Responding When Your Partner Is Angry: What to do, what not to do


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Physical or emotional abuse is never excusable. This article only deals with a display of anger from a partner but does not address, nor excuse the abuse than can come from anger. If you are in a violent relationship please seek professional advice immediately.


You love your partner and they love you, yet they still have outbursts of anger. As someone who has struggled with anger, I never appreciated when my wife attempted to confront me while I was still angry; it only made the situation worse. At the time of anger I believed I was right. When I calmed down and was apologetic for my outburst, my wife was able to speak calmly about my behaviour and how it impacted upon her and my children. On one occasion my wife and two children sat me down for a conversation about my angry behaviour. It was important that they did this when I was calm and open to the discussion as in reality I was embarrassed and ashamed of my behaviour.

DON’T challenge your partner while they are angry, it will only make the situation worse.

DISCUSS with them the impact of their behaviour when they are calm and willing to listen.


Be patient and supportive of your partner, one quality conversation won’t resolve their anger. In my experience, my wife had the discussion multiple times and never blamed me, but spoke of the negative impact my behaviour had on my family. At times this will be a struggle, but as long as your partner is making improvement and continually trying to control/manage their anger there is hope.

DON’T nag and argue the point with your partner.

DO be supportive and patient.


Encourage your partner to seek professional support for their behaviour. This may mean you attend sessions/ meetings with them if they are willing. In order for this to happen, your partner will need to show vulnerability and know that you still love them. The advantage of seeking professional support is that a discussion can be had in a safe environment for you and your partner. This may also provide you with opportunities to have ongoing open and caring discussions that will make your relationship stronger due to the assistance of a professional.

DON’T think your partner can manage their anger without the support of a professional.

BE PREPARED to support your partner through this critically challenging process.


Managing angry outbursts and behaviour is a journey. As your partner learns how to manage their anger your relationship will strengthen, however it is highly likely that other personal issues will be uncovered which will also require self-work with a professional. In much the same way as you peel an onion and find another layer, so it is with managing self and other issues that arise. This process can mean that a different version of old behaviours is displayed until your partner has a realization that more self-work needs to be done.

DON’T be deceived into thinking the initial process will make your partner perfect.

BE PREPARED for a continually developing healthy relationship as you join your partner in the journey of self-growth.

These tips on how to respond to a partner who is angry are not designed to legitimise physical or emotional abuse being given or accepted in any circumstance. All people should be treated with love and respect, and these tips have been moulded to assist couples who have recognised anger issues within their relationship and in doing so desire to work through them. If you are currently in a relationship and have been/are being physically or emotionally abused, please do not hesitate to call 000.

If you recognise you are in a relationship that needs the support of a professional in dealing with anger, contact Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment with Duncan, click the icon BOOK ONLINE NOW and you will be taken to his online appointment calendar, and follow the prompts.