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 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 of unhealthy expressions of anger, they only associate anger with negative things.
Anybody can become angry; that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way: that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. – Aristotle
Healthy versus unhealthy anger in the marriage
Anger the emotion is not bad by itself. It is the choices that one makes in expressing the 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: calling names, intimidation, and threats; restricting the partner’s interactions; financial or even physical abuse.
Fact: While other emotions are healed in the presence of love, anger is blind and usually cannot see or receive the care that is being offered.
Anger and the sexless marriage
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.
Criticism in a marriage is like water dripping on a rock. Slowly, the rock will be eroded. 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.
Your husband’s anger will drive you to depression.
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' wellbeing. It was further found that the effects of husbands’ anger on the wives continue throughout the marriages.
Anger begets anger: your marriage will produce angry children
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.
Experts indicate that 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.
Evidence also indicates that 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.
Don’t worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you. – Robert Fulghum
You will have an unhappy marriage
You were probably bewildered the first time you witnessed your husband’s angry outburst. But with subsequent 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.
Also, how can you be happy with someone you are scared of?
How can you:
- Love him when you resent the way he treats you?
- Laugh with yelling and angry shouting going on?
- Want to spend any time that you do not have to spend with someone you resent?
Your marriage 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?
What you can do
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.
Thanks for reading this article on the effects on your marriage of when your husband angry all the time. You can contact me here if you have a question or query.