7 Ways to Survive Life With an Angry Man – When You Can’t Leave

Are you living with a man who lets his anger control him (and you)? These 7 tips on how to survive life with an angry husband or boyfriend will help you cope – especially if you can’t leave your relationship or home.

I’ve written hundreds of articles on recognizing when your relationship can’t be saved, breaking up, surviving divorce, and rebuilding your life. But it wasn’t until I wrote 9 Ways to Survive Abusive Parents When You Can’t Leave Home in response to a teen reader’s comment that I realized that thousands of women are in the exact same situation. They live with men who are full of anger and contempt, but they can’t just walk away from the relationship. In this article, I share 7 tips for surviving life with an angry man.

Are you struggling with feelings of depression and low self-worth because you’ve been struggling to survive life with a man who is full of anger and control issues?

You are not alone. If you read any of the comments my articles here on How Love Blossoms, you’ll see that you are not the only one struggling with a difficult relationship. I get far more comments from women who say they are in unhappy marriages and relationships – and they can’t leave their husbands or boyfriends – than from women who have successfully broken free from a bad situation and started over. So if you’re embarrassed or ashamed to be searching for tips on how to survive life with an angry man, know that you are not the only one. You are not alone!

Here’s a recent comment from Justina:

“My husband doesn’t like anything about me,” she says on 5 Ways to Cope With a Critical Husband. “To some extent I agree with him. He wants me to make good changes but at the same time, he is a perfectionist and we are 2 different people. He wants me to become like him. We have known each other for 8 years now and he has evolved a lot for good in the recent years but I have not. He gets frustrated at me all the time because I am a bad cook, I don’t take care of myself( I am a mom of 1 year old), I look horrible all the time, I don’t know how to wear make up or dress nicely, I’m not responsible to take care of household stuff, you name it— EVERYTHING!! How do I live with a man who is full of anger at me? He wants me to change everything about myself. His criticism is affecting my self-confidence and motivation to do anything in life. I feel depressed all the time. I’m having a second child in four weeks and can’t leave my husband. How do I survive life with him?”

How to Survive Life With a Controlling and Angry Man

All seven of my “survival tips” are based on the idea that you can’t leave your relationship or marriage because of your financial situation, children, health issues, fear of your husband’s anger, or other reasons. I’m not saying you should stay in this relationship. If I had my way, no woman would ever have to search for ways to survive life with a man who treats her with anger and contempt! And no woman would stay in a bad marriage.

But sometimes we’re stuck in relationships that aren’t perfect – or that are even destructive. We can’t leave for reasons that are real or imagined…and we don’t need more information about how to leave an abusive relationship or unhealthy marriage. What we need is support to get through the day we’re facing. 

1. Learn how his anger and stress affects your body, mind, and soul

How to Survive Life With an Angry Man When You Can’t LeaveIn When Love Hurts: A Women’s Guide to Understanding Abuse in Relationships, Jill Cory shares a long list of the impact of abuse and anger on a woman’s health.

13 effects of anger and abuse – you may feel:

  1. Feel ugly
  2. Have no energy
  3. Wonder if you’re going crazy
  4. Feel isolated and alone
  5. Have high blood pressure and heart palpitations
  6. Experience insomnia and poor sleep
  7. Get physically ill often
  8. Lose your faith
  9. Feel suicidal
  10. Gamble more
  11. Feel self-conscious and incapable
  12. Yell at your children and pets, then feel guilty and ashamed
  13. Feel paranoid and get panic attacks

Do you experience any of these effects of abuse – and is this why you’re searching for tips on how to survive life with a controlling and angry man? Or, you may be impacted in ways I haven’t mentioned here.

Read When Love Hurts to learn more about how angry boyfriends and husbands affect your mind, spirit, soul, and body. Jill also includes exercises that will help you make your own decision about your life, and an important chapter on grief and the healing process. When Love Hurts explores difficult questions and offers straightforward, real world advice about how domestic violence affects women in relationships – and why women often keep silent about living with men who are angry, critical, and abusive.

