Every relationship goes through fights and arguments, ups and downs. Maybe you’ve even said a few angry words to each other along the way you wish you could take back. But suddenly, things go too far and you’re looking for signs a man has anger issues.
There are ways to tell when a guy has anger issues. It could be as subtle as being too quick to react to everything you say or as obvious as isolating you from friends and family. Since there is no defined behavior template for men with anger issues, attributing their reactions to temper trouble can get confusing.
Wondering how to know if a man has anger issues? We’ve rounded up some signs of anger issues in a man to look out for, along with expert insights from counseling psychologist Kavita Panyam (Masters in Psychology and international affiliate with the American Psychological Association), who has been helping couples work through their relationship issues for over two decades.
11 Signs A Man Has Anger Issues
Does my husband have anger issues? How do you know if your boyfriend has anger issues? My partner’s reactions are often disproportionate to the situation, is this a sign of anger issues in men? Do you find yourself wrestling with such or similar questions? If so, it might be time to delve deeper and look for signs he has a temper.
Don’t write it off as a phase or assume that he’ll never do it again. Not even if he aplogizes for hurting you and promises to never repeat his “unacceptable behavior”. We’re not saying that his remorse is not genuine, however, men with anger issues have trouble controlling their reactions. Even if in his calm, composed state of mind he sees that his anger is becoming a problem in the relationship, he may not be able to hold himself back from lashing out once his temper is triggered.
The only way to protect yourself and possibly work toward finding a way to resolve this problem is to identify the signs of anger issues in a man for what they are. How to tell if a guy has anger issues? Read on:
1. He cannot manage his emotions
For Lisa, it was difficult to read her husband Richard. There were days and weeks when he would shower her with flowers, presents and compliments. A few days later, he would be shouting her down because she had bought the wrong brand of breakfast cereal.
“When a guy has anger issues, he will swing back and forth between extremities,” says Kavita, adding, “He will show tremendous love and care one day, and then lash out at you furiously the next. There will be no balance, no mid-point.”
If your partner indulges in extreme love-bombing at times, but belittles you or screams at you about little things the rest of the time, these are signs he has a temper. You not knowing how he is going to react to a situation, no matter how routine, is among the most telling indicators that your spouse or boyfriend has anger issues. As a result, you will find yourself walking on eggshells around him, all the time – even in your most peaceful or blissful moments.
2. He apologizes but won’t change
Knowing how and when to apologize is key to a healthy relationship. But if your partner apologizes every time he takes his anger out on you, but refuses to change his behavior, it’s one of the signs he has a temper. It becomes a truly toxic relationship and a vicious cycle where he knows that all he needs to do is say he’s sorry, and you will forgive him no matter how much he has hurt you with his anger issues.
He may even be genuinely sorry every time, but unless he’s getting help or learning to control his rage urges, his apologies are hollow and meaningless. You know your spouse or boyfriend has temper issues when despite their most emphatic and heartfelt apology, a part of you refuses to believe that things are going to change for the better.
3. He neglects you emotionally
Anger issues manifest in many different ways, says Kavita. It may not only be screaming fits or verbal abuse. “Emotional neglect could also be a way to tell if a guy has anger issues. If he never has your back, shows no support or care, and doesn’t make it a point to communicate with you every day, there’s a good chance there are, at the very least, latent anger issues. Silent treatment is a symptom of anger issues as much as screaming and shouting,” Kavita warns.
That’s what happened to Martha and Ben. Ben rarely shouted at Martha, his anger was of the cold, sullen type where he simply clammed up and refused to talk to her at all. It was as though he was punishing her all the time. She was constantly on edge and wondering, “Does my husband have anger issues?”
If you are being shut out or given the cold shoulder after every disagreement or argument, know that this could very well be among the signs of anger issues in a man. The brooding, aloof personality may seem appealing from afar – thanks to pop culture and media feeding us misplaced ideas of masculinity and machismo – but it can get exhausting to put up with rather quickly.
Related Reading: How To Control Anger In A Relationship: 12 Ways To Tame The Temper
4. He’s always quick to judge
How do you know if your boyfriend has anger issues? Take a moment to introspect how you’re made to feel in the relationship. Does your partner encourage you, lift you up and make you feel like he’s truly blessed to have you? Or does he find newer, more creative ways to let you know you’re not good enough?
You wear a new outfit, he passes a scathing remark. You decide to watch a movie together, he complains about it and blames you for choosing it. It’s as if no matter what you do, it’s never good enough and he will judge you immediately. If you found yourself nodding, take note: this is a warning sign that a man has anger issues.
“Someone with anger issues will try and change everything about you. They will continually make you feel unworthy and every choice you make will come under criticism,” Kavita says, adding “Even when you try to resolve things, they will bombard you with insults and refuse to work things out.”
5. He will bring up past mistakes
Fights and arguments are common in every relationship. When tempers are flaring, we may end up saying or doing things we aren’t exactly proud of. So then, how do you tell if a guy has anger issues? He won’t be fighting only over the present disagreement but will bring up everything you’ve ever done wrong, even if they have nothing to do with what’s happening now.
Maybe right now you’re fighting over something as simple as whether or not to have guests over on the weekend. He will bring up something you said at a party a year ago. He’ll remind you of that time you brought home flowers he was allergic to. Of how money was wasted on party food six months ago. Ugly fights occur when a partner with anger issues makes every attempt to beat you down with past mistakes just to leave you feeling small and helpless.
