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My Husband Yells at Me All the Time: How to Stop Him?

February 9, 2024

No one likes getting yelled at, especially by someone we love. What do you do if you love your husband but he keeps yelling at you? I’m going to help you understand why he might be yelling, why it’s not ok, and some of the best ways to get him to stop.

Key Takeaways

  • You don’t “make” your husband yell at you. This is something he’s doing
  • Being yelled at is bad for your mental and emotional well-being and you shouldn’t ignore it
  • You will need to set boundaries about how you expect to be treated and enforce them
  • He is capable of changing. The only question is whether he actually wants to

Screaming As a Form of Emotional Abuse

Shouting or screaming at a partner regularly isn’t just a sign that you’re angry. We all get angry and most of us can deal with that and even communicate it without yelling all the time.[1] Shouting at someone is a direct attempt to make them afraid and control their behavior.

When you think of it like that, it’s easy to see how constant yelling or screaming in a relationship is a form of emotional abuse. He’s not trying to change your mind about something or convince you to do something differently. He’s trying to scare and pressure you into it.

He might not be using physical force, but that doesn’t mean that you feel safe when he shouts.[2] When someone is screaming at you, it doesn’t feel as though they’re in control of their emotions. This makes it hard to know what they will (and won’t) do. You don’t feel safe; emotionally or physically.

If you find yourself changing your behavior, for example not talking about specific topics or rushing to finish the household chores before he gets home, to avoid your husband yelling at you, that’s not healthy and has probably crossed the line into emotional abuse.[3]

Why You Shouldn’t Allow Your Husband to Yell at You

There are so many reasons that you shouldn’t allow your husband to yell at you. Let’s look at just a few of them.

  • You deserve to be treated with respect
  • Being yelled at can diminish your self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Verbal abuse can escalate to additional forms of abuse as well
  • He’s not learning healthy ways to resolve conflict
  • If yelling “works,” he’ll do it more
  • It sets a bad example for your children about how relationships work

That last point can be very helpful if your self-esteem is already really low. It can be hard to believe that you deserve care and respect (although you absolutely do).

Reminding yourself that others, and particularly your children, are being put at risk by his behavior can help you feel strong enough to push him to change.

What Might Prompt Him to Yell at You

I hope it’s clear already that this article isn’t going to include any excuses for his yelling. If he shouts and screams at you during an argument, that’s 100% a decision he’s making about how he is willing to behave. Here are some of the things that might be going on under the surface that you should be aware of.

1. He’s stressed

We all suffer from stress sometimes and it can lead us to redirect our anger towards an inappropriate target. For example, if his boss is making unreasonable demands, he might not feel able to direct his anger and stress at them. Instead, he bottles it up and it spills out when he’s at home with you.[4]

The thing is that we all get stressed but most of us don’t take that stress out on the people we love and who love us back. 

2. This is how he learned to resolve conflict

For some people, shouting and yelling are the only strategies they know to try to resolve conflict. This is especially common if they grew up in abusive or dysfunctional families but it can also happen if they were bullied heavily or had other challenges while they were growing up.[5]

We learn about what counts as a “normal” relationship from our parents, but there’s no guarantee that their relationship actually is normal, or healthy. If he’s never seen people talk their problems through calmly and come to a loving compromise, he might just not really understand how that works.

A guy in this situation will probably acknowledge that his way of dealing with conflict is a problem. He might even be ashamed of how he handles arguments. He might know intellectually that there are other options, he just can’t properly understand them or use them himself.

3. He’s trying to control you

One of the problems with trying to stop someone from yelling when they get angry is that yelling works far too often.[6] Most people hate having someone yell at them, especially if it’s someone they care about or love. We instinctively try to adapt and make it less likely that they shout at us.

That’s a normal reaction, but it teaches your husband that yelling means that he gets what he wants. He yells because it’s a way to control you and make you adapt your actions to fit in with whatever is going to make him happy.

If your husband is yelling at you to try to control you, he’s likely to minimize the importance of his shouting. He’ll probably gaslight you and tell you that he didn’t really raise his voice. He might say that you’re oversensitive or that all couples have arguments.

I’ve even known guys who try to flip the situation back onto their wife, claiming that she’s being “a robot” or doesn’t care about him because she won’t yell back. These guys are toxic and abusive.

