We all experience mood swings or fits of rage from time to time. And it's not uncommon for a new wife or husband to fly off the handle about seemingly small things like a dirty sock in the middle of the kitchen or hair all over the shower.
So, what's the difference between the occasional shouting match and living with a woman who is genuinely a "crazy wife?" Well, there's a lot more than meets the eye with the whole "my wife is crazy" stereotype we see play out on TV.
Things to know
- People associate mood swings, emotional blackmail, and verbal abuse with "crazy" individuals.
- If you think your wife is exhibiting these signs, it might mean that she's experiencing mental health issues, suffered abuse in the past, or that you both have ineffective communication styles.
- Whatever the issue, the word "crazy" won't help. Finding out what's really going on will be beneficial to both of you so you can understand it more deeply and take steps to resolve whatever problems you're having.
Keep reading to learn more. Here's what we'll cover in this article:
Is My Wife Crazy?
Unfortunately, depicting women as "crazy" has become commonplace in modern society. We see it in advertising, watch it play out in our favorite television shows, and even hear people compare horror stories of their "crazy ex-girlfriends" at local bars.
But does this actually mean that your wife who sometimes has panic attacks or yells at you for leaving dishes sitting around the house is crazy? Well, maybe not.
Behaviors associated with a "crazy wife"
When we think about the hysterical woman trope that plays out in mainstream media, we picture someone irrational and emotionally unstable. These women appear more prone to mood swings and overreactions than the calm, collected husband that often appears beside her.
But is this the reality of what young women actually do?
Unfortunately, there aren't many clear-cut physical symptoms to look for in this situation. Instead, people associate the following actions and behaviors as a sign that they have a crazy wife:
- Easy to anger or frequent mood swings
- Use tactics like guilt trips to get their way
- Take advantage of emotional blackmail
- Complain about everything
- Appears controlling
- Verbally abuses the husband
- Engages in gaslighting
- Threatens to physical harm others when angry
Some of these are clear signs of a toxic relationship. However, others can result from an underlying issue and a clear indication that your wife needs help. For this reason, it's essential to understand that women usually aren't crazy.
Once you determine the underlying cause, it's often easy to change many of the above behaviors.
What Can Cause "Crazy Wife" Behavior?
Believe it or not, several possible factors can contribute to a wife's seemingly crazy actions. All human beings can seem "crazy" when we don't have all the information.
So, take a minute and really think about your wife's physical and mental health. Then, read these suggestions to see if one of them fits your wife. This will help you determine how you can best help her and restore her to the wife you know and love.
1. She has an underlying mental illness.
Most of the time, when people appear irritable or irate, it’s because they are unwell. Most mental health issues can cause us to do things that are out of character for us, even if it’s a condition like anxiety that causes panic attacks.
When mental health is the contributing factor, it’s essential to seek professional help. In many cases, medication and therapy can help people learn to cope and change their behavior. So, encourage your wife to get help and be patient with her.
2. She grew up in a dysfunctional home environment.
Unfortunately, most of us learn skills like interpersonal communication and expressing our emotions from the home we grow up in. So, when people are raised in an abusive or otherwise dysfunctional home, they carry these same behaviors into their adult relationships.
If you know that your wife grew up in a less-than-healthy environment, this could contribute to her behavior.
Many people who grew up in homes filled with physical or emotional violence are just doing the best they can. If that’s the case, your wife may need to work on healing her inner child or doing some trauma work to get all of that out of her system.
Show your wife that you’re committed to her and encourage her to seek help — but don’t call her crazy.
3. You both lack effective communication skills.
Usually, when people seem “crazy,” it’s because of a communication breakdown.
When people don’t know how to accurately express their needs, they resort to measures that have worked in the past and exaggerate them until they get what they want. Similarly, if people feel ignored or misunderstood, they may try out other forms of communication to get their point across.
