By Laura Doyle | Updated: 03/02/2023
If your husband keeps getting angry, you are not alone.
When he blows a fuse at you or the kids, it can be really hurtful and scary. When it happens again and again, then it has a way of making you angry too. Especially if he jumps down your throat at the smallest things, like how you stock the groceries!
It’s baffling when you’re doing him kindnesses like making his coffee or having his dinner ready night after night. If you’re doing everything you can think of to be a good wife and still getting the cold shoulder, it is downright disheartening.
He wouldn’t even treat the dog this way!
So what to do if your man is always angry and negative? How do you deal with a rude husband?
Here are four proven ways to turn a rageaholic into a respectful spouse.
1) Rewind the Tape to See What Happened Just Before the Rage Started
This sounds crazy because he’s the one who’s behaving badly and being mean, but… his reactions could be an opportunity to look at your side of the street to see whether anything needs cleaning up.
His anger might be 95% of the problem, and that’s easy to focus on. But it’s a rare, wise woman who can also ask herself, “Did I do or say anything that wasn’t so great?”
When Ana’s husband kept getting annoyed with her day after day, it was as if she couldn’t do anything right. She felt completely disrespected, which is when she decided to take a look at how she was doing showing respect.
Hmm, this all started after she offered to call the exterminator. Sounds harmless enough, even helpful, but Ana knew that “helpful” in wife language meant “controlling” in husband language. She was afraid that their Airbnb guests would have unexpected pest visitors and she would be humiliated online.
As usual, fear lay beneath her urge to control. Sure enough, she was trying to control her husband to take care of the problem before they left town.
Granted, this seemed like a very small transgression to Ana, and it might to you too, but check out what happened when she decided to clean up her side of the street by saying, “I apologize for being disrespectful when I tried to control how you handled the pest situation.”
The tone in her house immediately improved.
Her husband thanked her for all she’d been doing to prepare for their trip and insisted she go relax and get her nails done. The new tone of mutual respect and gratitude carried into their long drive, where he couldn’t do enough to please her. Even with two little ones in tow, it turned out to be a romantic road trip!
Is there something on your side that you’re not super proud of saying or doing? If so, how might you own your mistakes?
Maybe he’s nitpicking an improperly ironed shirt when, in reality, he’s annoyed at how you keep getting into his closet. (Our “helpfulness” can wear so many guises! Check out this podcast for fourteen other forms of control.) Clean up your part–figuratively and literally–and respect his space.
If, on the other hand, you inspect your side of the street and it’s clean, then leave his mess on his side. I haven’t found any value in apologizing just to make nice. The magic only happens when I’m truly accountable for the part where I wasn’t at my best.
His rage is not your fault. His bad behavior is squarely on his paper. Even if you did something to irritate him, that doesn’t make it okay to hurl curse words and insults at you.
There could be another source for his anger, such as problems at work or with the in-laws.
It’s tempting to ask questions like “What’s wrong?” or “Did I do something?” Prodding him for what’s wrong with him or whether you upset him are back on his side of the street. And that’s back in control territory.
Relinquishing control of his moods and staying on your side of the street, on the other hand, is a totally respectful thing to do.
I’m reminded of the serenity prayer asking for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change (his anger) and the courage to change the things we can (our response).
You are a shiny wife mirror. As you flourish your powers of respect, he will come around and start reflecting you by showing you the respect you deserve.
2) Disarm His Anger with These Magic Words
It’s also tempting to have emotional check-ins or encourage him to get therapy. All “helpful” and (yup, you guessed it) controlling and therefore disrespectful.
Even pouring on empathy for what he’s going through can land askew.
Does he look at you funny–or not at all–when you validate, “That sounds really hard! I can only imagine how stressful. I would be so frustrated by what you’re going through.”
I find that’s because feelings tend to be one of women’s superpowers. Such validation feels great to us. For men, a mere “That sucks” tends to do it.
So, if you’re wanting to respect male culture, here’s the secret to making it safe for him to want to open up and share with you…
Listening without interrupting.
What I’m proposing here is easier said than done, but what if you didn’t reciprocate or react to his mood bait at all? Remaining neutral can dampen his emotional intensity. In time, he will calm down and mirror your reactions (or lack thereof).
Here are three little words to empower you to listen respectfully: “I hear you.”
What a relief when he knows you’re a safe harbor for him, that with you he doesn’t have to suck it up and “be a man,” especially since those pent-up emotions can snowball into uncontrollable outbursts.
If you want to go all out with this listening experiment, try just letting him talk while you practice that phrase for a full hour.
