What To Do When Your Partner Is Mad At You

What To Do When Your Partner Is Mad At You

I’m excited to continue with our series on covert and passive aggression. This week it’s all about what to do when your husband (or partner) gets mad at you.

Listen to the podcast episode here:

Read the episode transcript and find more details here:

And for those of you that are new, I’m taking my information from a really helpful, wonderful book I highly recommend. It’s called In Sheep’s Clothing by Dr. Simon, and we are talking about the ways that the ones we love who are suffering from addiction can be manipulative and aggressive.

(You can catch up on the series here, here, and here).

This is not at all to place blame or convince you to leave your relationship. This is about informing you about the tricks that addiction tries to play on you. I think most of us believe that we’re in a relationship with a really good person, and they have so much potential, right?

That’s why you fell in love with them because you’re a smart person, and you don’t just fall in love with someone who has zero potential.

You want to believe the best in them, right?

You want to believe that if you loved them enough and they loved themselves enough, that they would change and they could finally live at 100% of the person that you believe they were created to be. So let’s assume that all of us know that.

On the other hand, there is a dark side to this disease, and it can bring out the worst in people. One of the ways it can bring out the worst is by anger, and specifically, them getting mad at you. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. I know the word anger can be a trigger word. I know that it can make us feel uncomfortable, particularly as women because we like to walk around with smiles on our faces and pretend that everything’s okay.

We like to pretend that we don’t get mad, and that we’re just chill or cool, or we’re too kind to even associate with the word anger. But you guys, you know me, and you know I love talking about real stuff. I don’t know any other way to do it other than to be real, so let’s all risk being vulnerable today. Let’s really risk being real with ourselves and say, “Heck yeah.”

Anger is a feeling that often comes up with us because we get mad when we are lied to.

We get angry when we’re told they’re going to get sober for good, and then they change their mind and make a different choice.

We get mad when we’re busting our butts around the house, trying to make everybody and everything work and happy, and they’re passed out or drinking again, or even worse, not even home. We’re angry when we fulfill our promises and obligations to this relationship, and no matter what we do to help, it doesn’t work.

So it’s okay to feel anger. If you’re struggling with guilt that you shouldn’t feel angry, please don’t. Stop. Release yourself from the guilt. Anger is very, very much a part of this journey. And if you’re religious, I’ve said this before, even Jesus gets mad, so let’s not even compare ourselves to fictional women out there who claim that anger is not something they struggle with anymore. Anger is a part of life, and it’s normal.

Here’s what we need to do though: We need to accept that feeling angry is normal.

And anger is okay to feel, and we also need to accept that we have a responsibility to learn how to process our anger in a healthy way.

That blowing up and melting down occasionally is fine and normal. I don’t know any woman who doesn’t, but for the most part, really, it’s in our best interest to really understand, appreciate our anger and know how to handle it in a mature way. Lord knows when we’re dealing with addiction, anger is very, very present in our lives, so this is good.

I know you guys think it’s nuts that I’m saying this, but this is one of the ways that addiction can be one of the best things that’s ever happened to you. It’s going to teach you how to deal with your anger so that if you choose to leave your relationship, and you get mad again, you’re going to take the tools that you’re dealing with now and learning and mastering, and you’re going to apply it later on in your life. If you choose to stay, it’s going to teach you how to process anger in a healthy way to get quickly back to that place of happiness, healthiness and peace.

So feeling anger or feeling mad is not something you want to run away from.

I’m going to challenge you to listen all the way to the end, even if it triggers you just a little.

You’ve got this, I’m right here with you, and there’s no judgment. I promise you, everything that I say is because I’ve gone through it, so there’s zero judgment from all of us, okay?

But today we’re not just going to talk about all the ways that you need to process anger, because I have other podcasts about that.

We’re going to talk about anger from them, when they get mad at you. Anger and charm are two indicators of manipulation, so they may try to distract their way out of a conversation with you by flattery or humor. And to be clear, when I say they, I mean your loved ones that are suffering from addiction.

So let’s say you’re standing in the kitchen having a conversation that makes your partner feel uncomfortable. You’re calling them out about a lie or a bad choice.

They might try to distract you with flattery or humor.

But if they start to feel pressure from you, because you’re not falling for that, then they might immediately turn to anger.

Sometimes, some of our kids do this too, right? Remember, anger is an involuntary emotional response, so you may suddenly see it switch on and off without good reason, especially after a previous tactic failed.

