Everybody loses their temper sometimes. People might yell, rant or even get so angry that they feel tempted to act out physically. If this happens once or twice in a generally healthy relationship, it might be worth waiting for the storm to blow over. However, if your husband frequently rants and raves over insignificant issues, or if you feel like you are walking on eggshells all the time to avoid upsetting him, the situation could be unhealthy or abusive. In that case, having a concrete plan can help to keep you safe the next time your husband loses his cool.
Whether your husband is upset over something that happened at work or an issue with a challenging child, or you two are in the middle of an argument, do your best to stay calm. Use quiet words and "I" statements so that even if your husband continues to yell loudly, he is the only one adding fuel to the fire. Ignoring your spouse and any comments that he throws your way can sometimes help to prevent escalating the encounter. If you are both arguing, avoid bringing up issues from the past; focus on talking about the problem at hand and understanding each other. In some cases, staying calm will encourage your husband to calm down and think more rationally.
If you both fight frequently and are interested in improving your relationship, then counseling could be helpful. However, your husband might be too upset to calm down. He might have frequent outbursts over minor issues, ignore you and refuse to go to counseling or use calming strategies. If this is the case, then you need to focus on keeping yourself safe.
If your husband continues to yell or escalates to insults, accusations or threats, you can set and enforce a healthy boundary. Say, "I do not have to listen to you accusing me. If you continue to insult me, I am going to go for a walk so that we can both calm down," or something similar. Be sure to follow through if he continues ranting and raving. You can go to another room, ignore your spouse, go for a walk, put on some headphones or call a friend to help you disconnect from your husband's anger.
If your husband's anger turns physical and he hits, throws things or otherwise hurts you, get away from him as quickly as you can. Either leave the house or go to a room with a door that you can lock. Call the police or a friend to ask for support in a situation that has become unsafe.
Know the Signs of Abuse
If your husband frequently has outbursts that make you feel as though you cannot do anything right or that everything is your fault, it could be that your situation has escalated to domestic violence. Abuse, or domestic violence, isn't always about black eyes and bruises. A short-tempered husband who criticizes you, insults you or tries to control your every move is being abusive.
Have a Plan
It can be difficult to realize that you are in a relationship that has turned abusive. The good news is that admitting that there is a problem with your relationship is the first step toward keeping yourself safe and getting help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-7233 – can provide support whether or not you are ready to leave your abusive relationship. The counselors can help you to obtain restraining orders and come up with a plan for keeping yourself safe, and they can help you plan to leave your abuser when you are ready.
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Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications including Demand Studios and Our Everyday Life. She has written on topics including family, careers, and work-life balance. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.