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
In 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:
- Feel ugly
- Have no energy
- Wonder if you’re going crazy
- Feel isolated and alone
- Have high blood pressure and heart palpitations
- Experience insomnia and poor sleep
- Get physically ill often
- Lose your faith
- Feel suicidal
- Gamble more
- Feel self-conscious and incapable
- Yell at your children and pets, then feel guilty and ashamed
- 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.
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.
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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.
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
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.
In 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.
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.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.