It can be a very difficult experience to live with someone who is controlled by anger. It is often psychologically disturbing, extremely frustrating, and in some cases it can even be terrifying.
Joan, my workmate was shading tears with total confusion. “My husband has an anger problem. He explodes at the smallest things, usually something unimportant. He yells and calls me terrible names. I feel like I am walking on eggs all the time. A week ago, he became extremely angry at me because I spoke up about his yelling; he turned to hit me with his fist, but stopped and then spat in my face.”
How would you stand living with an angry spouse? Some people marry a person who turns out to be angry and abusive. It hurts deeply to be so disrespected and badly treated by someone who is supposed to be your life partner and best friend.
One thing we need to remember is that no one is perfect, and there are probably going to be times in a relationship when couples become angry. That is inevitable and it’s natural.
But when tantrums and violence happen over and over again without any apparent change of behavior and attitude, anger becomes poisonous in your relationship.
But, there are some things that can be done that may help clarify your own expectations in the relationship and perhaps avoid unnecessary angry outbursts.
The first thing to do is have a conversation about his or her angry outbursts, if your spouse is open to talking. Talking about a problem helps heal relationship wounds at an early stage.
This conversation should take place at a time when you are not tired, hungry, or already angry; you should be stress free. In this conversation you should take a non-accusatory position.
This puts you in the listening mode to really understand what is being communicated, without becoming defensive and offensive.
You may even express some understanding of the angry feelings if you do actually understand them, but at the same time you want to make it clear what your partner’s angry behavior is doing to you and that it is harming your relationship.
The other side of this coin is analyzing your own actions and making sure you are not doing things to unnecessarily provoke your spouse to anger. You are not responsible for his angry actions, but you are responsible for what you do and say.
By communicating with a spouse who acts out anger your best chance of making a change in the pattern is for you to put yourself in the listening and understanding mode.
If talking doesn’t work out, then professional intervention is necessary.
Only people who truly cannot control the expression of anger are those with severe mental illness. They should generally be locked up away from society since they are a danger to everyone, particularly to those close to them.