Easier said than done, I know! Most women report that after dealing with the discomfort of stretching outside their comfort zone, however, it’s a relief not to have to problem solve, offer advice or fix anything for him. And a joy when he steps up and takes the initiative to solve those problems himself (and the initiative to do more things for you too)!
There is one key exception: No need to say “I hear you” if he says something hurtful to you.
You are nobody’s doormat or whipping post.
If he calls you names or curses at you, simply saying “Ouch!” and leaving the room is a powerful way to express your hurt in a dignified way.
When you have such a vulnerable, respectful way to give him the space to see that he has hurt the woman he loves, he’s way less likely to do it again next time.
3) Do Not Try to “Fix” Him
If you’re been dealing with his outbursts for a while now, it’s easy to catch him doing something wrong.
The problem is: You are a powerful manifestor.
What you focus on increases. That’s why every time you bring up this problem, even in an attempt to solve it, it magnifies and gets even worse.
What if you tried something different, like catching him doing something good? If he expresses himself in a connecting way, let him know how happy he has just made you. A little gratitude goes a long way.
This is different from being his cheerleader. Trying to make him feel better through desperate encouragement or saying “It could be worse…” or “Why don’t you just…” oozes control, and men chafe at being controlled.
Even gently offering support by saying something like “Is there anything I can do to take the stress off your plate?” is being “helpful.”
“Helpfully” observing that he’s been getting angry a lot lately is likewise disrespectful, which actually creates even more distance.
That is, unless it’s from a place of “That’s not like you!” Expecting the best outcome is super respectul.
Saying that would probably feel like a big fat lie. Is it any more of a lie than telling yourself he’s always angry?
What difference does it make what you tell yourself (or him)? Again, what you focus on increases.
When Tanya’s husband lost his temper yet again, she changed the dance by responding, “That’s not like you to lose your temper.”
This was a huge stretch since what she normally told him was “You always lose your temper!” Sure enough, her husband gave her a funny look when she voiced her new affirmation, and even their 12-year-old son said, “Yes it is, Mom! He always loses his temper.”
Not long after, the husband was fuming at a restaurant’s slow service: “I have a good mind to call the manager over and let him know how long we’ve been waiting!” Then, he stopped himself and said, “That’s not like me to lose my temper, is it?”
Tanya had not only shifted her own view of her husband but even how he saw himself!
4) Know When to Step Away
It’s normal for negativity to affect your well-being at times. Sometimes you just need a timeout. There’s no shame in removing yourself from the situation. Rather, you’re choosing intimacy by removing yourself from the bait so you won’t bite.
This is a perfect opportunity to take some time to do the things you love.
Maybe it’s going for a long walk while letting it all out with a supportive friend…
Not the family member who loves you so fiercely she’ll never forgive him for treating you that way, even after he becomes his best self and you’re ready to move past this chapter.
Not the friend who tells you what a jerk he is and that you deserve better. It’s easy to find advocates for divorce. They’re well-meaning but may not have the tools for their own relationships.
Hopefully you can confide in the rare bestie who’s a great listener and still stands for the marriage you want, maybe even steering the conversation to why you want to fight for it.
Or, if you’re one of the many women who don’t have that, check out my FREE Roadmap so you do not have to be alone with this.
If your husband is a rageaholic, you might think all of this sounds too good to be true and maybe it won’t work for you. But when women on our campus find the courage to experiment even when they think it’s completely hopeless, to paraphrase Thomas Wolfe, miracles not only happen–they happen all the time.
By Laura Doyle
Hi! I'm Laura.
New York Times Bestselling Author
I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.
I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.
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Great Blog Laura, Quick question though, What do you do if your husband keeps bringing up the things you did to him in the past even though you’ve changed since then. You apologized for being disrespectful back then but it’s been years and he still talks about it
Great question. I’d love to know that answer too.
Jane, I’m sorry to hear if your husband keeps bringing up the past even though you’ve changed and even apologized for being disrespectful. That’s so frustrating! I remember those days of criticism and how hard it was not having room to be human. Why couldn’t he see the best in me when I was trying so hard? Now there’s so much grace in my marriage! My coaches and I are here to support you in having that too. Join the waitlist for The Ridiculously Happy Wife coaching program here:
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There can be many reasons your husband is angry. Studies show that anger is often a response to perceived threats. If he's feeling insecure about the relationship, work, or financial matters, those emotions could be expressed as anger.Why does my husband get so angry over little things? ›
Stress is one of the main causes of anger in a relationship. According to the American Psychology Association (APA), stress makes men and women angry and irritable. It can also make them feel nervous and anxious, as well as experience fatigue. If your husband is angry at you, help them to cope with feelings of stress.How do I deal with an angry rude husband? ›
- De-escalate and Neutralize Emotionality. ...
