Is He Sad Or Mad? What To Do When Your Husband Is Depressed and Angry


    6 Min Read


    Depression and anger are two powerful and often misunderstood emotions. They can affect anyone, regardless of gender. However, if your husband is depressed and angry, you may be wondering if these two emotions are connected.

    Spoiler alert – they are. Especially in men.


    Depression and anger in men are connected, but the connection can be complex. While not all men with depression experience anger, and not all men with anger issues are depressed, the two can be linked in several ways.

    When you’re a wife with a depressed and angry husband, understanding these links and how best to help him can seem daunting. Not to mention the toll this emotion combination can take on you personally and your relationship.

    Understanding How Your Husband’s Depression And Anger Are Connected

    When it comes to men, there are three primary connections that exist between anger and depression.

    • Anger as a mask for depression

    • Anger as a symptom of depression

    • Depression that develops because of unresolved anger

    Let’s clarify what we’re discussing before we look at those in greater depth.


    Anger as it relates to depression isn’t occasional. It’s not frustration at your son’s bad grade in math or irritation that you’re out of orange juice.

    When your husband’s anger and depression are connected, anger becomes a regular part of his demeanor.

    Depression-related anger can be,

    • Volatile

    • Irrational

    • Unpredictable

    • Extreme

    • Disproportionate to the trigger

    • Abusive

    It can also create tension and fear within the home as it’s typically taken out on the family.

    The protective mask of anger in men

    Despite all the moves forward, men still often feel societal pressure to conform to traditional notions of masculinity. This can mean,

    • Suppressing emotions like sadness or vulnerability.

    • Remaining strong or tough in the face of adversity.

    • Resisting the need to cry.

    • Maintaining an aloof, emotionally distant facade.

    Many men believe (because society has conditioned them) that open expression of emotions is a sign of weakness. The exception to this is the expression of anger.


    Anger is widely accepted as a masculine emotion and is almost expected as a response from men dealing with complicated feelings. This means that many men mask their depression with anger, as it’s often perceived as a sign of strength and control, whereas admitting they’re depressed (even to themselves) seems like a sign of weakness.

    Because men have been taught to do it from childhood, masking feelings with anger is often done without forethought.

    In other words, most men don’t actively think,

    I’m sad and depressed, so I’m going to hide it with anger.”

    They just do.

    This can make it difficult for men to recognize their true feelings, especially depression.

    Instead of acknowledging their feelings of sadness or hopelessness, they may exhibit irritability, frustration, or explosive anger to release their emotional pain. This hinders their well-being and affects their relationships and interactions with others, especially their partners.

    Anger can be a symptom of depression

    While anger can be a way to conceal depression, it can also be a direct result of it.


    Men experiencing depression may feel overwhelmed by feelings of,

    • Powerlessness

    • Frustration

    • General dissatisfaction with life

    • Unhappiness associated with midlife crisis

    These emotions can easily trigger anger as a defense mechanism against the perceived threat to their emotional well-being.

    Dr. Kurt specializes in working with men and helping them in ways they can relate and respond to. He counsels men dealing with anger dealing with anger and depression weekly. In his experience,

    Emotions are uncomfortable for most men. That's one of the reasons why they won't talk about them. Yet women would agree that the above list is pretty negative and wouldn't want to embrace them either. So, what's really different for men? These feelings also trigger an important element of masculinity - control. Not being able to control their feelings fuels anger. Feelings can't always be controlled, but they can be managed. And most men haven't learned how to do this very important life skill. If your husband is depressed and angry, one of the causes is likely to be things he can't or doesn't know how to control."

    Depression can also disrupt sleep patterns and decrease energy levels, leading to irritability and a reduced tolerance for stressors. These factors contribute to an anger response that can be difficult to regulate for a man suffering from depression.

    Unresolved anger as a cause of depression

    On the other hand, anger that remains unexpressed or unmanaged can contribute to the development of depression in men.

    This may be anger that stems from childhood experiences or even issues within your relationship that have never been resolved.

    Consider Dirk, for instance. Dirk and his wife Leila went through a rough patch 5 years into their marriage, and as a result, Leila cheated on him. They worked together to get past her infidelity, or so she thought. The truth, however, is that Dirk never really got over it and has been harboring anger and resentment toward her for the last 10 years. But he tells himself he’s okay and that he’s forgiven her.

    Because he never thoroughly dealt with his feelings at the time, they’ve been dwelling inside him and are now manifesting as depression.