For example, if you’re calling them on their crap, and they are trying to lie or they’re playing dumb and it doesn’t work, they may very quickly switch to anger. If it happens like that, typically it’s not a sincere feeling. They’re not sincerely feeling angry or mad. It’s a gambit.

They’re trying to intimidate you.

They’re trying to put you on the defensive. So again, if they’re not walking into the house angry or pissed off, then any kind of anger or aggression in the middle of a conversation with you is a form of covert aggression.

It’s a form of manipulation. They’re trying to get you to be submissive. It’s a way to get you to be quiet, to scare you, or to cause you to feel intimidated. It’s a way to keep you small.

And here’s the other thing: covert aggressives don’t mind seeing people suffer. Now, I know that is so hard to listen to because like I said, we’re loving women, we’re good people, and we’re healthy. We hate seeing people suffer. In fact, we do anything we can to try and help people out, to prevent suffering, and that is a good thing, right?

That’s what changes the world. That’s what loving everybody looks like. But these covert aggressives, they don’t mind seeing people suffer. Now please hear me, I say this all the time, but I really mean it:

None of this is your fault.

Nothing. None of the misery. None of the unhappiness, none of the anger, none of the dysfunction. You are an incredibly functional, beautiful woman, and if you are married or in a relationship to a sober, mature person, your relationship would look very different.

Now, does it mean that your relationship wouldn’t have struggles and battles like every other relationship on this earth? No. Of course it would have those types of struggles and battles.

But the difference is you would be working with somebody who takes accountability. Someone that take responsibility and wants to cooperate in the marriage. They would have the same goals as you, which is trying to stick together and improve, but you’re not working with that.

You’re working with the opposite of that right now.

You’re working with denial, blame, and with being placated.

This whole situation, none of it is your fault, and you will get through this.

You want to know why? Because you’re learning, and you’re practicing the tools. Look at you, trying new things, you’re being courageous enough to give yourself a voice. And you’re willing to disengage from the trauma.

You’re willing to detach from addiction. You’re willing to gain your independence as a woman and say, “You know what? Happiness does not depend on their sobriety. I’m going to get better. I will get healthy. I’m putting my recovery as a priority, and you can choose to get better or not. But I’m going to start to feel better with or without you.”

That’s power. That’s powerful, and that is going to carry you so far. This is a period of your life that you will get through. And you’re not doing this alone because I am right here with you. You can do this. I love you, and I will talk to you later.

Other questions from women in our community:

Does alcohol cause anger issues?

It certainly can, especially when you’re dealing with an addict. As the blood alcohol levels rise, parts of the brain function shut down. There have also been studies on alcohol triggering certain emotions. Alcohol and drugs are mind altering substances, so issues like anger are to be expected when someone is addicted.

Why do drunks get mean?

There’s tons of research on the impacts alcohol has on the brain and why it may trigger certain emotions. When someone is suffering from addiction, they’ve developed a physical and mental dependence on their substance of choice. No matter what they were like before they suffered from addiction, as it progresses, it’s likely they will become mean, aggressive, or angry because of the changes alcohol (or drugs) is causing in their brains.

Does alcoholic change your personality?

When someone is suffering from addiction, their personality will change. How it changes, how much, and when depends on the person and where they are in their addiction.

There are some people that start out being loving, calm, and relaxed when they drink, even as an alcoholic. But as the disease progresses, they’re likely to change to angry, aggressive, and/or abusive.

Does whiskey make you angry?

Studies have been done on whether different types of alcohol trigger different emotions. The truth of the matter is that if someone is an alcoholic or addict, they should not consume any alcohol or other substances.

It is common for alcoholics to be angry, aggressive, and/or abusive when they’ve been drinking because of the alcohol blood levels and the impacts that has on the brain. Your safety, and the safety of your children is most important. Always protect yourself and leave situations where you’re not safe.

What causes blackouts when drinking?

Blackouts are caused when the body experiences high levels of alcohol. It impairs the ability to create new memories while intoxicated. As the blood alcohol levels rise, the rate and length of memory loss will increase. It’s very common for alcoholics to not remember long periods of time when they were drinking.

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson has over 10 years of personal experience with loving someone who suffers from addiction. She was married to a good man who suffered from addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography. She's used her experience to create powerful resources for women in the same circumstance. Using her own personal experience, combined with years of research and studying, she presents ideas, tips, and tools on how to handle this disease, and take care of yourself, and your family.

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