Help! My Boyfriend's Anger Is Over The Top

Anger management is an essential part of a successful family life.

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During over 30 years as a marriage and family therapist giving relationship advice to my clients, I've seen many people who are really upset about the “over the top” anger expressions of one they love. For their spouses, they often don't know how to deal with anger they are feeling themselves.

In the midst of these anger issues with their partners, I have heard, again and again, the same things:


“He screams and curses, even throws things, when angry.”

“She runs screaming from the room, refusing to speak to me if I speak my mind.

My husband is so bullying. I am afraid of his fits if he does not have his way.”

“Sometimes I think the guy (or gal) I am planning to marry is a two-year-old at heart.”

“Her (or his) temper terrifies our children, and makes our home a frightening place to be.”

“If anything goes wrong at work, s/he does all he can to pick a fight with me.”

“He becomes stone, rather than hear me.”

“If I say how I feel, when I come home he is not there.”

“If I try to talk to him, he storms out, sometimes leaving for hours, but sometimes for days.”


“Our children cannot discuss anything with him that he does not agree with. If an opinion is brought up, he will give a very angry look, and then leave the room or the house.”

RELATED: How To Talk To A Man Who Has Serious Anger Issues (And Keep Yourself Safe)

In addition to being rude, bullying, or having a terrifying temper, people with anger issues also clam up and refuse to discuss a problem, even if expressed in kind and sensitive ways.

So, if you are planning to build a life with someone who has anger problems, think again. Committed relationships are only fulfilling if family members can talk together without fear.

Yes, most of my examples are about men. But women have these difficulties as well, yet most women are more willing to discuss problems than men and find it a relief to do so.


If you love a person with this problem or are married to someone who becomes frightening, there are some things you should know:

1. Anger and frustration are experienced by all human beings.

Learning how to express these emotions maturely is essential in successful family living, as well as in the work environment

2. Don't self-medicate.

Please do not turn to drinking or drugs to self-medicate your fear.


3. People who cannot discuss problems without rage are frightened.

These are people who need help. If they do not get it and take the help seriously, they will make family life a living hell. Also, they will pass this horrible way of dealing with conflict on to children.

4. Bullying patterns of behavior are all attempts to control and intimidate family members.

5. Speak calmly to diffuse the situation.

The best way to express yourself to someone with anger issues, especially regarding something going on in your relationship, is to be clear and sensitive, and use a calm voice. For example, “After we both come home from work after long days, when you leave the table without offering to at least help me clear (or stand there as I do all of the cleaning, without offering some input), I feel hurt and disappointed.”

6. Things can escalate to physical violence.

If a partner ever lifts a hand to hit, punch or strike you, this pattern will only get worse. This is not a safe relationship, and as hard as it is to accept this, change will not happen without professional help. If this is not an option, this is not a relationship that can provide a safe home.


7. See a trained professional if you need further help.

If hitting and striking are part of your relationship, see a trained specialist alone, instead of with your partner. Or, call the domestic violence hotline, 1−800−799−SAFE (7233).

RELATED: 5 Best Ways To Deal With Your Anger (So You Can Find Peace Without Medication)

SaraKay Smullens is a licensed diplomate in clinical social work, and a trained family therapist and educator. She has been certified as a group psychotherapist by American Group Psychotherapy Association and as a certified family life educator by the National Council on Family Relations.