Feeling Disrespected Evokes Anger in Men

Feeling Disrespected Evokes Anger in Men

Ladies, if you think crying when feeling unloved is an acceptable response during a relational conflict, would you be surprised to know that anger is often a man’s response to feeling disrespected during relational conflict?  Pause and let that sink in. Before we clobber the guys about the need for Anger Management 101 let’s put this in perspective.  We feel we deserve the right to cry without being accused of being manipulative or disregarded as an emotional basket case. But when our man expresses anger in his communication during a conflict (in response to feeling disrespected) we often treat him as if he’s broken all the “rules of engagement’ for relational conflict. Most all men, more than 80 percent, said in Shaunti’s survey of men for her book, For Women Only, that in a conflict they were likely to feel disrespected.  If you are like me, when you get in a heated conflict your voice may get a little higher, a little more staccato and the eyebrows may furrow or raise up to our hairline, and some of you may have a specific little twitch somewhere on your face.  That’s usually when our words morph into guided missiles aimed at a vulnerable target. And while he’s feeling ticked off because he feels disrespected, we girls are more likely to be (literally) crying (or at least thinking it) “you don’t love me!”  Ladies, let’s give our man room to be human, specifically to be male. A wise woman will learn with practice to translate his angry words or behavior during relational conflict as a signal that he feels disrespected. Take a break from the discussion with intent to finish business after calming down and start back with a respectful tone and words, and, if appropriate, a word of apology with an affirmation of your respect for him.

P.S. Not all anger is abusive. To be clear, men who verbally or physically abuse their wives do need counseling and intervention but in this article, I’m not referring to that kind of anger.


Written by Linda Crews, Staff and Operations Director for Shaunti Feldhahn


Other related blogs: Respecting His Abilities



  1. fingcat says:

    Hi Shaunti,

    I am trawling through your website and you’re articles/videos are speaking directly into my situation with my husband right now – thankyou SO MUCH for putting them out there. Talk about all the sticky miscommunication that goes on! We are – or should i say – I am – a classic case for this – I am sobbing away and then condemning him for being angry at me despite him telling me it’s his natural and valid response, and reading this article really put this into perspective for me. Thanks!

  2. aquamom says:

    What if your husband uses put downs and swears at you and the kids when things don’t go right? I’m sure my husband thinks I’m being disrespectful, because he freaks out on me often and everything inside comes out. Apparently I never keep the house the way he wants, I don’t parent the kids properly, I am never on his team, etc etc….He thinks that the only way we can be on the same team is if we agree on everything, pretty much his way only. Otherwise I don’t respect or love him.
    But when he flips out on me and the kids after work, when he hasn’t even been home all day, I get upset. Calling us names and swear at us “are your fricken stupid” is not ok.
    One example would be that he used the above phrase to our son, who was not following instructions properly. After the 3rd time husband lost his patience an yelled at our son many hurtful things including “are you fricken stupid”. I gave my husband ‘the look’ but didn’t say anything. My husband sent our son to his room, then my husband started yelling at me, he was angry that it hadn’t been me sending our son to his room. He says I should have done that as it would have shown that I was on his team, and then later let him know I didn’t approve the way he’d yelled at our son. But how can I support him when he’s swearing and calling names at our son?!!! This is far beyond a little anger in a disagreement.

    • Theresa says:

      We are so sorry to hear of such a difficult situation, and we do agree that from what you are sharing, your husband directing those comments to your son is not ok!

      There is probably a LOT going on behind the scenes, but regardless…that’s not ok and you do need to get some counsel and help. You will be getting a private email with some links to articles more specific to your situation.

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