- Be Assertive and Respectful. ...
- Communicate Constructively, Understand, and Validate. ...
- Practice Patience and Compassion. ...
- Pick Your Battles and Think Long-Term. ...
- Reflect on Your Actions and Understand the Triggers.
Can Someone with Anger Issues Change? People can and do change their behavioral patterns all the time–that's often the goal of therapy. However, people with anger issues can only change if they make a commitment and put in the work.How do I live with a moody husband? ›
- DO Identify the Reason. ...
- DON'T Take It Personally. ...
- DO Use Humor. ...
- DON'T Put Them Down. ...
- DO Talk the Right Way. ...
- DON'T Confront Your Spouse (The Wrong Way) ...
- DON'T Let It Affect You. ...
- DO Know What Works.
Insecurity, fear/anxiety, and depression can often manifest as anger, particularly for men. Given that you have described a recent change in your husband's behaviour, it may be likely that his anger is reflective of some other emotional experience or stressor.What is explosive anger disorder? ›
Overview. Intermittent explosive disorder involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation.What do you call a person who gets angry easily? ›
1. Irritable, testy, touchy, irascible are adjectives meaning easily upset, offended, or angered. Irritable means easily annoyed or bothered, and it implies cross and snappish behavior: an irritable clerk, rude and hostile; Impatient and irritable, he was constantly complaining.Why is my husband so negative and critical? ›
Your critical husband or wife may be stressed or dealing with some uncomfortable emotions, and criticizing you helps to distract them from how they are feeling. In some cases, being overly critical may have just become a habit or a learned way of communicating with others.How do you know your husband doesn't value you? ›
He is no longer affectionate with you, physically or verbally. He no longer makes sweet or romantic gestures toward you. He doesn't say "I love you" anymore. He still says "I love you," but something about it feels hollow or forced, like he's just going through the motions.
- Communicate. Save. ...
- Get to the root of the problem. ...
- Understand your partner's personality. ...
- Pick your battles wisely. ...
- Accept your spouse for who they are. ...
- Ask, don't interpret or assume things. ...
- Give each other space. ...
- Find a middle ground.
It is not hard to spot a disrespectful husband. Someone who isn't honest enough or always yells at their partner can be easily identified as a disrespectful husband who has no regard whatsoever for his life partner. Such blatant disrespect can not only be hurtful but can cause stress and anxiousness to the partner.What is the psychology of male anger? ›
Men tend to express their anger through aggression and outward hostility. Women are more likely to turn anger inward, but they're also more likely to talk through their anger. Many of the gendered differences in anger appear to stem largely from differences in the way men and women are socialized.What is angry man syndrome? ›
What Is Irritable Male Syndrome? Irritable male syndrome (IMS) is a state of hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration, and anger that occurs in males and is associated with biochemical changes, hormonal fluctuations, stress, and loss of male identity.What medication is good for anger and irritability? ›
SSRIs that have been shown to help with anger include citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), among others. Sertraline seems to have the most supporting data. Other classes of antidepressants, like serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), aren't widely used for treating anger.Why does my husband's moods affect me so much? ›
Experts say such “spousal mood infections” are also caused by the bond the partners share. If two people care a lot about each other, they are quick to perceive the mood changes, the vibes and the feelings, and unconsciously start imitating them.How do I stay happy with a bad husband? ›
Find ways to be grateful.
Nonetheless, gratitude can help you cope with the bad relationship, and it can lead to you being happier. Take time each day to figure out what you are thankful for. Try writing a few things you are grateful for each day in a journal. You can also use posts on social media for this purpose.
- You Hardly Communicate Anymore.
- There is Little to No Intimacy.
- You Would Rather Spend Time With Your Friends Than be at Home With Your Partner.
- Everything They Do Irritates You.
- There is Emotional Withdrawal.
- Both of you Have Differing Values, Beliefs, and Goals.
- There's Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling.
- Stay calm. ...
- Try to listen to them. ...
- Give them space. ...
- Set boundaries. ...
- Help them identify their triggers. ...
- Support them to seek professional help. ...
- Look after your own wellbeing.
- Start A Discussion With Your Partner. If you're feeling overwhelmed by your partner's anger, it's important to communicate your concerns. ...
- Respond With Compassion. It can be easy to compare our partners to ourselves. ...
- Consider The Source Of Their Anger. ...
- Take Care Of Yourself.
- Are hurting others either verbally or physically.
- Always find yourself feeling angry.
- Feel that your anger is out of control.