4. He lacks fundamental respect

Another reason that your husband might yell at you is that he doesn’t actually respect you as an equal partner in your relationship. Very few people will shout or yell at someone they consider their equal or superior. 

For example, we hear lots of stories about bosses yelling at their staff, but relatively few workers shouting at their bosses. It’s not that workers don’t get frustrated with their managers. Far from it. They just know that disrespectful behavior won’t be tolerated.

If your partner is shouting at you rather than talking things through calmly, it means that he’s not treating you as his equal. He’s not respecting your opinion or your dignity. He’s dealing with his emotional needs and showing no respect or care for yours at all.

5. He has problems managing anger

Man shouting at work

Some men yell because they don’t know how else to deal with the negative emotions that they’re experiencing.[7] Again, this isn’t an excuse. If he’s mature enough to have a wife, he’s mature enough to take responsibility for his own feelings.

Unfortunately, however, our culture often tells men that they shouldn’t show their emotions. They’re often allowed to be angry about certain things or to become emotional about sports, but other, more complex emotions are seen as “unmanly.”

This doesn’t actually stop them from having those emotions. It just stops them from talking about them or showing them. They push negative emotions away which often leaves them resurfacing as anger. This anger then comes out through behavior like yelling and shouting.

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6. He thinks that this is how men behave

This is subtly different from just not learning healthy strategies for resolving conflict. Your husband might be well aware that there are other ways to deal with difficulties in your relationship, but feels entitled to shout because he’s a man.

When his anger management and communication strategies are intertwined with his beliefs about his masculinity, it’s even harder for him to learn new ways to deal with difficult situations. Changing his behavior can feel like an attack on his identity.

If this is why your husband is yelling at you, he will probably also have other misogynistic traits such as insisting on strict gendered roles in your relationship or using gendered insults.

Sidenote

Hopefully you’ve noticed that all of these explanations for why your husband might shout or yell at you focus on him. It’s his anger management issue or his lack of respect. That’s because him yelling at you is something that he is doing wrong. It’s his choice to yell and you’re not responsible for it.

It’s easy to think that he wouldn’t yell if you just didn’t do things that annoy him, but that’s unfortunately not accurate. That’s because the problem that needs to be dealt with isn’t the thing that sparked his anger. It’s how he chooses to express himself and what that says about his underlying thoughts and feelings.

If you find yourself changing your behavior to make it less likely that your husband will yell at you, that’s a big sign that something is wrong in your relationship and you’re not being treated with the care, respect, and love that you deserve.

How to Stop My Husband from Yelling at Me

1. Try to understand what’s going on

Let’s be clear here. I’m not suggesting that you allow him to make excuses for his behavior. This isn’t about finding good reasons for him doing this. It’s about understanding the underlying problem, rather than suggesting that it’s in any way ok.

Look through the list of explanations I’ve created above and think about how and when your husband yells at you. What do you think is going on for him deep down? If you feel safe enough and he’s willing to talk about it, you can also ask him for his opinion.

Once you understand where his yelling is coming from, it’s much easier not to take it personally. That still doesn’t mean you should put up with it, but it might make it a little less hurtful and give you the extra emotional strength to start to make changes.

2. Be open about how yelling makes you feel

Often, the last thing you want to do with a spouse who yells at you is to make yourself more vulnerable. That’s understandable. He’s showing you that he’s willing to upset you and be cruel. Why would you open up and show him how much it hurts?

Unfortunately, the only way to start making a change is to be completely clear about the effect that his shouting has on you. This lets him understand that you’re not going to accept it anymore and, hopefully, provides him with the motivation to change.

When you explain how his yelling makes you feel, it’s worth using I statements. I statements are ways of explaining how you feel about something without blaming the other person or putting them on the defensive.

Start your sentences with “I feel” or similar. Try to focus on how it feels to you, rather than on the yelling itself. This will often make it easier for him to hear what you’re trying to say.

3. Don’t yell back

It might sound obvious, but try to resist the urge to yell back when he yells at you. Shouting back allows him to see his behavior as a normal part of having a disagreement. He can justify his yelling by telling himself “Well, she does it too.” [8]

Instead, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. Slow down your speech and focus on maintaining your own self-control. This helps to show him an alternative way to react to difficult situations and highlights just how unreasonable his shouting is.