6. He will isolate you
Among the most telling signs of anger issues in a man is his need to control every aspect of your life and curb your independent streak, little by little. He doesn’t like you meeting your friends. He doesn’t like that you meet your family for Sunday brunch. He hates that you have a career and go out to work. “Why do you need to work, I earn enough for both of us,” he might tell you.
“A man with anger issues will isolate you from all your support systems,” warns Kavita. “The idea is to make you entirely dependent on him so that even if he takes out all his anger issues on you, you have no one to turn to and nowhere to do. They even make it sound like they want what’s best for you. But then they won’t allow you to earn and spend your own money,” she adds.
Related Reading: My Husband Is Stingy And His Only Focus Is Money, Even At The Cost Of Relationships
7. He manipulates you
How do you tell if a guy has anger issues? He will almost certainly be a manipulative partner. He will make you think you’re always in the wrong and he is, in fact, the victim. He will constantly gaslight you or stonewall you till you think it is you who has issues instead of him.
In case you suggest trying couple’s therapy, he’ll immediately tell you he doesn’t need it because you’re just imagining his anger issues. If you try to defend yourself, he might look wounded and accuse you of hurting him, when it’s actually the other way around.
Even if he does, by some miracle, end up in therapy for a few sessions, it’s possible he’ll play the victim the entire time and blame you for everything. Men with anger issues have an undeniably manipulative side to them, which you will neither be able to see for what it is or deal with until you accept the reality of your situation.
8. He makes you feel unworthy
We’ve all got examples of hurtful things we should never say to our partners. But a man with anger issues will take things a few steps further. He will constantly make you feel unworthy. He might tell you you’re lucky he married you because no one else would. If your husband or boyfriend has anger issues, he will always find a way to put you down because that’s what he needs to lift himself up in his own eyes.
For Sharon, her whole world revolved around her pleasing her husband Joseph. He would constantly tell her he had done her a favor by marrying her. “It’s not like you’re so attractive or have a good personality,” he would taunt. Sharon’s self-esteem shrank every time until she believed everything he said to her.
9. He gives you wrong advice
If you ask a man with anger issues for advice, it’s certain that he won’t be helpful. Instead, he will give you advice that sends you down the wrong path. This could be about your career, your family or other life issues. That’s how to know if a man has anger issues – he will give you advice that will bring your life crashing down. He doesn’t care how it affects you, in fact, he’s deliberately trying to hurt you and make you miserable.
Billie learned this the hard way. She had turned to her husband for advice when she was passed over for promotion at work. He insisted that she take the matter up with the management, citing that she wasn’t given the promotion because she had just returned to work from maternity leave. This set in motion an internal inquiry at work, and both Billie and her boss were asked to take some time off.
When she told her husband this, he barked at her angrily, “Of course! You can’t do anything right. That’s when it occurred to her, “My husband has anger issues and it is taking a toll on my life.”
10. He badmouths you
If he’s constantly being hurtful to you, rest assured he’s talking bad about you behind your back as well. He could be telling your family you’re a bad wife, he’ll tell your friends you can’t keep a secret. He might even tell your boss that you weren’t really sick that day you took leave.
A man with anger issues won’t care how he makes you look to the outside world. His focus is entirely on his own rage and how he can use it to hurt you. If he can cut you off from everyone else, it means you are entirely in his power. And that’s just what he wants. Anger issues in men can truly impair their judgment, and their partners are ones who have to bear the brunt of it.
11. He may force you to leave
If you’re with a man with anger issues, there will be countless screaming matches. He may even force you out of the house, saying he can’t stand the sight of you, or it would be better for everyone if you just left. Again, it could be daytime or the middle of the night. He’s not worried about where you’ll go or if you have enough money for gas in the car. He is simply asserting his anger issues and his power over you by forcing you to leave.
“For a man with anger issues, you’re not really a person, you’re just their punching bag, a dump yard for all their emotional trauma,” says Kavita. The bottom line is, if your husband or boyfriend has temper issues, it won’t be easy to put up with him. The more your cower down for the sake of keeping peace, the bolder he will get. That’s why it’s imperative that you learn to find your lost voice and hold your ground once you’ve started seeing the signs of anger issues in a man.
Related Reading: 13 Of The Worst Things A Husband Can Say To His Wife
Such a man will refuse to get help or go to therapy, in fact, he will refuse to even acknowledge that he has any issues. In most cases, this anger will have its roots in early trauma, but he is not concerned with treatment. Remember, you are not a doormat or a rehab center for a man with anger issues. Try and get professional help; if he keeps refusing, it’s a good idea to keep your dignity and leave this toxic relationship.
You deserve better.
You can tell a man has a temper if he is always belittling you, bringing up past mistakes in every fight you have and making you feel worthless. These are all glaring signs a man has anger issues. Other more subtle signs include him slowly isolating you from friends and family so that you have no support system but for him.
Fights and arguments are signs of a healthy relationship but anger that is cold and hurtful is not a form of love. These are again signs that your man has a temper and doesn’t hesitate to use it in the most toxic way possible. There are healthy ways to express disagreement in a relationship – making your partner constantly feel bad is certainly not one of them.
Yes, with help and therapy, such a man can change, but he has to be willing to accept this help. When a guy has anger issues, it is rare that he accepts that he is in need of therapy or any kind of help. He may even play the victim or call you names for saying he needs help. You need not remain with him, hoping he will change. Set boundaries, and leave if he doesn’t change.