Does your husband explode over little things? These tips for living with husbands who have anger problems are for wives who can’t take the rage anymore.
“I’m worried about my husband because has several signs of mental illness,” says R. “He has gone from job to job in the last five months. He began hitting me, drinking more, cheating, and leaving without so much as a word. He also has anger problems. We have two small boys, one and two years old, and they’re imitating his anger. I know we need help, I don’t want to leave because I love him. I don’t want him to hurt himself, I think he’s suicidal. He refuses counseling even though it worked for us before. How do I live with my husband’s anger?”
The first and most important thing is to get help in person. The internet is a wonderful place to get information and tips, but you need more than that when you’re living with an angry man.
“One of the prevalent features of life with an angry or controlling partner is that he frequently tells you what you should think and tries to get you to doubt or devalue your own perceptions and beliefs,” writes Lundy Bancroft in Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. “I would not like to see your experience with this book re-create that unhealthy dynamic. So the top point to bear in mind as you read [this book] is to listen carefully to what I am saying, but always to think for yourself.”
Bancroft explains how and why angry men are so angry, and offers help for coping with an angry husband.
5 Tips for Living With an Angry Husband
If he is physically or emotionally abusing you, read How to Move Out Without Your Husband Finding Out.
Get help – because you and your children deserve to live in a safe, peaceful home
What in-person support, information, and help do you have? If there are no resources for anger management in your area, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. They’re there all hours of the day and night.
Here’s what they say:
“At the National Domestic Violence Hotline… We believe that every caller deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We believe that every family deserves to live in a world free from violence. We believe that safe homes and safe families are the foundation of a safe society.”
Calling a hotline or support group doesn’t mean you’re leaving your husband…it just means you’re strong enough to get support and help for living with an angry man.
Get a diagnosis – maybe your husband isn’t “just” coping with anger problems
Some psychologists think “labeling” a psychological health issue causes problems, while others think that a diagnosis leads to healthy treatment. When you’re living with an angry husband, you should know exactly what you’re dealing with. Are his anger problems the result of an underlying mental health condition (eg, bipolar mood disorder, physical health problems, etc), or is he angry for no underlying physical health reason?
I know that it’s impossible to force your husband to get a diagnosis, especially if he’s already said he doesn’t want counseling. But if there is a way to get him to a psychologist or doctor, do it.
For more tips on living with an angry husband, read When You Can’t Tell Your Family How Your Husband Treats You.
Be aware of how deep anger problems can go – and how they can start
“Many men have failed to resolve anger with their fathers as a result of numerous disappointments and hurts in childhood and adolescence with them,” writes Dr Richard Fitzgibbons in The Angry Spouse. “Then, unconsciously, this anger can markedly interfere with their ability to love their wives and children. It can also be misdirected at their wives and children because of its power. The process of forgiving one’s father can be very challenging. However, men often feel relief when they learn that they can address their anger with their fathers in ways other than by expressing it. Even though a man can understand his father’s family background and character weaknesses, which interfered with his ability to give to him in a loving and positive manner, he can still have great difficulty in forgiving him either emotionally or cognitively, that is, thinking of forgiving him.”
If your husband’s anger problems stem from his childhood, then he needs to find the strength and courage to get help from a counselor or psychologist.
Look for triggers – what makes your husband angry?
“When your spouse is in a stable or more favorable mood, pay close attention to what environmental triggers precipitated and are maintaining the stability,” advises marriage and family therapist Tracy Todd, PhD, in 10 Tips for Coping With a Bipolar Spouse. “Often there are specific environmental stressors or soothers – including relationship issues – that influence mood swings. Use the soothers to help maintain the mood that both of you desire.”
This isn’t to say you’re the cause of his anger – because you’re not! Your husband’s anger problems are his issue, not yours. If he blames you for provoking his angry outbursts, remember that that’s what abusive men do. They blame everyone else for their emotions and behaviors.
Looking for the events that trigger your husband’s anger doesn’t mean you need to walk on eggshells at home. It just gives you insight into the cause of his anger problems, which can help you and help find a solution.
Remember that love isn’t all you need – you need to live in peace
You deserve to be treated with respect, love, and dignity. You may love your husband with all your heart, but you don’t deserve to live with an angry husband who hurts you and your children! That isn’t what you signed up for when you got married.
If you’re not sure what marriage is supposed to entail, read Is Your Marriage Good or Bad? 3 Myths About Being Married.
As painful as it is, you have to choose between him and your children. Anger problems don’t disappear on their own, especially if your husband refuses to get the help he needs. Love won’t solve your problems…only you can. You and your husband can save your marriage, but he has to be willing to get the help he needs to manage his anger.
If you think your husband’s anger is more than you can handle, read How to Find the Strength to Get Out of a Bad Relationship.
And if you have any thoughts on living with an angry husband, please comment below.
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.