My Husband’s Anger Is Ruining Our Relationship
Have you been experiencing concerns over outbursts of anger by your husband? If so, you’re not alone. According to a national survey of nearly 34,000 people, approximately 7.8% of adults reported having problems with anger management, and anger was especially common in men. When men have problems with uncontrolled anger, it often affects the people closest to them, especially their spouse.
If your husband has anger issues and you fear that it’s ruining your relationship or hurting you in other ways, keep reading to learn how to address this concern, take care of yourself, and get help to move forward safely and confidently.
What can I do about my husband’s anger problem?
When someone is angry or upset, you may feel inclined to respond with anger or defensiveness. However, responding to anger with more anger can escalate the situation. Instead, you might try to respond in a way that ensures your safety and de-escalates the situation, if possible.
If your husband’s anger is not directed at you but is happening in front of you, you might be able to redirect the conversation. If not, you may need to free yourself from the situation by leaving the room or your home and then wait a bit before returning.
When you return to the situation, if calming him down is not possible, remember that you are not to blame for his anger.
1. Be honest with him
If you have reached the point where you feel like your husband’s anger is ruining the love in your relationship or affecting your family, then you might find it useful to be honest with him, provided that you are in a safe place. You may not want to blurt out this realization in the middle of an already-tense situation or argument. A more constructive approach may be to write down your feelings and let your husband know you’d like to express some concerns during calmer times.
You deserve to feel respected and heard in your relationship. If your husband’s anger is getting in the way, broaching the subject might cause him to become defensive. One way to try to avoid defensiveness is to use “I” statements. Rather than lead with a statement that could sound accusatory, such as, “You won’t stop freaking out about even the littlest stuff,” you might frame your concern around your own feelings, such as: “I worry when you feel so much anger.” You might also emphasize that you want to talk through your concerns to make your relationship healthier and happier, not because you want to blame him.
2. Encourage him to get help
Anger is a normal human emotion that can be healthy to express, but anger responses can become unhealthy when they are not managed skillfully. There are some complex challenges that may lead to unhealthy anger. For example, anger can stem from:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Trauma, guilt, or shame
Figuring out where the anger is coming from may help your husband to manage it in the long run. A mental health professional might be able to help your husband get to the root of his anger management concerns. If you intend to bring up this suggestion with your husband, you might try to do so during a calm time and emphasize that you are suggesting therapy because you want both of you to be happier.
3. Walk away when you need to
If your husband is so angry that you’re unable to talk to him and can’t continue the conversation, you might let him know that you need to step away for a few minutes or longer. You can take a walk, leave the room, or run an errand. A break may help you recharge while also giving your husband time to calm down before you come back.
4. Practice self-care
Living with someone who has difficulty managing their anger can be stressful and uncertain. You deserve to be able to recharge and feel healthy within your relationship, so you might take some time to engage in self-care activities. These include taking time for exercise, practicing mindfulness meditation, getting enough sleep, and making healthy food choices.
While you don’t have control over everything that your husband does, you might have some opportunities to encourage self-care in his life too. He may not be receptive, but if he is, you may notice fewer outbursts of anger.
Also, just because you have compassion does not mean that you have to accept being treated badly. Ultimately, your decision depends on what makes you feel safe, comfortable, and supported.
5. Set boundaries in your life and relationship
If your husband experiences difficulty with anger management, it may help to set boundaries and defend yourself. Boundaries are often essential when creating healthy relationships. You can use your voice to let him know what you are willing to accept and what you will not put up with. For example, you might say, “I’ve noticed that you often seem full of anger when you get home from work. If you direct your anger at me, I will need to leave the room until you’ve calmed down.”
Once you set boundaries, try to stick to them, even when it feels easier to give in. If you show your husband that he can disrespect your boundaries without any consequences, he will likely continue to do so. An uncontrolled anger outburst is not your fault, and you do not need to give it attention or energy – or apologize for your boundaries.
6. Get out of an abusive situation
There’s a difference between having a husband with anger management problems and having an abusive husband. If your husband is abusive to you in any way (e.g., physically, emotionally, financially, mentally), then the most important step is to get yourself and your family to a place where you are safe. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you must leave the relationship for good, but it does mean that you need to remove yourself and your children from the immediate abusive situation.
As with uncontrolled anger, abuse is not your fault. You deserve to feel safe and respected.
7. Talk to a therapist about your husband’s anger
If you are trying to find a way forward in your relationship in the wake of destructive behavior, a therapist may be able to help. In a relationship with an angry husband, it can be challenging to see the line between what is appropriate and what isn’t, which can lead to feelings of isolation. A therapist can listen in a non-judgmental way and offer professional feedback for your specific situation.
If you feel ready and your husband is open to it, couples therapy may be a valuable resource for healing and strengthening your relationship. Alternatively, individual therapy can provide you with support and clarity to move forward. If the anger is affecting your children, then you may want to consider talking with a family therapist instead.
If you’re interested in therapy but hesitant to go to a therapist’s office, you might consider online therapy, which research has shown to be just as effective as in-office therapy. Online therapists can work with you in several ways—via video chats, phone calls, or in-app messaging. You can connect with a therapist to receive personalized treatment tailored to make you feel comfortable and supported—no matter where you’re physically located.
The mental health professionals at BetterHelp have training and experience helping people with an angry partner. Every relationship is different, so having information tailored to you and your relationship based on specific situations and facts can be helpful.
Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from people who have sought support for their relationships.
“Within just a few sessions with Monica, I was in a much better place emotionally, mentally, and had renewed hope. After a strong rift with my husband, I needed a compassionate ear that wasn’t my friends or family. She listened, gave me good feedback, and assigned helpful habits. So far, everything she suggested has been working really well. Thanks to her I’ve made great progress, and I’m excited to continue until I’m back to me. I’m so glad and thankful to BetterHelp for not only providing therapy at a price I could afford but having sessions from home, which has been important for me since all of this has made me paranoid about going out to seek help. I know I have more work to do, but with Monica and BetterHelp, I’m more hopeful now than I have been in about two years. That’s priceless to me.”
“Lindsay has been such a blessing. I am a small business owner who is married to a PTSD vet. I have a lot on my mind and plate and she has helped me with everything that I could ever dream of. My anxiety and stress are becoming more manageable daily and it's because of the amount of attention and care she puts into our sessions. I have told so many people about her and the tips she has given me. I will never be able to repay her for the fresh start she has given me.”
If you live with challenges related to your husband’s uncontrolled anger, you don’t have to navigate this situation on your own. With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a therapist with experience helping people whose husbands have difficulty controlling their anger. Take the first step to greater safety and self-confidence by connecting with providers in your area or online.
Frequently asked questions
For some examples of questions that might be beneficial to explore in therapy, please see below.
Can a marriage survive anger issues?
How do I control my husband's anger?
Can a man with anger issues change?
How do I ignore my husband's bad behavior?
Why does my husband lose his temper so quickly?
Should you ignore an angry person?
Is anger issues a mental illness?
Why is my husband so irritable all the time?
Why does my husband get upset over small things?
Is anger a red flag in a relationship?
Why do my husband's moods affect me so much?
What is unhealthy anger?
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