2. Find a safe person to talk to

If you’re living with an angry man who tries to control you and nobody knows about it, you are more normal than you think! Women don’t typically talk about their abusive relationships because they’re ashamed or embarrassed to be with a man who treats them badly. Or, they don’t think anyone will believe them – or they don’t want to get their husbands “in trouble.” One reader told me she is hiding her boyfriend’s anger and criticism because she doesn’t want her family to think badly of him.

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You don’t have to tell the world about your relationship or situation at home…but you need to talk to at least one person if you want to learn how to survive life with an angry man. Secrets that are kept hidden grow bigger, badder, and more painful. Who can you trust with your secret? If you’d like to start opening up by sharing your story in the comments below, I welcome anything you have to say. I can’t give advice, but you’ll find that the more you talk about your life, the better you feel.

3. Connect with the river of life and the engine of the universe

Do you know God? I know you’ve heard of Him and you may even be a Christian who believes in Jesus…but do you really know how much God loves you? Are you alive in Him? If you haven’t plugged into His flow of healing, love, grace, and freedom recently, then take time right now. Getting spiritually healthy isn’t about going to church or reading your Bible (though that is part of it!). Right now – when you’re searching for ways to survive life with an angry man – getting spiritually strong and healthy is about receiving God’s power, strength, and healing in your life.

Take a deep breath. Remember who you were when you were young and innocent, fresh and free. Hold on to the woman God created you to be. Feel how much He loves you. He is allowing this angry man to destroy your feelings of self-worth and value…but God really does love you. Know that learning how to hold on to your faith when love hurts is the best tip for surviving life with an angry man.

4. Pay attention to how your partner’s anger affects you at work

Your husband or boyfriend’s anger affects your job performance. On the When Love Hurts website, Karen McAndless-Davis shares the results of a new research on the results of verbal and physical anger and abuse on women. In this study, 33% of employees reported that they have experienced domestic abuse and 82% say that the abuse affected their work life. The study was sponsored by Western University and the Canadian Labour Congress.

Abusive partners or ex-partners have serious negative effects on your ability to work, especially if the men call your work often, insist on talking to you while you’re at work, showing up at your workplace work and depriving you of sleep so you’re too tired to work. In this study, many women said their husbands or boyfriends were trying to sabotage their efforts to succeed in their jobs. Some women end up losing their jobs and may fall in to poverty and financial dependence on men who are angry and abusive.

5. Take care of your physical health

The stronger and healthier you are physically, the better able you’ll cope with your husband or boyfriend’s anger and attempts to control you.

How to Survive Life With an Angry Man

How to Survive Life With an Angry Man

What health issues are you dealing with – and have you seen a doctor or naturopath? Get help treating your signs and symptoms. You won’t get 100% physically healthy overnight, but every small step you take in the direction of health and wellness will help you survive life with your angry man.

An easier and more pleasant way to get healthy is to get enough sleep, eat foods that fill you with energy and life, and drink lots of water. Avoid eating sugar and fat, and learn how different types of food affect your body. Pay attention how you feel after you eat – and don’t use food to comfort your pain or distract you from feeling depressed and sad.

6. Think a little bit about your future

“Within six months of leaving my husband, Jeff, I was able to stop taking my blood pressure medication,” says Claire in When Love Hurts. “I always thought this was a permanent condition. I also believed I had high blood pressure because I couldn’t cope with stress. I never thought it was because of the constant fear and tension of living with an unpredictable man.”

What if you let go of a life that is not meant for you?

Questions for women who want to leave a man who is angry and controlling:

  • How is this relationship affecting your life? Your other relationships?
  • What effect has your boyfriend or husband had on your self-esteem and self-confidence?
  • What would motivate you to leave this man?
  • Why are you holding on to him, and what is holding you back from letting him go?
  • Where can you get help?
  • Is there one small step you can take towards a different life for yourself?