- Frequently regret something you've said or done when angry.
- Notice that small or petty things make you angry.
Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is an often overlooked mental disorder identified by episodes of anger, sudden outbursts in which the person loses control entirely. This mental disorder usually begins in childhood or adolescence.Is anger and rage a mental illness? ›
Anger itself isn't considered a disorder, but anger is a known symptom of several mental health conditions. The following are some of the possible causes of anger issues.What mental illness causes aggression? ›
Aggression is a common symptom of many psychiatric disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, Tourette's disorder, mood disorders (including bipolar disorder), substance-related disorders, alcohol-related disorders, mental retardation, pervasive ...What is the highest level of anger called? ›
Enraged. This is the stage when you feel completely out of control. You may exhibit destructive behavior when your anger reaches this point, such lashing out physically, excessive swearing, or threatening violence.What is a narcissistic episode? ›
An episode of narcissistic rage derives from a threat to a person's sense of self and is characterized by intense anger. 1 In a relationship, for example, this could manifest in physical or verbal abuse, manipulation, or passive-aggressive behavior.What do you call someone who is offended by everything? ›
hypersensitive. adjective. very easily upset or offended.What is a toxic husband like? ›
' Toxic, abusive partners don't want to take ownership (in situations where they objectively should) and will avoid doing so again and again. And, when they seem to take ownership, it's manipulative and over-the-top, with no change in behavior to support it,” she says.What is silent divorce? ›
What is a silent divorce? The term 'silent divorce' refers to a state where there isn't obvious conflict, but nor is there much of anything else going on in a relationship. It is not sustainable in the long term.What is a toxic relationship with husband? ›
Your relationship may be toxic if it is characterized by behaviors that make you feel unhappy, including disrespect, dishonesty, controlling behaviors, or a lack of support.
Micro cheating refers to acts of seemingly trivial, inappropriate behaviors that occur outside of one's devoted relationship, often done unintentionally.What is emotional neglect in marriage? ›
In a marriage emotional neglect is when a spouse CONSISTENTLY fails to notice, attend to, and respond IN A TIMELY MANNER to a spouse's feelings. This has far-reaching negative consequences for the relationship.What is emotional abandonment in marriage? ›
In the context of a marriage, the feelings of neglect, being left out, and not being heard are collectively referred to as emotional abandonment. It occurs when one partner is so preoccupied with their own concerns that they are unable to notice the struggles, concerns, or problems their partner is experiencing.What are hardest years of marriage? ›
According to relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, as it turns out, the first year really is the hardest—even if you've already lived together. In fact, it often doesn't matter if you've been together for multiple years, the start of married life is still tricky.What does the Bible say about angry husbands? ›
Ephesians 4:31 — “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” As followers of Jesus Christ, we are a new creation. It's time to put away old, sinful behaviors that create an angry marriage and tear us apart as couples.How do I make my husband realize his mistake? ›
- Stay away a bit.
- Don't argue at all.
- Never ever talk about past experiences.
- Focus on yourself.
- Be the future you.
Insulting and mocking a partner or making fun of you is a clear indication of disrespect, whether it is done directly to you or behind your back. You may also notice that they often fail to introduce you to their friends or colleagues or bring you into the conversation.What makes a man disrespect his wife? ›
For many husbands, stress is the number one factor contributing to his disrespectful treatment of you. This pressure keeps his thoughts and feelings foremost in his mind. He may have no bandwidth for even thinking about how you feel. He is probably failing to process all of his feelings.What does disrespect from a husband look like? ›
It is not hard to spot a disrespectful husband. Someone who isn't honest enough or always yells at their partner can be easily identified as a disrespectful husband who has no regard whatsoever for his life partner. Such blatant disrespect can not only be hurtful but can cause stress and anxiousness to the partner.Why do older men get so angry? ›
Decreased testosterone is a normal part of aging in men.
All men lose testosterone as we age. However, for most men testosterone remains within healthy limits and does not cause problems. However, many men's testosterone levels drop too far and the results are increased irritability, anger, and depression.
Chronic (long-term) anger has been linked to health issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, headaches, skin disorders, and digestive problems. In addition, anger can be linked to problems such as crime, emotional and physical abuse, and other violent behavior.How do you control a man's anger? ›
- Think before you speak. ...
- Once you're calm, express your concerns. ...
- Get some exercise. ...
- Take a timeout. ...
- Identify possible solutions. ...
- Stick with 'I' statements. ...
- Don't hold a grudge. ...
- Use humor to release tension.
Stress is one of the main causes of anger in a relationship. According to the American Psychology Association (APA), stress makes men and women angry and irritable. It can also make them feel nervous and anxious, as well as experience fatigue. If your husband is angry at you, help them to cope with feelings of stress.What hormone makes men angry? ›
Testosterone activates the subcortical areas of the brain to produce aggression, while cortisol and serotonin act antagonistically with testosterone to reduce its effects.Why is my older husband so angry? ›
Depression, anxiety, grief, and PTSD are all mental health disorders that can have increased anger as a symptom. Your loved one may need professional therapy to learn how to handle his or her emotions. Some seniors need medication to address severe anger.What vitamins can help with anger? ›
Symptoms of severe vitamin B1 (thiamine) and B6 deficiencies may include irritability. However, this is more common in infants and severe B6 deficiency is uncommon in the United States adult population. Using the Everywell at-home B Vitamins Test can check your levels of 2 B vitamins-B6, B9, and B12.What drugs prevent anger? ›
Antidepressants such as Prozac, Celexa and Zoloft are commonly prescribed for anger issues. These drugs do not specifically target anger within the body, but they do have a calming effect that can support control of rage and negative emotion.Does Adderall help with anger? ›
People with ADHD often struggle with elevated levels of irritability and anger. For most people, Adderall helps with ADHD-related emotional responses. However, if irritability is worsened with Adderall, a change in medication or dosage (with the help of a healthcare provider) might be required.How do I deal with my husbands high temper? ›
Maintain your calm and remove yourself from that situation saying that you won't speak to him if he uses that tone with you. Once you think that he has calmed down, ask him what is it that is actually bothering him. Let him know that you are there to listen to him. Tell him that you both can work on this.Why does my husband turns every argument around on me? ›
Your husband or partner may turn everything around on you because he feels insecure. It may not seem like it but many blame-shifters often have low self-esteem. So, to feel better about himself, your husband puts you down and makes you feel like you're not good enough.
Irritable Man Syndrome or Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS) is the term used to describe the mood swings in men. Irritability in men is often a result of high stress cortisol levels and low testosterone levels. Some men respond by acting out while others hold these feelings in and become depressed.Why do I get so triggered by my partner? ›
We may be “pseudo-independent” and see ourselves as just fine on our own. Because we have adapted by disconnecting from our own needs, we often perceive others as emotionally “needy.” When we feel triggered by our partner, we may see their attempt to connect as needy, dramatic, or overwhelming.What is stonewalling in a relationship? ›
What does it mean to stonewall someone? In simple terms, stonewalling is when someone completely shuts down in a conversation or is refusing to communicate with another person.What is the psychology of angry people? ›
Anger is often a reaction to and distraction from inner suffering—feelings such as sadness, powerlessness, shame, anxiety, inadequacy, and isolation. Anger can be both an outgrowth of, and meaningful distraction, from the intense pain of underlying depression.How do you deal with a quick tempered man? ›
It is best to step aside. let them take it out and then cool down. Once the outburst is over, the person himself or herself will calm down and even apologise directly or in some or the other way. Giving space is important.Why is my husband always picking fights with me? ›
He may be going though his own anxiety or depression. He may not be feeling good enough. Sex and intimacy may be limited which can significantly impact happiness in a marriage. He may also not feel heard or understood leading to more reactivity and resentment.What is it called when your partner turns everything around on you? ›
They turn the story around to make it seem like you are at fault, deflecting attention and blame away from them to make you feel guilty. This type of emotional manipulation is called gaslighting. [clickToTweet tweet=”“Am I going crazy? Am I being too sensitive?When a man blames you for everything? ›
If your partner is blaming you for everything, it means that they are unhappy with the relationship. Rather than talking through the problems in your marriage, they look out for a way to blame you for everything. Now is the time when you really would want to do something about it.How can I change my angry husband mood? ›
- 01/87 ways to calm down a man when he is angry and defensive. ...
- 02/8Treat his anger as a call for help. ...
- 03/8Try to remain calm. ...
- 04/8Make him feel emotionally safe. ...
- 05/8Practice compassion. ...
- 06/8Never assume. ...
- 07/8Listen to him actively. ...
- 08/8Spot the anger early.
- 1 Keep a neutral perspective.
- 2 Speak to the person calmly.
- 3 Ask them if they're okay.
- 4 Actively listen to them.
- 5 Validate their feelings.
- 6 Ask how they'd like to be supported.
- 7 Save the advice unless they ask.
- 8 Distract them with things they enjoy.
- Use a kind—or at least neutral—tone. ...
- Try reversing your reaction. ...
- Don't take it (too) personally. ...
- Break it up with a time out. ...
- Create a crankiness code word.