Abusive Anger

When your partner uses abusive anger, she or he does so on purpose. They want you scared or over-the-top angry. Abusive anger can turn physically violent.Abusive anger benefits abusive people by sending shockwaves of doubt and fear through their target’s mind and body. The target will freeze, flee, or fight back. The best thing to do is flee – leave the area. Besides preventing further emotional turmoil, abusive anger can turn violent even if the abuser has NEVER physically assaulted anyone.

During anger attacks, the abuser will tell their victim that they are horrible bits of trash that do not deserve to live, and despite the abuser’s craziness,  the victims begin to feel that they are somehow “wrong” and seek to calm the abuser.

If you’ve been in an abusive relationship long enough to get used to your partner’s anger, then it’s likely you will not feel appropriately fearful as other people would. You become accustomed to the yelling, raging, stomping, swearing, banging on walls, breaking things and irrational fit throwing; but if a friend were to witness the same event, she or he would feel violated, angry and afraid of the abuser’s temper.

How My Husband Uses Abusive Anger

My husband uses abusive anger to threaten me emotionally and physically, hoping I’ll back down so he can have his way.

When my abuser is abusively angry, he is loud, obscene, and gets in my face with either his face or his finger. He hears nothing I say when he’s in this rage, OR he picks up two or three key words and twists them into something I did not mean to say.

Sometimes all he wants if for me to silently listen to his abusive statements. Similarly, he’ll ask questions OF me and then answer them FOR me – as if he knows the answers and I don’t. Of course, the answers he provides are insulting to me.

How to React to Abusive Anger

how to react to accusing and blamingThe best, and most difficult, reaction is to walk away from the baby throwing the tantrum. If the abuser wants to rage and squeal, they can certainly do it without your help.

Abusive anger is only a show. Research shows that abuser”s heart rates actually slow down when they rage. Your abuser is psychologically and emotionally calmer when they’re acting like a fool. This shows that they did NOT lose control, they do NOT need to be calmed, and you did NOTHING to provoke this anger!

If you cannot walk away, you must revert to what you know about your abuser. Do they want you to

  • agree with them?
  • be silent?
  • argue back?

The answer to all of those questions is “Yes, they do.” They want to escalate the abuse, and all of those reactions show that the abuser is getting to you. Your abuser knows that if they can “get to you” – if they can knock you off balance, then they’re going to

  • win, or
  • weaken your defenses so they can insert their ideas into your head, or
  • cause such emotional upheaval that you’re willing to accept anything they say so long as “it’s over”!

So, play along. What you say to the abuser when you’re stuck in place doesn’t matter if you protect your mind. Remind yourself that you’re only saying what you need to say to stop the abuse. Play your part just like an actor plays theirs. Do not let the anger get to you, not to the inside you.

Detach from the anger and do what you need to do to make the abuser feel like they’ve won if you cannot leave the situation.

Remember that these statements are to help you feel better and detach from your abuser’s antics. They do not guarantee that your abuser will stop abusing you, nor do they protect you from further abuse. You should fill out a safety plan so you know what you will do if things get out of hand.

Based on the book The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans, ISBN 1558503048, Adams Media, February 2003 and my experiences with verbal abuse.

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  1. Applause for addressing the “what if you cant get away”, this is the most difficult of situations(in my opinion), the abuser picks a time to attack, knowing you are obligated and cant escape, such as when your driving, in care of young children…safety becomes an issue, raising the bar, to the abuser its a game, to the abused its life and death protection of children…most difficult situation ive encountered. Abuser escalates, if one wont react, abuser escalates,turn music up and down, bark obscenities, use children as pawns in her attack… then it happens, begin interfering with driving of the vehicle(alarms go off), .its truly hell on earth…. ,what do you do? pull over then what? call police? then what, abuser continues to rant, downplays, accuses you of physical abuse, twist blame shifts, you name it, plays games…………. a very difficult situation when one is trapped with an abuser.,

    • Have a back up plan, I have a credit card now and always keep $50 on me so I can call a taxi, once I actually got out with my child and I walked home. It was all bluff, but you have to be very careful you are not going to send the person to physical violence. And no one ever knows when or if that turning point or trigger in another person is activated

  2. This little article explained and described every detail of my life. I don’t feel so alone anymore.

    • Fred Bayee says:

      I’ve experienced this abhorant behavior from my fiancé for nearly four years, in addition, his repeated threats of suicide attempt thrown in.
      I can’t change him, I’ve tried but seriously, no matter what you say back, you ALWAYS LOSE.
      With escape plan now in place, Im getting out next month before I lose my sanity.

      • How can you leave . what if your hopelessly in love with him . IV been with my bf for 10 months . he has shown all these steps and is now actually starting to attack me , chokeing pushing pushing me away . everything happens so fast I just can’t seem to walk away . I want to walk away I also want to leave him but he has no one else ( or so it seems ) I’m traped I feel . I know what to do it but its like he has a hold on me

  3. This def describes my life I feel alone something mean because of his verbal abuse he does this in front of my children.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Enter your comment here…My husband drinks everyday first thing in the morning he wakes up he drinks.When he comes back from work he is forever fighting over smaller things an stupid things.Last week he came back from work an asked me for an emty bottle of beer he left last night an I always throw them out but this time he wanted it an started a fight.He disrespect every woman an treat them like nothing.He is always checking an bleed with his nose an month some times.Every time when he fights with me he crys an say sorry next morning drink again then do the same thing again.He feels that cancelling is for sick people.Anyone who would like to help me to help him pls content me.If u stay around Johannesburg.0717763110

  5. Anonymous2 says:

    Playing along doesn’t work that well because usually they will resort to violence no matter what, and after a while it also has a completely detrimental changing effect on your well being. What’s scary about it is that they’re actually the ones that are a completely unsuspecting, different person around other people.

  6. I think (especially if you have children) we need to try to get outside help. This is not something your child/children should keep thinking is acceptable. I am dealing with this along with the manipulation part and it is tearing me apart each time it happens and I have done the above and it does not make things better in the end. I convince myself I can’t leave because of my daughter our life, what others who have not seen the abuse will think on and on… and because I love him and when he is not in the above state he is a wonderful husband yet, it is wrong and destructive and should not be seen as ok.

  7. Lori Bagliere says:

    My hubby of 4 yrs is an excellent provider, but drinks. About 6 beers in he starts getting “itchy.” When I begin to speak (just gen’l conversation) he drops his head back, squeezes his eyes shut, huffs and puffs, says “WHAT!!? You make no sense! What’s wrong with your brain! Your mission is to drive me crazy!” And so on. I used to say things like “honey, I was just making a comment/conversation.” He then amps it up about the stupid s%#t I say. I’ve found lately, if I just DO NOT respond, look at him like he’s crazy, go busy myself in the kitchen, or just change the subject – it stops! These abusers WANT u to fight, want a reaction. That usually works. He stops (not always, but usually). There are other mind games he plays, but I have at least found a way to nip his senseless raging in the bud. Going to counseling alone, Google and read extensively on the subjects of narcissism, abuse, understanding why. I have no Fam and cannot get out – yet. Keep ur head up, it’s not you. God speed! L

  8. Thank you so much everything makes sense now. I’m clear about my decision to leave and why. I am thankful for peace of mind. I’m alright I was right in my gut. I coy don’t shake it off anymore as though I didn’t matter. I had to plan and follow through on purpose. If I didn’t I could have dead from the unjust of his manipulation and continued knowledge of deception and mind games or lost my mind. I’m grateful to God for leading me to this information because for real the truth will set you free. I’m still in the fight for my thoughts but I know in time I will win completely. YRC16 today is a new day!

  9. I am in this situatiion too. My spouse likes to raise his verbal abusive behavior in front of my family/his the most and around my kids sometime I just wanna cry so hard in a closet. We been together since I was 14 yrs old, I just want to get the hell out of his life, but the only thing is I think of my childrens future. I am very alone.

  10. hi,my boy friend is very short temper and he abuse and get angry on stupid,small and silly things..many times he has slapped me but after a while he gets calm down and says it was all because of his anger but he loves me a lot,pls don’t ever leave me..what does that mean..i should be with him or not?

    • I understand the strong emotions and time you’ve invested in your relationship and why it’s hard to see the situation you describe. You probably know you shouldn’t be with him but your heart feels so much emotional turmoil at the thought, it’s easier to hang onto hope because he calms down, explains that his anger made him do it and that he loves you. You should NOT be with him! After you’re out, you can always get real help from a psychologist or doctor who deals with domestic violence and see if your boyfriend wants to do the work required to change but he has to WANT it and not go just to get you back. I hope you will find help for you also to learn how important you are and that you deserve respect from others. Without help and wanting to change, all statistics show the slapping will not stop and will probably escalate to worse physical abuse.

  11. This surely describes our life. As a soldier, it was unmanly to admit to being bullied by my wife. As a disabled veteran even more so. Thought she’d stop picking on me when our children were grown and she wouldn’t use them against me. But now that she keeps me trapped at home, forced me to move away from friends, I can’t seek help2

    • You need to leave them the abusers. It never gets better. I gave 7 years to my husband everyday he was verbal abusive. I thought I stay with him we have children together and things will get better. They went for the worst his drinking got really bad that he used his drinking as an excuse for his behavior. Than he started going out more without me if I asked where he’s been I get my hair pulled and he yell in my face. Curse and call me names. Than one day I got cops to my house and over heard my husband have sex with our baby sitter. She got pregnant and had a miscarriage. I confronted him and he bashed my head into my kitchen floor many times and stomped on my legs. What I’m telling you girls life is to short to be mistreated this way by any guy. Believe me when I tell you this it’s not love…LOVE doesn’t hurt…..I’m divorced I survived. I’m strong I now I know the signs of abuse. I don’t let a guy even get one chance of treating me that way there not worth your love and just a waste of time.

  12. You can close your ears with your hands and say: “I am not listening to you until you calm down, if you continue, I will walk away”. Close your ears and hum every time he gets angry. He will learn that he can’t get to you by screaming. When it’s over, offer to discuss the problem whIle sitting down facing each other without raising voices. Ask him ” Prove to me that you are not emotionally abusive by staying calm and not using name-calling”.

    • My ‘N’ does fingers in ears, lalala on occasion, its the silent treatment, erases your existence, importance, mental murder, its abuse…. narcissists have no interest in anything besides themselves, if they do allow you to speak its because they are collecting information to use/mirror back on their victim…no solution but to exit.

  13. Thank you for this helpful web site. I’m sad and alone…the isolation is literally killing me (because friends can only support you so much and my family doesn’t support me at all). Plus I’m at the end of my emotional rope. I just don’t want to exist anymore, you know? But I’m not suicidal…because my kids need me for a little bit longer. Except that I don’t know how much longer I can hold on without losing my mind. But I’m doing my best. Trying to carry out action items towards the eventual goal of daily peace. So that I at least know that I’m working towards something. I’ve been keeping the family together because I believed that I needed to be around to address my husband’s verbal abuse towards the kids. My oldest gets Sad when it happens. My youngest gets Mad. My oldest I can help because I understand Sad. But he’s okay now and (hopefully) is self-aware enough to not repeat the cycle. My youngest has alarmed me recently because he yells more frequently now because “everyone does.” But he’s old enough that I can give him more guidance and help him understand that the depression he is feeling is NOT HIS FAULT. And he is NOT imagining things. For the next few months I’m going to concentrate on helping him learn to manage his emotions. He is emotionally mature and self-aware enough that he knows when he is emulating his father’s behavior. Now I need to help him understand how his behavior and words are affecting those around him. He WILL learn to be kinder with his words and actions. And then my job will be done. I can divorce without worrying about them being alone with their father. They can love Dr. Jekyll without subjecting themselves to Mr. Hyde’s abuse.

    Question that’s not about me: Why don’t you set up advertising on this site? Do you consider that unethical? I don’t. It’s a small way for you to earn a little money for the time you are devoting to others. Thanks again.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The most direct, inclusive, understandable words I have read. Think I’ll print it out to pass out to all who want to know why I’m getting a divorce after 1 year of marriage. Never have I been exposed to such behavior and you have expertly describe each nuonce! Thank you so for the support

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