If you’re thinking about leaving, read How to Leave a Man You Love – But Can’t Live With. In that article, you’ll learn how to recognize the signs that your relationship can’t be fixed or saved.

7. Give yourself time, love, and forgiveness

Sometimes women struggle with feelings of self-hatred, guilt, and shame because they can’t leave their relationships. It becomes a downward spiral that is very difficult to end: the toxic feelings make them feel like they “deserve” the anger and contempt their husbands dish up. After a heap of criticism and insults, women feel even worse about themselves…and they may even feel like they don’t deserve a more loving relationship.

Go easy on yourself, my friend. Forgive yourself if you need to. Find ways to love yourself. Take care of your body, mind, spirit, and soul. Know that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. See yourself the way God sees you…and work on replacing your unhealthy self-image with His divine image of love for you.

Resources on How to Survive Life With an Angry Man

How to Survive Life With an Angry Man In Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?: Encouragement for Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men, Lundy Bancroft offers a daily guide that empowers women who are struggling in relationship with men who are angry and abusive.

You may feel overwhelmed by confusion, loss, and fear – and it may seem impossible to learn how to survive life with a man who is filled with anger and criticism. What you need is something that is there for you every day, to help you make a long series of little changes that will ultimately add up to a big one.  Like a constant friend, this collection of meditations is a source of strength and reassurance designed to speak to women in relationships with angry and controlling men.

How to Survive Life With a Controlling and Angry ManIn Victory Over Verbal Abuse: A Healing Guide to Renewing Your Spirit and Reclaiming Your Life, Patricia Evans offers help and the tools you need to triumph over verbal abuse, no matter where or how you encounter it.

In this book, Patricia will guide you step by step through a powerful healing process that provides:

  • A thorough review of available therapies
  • Strategies for dealing with men who are angry and controlling
  • Positive messages of support and encouragement
  • Inspiring affirmations for every week of the year

With her help, you’ll achieve the clarity you need to build a new life that doesn’t include senseless accusations, wounding words, and confusing comments that have taken an untold toll on your psyche. You’ll find validation, and learn to believe in yourself – and a better future – once more.

What thoughts have come into your mind as you read this article about controlling, angry men? If you feel overwhelmed, feel free to write one word that summarizes what you feel most.

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I’d love to hear your story below. While I can’t offer relationship advice on how to survive life with an angry man, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings.


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14 thoughts on “7 Ways to Survive Life With an Angry Man – When You Can’t Leave

  • Iwantouttoo

    After constantly searching for answers for 4 years, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that things aren’t going to change. There’s not really a point in letting out everything he’s done, because it’s over now and I can’t change the past. But what I can change is my situation. I guess I’m in a lucky position where no kids are involved, we’re not married and don’t own anything together. I did my best to keep my own life but it wasn’t until we moved in together that things got ten time worse. When he’s happy, everything is good. But when he doesn’t have his marijuana, the whole day is bad. It starts with little insults, then escalates into full on degardging comments manily about secrets and things I’ve gone through that he knows will upset me. And then eventually I just break down and cry, and instead of realising what he’s doing he just stands over me and yells. I honestly feel so hopeless, ashamed, embarrassed and angry when that happens. Nothing physical yet except not letting me leave a room, but that doesn’t hurt me. And we broke up once for ten months, after it did get very physical. So I guess I lied, it hasn’t happened yet this time. But all the signs are starting to come out again and I iust know in my heart this will not work. All his relationships have been just like this, I don’t know why I thought I could change him. I’ve tried, but it gets to the point that I can’t keep lowering my self esteem because he’s not happy in life. Maybe my story isn’t as extreme as others, but also don’t want it to get to that point. I don’t see it as 4 and a half years down the drain anymore, which was what kept me staying in the first place. But now I see it as more of a learning experience. And yes breakups may be really hard and I know it will take a long time to recover fully, but how is that any different than feeling like crap all the time anyway.