    When anger is internalized, it will fester and compound feelings of frustration and sadness, ultimately leading to a depressive state.

    Men unable to appropriately express their anger may become trapped in a cycle where they suppress their emotions, leading to emotional numbness, isolation, and depression (leading to more anger).

    Clues Your Husband’s Anger Is Related To Depression

    As noted above, not all men who are depressed are angry, and not all angry men are depressed.

    But knowing if your husband’s anger is linked to depression, or if his depression is related to anger, is essential as you try to help him and maintain your relationship.

    So, if you’re trying to determine whether your husband’s anger could be connected to depression evaluate his behavior for these signs:

    Duration and frequency of anger

    • Does your husband frequently experience intense anger that seems disproportionate to the situation?

    • Does this anger persist longer than seems reasonable?

    Anger that seems out of place and lasts longer than it should can be a sign of underlying depression. Depression symptoms, including irritability and anger, may persist for weeks or months.

    Anger triggers

    • Is his anger triggered by things that haven’t bothered him in the past?

    • Is he being triggered by minor things most people would let go of?

    Sometimes, a husband who’s angry and depressed will become angry by seemingly minor stressors or frustrations. It may also be difficult for him to identify the specific cause of his anger.

    Physical symptoms

    • Have there been changes in his eating or sleeping habits?

    • Does he constantly seem tense and on edge?

    • Is he dealing with persistent fatigue?

    These physical symptoms are common with depression and can accompany anger issues as well.


    Negativity and negative self-talk

    • Has he been overly negative lately?

    • Has he been particularly negative about himself?

    • Does he seem to have given up on plans, goals, or dreams that were once important to him?

    Negative self-talk, self-criticism, and feelings of hopelessness can be indicators of depression and are often expressed in anger.

    Loss of interest and changes to routine

    • Have you heard expressions like, “What’s the point?” or I hate everything”?

    • Has he stopped caring about his appearance?

    • Are you hearing phrases like, “I never liked them anyway?” and “They’re all idiots" as he withdraws from social interaction?

    A decline in personal hygiene, productivity, or an inability to complete daily tasks are hallmarks of depression, as is a disinterest in social activity.

    The blame game

    Blame is a way of rationalizing bad behavior. If your husband is depressed and angry, he’s likely blaming others for his behavior, feelings, and particularly his frustrations and annoyances.

    How You Can Help Him

    Supporting an angry and depressed husband can be challenging, especially if his anger is frequently directed at you. But your willingness to care and understand can make a significant difference.


    Before we look at how you can help him, it should be stated that there is no justification for abusive behavior. Depression and emotional turmoil are no excuse for abusing the people around you and should not be accepted.

    With that in mind, the following tips can help you help your husband manage his anger and depression:

    • Educate yourself. Learning more about depression and anger issues will help you understand how you can provide support and communicate effectively.

    • Offer emotional support. Men are notoriously bad at discussing their feelings. He may be confused about what he’s feeling and unsure of how to deal with it. So, give him some suggestions based on your perspective. Reassure him that his emotions are valid, and make sure he knows you’re there for him and love him unconditionally.

    • Respect his boundaries. While encouraging communication you must also respect his boundaries. Give him that space without feeling rejected if he needs some space or time alone. *You must also insist he accepts your boundaries and treats you with respect too.

    • Maintain a support network. He may not feel like being social, but maintaining a connection with family and friends is important for both of you.

    • Encourage professional help. A husband dealing with anger and depression will likely need the help of a professional counselor. Therapy can provide insight, tools, and strategies for managing both depression and anger. If he won’t go, then go on your own.

    What To Take Away

    When your husband is angry and depressed it can sometimes be a long and painful journey.

    It requires,

    • Empathy

    • Patience

    • Communication


    • Your husband’s anger and depression are likely related.

    • He may not recognize the connection.

    • He may also not know how to talk about his feelings.

    • Professional support can be of immense help for each of you.

    Lastly, remember that just because your husband is angry and depressed does not give him license to become disrespectful, unloving, or abusive.


    Looking for More? Check Out These Articles

    Read Comments from Others with Similar Experiences Below

    Like what you read?

    Guy Stuff's Counseling Men Blog shares real stories from our counseling sessions, giving practical solutions and answers to the challenges men and women face.

    Use your email to subscribe below.

    Subscribe to get in-depth articles, right in your inbox: