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Anger in Relationships

Updated on May 28, 2012

Not so picture perfect

The first thing you must know is anger in a relationship always overrides anything else. If you have kids with an angry person, that person's anger will still override the love they have for them. That's why abuse can occur even when the abuser has love for his/her victims. When you are with an angry person, and they anger, nothing else exists- not your safety, not your love, not even common sense, nothing. They literally see red.

If you're hoping to change this, there are additional things you should be aware of. Don't get caught in the trap that things will change on their own or if you just love the person a little more.

I want to provide you with a clear picture in your mind of what angry is. Some people have been living in anger or with an angry person for so long they become numb or have a twisted version of reality. Perhaps they've made excuses for the angry spouse or the spouse has stated the other person is too sensitive or they deserve it.

Anger on the outside: raise voice, yelling, blind rage (like in a trance), curse, threaten, hitting, shoving, or throwing things. Not a pretty picture.

What anger looks like inside: Have you ever seen those frightful pictures of an alcoholic's liver or a smoker's lungs, well anger does damage too. Both the angry person and the person on the receiving end can experience stomach aches, high blood pressure, appetite changes, fatigue, impaired immune function, head aches, and depressive thoughts. With these symptoms alone, it's similar to having a chronic illness.

Anger as a chronic illness: Anger could be considered a silent epidemic. It's not so silent when you're being yelled at, but the anger continues often because people keep silent about their spouse's anger issues. Those who are angry, have been most of their lives- it's a chronic condition. Short-tempered folks are even worse- they've had their chronic condition even longer and piled up the ill effects to go off at any moment. They are quick to anger with or without slightest provocation. Ever heard of the term "Walking on eggshells"?

Anger as a war: Anger is a war festering on the inside of the angry person, killing the relationship, and torturing innocent prisoners of war. Perhaps "eggshells" is too fluffy a word for anger, but land mines may be more appropriate. You never know when an angry person will explode. Life begins to feel like one battle after another and sadly, nobody wins with anger. The angry person was defeated before they expressed their anger. The most impossibly frustrating feeling when in a relationship with someone angry is what set them off yesterday may not set them off today- unpredictability. What if one day the yelling turns into hitting? What if...

The face of anger: Someone who sees their spouse yelling, screaming, and being angry they see what it turns people into; watch a kids movie. Notice the Queen, Snow White's stepmother, is decent looking, until she gets angry and turns herself into a twisted dreadful looking old lady. When kids see their angry parent, they see these horrifying visions. Spouses als osee this monster.

The other face of anger: On the other hand, the angry person is really a hurt child curling up in a ball, feeling cornered into an uncontrollable situation; afraid and alone. It's hard to understand how an angry person can be both a perpetrator and a victim, but it really makes perfect sense- defense. 

Now you have a picture of anger and you realize the seriousness and destruction of anger.

Snow White Queen- Before anger
Snow White Queen- Before anger
Snow White Queen- After anger
Snow White Queen- After anger

Why so angry? The Angry Spouse

If people got angry only at the situation at hand, it would never escalate. But instead anger comes from years of repressed hurt that hasn't been dealt with and easily rises to the surface over and over again. If it hasn't been dealt with before a person enters into a long-term relationship, the anger continues, now with another person involved.

When the angry person was a child they did not have control over their life and what happened to them so anger develops and slowly gives them a false feeling of control. Anger makes people feel like they are in control, but the opposite is true. Pretty soon anger masks all other emotions and is the only response the angry person knows how to react to fear, abandonment, jealousy, hurt, rejection, stress, and confusion.

The angry person is selfish, like an expectant and demanding infant. They act like the world has done something to them and that can't be tolerated. "If you don't get out of my way, I'll run you over". It's always their way. Anger can explode on a complete stranger and only because that person "wronged" the angry person- an injustifce has been committed and the angry person assumes the only language everybody understands is punishment. There is no such thing as "like water off a duck's back" to an angry person- they don't let anything slide. They have a precise view of how things should go; how people should drive, how people should talk to them, and how people should treat them, all without considering how they treat others.

In the face of anger

For those facing the wrath of and angry person:

  • realize the anger is always disproportionate to the reality of the situation. You don't deserve to be yelled at. If you did something minor, but got the 3rd degree, then apologize briefly.
  • speak softer and slower than the angry person. Change the tempo of the argument.
  • nothing gets solved in the face of anger. Things must be discussed at a later time, which may still bring that person to anger quickly again. Sometimes only a mediator, like a counselor, can help.
  • in reality, the chronically angry person will need to deal with the root of the quick temper. They may also require medication. Anger can be an underlying symptom for something as common as anxiety or depression disorders.
  • classes (Anger management) rarely work- I've heard of many angry people who have been to these classes and none have said it worked.
  • Try to get the angry person to answer what they need or how you can help. Sometimes angry people have a hard time communicating.
  • why are you with an angry person? Most married folks say they knew their spouse was angry before they married them. Reflect on your choices.
  • think about your future: according to studies, angry behaviors tend to escalate over time. Yelling becomes swearing. Swearing becomes stamping and slamming. Stamping and slamming becomes throwing things, followed by punching and kicking holes in the walls. Next comes assault. So many people have followed this well-worn path that it is now totally predictable by law enforcement agencies, family service agencies and mental health professionals.
  • You know your spouse's buttons, be real careful not to push them. Be conscious in the moment and pick your words wisely- it's best to get away from them.

Anger is such a problem in relationships, there isn't much a spouse can do for the angry spouse. This is something they have to get help for or take control of themselves. Eliminating anger is a conscious decision on their part, but it's a habit, a friend, and an addiction as well. It's part of their personality and won't go away without invasive treatment.

For the spouse with no skills to manage his or her problems, you will always be their problem. There will always be a battle to control you in order to control their own life. On a personal note, I have experienced anger in relationships and one thing helped me to deal with an angry person. Sometimes people become how you see them or how others see them. If a spouse is angry, then you are likely to expect them to be and little things about you and your actions and words will bring this out in them. Try viewing them in a more positive light.

They need professional help, they need to do the work, or you need to get out of the relationship for things to change. Half the battle is convincing them anger by itself is not a problem, but the way they express it is a problem. Anger must be replaced with patience, communication, and cooperation. It's like what we were taught as kids- "Use your words", not your growling, grunting, tantrums, or anger.


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    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thanks Tashaonthetown

    • Tashaonthetown profile image

      Natasha Pelati 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      Great article!

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      thank you John.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Good one..A wonderful and a great article too . I am so much enjoyed . Nice hub, cheers.


    • profile image


      7 years ago


      thank you for your time and advises. I will seek counseling

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      empireants~ I am so sorry for what you witnessed as a child. My husband has had to overcome a lot of history with anger and it's been a long road. Children are so susceptable and likely to continue what they see.

      If I were you I certainly would be upset by what you saw and the hypocrisy of people who were mean coming to her funeral.

      My advice and I'm certainly no doctor, but having gone through this with my husband I have been on this path with him. He was never abusive when he was angry, but the nager was very deep-rooted and from his childhood. A lot of his anger is due to a lack of control and this could pertain to you- lack of control with helping your mom from your father and lack of control being kidnapped. What has worked with my husband is counseling dealing with the past along with medication- depression meidcation. Anger is basically outward aggressive depression. Be accountable for your actions because controlling your anger is really your choice- you do have that control. It is a triggered reaction so you need to understand when you get triggered and what you feel then try to curb that by doing or thinking something else. If you can't afford counseling you can do what we did and go to a church for it. I am not religious, but there is great counseling to be offered at churches for cheap and free sometimes. They usually do not push the religion either so don't worry about that. Hope some of this helps. You have a lot to be angry about and I know that it can run deep so deep that you definitely need the counseling (for your past) and/or medication. It can really help.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Dear Izetti,

      Thanks for the great description of anger! There are so many things that made sense to me.

      I have been suffering from my own anger for a very long time...

      I grew up seeing a lot of abuse towards my mother. My father's relatives verbally abused my mom during all my childhood and teen ages. My father did nothing to protect her. On contrary he would abuse her with them and sometimes physically. Seeing that made me always angry. I could not do anything to protect her and I felt helpless and powerless to change anything. I remember one night I was sleeping and woke up from my mom's screams of pain. I run out of my room and saw my father pulling her arm. She was screaming from pain and he was yelling at her. Her shoulder or arm was dislocated. I remember my father kicking my mom and breaking her ribs. It happened twice during 25 years of their marriage. In her early 40's mom was happier and my father's relatives treated her better. And then she died in a horrible car accident... All the people who made her life miserable came to her funeral and I hated them ALL! They were alive and my mom was not...

      As myself I was sexually abused as a child and as an adult. I have been kidnapped and held against my will by one of my coworkers.

      I get angry easily and mainly over big things and little things. There is so much pain I don't know if I can ever be clear from it. Is there a hope for me? Are roots of my anger in my childhood? Please advice what I can do to help myself?

      Thanks a lot.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      sophie~ thanks for the nice comment.

    • sophie_allen profile image


      7 years ago from Washington D.C. USA 20002

      Anger can be really destructive in a relationship. Anger must be replaced with patience, communication, and cooperation - not easy but will solve problems. Great hub and well written.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      For those of us that don't express anger it can tear us up inside. I know how this is.

    • Balinese profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      i cant express my anger and hurt me some time

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Jeanine~ Words certainly cut deep too. Passion can be killed by marriage- ha, good one! I think it's a measure of control. "my own spirit will accept my disappointment in myself if I can laugh at how dumb I was at the moment." I can totally relate. Luckily, maybe not apparent on my hubs, but i do have a relentless sense of humor, even about myself and especially about life.

      24news~ thanks so much!