4. Provide one warning, then end the conversation (temporarily)

For this tip, I’m working from the assumption that your personal boundary is that you don’t allow people to yell at you during conversations. This is a perfectly healthy and normal boundary to have, but how can you enforce it?

In my experience, it’s worth giving someone a single warning when they start yelling because they sometimes won’t realize that they’ve raised their voice. You can say “I appreciate that you feel strongly about this but please don’t raise your voice. I’m happy to talk it through but I won’t be yelled at.”

If they yell at you again, try to calmly tell them that you’re not willing to talk about this right now because you’ve been yelled at. Assure them that you’ll talk about it later and then walk away from the conversation.

I do recommend actually leaving the room or the house at this point. Sitting next to them but refusing to talk can feel like you’re giving them the silent treatment or provoking them. Go somewhere else and do something to stop you from ruminating on the argument.[9]

I should say that many husbands will really hate this. There’s a good chance that he’ll try to push you into continuing the conversation and he might get even more angry. Provided you’re safe, that’s ok. He’s facing consequences for his yelling, possibly for the first time. It’s not supposed to be enjoyable.

Obviously, if you’re not safe then all bets are off. Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe in the moment and then think about how to look after your long-term safety.

5. Talk about his yelling when you’re both calm

Try not to have a conversation about his yelling while you’re in the middle of an argument and he’s already yelling at you. I do understand that it’s difficult for two reasons. 

Firstly, it’s really hard not to get angry at him for being so disrespectful while he’s yelling at you. You want to point out how wrong it is just to make him stop.

Secondly, it’s hard to bring up his yelling while you’re both calm and he’s not yelling because you want to enjoy the peace and not start another argument.

Even though it’s hard, it is important. Complaining about his yelling mid-argument allows him to see this as you trying to ‘win’ the argument, rather than you bringing up a serious problem in your relationship. Make it easier for him to treat this with the seriousness it deserves by talking about it calmly.

You might struggle to find a good time to bring up his yelling, but that raises an important question. If there isn’t a time when you’re both calm, what does that say about your relationship? In this case, it’s worth thinking about whether this relationship is healthy and/or safe for you.

6. Don’t allow whataboutism

Your husband might respond to you bringing up his shouting by trying to list all of the things he thinks that you do wrong in your relationship. This is known as “whataboutism” because he keeps saying “Well what about how you … and what about the time that you…” 

Whataboutism isn’t helpful when trying to resolve problems in your relationship. If he starts, try saying “Ok. I can see why you’re upset about that and we can talk about it soon. It’s a completely unrelated issue to how I feel about being yelled at, though, so I’d like to keep them separate.”

7. Try to be on the same side

Dealing with a husband who yells at you can start to feel a lot like having a toddler or training a dog. You’re essentially setting boundaries, providing consistent rewards or consequences, and even giving him timeouts.[10] While this is necessary, it’s not a particularly healthy relationship dynamic.

There’s a kind of therapy known as Transactional Analysis (TA) that shows why this is a problem for your relationship. TA looks at what social ‘roles’ you’re filling in your relationship. In this case, you’re taking on the role of parent and your husband is taking on the role of child.[11]

There’s a power imbalance between those two roles, which can make the whole situation worse. That’s especially true if his yelling is tied to his masculinity. If this parent-child dynamic comes from you being the one to set boundaries, how else can you sort the problem out?

Rather than seeing this as a ‘you vs him’ problem, try to see it as ‘both of you vs the problem’. Simple changes, such as asking him for suggestions or asking “How can we fix this?” rather than “What are you going to do about it?” can help him to see you as a team.

8. Try creative strategies that suit you

Part of working together on this can be trying to come up with creative strategies that might seem counterintuitive or even silly to other people but that work for you. These will be completely individual so I can’t tell you what to try but I can give you a few of my own examples.

I’m a writer, so I find it helpful to be able to write my thoughts down. If the person who yells at me also enjoys writing, we can often at least start difficult conversations in writing. For me, long emails work better than texts as they give me a chance to think carefully and explain things in depth.

I also like silly in-jokes and (for some random reason) these often involve ducks. If someone starts yelling at me and I’m not sure they realize they’ve raised their voice, I’ll sometimes quack. This usually makes them pause and, if I’ve judged them correctly, makes them laugh and defuses the tension.