There are four communication styles: assertive, aggressive, passive, and passive-aggressive. Although assertive communication is the best method, many people tend to use passive-aggressive or aggressive communication because they don’t know any better. This leads to issues like a woman seeming “crazy” because she uses communication styles that aren’t productive.
If communication is an issue, try working on it together. Share your feelings with your wife and allow her to do the same. You can rely on things like "I Statements" to express yourselves and the fair fighting rules when you are in the midst of a disagreement.
4. You are having marital issues.
Sometimes, marital issues can cause a wife to become a completely different person. She may be scared that divorce is imminent, or she may suspect you’re cheating. She may even be on edge because she’s cheating or considering it. It’s really hard to say.
However, if you know for a fact that you’ve been fighting more than normal, dealing with financial issues, or one of you has had an affair for the first time, then this could just be her way of coping with the events (albeit unhealthily). If this is the case, you may want to sit down and talk through your issues or seek help from a couple’s counselor.
5. She is battling addiction or substance abuse.
Any type of addiction, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, gambling, or sex, can lead to substantial changes in one’s behavior and mood. In fact, addicts often appear “crazy” because their temperament completely changes without any notice or indication of what’s going on.
Many addicts become very good at “hiding their habit” or covering up their tracks, at least for a while. Unfortunately, this makes it hard for loved ones like yourself to determine if your spouse has a problem.
If you suspect addiction may be the issue, keep track of any behavioral changes you notice in your wife. Also, look for changes in her daily routine, a sudden lack of concern for things she used to care about (like hygiene), and any changes in spending habits. All of this can indicate that your wife is unwell and needs an intervention.
6. Something is causing overwhelming stress.
Sometimes sudden events in our lives can lead to substantial changes in mood or emotions. These events can be something as big as the death of an immediate family member to something as small as structural changes within the workplace.
Change isn't fun, which means that even seemingly insignificant changes in our lives can cause overwhelming stress.
When people experience life events that cause overwhelming stress, they may lack the necessary coping strategies to effectively deal with their stress. This can cause people to lash out, project their emotions onto others, and undergo behavioral changes that make them seem “crazy.”
However, that’s not really the case at all. If you recognize this in your wife, look for ways to lighten her load for a bit. Also, recommend professional help if she seems especially overwhelmed or depressed. There’s no shame in going to therapy; sometimes, it’s necessary for a positive outcome.
How Do You Deal With A High Tempered Wife?
If you notice that your wife is growing angry regularly but can't figure out the underlying cause just yet, that's okay. You can still find ways to deal with your wife, even in the midst of emotional moments.
First and foremost, remember that you can't put out a fire with more fire. Therefore, you must remain calm and level-headed when talking to your wife, even if she's angry or upset. If you stay calm and don't try to fight, you may soon see your spouse calm down.
Next, make sure you remain respectful and validating as your partner shares what's on their mind. Avoid criticism, accusations and assumptions as these are some of the worst things you can say to your wife. Instead, use active listening skills so they feel heard and understood. You'll make much more movement if you treat them as an equal, not as someone acting "crazy."
When you need to say something or share your side of the story, use assertive communication no matter what. Assertive communication involves stating facts, sharing your views with "I Statements," and avoiding accusations or assumptions.
So, for example, let's say you and your wife are fighting over which cake mix to use for a birthday cake. Instead of saying, "You're being ridiculous! We don't need to have a chocolate cake," say something more like, "I really don't like chocolate cake with chocolate icing because it hurts my teeth. Could we swap out the chocolate cake mix for yellow or vanilla?"
Finally, it's important to recognize your end goal and pick your battles when possible. Although you may not both want to watch the same video or television show, sometimes it's better to just compromise on the small stuff, so you don't fight all the time.
We're all aware that depicting women as crazy is a relatively common part of modern society. However, most of the time, there's an underlying cause and plenty of things you can do to improve your relationship. Remember, there's a difference between a woman with strong emotions and a "crazy wife."
Be more empathetic and try to use effective communication skills. You just might find that your wife is perfectly fine; you both just needed cooler heads to prevail.