  • dulce martinez

    I just dont know what to do , I’m completely trapped. I live with a man who’s emotions control everything .if he’s happy then we’ll have a good day , if he’s mad then our day doesn’t go well , if he had a bad day at work then we know not to be around him. I’ve been sleeping in my kids room because I just dont want to be around him . I’m tired of always getting blamed for everything , I feel bad for my kids when they see us argue . I know it affects them . I have nothing no car , no money , no job ,no where to go , no high school diploma/ged , nothing. The only reason I stay because I tell myself things will eventually get better but they dont , I’ve been saying the past 7 years that we’ve been together .

  • Marie C.

    I am the one called abusive when I fight back. When I refuse to allow another negative, character assasinating assumption stand. He makes up lies about what I said or what he thinks I will say or do. He constantly tells me what I think and justifies everything he does wrong by blaming me. He is a master at pushing buttons. When we married five years ago, I had long beautiful red hair. In premarital counseling, he promised me that his hair fetish that drove a huge wedge in his previous marriage, was not going to be an issue. However, when we married, he made it abundantly clear that if I didn’t cut off almost all my hair (clippered down to a one), he was divorcing me. I was newly married and reeling, but I loved him and did it because he said he needed me to. Fast forward five years of feeling ugly and seventy pounds heavier because I don’t give a fig now since I feel so ugly with no hair. We fight constantly because he wouldn’t stop with my hair, but began three years ago demanding I shave off my eyebrows too. I stood up to his bullying and compromised by drawing them in pencil thin, which looks ridiculous to both myself and my two teenagers who think he is an absolute jerk to me. Yesterday, I got my bi-monthly Haircut and since I didn’t do a complete crewcut, but retained less than an inch of bangs, he went off the deep end. We had planned a trip across the country, but I was told I wasn’t going because he couldn’t get over my not giving into his expectations. Last night when I went to look under the bed for my travel bag, he assumed I wasn’t going to sleep on the bed and made a nasty comment. I responded and he started screaming at me that he hated me, to shut the f up, and to go screw myself. He threw my pillows off the bed and every time I picked them up, he threw them farther. He told me I wasn’t allowed to sleep in the bed and that he couldn’t stand me.
    I stay because I have a disabled daughter and as a teacher, I can’t make enough money on my own to support my kids. I take the abuse, the gaslighting, the threats of divorce, the manipulations, the harrassmeny and bullying, and the anger and hate so that my kids have a decent home to live in and can stay in the town where we live.
    Because my kids’ dad was physically abusive and cheated multiple times on me when we were married, I blame myself for having walked right back into another abusive marriage. Maybe this is all my fault. As soon as my kids graduate high school and are out of the house, I will either leave or kill myself if nothing positive happens in this marriage.

  • Christina

    I feel so guarded from his behavior that I can’t even bring myself to point out one specifically. Its hard to describe a negative outlook or a general pestimitic attitude. Its even harder to verbalize the looks” . The condescending looks. I just am so done with tolerating and dealing with the constant trials of living with him. He gas lights, hes continuously manipulative in a way that I don’t even realize until later. He was a horrible rile model for my children and has 4 D.U.I s and been to rehab. When he drinks hes intolerable and disgusting. I want to be free from this relationship but I have no car in my name and no way to save money. Im trapped.

  • Nan

    I feel isolated, unwanted, ugly. I lost my job, have no money and no where to go. I feel devalued, unhappy and lonely. I’m tired, very tired. I feel used, tossed, hidden and controlled

  • Roberta

    I have been living with a verbally abusive husband for 38 years. Tonight he told me he hated me.How do I feel? Sad and insignificant The
    Bell has been rung and I don’t know if I can forgive it. like I read here, he hasn’t wanted me to work. I have hung on to my part time job only because I can work from home. I feel stuck. I am 69 years old and have no where to go. So I stay.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Elaine,

    The only way out is by asking for – and accepting – help from family, friends, and women at support organizations.

    That is the only way to leave an angry man, and to find your way back to you.

    You may not have any friends left, or any family who can help you, but there might be support in a women’s resource center or organization.

    When you search online or in your community for organizations that help women leave abusive or unhealthy marriages, what do you find?

  • Elaine

    I have been married almost 34 years. I have been to hell and back with this man.
    All I want, dream about and pray for is being me again. I see how it has affected my kids, me, I have no friends left, no me left. I have never felt so alone and I dont know what to do. I am overwhelmed. How do you get out with no money and no where to go at the age of 55.

  • Laurie Post author

    It sounds like you’ve been through a lot of emotional and mental abuse in your marriage. Your husband is an angry man, and he talks to you and your girls in mean and unloving ways. I’m sorry that you’re in this situation, and I wish it was different for you. You are torn between wanting to leave your husband because of his anger and abuse, but you don’t want your daughters to experience the pain of divorce.

    Finding someone to talk to – like you said you need to do – is an excellent and wise way to figure out how you will survive. The most common thing my readers say is: “I need someone to talk to.” Sometimes we don’t need advice or help – we just want someone who will listen without judging or pitying us.

    Here’s an article that may help:

    How to Find Someone To Talk To

    Besides reading that article, is there something you can do today to get one step closer to the joy that is waiting for you? Believe me, at the end of this road and after you get through the worst of it, you’ll find peace, joy, love, and a renewed sense of faith.

    What is one thing you can do today to get you towards the life that is waiting for you?

  • Martha

    I feel so sad and lonely. I have been with my husband 7 years and have gone through a lot of mental and verbal abuse from him. I keep forgiving him and he says he wants to change but he continues with his mean words. It’s hard to leave him because we have two little girls and I don’t want them having a split home, but I think the fighting might be worse than a split home. I also worry about them because he also uses negative words with them and is rough and hurts them. I am torn, I love him but I am very miserable. I want to file for divorce but I don’t have the money.

    I don’t need advice. I know how to survive life with him. I just needed to talk.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Tory,

    First of all, congratulations on getting the courage to get away from the angry man you lived with for so long! Breaking up with someone you love – even an angry man who isn’t healthy or good for you – is really hard. But you did it. You are a survivor. Not only did you survive your life with an angry controlling man, you will survive this stage of life.

    It must be pretty scary to live in fear of an ex-husband, especially when he is stalking you. I wish you didn’t have to go through that, and I’m sorry that you and your kids are facing it.

    In this article, I offered lots and lots of tips on how to protect yourself from an angry man:

    How to Protect Yourself From an Ex Who is Stalking You

    However I don’t think just reading that article will be enough! Have you called the police yet? That would be my first step. And, I would call the local women’s shelters and domestic violence help lines. They will have good information and tips for surviving life after you’ve left an angry man.

    What you think – what is one first step you can take towards protecting yourself today?

  • Tory

    Thank you for these tips on surviving life with an angry man. I lived with the brutal man for seven years, before I finally found the courage to get away from him. The problem is now he is stalking me. He showing up at my work, he’s following me when I run errands on the weekends, and he makes angry phone calls in the middle of the night. I know he’s sucking me and I know he’s a controlling and angry man, but I don’t know how to deal with it. How can I protect myself? I don’t want to have to move to a new city because my kids are established here. But of course I want us to stay safe! I think my ex-husband could really hurt us. What can I do?

  • Sarah Post author

    Hi Lori,

    Thank you for this post on surviving life with an angry husband. I’ve been living with my man for 13 years now and am used to his anger and manipulation. It’s sad to say but I just have come to accept it.

    Sometimes I get confused though because it’s not like he’s really insulting me – but I’m pretty sure what he says is verbally abusive.

    Have you written any articles on the definition of verbal abuse in a marriage? If so I need to read them! I’m not ready to leave my husband and I don’t think I could survive life without him financially, but it does help me to know that he isn’t treating me right.

    Thank you, Sarah