• Why Does My Husband Get Mad Over Small Things?

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    The first answer to this question is that men often haven’t been taught other modes of expression.

    Author and speaker Terry Real writes that our society teaches men that they can have two emotions: anger and lust. This doesn’t give men much to work with.

    We need to learn another way. One is expressing vulnerability.

    Briefly, the vulnerability I’m talking about is identifying and sharing what’s below the anger.

    For example, rather than snapping at my wife because the sink is messy, I’ll pause and recognize that I feel stressed at work. Then I’ll share that work stress.

    Suppose your husband doesn’t have a constructive outlet for frustration or can’t readily identify the deeper sources of his anxiety. He may make it about the dishes or other minor issues in that case.

    Another reason he may get mad over small things is because he’s forgotten what he wants.

    I often help clients remember what type of partner and father they want to be: one who blows up over small things or who is patient, supportive, and empathetic.

    Not many would ever say they want to express uncontrolled anger and harshness on their family

    If your husband acts this way, chances are it was modeled or happened to them growing up.

    Another reason could be that your husband is depressed.

    He may already be very self-contemptuous (a symptom of depression), and any additional negative feedback or discomfort may set him off. Instead of owning the discomfort and being accountable, he turns his contempt onto his family. This is a sign of someone struggling with healthy self-esteem.

    Lastly, are you ready for the most sobering reason why he gets mad over small things?

    You let him do it (assuming you’re in a relationship without physical violence).

    There may be no consequences to his anger at home. You haven’t stood up for yourself and the relationship, without expressing anger yourself.

    I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s important to make clear that you want him to address this issue.

    Examples could be couples therapy or an anger management class, and make clear your consequences if he fails to take the actions on this issue.

    Such consequences could simply mean you stop doing some nice things for him, such as having sex or going to functions until he takes action and amends his behavior. Obviously, this also means clearly stating that this is what you’re doing.

    I know this may sound like a lot of work, but avoiding pain and negative consequences is more of a motivator than gaining pleasure.

    Remember that if your husband really couldn’t control their anger and impulses, chances are he’d be in prison. Does he get mad over small things at work, snap at his friends or yell at the policeman if he gets pulled over?

    If the answer is no, then he can control his anger, and he does so when the negative consequences of getting mad over small things are clear.

    Ultimately, if we’re not in a relationship with domestic violence, then we have a choice of what we’ll tolerate.

    As Terry Real states, to get what we want in the relationship, we may have to risk it all.

    Could standing up for relational health cause the end of your relationship? It could, but we all deserve to be in a fundamentally healthy and supportive relationship, and we need to protect our children from the consequences of anger at home.

    Click here to learn more about our couples intensives.

    1. Tanner

      Tanner

      September 21, 2021 at 10:20 pm -
      Reply

      This is an awesome perspective Jason, and I totally agree with the points you make here! Keep up the good work.

      1. Jason Polk

        Jason Polk

        September 22, 2021 at 3:21 pm -
        Reply

        Thank you Tanner, I really appreciate the feedback!

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