How to Respond When Husband Yells


How to respond when a husband yells is a challenge that will change your marriage.  How to respond?  Don’t.  Just stare at him.  Do nothing.  Pretend he just barfed all over whatever he is standing in front of.  Stare at him. Say nothing. Then walk away.  It’s your silence that will leave him to see he wasn’t being very kind.

Today I was yelled at the moment the husband walked in the door.  No hug.  No hello.  It was simply, “Why didn’t I just see you at the appointment?”

I stood confused starring at him, trying to understand his motivation while also trying not to expose my mental rolodex, (dead from 10 hours of grueling work with no break) searching for the answer to his question.

Hmm…my mind raced.  Nothing.  I had nothing.

My husband stood there.  Quietly waiting for an answer.  So I did what I always did, laugh and ask, “What appointment?”

The husband was not happy and his tone and words flying out of his mouth came at me like a hammer.  “Obviously if you don’t have time to take care of our kids and me, then you sure as heck don’t have time to volunteer at help school or that non-profit you spend all your free time doing!”

What he didn’t understand was that I forget about some of that stuff too!  Being a full time working mom at 2 jobs, having three kids, one husband AND volunteer teaching a program I not only love, but one that seeps into my own brain reminding me what life is really about…I can’t remember anything unless I write it down or take a photo.

But he was mad and I had to address that.  Inside my head all at once were a bunch of options?  I’d already laughed- and that only made things worse. The other part of me wanted to call him a dick…but I do not believe in name calling in a marriage so that was out.  The other option was just to apologize, sincerely, and say nothing else.  Nothing. Zip it.

This last option was new for me and lately, I’ve discovered, it really works!  Because when I take ownership of the wrongdoing, well…then….the argument is over.

Midlife crisisSo I let him yell at me and compassionately said, “Wow.  I forgot.  I’m so sorry.”  (BTW, saying “i’m sorry” doesn’t cost you a penny (but your pride and ego).  Of course I added more, “You sound really frustrated, I’m so sorry if I made it worse.  I totally understand what you just said and it makes perfect sense.  Thank you for pointing that out.”

His mouth opened a bit to say more to me, but nothing came out.  He stood there and I smiled and hugged him.  He was so shocked he didn’t move….so I didn’t get a hug back. But that was okay.  I did my part.

What was my mistake?  I forgot an appointment we set up with my son’s school.  I never wrote it down and I completely forgot.  But the husband went and that was what was important – because one of us was there.

BL:  Life is hard these days. So much to do and keep track of.  Constantly double checking and re-checking and re-communicating with your spouse – even if you think it’s too much, will keep you on the same path.  So everything shows up everywhere.  And no one is pissed.