Why Is My Husband Always in a Bad Mood?

Why Is My Husband Always in a Bad Mood? - SavvyMom

This Anonymous Mom has three children: two tweens and a toddler. Is your husband always in a bad mood?

Hers is…

Is Your Husband Always in a Bad Mood?

I decided to put a name to the phenomenon of my husband always being in a bad mood. I call this “haunting the house.” I find it is usually an expression of passive aggressive control*

*if they do it often enough
*if it has been discussed without meaningful change.

Maybe you wouldn’t necessarily think of your husband as controlling. You’re probably more likely to describe him as grumpy, avoidant, or even downtrodden. However, consistent displays of self-pity (anger can be an expression of self-pity, for sure) within a highly social, interdependent, responsibility-rich context is usually passive aggressive control.

We all have a responsibility to manage the level of emotional intensity we transmit onto others in our relationships. This is especially true if children are present, but it is always true.

Something that might help you flush it out for yourself:

My moody soon-to-be-ex-husband is extremely passive aggressive. I find his grumpiness and unchecked negative affectations in shared family spaces to be passive aggressive.

So his passive aggressive displays of moodiness — which are a form of indirect communication — are, at the core, covert aggression.

And covert aggression gaslights and confuses you, because it leaves you to wonder whether or not your perception is “off.”

  • Is it me?
  • Is it him?
  • Is he not OK?
  • Am I being unsympathetic?
  • Would it be unreasonable of me right now to expect him to do his fair share around the house? After all, he looks so down and out.
  • Does he realize how this is making me feel? The kids feel?
  • Am I insensitive?

And on, and on.

When your husband is in a bad mood all the time, it is **just** enough ambiguity injected into the emotional climate within your home to blur lines of reciprocity.

And the goal of this ambiguity is to keep you focused outside of yourself… to be focused on him. Basically, he’s like a magician who is building up suspense towards the big reveal in their magic trick. This focal point that calls for the arrow of your attention to point outwards… outside of you and onto him.

If your husband is always in a bad mood, you can be sure that countless times each day, you will orient to him to check how he is doing — what can be asked of him and what cannot — which pulls you outside of yourself. When this occurs frequently enough, you are constantly disconnecting you from yourself.

One helpful tool: I learned to examine my soon-to-be-ex-husband’s mood and give it a voice. I learned to ask myself, if his mood spoke, what would it say?

What does your husband’s bad mood communicate?

For example, my husband’s grumpiness might say:

“I’m already not doing well, so don’t ask much of me. Anything I contribute today will be a bonus for everyone, because look at my baseline, it is so low. If I were contribute to the family right now while I’m feeling like this, I would be a hero.”

And then **very** important:

If you take to heart what his bad mood would say, what does that create inside of you? How does his bad mood change how you are able to exist in your own space? In your relationship?

My Husband’s Moodiness

I found that my husband’s moodiness made it so that I was constantly focusing on him because there is this very low-grade feeling of threat about it. With so many ongoing responsibilities in the household, it was impossible not to constantly look at him in the same way that you might check the weather in order to select the right clothing to go outside. I had to constantly reference him to see how much I should be doing for our kids in place of him, based on how much he could do or would do.

The moods of the adults in the home are the weather for all its occupants. And more so, if one adult is generally dominant.

I found that as I approached my husband for his side of whatever needed to get done on a given day, I would measure my words carefully. I would shorten the length of time I would hold his attention before the feelings of tension rose. I would shorten my sentences, try to inject humour into the situation, ask extra nicely, etc. I was essentially bending myself into a pretzel, around his mood.

When he would participate in family activities, it took me a long while to realize that my entire body was tense and tight throughout the duration. It felt like I had asked too big a “favour” from someone who was not obliged to provide one.

In this way, his displays of moodiness set a baseline of low expectations of him for every aspect of our lives.

Inherently, I learned the only reasonable thing to do was to pick up his slack while he was feeling like this.

But he was always feeling like this, it seemed.

All I can tell you is that I learned over time, through listening to my body and all the tension that it would hold, that I was unconsciously living in a ceaseless reaction to the perception of a threat which I could not name.

So, does your husband’s moodiness shape the range of interactions that are possible in spaces that you share?

  • What do his moods say?
  • Do you hesitate to ask him when he is going to mow the lawn or if he’ll be ready to leave on time for your niece’s birthday party?
  • Where do your responses to his moods Iive in your body?

You can search the internet until the cows come home, but if you don’t know why your husband is always in a bad mood and there’s no specific reason for it or he won’t tell you why, chances are he’s weaponizing his moods to centre himself in your and the family’s focus and to avoid any expectations being placed on him. AND so you’ll keep picking up his slack.



  1. Soho on June 26, 2024 at 11:13 am

    Well described, and probably the reason why we are now divorced. He was non communicative and passive aggressive – playing the victim. I was pulling all the weight – family outings, taking care of the children and household whilst maintaining a full time job. He somehow held us back, and your article explained exactly why – This! Now with just me and the kids, it feels a weight was lifted off – a world of difference. We are so much happier without his energy dampening the mood.

  2. john dell on June 27, 2024 at 10:20 am

    Maybe he just suspects he is soon going to be your ‘ex-husband’…

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