I’m not suggesting that these ideas will work for you. Not every husband will be ok with you suddenly quacking in a conversation and some arguments are too serious for humorous strategies to be appropriate. But you can work with your partner to find ideas that fit your personalities and situation.

9. Seek support from friends and family

Friends comforting a friend

If your husband yells at you, it’s often really helpful to have people around you who love and support you. They can help to bolster your self-esteem and remind you that you don’t deserve to be treated so badly.

Try to open up to people you love about what’s going on and ask them for their support.

The only time I would suggest not looking for support from your friends or family is if they hold particularly rigid views about gender and/or marriage. I do know of some women whose families told them that they had to accept all kinds of poor behavior from their husbands because “that’s the man you married.” 

Seek support from people who will put your needs and welfare above their expectations and ideology.

10. Work with professionals

As well as talking to your friends and family, it can also be helpful to talk to professionals who can help reassure you about what is and isn’t healthy in a relationship. They can also give you tools to try to work through the problems.

If your partner is abusive, it’s important to find a great therapist or counselor. If the relationship is struggling but you don’t think that he’s abusive, you might benefit from couples therapy.

If you don’t think that things are that bad but you’d like a little professional support, you can also try a relationship coach, such as Relationship Hero.

11. End the relationship

This might seem like a big step, and it is. Unfortunately, it might be a necessary one. A husband who yells at you and leaves you feeling belittled and unsafe isn’t taking care of you. He’s being abusive. If he’s not willing to stop his abusive behavior to keep you safe, you might have to leave.

If you do have to leave an abusive relationship, be aware that this can be a very dangerous time.[12] Consider talking to some domestic violence advocates or support lines and create a safety plan with a trusted friend.

FAQs

Is it okay for my husband to yell at me?

There are some couples who are ok with yelling in an argument, but not many. For most people yelling at a partner is never acceptable. This is especially true if only one of you shouts. If his yelling makes you unhappy, it’s not ok and he needs to stop.

Why does my husband yell at me?

If your husband is yelling at you, it’s because he’s not dealing with his emotions in a healthy and respectful way. He might not have learned other ways to resolve conflict or he might be choosing to be hurtful and disrespectful. The important thing is that it’s not your fault.

Do all husbands yell at their wives?

Not all husbands yell at their wives. In fact, most people don’t shout or yell at their partners. A healthy relationship doesn’t involve shouting or screaming at each other, even if you’re upset or angry.

Conclusion

You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect in your relationship. If your husband yells at you, especially if it happens frequently, it’s important to make some changes. In the worst cases, you might need to leave the relationship.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other great ideas for stopping someone from yelling at you. And show your support to anyone who’s getting yelled at by their partner by sharing this article and reminding them that they’re not alone.

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  5. Webster-Stratton, C., & Hammond, M. (1999). Marital Conflict Management Skills, Parenting Style, and Early-onset Conduct Problems: Processes and Pathways. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40(6), 917–927. https://doi.org/10.1111/1469-7610.00509
  6. Cramer, P. (1991). Anger and the Use of Defense Mechanisms in College Students. Journal of Personality, 59(1), 39–55. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1991.tb00767.x
  7. Shepherd, G., & Cant, M. (2020). Difficult to change? The differences between successful and not‐so‐successful participation in anger management groups. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 20(2), 214–223. https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12276
  8. Stamp, G. H., & Sabourin, T. C. (1995). Accounting for violence: An analysis of male spousal abuse narratives. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 23(4), 284–307. https://doi.org/10.1080/00909889509365432
  9. Treynor, W., Gonzalez, R., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2003). Rumination reconsidered: A psychometric analysis. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27, 247–259.
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  12. Campbell, J. C., Webster, D., Koziol-McLain, J., Block, C., Campbell, D., Curry, M. A., Gary, F., Glass, N., McFarlane, J., Sachs, C., Sharps, P., Ulrich, Y., Wilt, S. A., Manganello, J., Xu, X., Schollenberger, J., Frye, V., & Laughon, K. (2003). Risk factors for femicide in abusive relationships: results from a multisite case control study. American Journal of Public Health, 93(7), 1089–1097. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.93.7.1089
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