I am scared of my husband’s temper

Thursday April 29 2021
By Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa

My husband and I have been married for 10 years and although I love him very much, his temper is creating a rift between us. He gets angry very quickly and often uses abusive language towards me. Sometimes I fear he might hit me in a fit of rage. I do not want to leave him but his never-changing attitude is making me have second thoughts about our marriage. We have tried counselling but nothing seems to work. What should I do? 


Dear Anonymous,

Sorry about your situation that has been going on for quite a long time. Anger is a natural God-given emotion that should help to alert us of potential problems and dangers. Anger in itself is not the problem but failure to manage it effectively is the issue.

On the side of marriage, from my experience working with couples, anger is one of the most prevalent contributors to the demise of a marriage. Anger is usually a symptom of an underlying problem. It does not come from a vacuum. For example, I feel worried if my children sat out beyond the agreed time.When they eventually come, I will scold them, which means that my worry gave rise to anger.

In the same way, your husband might be going through something, which is causing the chronic short temper. Another explanation could be that your husband’s behaviour reflects his ACE’s (childhood adverse effects) which are dependent on how the immediate caretakers or parents treated him. He could have learned this from the significant people in his childhood. He could also have learned that this is the best way to handle his emotions and in the long run, it became a habit in his adult life.


It is important to know the source of the problem then learn how to deal with it effectively. How you can handle this is by not being afraid of anger. Maintain your calm and disassociate yourself from that situation saying that you will not speak to him if he uses that tone with you.

Once you think that he has calmed down, ask him what is actually bothering him. Let him know that you are there to listen to him. Tell him that you can both work on this. If he still does not want to address the problem, then do not force it on him. Make sure that you let him know that he can talk to you when he is ready to.

I still emphasise that you seek professional help. I understand that previous methods did not work. But before going to a counsellor, ask him if he is really willing to look for that kind of help, because if he is not doing it on his own, then the situation will not change. One of the issues should have been due to denial and until he breaks out of this shell, therapy may not work for him.

Do not give up, take care of your own health as well, and know that this is his problem and when he eventually accepts that he has a problem, it will be one step to recovery. Lastly, remember to keep calm while he is angry, because if you, too, react in a negative tone then things might get heated.

Reader advice

See it for what it is

Joan Woods. When a man abuses a woman, he insults himself too. Initially, anger makes a man feel powerful and in control, but it slowly burns and consumes him from within. Eventually, that stereotypical sense of “manliness” has a boomerang effect on the man’s physical and spiritual health. If you can see it for what it is, then things can seem a bit less personal and more of a lesson.

Do not take the blame

Doreen Nassaka. Many times, a man’s anger is simply a condition, a habit triggered by the most trivial events. It is not your fault that he has a short fuse, no matter how he may try to unintentionally (or intentionally) brainwash you into believing so. His words and actions are his own responsibilities, so never take the blame for what he does or says.

Be honest with yourself

Justine Nsokwa. Think about whether you played any role in triggering this anger. It pays to be honest with yourself here. If you played a role in escalating the conflict, this will require an approach of taking ownership of your actions and maybe apologising for them if the situation calls for it. However, if you did not contribute to his anger, then your priority shifts to showing him where he misunderstood you.

Anger is temporary

Joseph Kintu. Anger is temporary. So let him be angry and know that he will calm down eventually. If you put more fire into his fire, it may last for more hours or even days than it normally would have. Remember, his anger will pass but what you say to each other while arguing in the heat of the moment may leave scars forever.

Set boundaries

Derrick Mwaura. The biggest mistake I see others make often is not clearly defining what they will be willing to tolerate. Setting boundaries and making them known to your husband is one of the most effective anger management techniques around the house.

Use techniques learnt

Nazil Amutuhaire. Since you have been married for 10 years, I know you have learnt the triggers and how to handle your husband when his temper flares. Continue using these same techniques as you also look for professional assistance.  Sometimes professional help might not yield results  in a short time. You and your husband need to stick with it.

Accept his weakness

Francis Mwondha. Every man or woman has their personal weakness. Learn how to handle his. I doubt he will start being violent towards you after 10 years together. Reach out to family and friends who can talk to him and if all this fails, continue seeking professional help.

Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa

Counseling Psychologist Sermo Therapy Consult 0750074412