

Infographic: How To Set Boundaries With An Angry Spouse?

Living with a person with anger issues can be challenging. An angry spouse can use anger to instill fear, gain control, and set authority in the relationship. It’s essential to set healthy boundaries in the relationship to ensure their behavior does not negatively affect you. Our infographic brings you steps that will help build boundaries with an angry spouse and safeguard your emotional health.

setting healthy boundaries with an angry spouse (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Marriages can be challenging when your spouse gets angry.
  • Sometimes, it’s difficult to make them move on from something that triggered their anger, so try different ways to deal with it.
  • Don not respond with anger as it may only make it worse for you.

Take a look at this video to learn how to handle an angry spouse. Get tips on how to de-escalate and manage anger in a relationship.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Nastassia J.Hajal, et al.; Angry responses to infant challenges: parent, marital, and child genetic factors associated with harsh parenting; US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
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.
4. Ephrem Fernandez and Sheri L Johnson; Anger in psychological disorders: Prevalence, presentation, etiology and prognostic implications; National Library Of Medicine
5. Dealing With Anger in Marriage; Cornerstone Marriage & Family Ministries
6. Jessie N. Doyle et al.; Occupational Stress and Anger: Mediating Effects of Resiliency in First Responders; Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

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