When Your Spouse is Angry All the Time
Anger is contagious, which makes being married to someone who is angry all the time very difficult. It takes a lot of effort to not react emotionally to the other person’s anger and avoid becoming an angry person yourself.
It’s also difficult to be compassionate towards an angry partner. And without compassion, the emotional bond between the two of you will slowly break down.
Behind the Anger
Anger is usually a reaction to feeling powerless. Your spouse’s anger is probably a reaction to what they perceive to be unfairness or insensitivity to their needs. He or she feels his anger is justified and/or sees himself or herself as a victim.
This is why any attempt to point out their angry behavior makes them feel attacked. They feel that all the attention should be on the “unfair or insensitive” situation they are reacting to and not on them.
Calm but Assertive
Before we get into “how to deal with an angry spouse”, we must emphasize that safety comes first. If you or your children are in danger, seek help immediately.
When dealing with an angry spouse, it’s important to remain calm but assertive. It’s not a good idea to get angry because that only escalates the situation. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to be a door mat.
Calmly but assertively let your spouse know that you will not tolerate disrespect or mistreatment. Be very clear about where the boundaries are and that your spouse needs to work on his or her anger issues if your marriage is to survive.
Find out what leads to your partner’s angry behavior and genuinely attempt to understand your partner’s internal experience. Recognizing and understanding your spouse’s perspective makes them feel validated which is the first step to dealing with the feelings of powerlessness behind the anger.
De-escalate and be Patient
It’s going to take time for your spouse to work on his or her anger issues. Meanwhile, you need to learn how to de-escalate situations so as to stop them from causing even more marriage problems.
Keep in mind that de-escalation is a learned skill. It does not come naturally like “fight or flight.” To de-escalate an angry situation, you need to give your spouse a listening ear, validate their feelings and focus on finding the things that you agree with.
Even if you only agree with 1% of what your partner is saying, let them know that. It’s very hard for them to be angry at you when you agree with them.
Living with a spouse who is angry all the time is very challenging. But as long as he or she is not a threat to your safety, this marriage advice can help you make things better.