If you can’t handle being in the room when your spouse is angry, then leaving might be necessary. But try not to walk away without an explanation, or he might feel rejected or abandoned. Explain that you feel overwhelmed by the force and volume of his voice, even though you know he’s not angry at you. Tell him that you want to hear what’s going on his life at work, when he’s calmer.
It is important to let your spouse know that although his anger may be justified, that his angry energy and loud tone of voice make you feel apprehensive and upset, as though he’s angry at you. On the other hand, consider whether you are perhaps overly sensitive to any display of anger, in which case you might want to work on thickening your skin and resilience.
Should you have compassion for someone who is angry? Absolutely, even though it may not be easy. It helps to see through the anger to the underlying hurt or fear that’s fueling that anger. When you see the vulnerability underneath, it’s much harder to take anger personally, even if it were aimed at you.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD