Archive

Married to an angry yeller | TribLIVE.com
More Lifestyles

Married to an angry yeller

Carolyn Hax
169863gtrLIVhax081918

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband is wonderful, supportive, kind. He truly is. We have been together a long time and love each other dearly.

We do have one recurring issue. When he gets angry, he yells. This is not necessarily at me; for example, the IRS messed up our taxes and he started yelling about how horrible they were.

But I often cringe at his yelling — which is sometimes directed at me — and, honestly, I cringe at his anger in general. I came from a home where yelling was the precursor to something worse, which he knows and is very supportive about.

So he yells, I get upset and (often) defensive, we fight.

He says he feels like he can’t express anger around me, which I can see is totally unfair. I feel like he gets so angry, so quickly, over so many things that it makes me reluctant to tell him things that are negative, which is obviously not fair either. I know we are both at fault: He needs to control his temper and I need to be less sensitive.

Any ideas? We have considered seeing a marriage counselor, but it has never gotten that bad.

— Oversensitive Wife of Angry Husband

What’s your definition of “that bad”? Cringing once daily, versus once weekly? Holding back information all the time versus most of the time?

Please just talk to someone. It’s not an admission of defeat and not a source of shame. It’s relationship health care.

You might want to go solo first though. You make so many hedges and excuses for your husband in one paragraph that I don’t feel confident in your ability to speak freely in a joint session.

You’re not happy with things this way. You are not each other’s sanctuary. Please trust your gut.

Re: Angry Husband:

Speaking from experience: The husband’s yelling makes the wife anxious. Does NOT matter who he is angry at — she is on the receiving end.

We were there, I almost left. We saw marriage counselor together and each have a therapist. Mine helped me recognize it wasn’t all my fault or responsibility to calm him, or to mitigate things so he wouldn’t get angry. The marriage counselor actually had to point out my body language to him to show what his anger was doing to me.

He is now on meds to control the PTSD and anger.

What a wonderful change for the positive! There’s hope, but it takes both of you working on it.

— Hope

Re: Yelling:

I used to be a yeller and thought it was no big deal, even telling friends they need to just accept me that way. I thought I was just expressive.

Then I spent an extended time with family and witnessed how caustic and toxic yelling and anger can be. The cost to the people I love is just too much.

I’ve spent several years actively dismantling that anger reflex and practicing gentle responses. The difference in MY life, let alone in my relationships, is priceless. I hope they can both stop excusing it as remotely OK.

— Used to Be a Yeller

Excellent, thank you. And yay for you, not just for the courage to admit fault, but also the dedication to change.

Email Carolyn at [email protected], follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.