7 Subtle Times Your Man's Anger Issues Are Actually A Cry For Help

Don't let his emotions ruin the relationship.

Last updated on May 20, 2024

Mans anger issues, may be a cry for help MAYA LAB | Shutterstock

It feels scary when your husband or boyfriend gets mad. But did you know that often when men express anger it's often a cry for help? Our society, unfortunately, teaches boys to shut down their emotions. As a result, they grow into men who typically struggle to express what they truly mean, for fear of looking weak.  This is also because men are never taught to communicate their feelings, they now lack the emotional vocabulary to effectively do so. This can lead to serious anger issues. Please understand, that violence and cruelty (verbally, physically, emotionally) are never acceptable behaviors, and in no way should you tolerate mistreatment from your spouse or partner. But in an everyday sense, if your man's default emotion is anger, he's likely trying to communicate more but is unsure how to do so.


Here are 7 times your man's anger issues are actually a cry for help:

1. When he feels he's not getting what he wants

It feels frustrating that when your husband wants affection, he acts defensive and accusatory. "Why don't you ever give me a hug?" he'll snap at you. Hardly makes you feel cuddly toward the man. But what he's really trying to say is: "I miss hugging you and yearn to have you initiate some long hugs; I would feel so much more connected to you." The solution here is hugging him more often, and looking for moments to share honest, heartfelt affection.

@robertsecond53 Did you know We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”  Hugs strengthen your immune system and balance your body. Hugs increase your feelings of safety.Hugs increase your feelings of belonging. Hugs boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.#hugs #depress #mentalhealth ♬ original sound - Robert Singleton II

RELATED: The Two Emotions Making Men Feel Lonelier & Sadder Than Ever


2. When he's tired and lacks the bandwidth to deal with life's complications

We all feel weary at the end of the day, sometimes. The problem is, that men sometimes struggle to just own that and say it. So, as the feeling of depletion builds in him, he lashes out, almost helplessly, at anything in sight. Is it fair? Not in the least. But, often exhaustion and exasperation lie underneath that snappy after-work outburst. The solution to preventing this is setting up after-work decompression rituals, as a couple. He gets 15-20 min to change clothes, collect himself, and shift his mindset. Also, agree to a plan for how you'll handle stressed-out days in advance to protect each other from any lashing out.  

3. When he yearns to feel loved for who he truly is (not what he does or provides)

He snaps at you after you make (what you thought was) a harmless comment. But what you don't realize is that you're possibly the umpteenth person who dissed him this week (or even today) — thus, he's had it and can't take it anymore. Let him know that, in spite of the anger you feel, you think he's the best man and you're proud of him. Appreciate that he's handling a great deal and show him some appreciation before you ask anything more from him. 

RELATED: 10 Reasons Why Men Are So Much More Bitter Than Women

4. When he experiences flashbacks of childhood hurt, shame, or abandonment

Some things that happened to us in our childhood stick with us and flare up when we experience similar situations of embarrassment or feeling powerless. Likely, he's unaware that he's afraid of being abandoned or, like he was when his parents got drunk at the bar and stayed up until all hours, leaving him at home alone at night. Whatever that hurt was that's showing up again now. Tread lightly in these moments and simply ask if there's anything you can do. Later, when he comes back to himself you can tactfully ask if the experience today reminded him of an experience before and give him room to talk about it if he opens up. 


5.  When he doesn't know how to ask for what he wants

If he experienced trauma in the past, the heaviness likely made his brain go "offline" and the ability to attach words to the experience is likely too difficult when he slips back into that state. Make a pact to talk about it at another time, when the intensity settles back down, and share hunches (but not definite clarity) about what you think he's possibly yearning for in the situation now. 

RELATED: 3 Sneaky Signs Anger Has Taken Over Your Life (& You Don't Even Realize It)

6. When he feels depressed

Depression is a terrible feeling. It's overwhelming. And your partner may feel powerless to change his situation and yet hate himself for that because "men are not supposed to feel that way." As his shame grows, his depression deepens and he likely takes his frustration out on you. Offer reassurance that you know the depression feels all-encompassing, but it won't last forever. Brainstorm resources that might help to give him leverage to get going in a new way.  

@cobywatts_ Depression in men can look like.. comment a ❤️ for all the men who need it #mensmentalhealth #mensmentalhealthmatters #mensdepression #depresion #love ♬ original sound - Mal

7.  When he feels completely dismissed and misunderstood

Men often get enraged in this situation. He feels disrespected and unloved — that combination flares anger and egos in a terrible way. In this case, the solution is practicing active listening. Reflect back to him the dismay he feels from being overlooked or bypassed; then, validate that you would feel similarly, in a like situation, or that you can understand how he feels because you know his values or vulnerabilities.


If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

RELATED: 5 Ways Men Can Get Comfortable With Their Emotions — & Build Way Deeper Relationships


Dr. Jim Walkup helps couples build their relationship to last a lifetime, and has been a marriage counselor for 40 years.