Angry Outbursts: How Do I Respond?

How do I respond to my husband’s angry outbursts? He swears, yells, and becomes destructive.

No one deserves to put up with anger like that from a spouse–be it husband or wife. It’s lethal to your marriage, and toxic to you and your family. A home environment like you’re describing is only going to escalate in intensity and severity unless you’re able to set some boundaries and get help.

Sure, everyone has times when they lose touch with reality, let their emotions get the better of them, and fly off the handle. But when a situation moves from a one-time blow-up into a recurring problem with anger and aggression, you and your kids are in dangerous territory.

In today’s video, we’re discussing what to do if your spouse has destructive anger issues.

If your spouse rages at you and becomes destructive, it’s important that you remove yourself from the home. You’re in danger as long as you’re sharing a space with someone who erupts with uncontrolled anger. If you have the option to simply remove yourself from the same room as your spouse during the outburst, do that; but you may find that you have to leave the house completely until your spouse gets this issue under control.

When you confront your spouse about his/her behavior, don’t be condemning or blaming. Be gently honest; let them know you don’t feel safe, and you need to go until things are different. You can let your spouse know that you’ll come back when you can have a rational conversation, and you don’t intend to disconnect or to leave the marriage. Tell them they have to learn to control their anger and provide you with a safe place to live before you can return.

If you have children in the house, your top priority is to protect them from your spouse’s angry displays. You don’t want this kind of behavior modeled for the kids, so you must take them with you when you exit the home. Continuing to expose the kids to your spouse’s rage ensures the kids will suffer from observing the abuse that’s happening in your home, if they’re not being abused themselves.

In order to set a proper boundary and motivate your spouse to change his/her behavior, you must provide consequences for the destructive behaviors. It’s very difficult to be motivated to change if a person hasn’t been given clear consequences. We hope that your spouse will understand that his/her behavior has been destructive, and will get the necessary help to get healthy and be safe for you again.

For now, focus on getting out, setting those boundaries and consequences for your spouse, and protecting yourself and your kids.

Have you dealt with a spouse who had rage problems, or have you dealt with those issues yourself? How did you address them? Were they resolved? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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9 Comments

  • Jenn says:

    I dealt with a spouse who had anger outbursts, including destructive tendencies. For too long. He was irrational and setting boundaries of leaving the house when he was raging did nothing, except to lengthen the time he punished me afterward with the silent treatment. From the earliest red flags to the last 2-3 week period of him destroying my things when I left during his rage, then his ignoring me and drinking even more heavily, I tried, with God’s help, to make things work for 20 years. By the time I left (and God released me), there were very few pieces of me left.
    Praise God- He kept me safe through the divorce process and then blessed me with a loving, kind husband and a bonus stepson!

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m married to my husband for 19 years together 21. He has angry yelling outbursts from usually something stupid. It can be months until one happens. Our oldest daughter is in her 20’s has her own place. She also has bipolar so when he does this she tells right back and sometimes gets personal. The last one happened last night when my oldest and her boyfriend were here. As he was yelling and daughter yelling back he then yelled at boyfriend who stood up for my daughter. Later last night he stated he knew he overreacted and has now ruined Christmas. It is my oldest daughter birthday to and she wont come over now.
    But even as he says this he starts blaming everyone else on his miscommunication of understanding what was going on. And never apologizes, we think he has PTSD and depression but wont get help.
    Then blames me stating I took their sides when they were growing up. Mind you he does not treat his son this way from previous marriage. Sorry so long just trying to find help

  • Micki says:

    My husband of thirty five years has anger outburst with yelling, screaming, hurling insults, name calling and 95% of the time it is over something that is absolutely nothing. He says I have a certain look on my face, or I’ve said something that I did not say. He has been this way since I met him but in about the last seven years it has gone to violence with physical and emotional abuse towards me. I divorced him 2 years ago, stupid.y took him back and I just got him out of our house again. I cannot go back to it, I’ve always loved him but I had to make a decision to either live with him like that or not. I’ve chosen not. It is clear he will not get help or change. My children are grown now and still very affected by his behavior. I hate it that they went thru it.

    • Katherine says:

      I don’t know what to do… but it seems if they have these angry outbursts they always claim it’s not their fault… in my instance they claim it’s something I did made them angry and then want to talk… I stupidly open my mouth to talk ab it and of course what they do is play word games… and make it seem like they didn’t say what they just admitted about it… gaslighting… and then… when you said they are doing something to hurt the marriage or hurt you they say..: here we go again… so I ask what does that mean.. their respond. I am not going to let you get away with this.. this claiming our marriage is falling apart… I never said that…. I said you were hurting our marriage… I said you are attacking and hurting me::: but not grttinf away with It that is scary :-/

  • Tired of Trying says:

    I am going through this now…interesting how the patterns are so similar. Not sure what to do.

  • Shelina says:

    I have been with my husband for over 25 years. He was my knight in shining armor as he was a great friend during my 1st marriage difficulties. Never thought we’d end up together, but we did. Everything was great for eight years in, but after we broke up he had another girlfriend and I didn’t want to take him back afterwards, had the warning signals, but he didn’t have anywhere to live. Compassionate me, took him back and his behaviors changed; I ignored but it wasn’t often he would be angry, He developed these out of the blue anger outbursts which became frequent – even during our honeymoon, which was unfortunate. All over the silliest or the most miniscule situation. I wasn’t brought up with this kind of animosity, nitpicking. We have a 7-year old daughter now in the midst of his anger outbursts which are increasing by the day…just last night an explosive outburst because I shouted; yet he yelled so much I’m sure the neighbors heard – he said if I shout near his ear again he will leave. I just walked away, but with each argument or outburst of that nature, the silent treatment ensues and it’s a vicious cycle…he has issues, CLEARLY and I know it’s not me. I’m the happiest when he’s at work, when it’s time for him to come home, I get anxiety.

    • Katherine says:

      I would love to talk w you sounds like similar situation in which I’m in. I’m getting help. He gets angry at stupid things? Like how I fed the dog; or me wanting to feed her instead of him… ??? So,,, it is scary and unpredictable. I just want to be emotionally ok. And this scared me the most not because of my emotional fragility at this point but because It affects my dog…. and he wants to have kids so bad… I don’t think I can handle this in front of kids – with how they are going to see and witness the same crap…. I need advice and don’t know what to do.

      • Katherine says:

        Oh and he always says he is not yelling he just “raises his voice” and gets angry but to him “it’s mot the same as yelling.” So anytime I point it out he yells THIS IS ME YELLING and then calmly says that was mot yelling… but I think it’s emotional and psychological abuse. And not fair to anyone in this scenario

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