Are you the husband who rages at his wife?
Do you yell and fly off the handle when you are stressed?
Do you curse at your family and call them names?
If you are, I’m worried about you, because I can see the future.
Years of working with women like your wife have shown me the cycle of what happens almost every single time.
It usually ends with you being served divorce papers, or your wife shutting down and leaving the marriage physically or emotionally.
What worries me is that you are most likely justifying your abusive behavior.
Either because you know your wife can ‘give as good as she gets,’ or because you aren’t nearly as loud or angry or mean as one of your parents, so you tell yourself you are doing ok.
I really hope you are listening to me now because it is NOT ok.
I’m writing this because I’m so tired of seeing the damage this kind of anger is doing to families. I promise you this isn’t going to end well for you. I can only hope you are really listening to me.
And here’s the thing: if you are like most of the men I see, you really aren’t a bad guy. You probably really have turned down all the anger from what you grew up experiencing, and so it seems more acceptable to you.
But deep down, I know you feel something isn’t right.
You may feel guilty about the last fight for a day, but then you begin to minimize the damage.
After all, today everyone seems to have gotten over it, so it must not be too bad. Your hurtful words and intimidation are leaving deep emotional scars that unfortunately for you aren’t visible.
One woman recently told me she wished her husband actually physically hit her instead of raging because then there would be proof of his abusive behavior.
There would be no way to spin his way out of it either.
And she could see the marks and know without a doubt that she was experiencing abuse and it wasn’t all in her head.
You may believe you are doing ok, but if your spouse is intimidated, you are in trouble.
Your marriage is in trouble.
Marriages can survive anything except the loss of safety and security.
If your spouse feels intimidated, she feels unsafe. Period.
Abusive Behavior: it doesn’t have to look like raging.
It can be intense conversations where you demand your spouse give you something she is unwilling or unable to provide, or there is a threat.
Most of the times, I eventually get to meet and work with guys like you.
Here is what I’ve discovered. Without exception, you are very charming and witty.
You often appear to be very easy going but in fact, have a very short fuse. You are often not trying to be mean or controlling, but you have a lot of fear or anxiety, and you want your spouse to relieve the pressure you feel.
So you make demands, lose your cool, or threaten divorce if you don’t get what you need.
Your wife is worried about your relationship.
She wants so much to feel close to you, but she cannot allow herself to let her guard down.
You may not have even noticed she is guarded.
That’s not entirely your lack of sensitivity. Your wife is used to keeping the peace.
She doesn’t want you to know how unhappy she really is because she doesn’t want to hurt you. But trust me on this…she is unhappy. And she will struggle with these feelings for years.
Your kids see your angry outbursts, but they may never let you know.
They are afraid of you too.
Your anger keeps everyone that experiences it at a safe distance.
Your home should be the safest place in the world for your wife and kids.
If it isn’t, you aren’t doing your job well enough.
Raging at your family can feel powerful and good. Even if you feel like a jerk afterward, there is something very indulgent about letting loose.
I’m trying to help you see that your behavior has a price tag, and it is probably way more than you are willing to pay.
If you knew what was coming.
If you could see what I see.
So wake up! Your family is not your emotional punching bag.
Learn how to control your anger. Learn what triggers you to fly off the handle and do whatever it takes to stop.
Invest in counseling for yourself and for your marriage. You owe that to your family. If you don’t do this work, your kids will be doing it for years. You are creating a legacy that will carry on for generations.
At The Marriage Place, we can help both of you understand just how toxic this dynamic is to both of you and we can help you stop.
We can show you how to feel safe and cherished with each other again.
Call us at 972-441-4432 or contact us here.
PS. Stay tuned for a future post about abusive women and the husbands who love them. We know it works both ways.