Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
It sounds like your wife either feels hurt very easily and reacts by protecting herself with anger or she has an anger management issue.
If she does have an anger management issue, you will see evidence of it throughout her life. She will lose her temper not only with you, but with others who hurt her as well. She will be short tempered with anything that bothers her.
But if her anger is about feeling hurt, then she needs to get in touch with why she acts this way and what triggers her feelings in order to solve the problem.
Either way, withdrawing and refusing to talk is a control issue. Your wife has learned a unhealthy way of reacting to her hurt and takes it out on you by taking away your ability to work it out through communication.
Usually when someone has a reaction like your wife's to small incidents, it is because the person feels things very deeply. People develop this kind of deep hurt from past injustices that happened to them. For instance, someone who has been abused during childhood will have learned to protect themselves by withdrawing from the person they perceived hurt them. As an adult they will react the same way, even if the hurt was small or unintentional.
In order to resolve this, your wife should see a therapist. She needs to work on not only the reason she reacts this way, but how to stop herself from lashing out. She needs to relearn a better way to express her feelings about her hurt. She can find a therapist through asking her doctor for a referral. Or she can search on line at http://www.bacp.co.uk/ or http://www.cpdirectory.com/cgi-bin/index.pl.
Some of the ways you both can work on this issue include:
1. When your discussion starts to escalate, agree to leave the room. Do not come back until you feel calm.
2. Use "I" statements only. For example, when you express a feeling, say "I feel it wasn't fair when you.....". Saying "you" makes the other person feel defensive.
3. Agree to a set time to come back and continue the discussion. So if your argument starts at 3:00 pm, stop the argument and agree to come back at 5:00 pm. Then go out and find a way to burn off the frustration.
If your wife shuts you out, calmly let her know you care about her but that you are hurt by her treatment and when she is ready to talk, let you know. Then leave her alone. It is hard, but this prevents you from continuing to try to connect only to get rejected which, as you said, leads you to become angry.
Both of you can also work on this issue at home. Here are some resources to help get you started:
The Anger Trap: Free Yourself from the Frustrations that Sabotage Your Life by Les Carter and Frank Minirth
When Anger Hurts Your Relationship: 10 Simple Solutions for Couples Who Fight by Kim Paleg and Matthew McKay
Letting Go of Anger: How to Get Your Emotions Under Control by Annie Chapman
From Anger to Forgiveness: A Practical Guide to Breaking the Negative Power of Anger and Achieving Reconciliation by Earnie Larsen and Carol Larsen Hegarty
From Anger to Intimacy Study Guide: How Forgiveness can Transform Your Marriage by Dr. Gary Smalley and Mr. Ted Cunningham
You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.
Let me know if I can help in any other way,