5 Signs Your Husband's Anger Issues Are Destroying Your Marriage (And What To Do About It)

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woman and man sitting on a bench angry at each other

When you have an angry husband or your husband is always angry, all aspects of your marriage can feel like an absolute nightmare.

You've felt like you're in an unhappy marriage and possibly even thought to yourself, "my husband is always angry — I hate him!" on the occasions when you're burnt out and reeling from his constant anger issues.

You want to live in happiness; you want to feel like your marriage is a safe haven. But it feels like walking on eggshells or over an anger minefield any time you talk to him.

Sound familiar?

Living with an angry husband is like living at the base of an active volcano. You are always alert, anticipating the next eruption.

You stay in a constant state of hyper-vigilance; always looking for ways to cover for him and prevent his anger issues from being triggered.

And you spend all your energy keeping his anger from swamping the entire family.

Anger is just a form of emotional energy. It is not yelling and screaming. And it is not violence. Anger can be both constructive and destructive.

However, since many people have seen more unhealthy expressions of anger, they only associate anger with negative things.

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Here are 5 signs that your husband's anger is ruining your marriage.

1. He expresses only unhealthy anger.

Anger is not bad by itself. It is the choices that one makes in expressing anger that makes the difference in the health of a marriage.

A spouse who expresses his anger healthily is able to talk about his feelings in a calm manner. Also, he does not try to manipulate the partner’s behavior.

Instead, he expresses himself, makes a request, and is willing to accept the answer. When he realizes that his anger is escalating, he takes time out since he recognizes that he will not be logical and rational anymore. He can then revisit the topic at a later time once he has calmed down.

Unhealthy anger, on the other hand, is constant. The person seems ready to snap over little things, is always irritated by the spouse and those around him and he argues for the sake of arguing.

This anger also seeks to control the spouse and is often used as a weapon. It can also be used to punish the partner through things like silent treatment, withholding sex and sabotaging the partner’s efforts.

At the extreme, unhealthy anger is abusive. The abuse can either be verbal, like name-calling,, intimidation, and threats, restricting the partner’s interactions, financial abuse or even physical abuse.

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2. You are no longer intimate.

One cause for lack of intimacy in marriage is anger. If your husband expresses his anger disrespectfully, this will build resentment in you.

Over time, this resentment may evolve to dislike and even hatred for him. And how can you possibly be intimate with someone whom you do not like?

Another way an angry husband expresses himself is through constant criticism of his wife.

If you are regularly made to feel like you cannot do anything right, that you do not measure up to certain expectations, this will affect the quality of your intimacy.

At some point, you will become resentful and even angry even if you may not admit it. With time, you will find it completely difficult to be intimate with your husband. Sex will either be a chore or the most unpleasant thing that you have to endure in the relationship.

3. You're feeling depressed.

A study by the University of Missouri has revealed that angry husbands can cause depression in their wives. In the study, researchers observed video clips of 416 married couples interacting at home.

The study found that husbands’ treatment of their wives dramatically influences their psychological wellness.

Criticism and hostility have a lasting effect on the wives' well-being.

It was further found that the effects of husbands’ anger on the wives continue throughout their marriages.

4. Your kids are always angry.

Experts say that children learn how to form relationships from their parents through observation and social learning.

Your children will watch you and either learn the skills of problem-solving and conflict resolution, which lead to healthy relationships, or distress, anxiety, and aggression, which lead to unhealthy relationships.

Anger is contagious. Unhealthy anger in all forms of its expression: Violence and aggression is a learned behavior.

This is the reason why children who are brought up in families with violence are more likely to be more aggressive to their own romantic partners.

Children learn to identify with the aggressor since they discover that the parent (in this case the dad) who yells the loudest gets his way. Anger, aggression, and hostility become a way of life.

If children are exposed to prolonged anger and aggression, they may experience brain and hormonal changes due to fear.

They freeze in response to loud voices and anger. Later in life, the effects show up in the form of promiscuity, alcohol and drug abuse, codependency, and eating disorders.

5. You have an unhappy marriage.

You were probably bewildered the first time you witnessed your husband’s angry outburst. But with subsequent angry eruptions, you have realized that your husband does not respect you.

Eventually, you will be put off by his immature and unreasonable behavior, and you will not have the patience to give him any attention. Your relationship will deteriorate.

Loving someone who is an angry person will only make your relationship unhappier.

What does anger do to a marriage?

You can't be happy with someone you're scared of.

Your marriage problems will not survive on the thin ice of lost love forever. It will eventually crumble under the pressure of anger.

Anger coping mechanisms are entrenched in an individual, and they cannot change unless your husband makes a strong commitment to handle his anger more healthily. Your husband needs a structured program of anger management to learn how to break this destructive behavior.

Do not even for a minute think that you can change your husband’s anger patterns overnight. After all, he has had many years to practice before meeting you.

Ultimately, remember that you get what you put up with, not what you deserve. If you excuse, forgive and allow your husband’s repeated outbursts, why on earth should you expect him to change?

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How do you respond to an angry husband?

Make your husband ineffective in getting what he wants through anger. He has to learn that shouting, threatening, and withdrawing will not get him what he wants.

If you give in to his anger, you will never get him to give up using anger as a manipulating tool. Be firm in your refusal; do not have any discussion about it.

Refusing to argue helps to put the issue to rest quickly so that you can both move on to other things. The next time you see him, be friendly and pretend like nothing ever happened. He will know how to treat you better, anger issues, or not.

Or, you can suggest marriage counseling. Don't let him keep blaming his bad behavior on the rate of depression in men.

Couples therapy can help address the negativity in your husband. When he blames his anger on you, the therapist might be able to chime in.

However, if you find that your husband’s anger is emotionally abusive and that his quick temper is emotionally damaging, therapy for couples might not be the answer.

You might want to consider divorcing your angry spouse.

Your husband might be angry for a variety of different reasons — he might secretly want a divorce or lash out at you because he feels his needs aren't being met.

Either way, he needs to learn how to practice more self-awareness by taking things out on you. Anger can destroy a marriage.

A good way to respond to your angry husband is by giving him some time to cool down before you have any discussion. People say things they don't mean when they're angry. So if you can take a walk and let him cool down, that might help.

There is a difference between anger and abuse.

Some couples don't get along and have issues they need to work out together.

But if you're in an abusive relationship, the best thing you can do is get help and seek safety.

If you are suffering from domestic violence you can call or text "START" to 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

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Randy Skilton is a relationship expert with an Advanced Diploma in Social Science and a Graduate Diploma in Technology Education.