    • 24news profile image


      7 years ago from India

      Hi izettl you are really cool write i have ever seen in hubpages. Congrats to again see you in hubpages top list.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes, in the beginning was the word... and it is powerful... you can be bleeding before you know, I cut you... and that's a dangerous place for anyone to hold... passion is the culprit... but how does one control passion... and we all said... "Marriage" never ask for more patience for one will face many trials... ask for kindness, forgiveness and grace instead.. I love grace she is my we laugh a lot and she holds me when I need a shoulder to cry upon... I've found anger is my inability to express myself clearly and the people there with me.. receive my rant... which was really meant for myself... but to be disappointed in ones own stupidity is much harder to express than just yelling at someone else...I have found as I've gotta older... my own spirit will accept my disappointment in myself if I can laugh at how dumb I was at the moment... then those with me are surely surprised that they think more of me for being in tune with my own heart...

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Christine~ thank you for the comment. Anger is the worst.

      Jeanine~ wonderful words, as usual. I feel passionately about anger in relationships because it's ruined many of mine. I just check out emtionally when someone is constantly angry. Then I have to leave the relationship. THis time, in my marriage, my husband has worked hard to keep that side of him at bay. He knows it's where I draw the line. I watch my words in a heated argument, as many people should do. An argument never solves anything especially if buttons are being purposefully pushed- makes me just as guilty. I don't show outward anger, but I know I can use biting words, even in a mellow tone so I watch that and my husband has also helped me with it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      She said ... try not to embrace anger.... it steals moments from your life... takes fire from your eyes.... places trash in your mouth.... promotes stupidity... anger ... a twisted side of passion....

      Very nice Hub... Izetti... I can use this each day...

    • ChristineVianello profile image


      7 years ago from Philadelphia

      Excellent hub, anger in relationships is very damaging.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      yep, definitely!

    • profile image

      my boyfriend ignores me 

      7 years ago

      cool share, a partner anger if he/she find cheating partner..

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thanks Crystolite. Anger is like poison to a relationship.

      Drbj~ Thanks and I'll go check out your hub right now...

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, izettl - I'm linking your excellent "anger" hub to the one I just completed today: "Anger Management Simple Test."

    • crystolite profile image


      7 years ago from Houston TX

      Wonderful hub.Anger is the worst thing that can happen to any relationship.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      tricia jean~ thanks for the comment.

      Martie~ I've lived this reality, although not abuse, but anger is so unpredictable that you don't know what it will turn into and I know you know about that. Anger and abuse can change lives and even end lives. People need to know there aren't many options if the person doesn't get help, you have to consider leaving.

      Stan Fletcher~ I've heard a lot of men say they used to be angrier. Glad you've changed your ways and I wonder why men get tamer as the years go by. THanks for the comment.

      Joshua Kell~ thanks for the comment.

      A.A. Zavala~ Anger is one of those that has people confused sometimes about how serious it can be. Some people think itf they aren't getting physically abused then they are OK with an angry person. Reminds of getting in a fight with my husband after I had been bit by our neighbors cat. I went to the dr and the dr took my blood pressure and remarked about it being really high (I always have low blood pressure previously at the dr's). I told him I had just had a fight with my husband and he said that would do it.

      Sharyn's slant~ Sometimes I think it effects the person at which the anger is directed at the most. I think the angry person gets a release by exploding then the other person is left with all the anxiety. I think it takes a harder toll on them. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Great write Izetti! Just last night I was in the presence of an angry person who was also intoxicated - but angry even when he isn't drinking. I believe his anger is intensified with the alcohol. It was so aggravating. My stomach was very upset listening to his angry rambling that made no sense. I felt sick and left for a bit to calm down. This is a serious subject and I really appreciate how you presented it - thanks!

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      7 years ago from Texas

      ANger can kill. The chemicals released in the body during the emotion can have long terms effects on your health and relationships. Thank you for sharing.

    • Joshua Kell profile image

      Levi Joshua Kell 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      So true, non-righteous indignation and anger kills...

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Izett, this is a beautiful, motherly description of Anger – May it encourage all angry people to seek professional help. I’m sharing this with all my friends. Take care!

    • Stan Fletcher profile image

      Stan Fletcher 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Great hub. I've struggled with anger in the past, usually over some perceived injustice, and typically not directed at anyone, but more toward just 'the way things are' at the moment. Some would call this anger toward God. It's gotten much better over the years, but I've seen anger take a toll on many relationships - ugly stuff.

    • triciajean profile image

      Patricia Lapidus 

      7 years ago from Bantam, CT

      Great hub. Much truth in what you say, such as get away from the angry person. I particularly liked the effort you made to provide pictures of anger.

      As a personal note, I found the most in depth understanding of the roots of anger in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard, a best seller for more than 60 years. In my years of searching I had looked into every therapy I could find. This one works. And only with no medication.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Izett 

      7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thanks Robwrite for the comment. Me too- lots of experience. I always think I'm a shining example of calm but it's really hard when dealing with anger from someone you love.

    • Robwrite profile image


      7 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      I've had a lot of experience with anger in relationships. This is an excellent hub.




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