Abusive Behavior – Part 2 of 2 – Men Who Rage, Women Who Love Them

Abusive Behavior(Read Part 1, here.)

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.

FAQ: Why Is Marriage So Hard?

TWhy Is Marriage So Hard?oday we’re answering one of the most frequently asked questions: “Why Is Marriage So Hard?”

If you think marriage is easy, you may not be doing it right.

Falling in love.

Committing to a lifetime together.

Sex.  Kids.  Bills.  Vacations.  Yard work.  Sickness.  Inlaws.  Outlaws.  

It’s all part of this thing we call marriage.

Day by day we build complicated lives: intermingling finances, assets and DNA to create our family structures.  

We live together in confined spaces navigating through different personality traits and annoying pet peeves with each of us carrying our own vast assortment of insecurities, fears and past woundings.  

What could possibly go wrong in marriage?!

Trust me on this: plenty goes wrong. And with annoying frequency.  

It usually looks like a blending of blaming, criticizing, bullying, intimidation, obsessing, worrying, fear, anxiety, depression, addiction, avoidance, people pleasing, anger, controlling, resentment and lying just to name a few.    

This is why it amazes me when someone says marriage shouldn’t be hard. How in the world can it NOT be hard?  

Why is marriage so hard? Because it is work.  

The work is learning how to merge together, while softening each of your edges.  

It is being together enough to work as a team in harmony, yet separate enough to maintain your individuality.  

The work of marriage is a deep, soul changing work on each person individually.  

Not to change your partner but to learn to adapt to your partner.  

It’s about changing YOU because in that adapting, you learn about yourself and how you show up in the world.  

Marriage is a great vehicle to doing the hard work of growing yourself up emotionally.  

Marriage is work, because it is a constant introspection into your behaviors, thoughts and emotions to see where you are off relationally.  

Otherwise, you and your spouse are simply reacting to one another instead of intentionally moving toward each other.

We always say at The Marriage Place that intimacy is “into me you see”.  Intimacy is about revealing the truth about who you are, what you feel, how you think, and doing it in respectful ways. (That’s the key, here.)

Why do we hide?

Most of us hide so much of ourselves for fear of being judged or being found somehow less worthy.  But when we do this we don’t allow our partner the chance to grow themselves or to grow closer to us.

All of us long for mature love that accepts us without judgment.

But very few of us know how to get or give that kind of love.  

So we engage in behaviors to try and ensure we get what we so desperately seek.  

There are several behaviors which often cause the problems I see in marriage counseling each week.

Why is marriage so hard? 5 behaviors that hurt our marriages.

Oftentimes without realizing, we engage in disruptive behaviors to get what we want from our spouse.

This may look like any one of these behaviors:

1. Clinging

Anytime we try and get more from someone then they are willing or able to give we are clinging.  This includes more time, more money, more praise and more affection.

2.  Controlling

We are controlling people when we try and modify their behavior by using guilt, anger, intimidation, and emotional withdrawal.

3. Lying

We lie when we hide or diminish our mistakes, flaws and fears to avoid people withdrawing their approval.  

We lie by accentuating our positive qualities so other people will like us.  

We lie when we give false praise or we do not accept responsibility for our mistakes.  

4. Running

An effective way to diminish pain is simply to withdraw from it.  

We are running when we physically or emotionally leave or avoid difficult situations or relationships.  

Avoiding behaviors can be drinking, drugs, outside relationships, the silent treatment, working too much, hobbies, even time spent with our kids.  

Whatever allows us to avoid the relationship that needs our attention.

5. Acting like a victim

When we blame others for our unhappiness, we are taking the victim role.  

We may not like the choices we have when someone behaves badly, but ultimately we are responsible for our actions whether we stay and put up with it or we leave it.  

Getting mad at our partner for forcing us to make the choice is blaming them and keeps us stuck.  

Grudgingly going along in your life as if there is no solution to your problems is taking the victim role.

Learning how to step out of this role is often the most liberating, empowering, life changing move a person can make.

If you are doing any of these behaviors, you have some emotional growing up to do.  Your marriage is going to be hard until you do the work.  

I know someone who is very entrenched in controlling behaviors.  He thinks his marriage is easy because he gets his way a lot.  But his spouse thinks the marriage is hard.  Very hard.

What can I do about a difficult marriage?

If you want a good marriage, don’t worry about changing your partner.  

Focus on changing YOU.  

That is your work for a better relationship with anyone else.  

Once you change you, your spouse has to change as a result.  

It’s like doing a dance.  

You are both fox trotting through life and then one of you starts to waltz.  

Your partner may stumble a bit.  

He or she may feel confused or even angry but they cannot continue the fox trot.  

Waiting for your partner to change is why people feel hopeless about their marriages getting better.  

Stop waiting.  Start doing the work of growing yourself up.  

At The Marriage Place we can help you do that.  Whether you live locally in the Dallas area or in another country, we have coaches and counselors who can work with you face-to-face or over the phone or Skype.  

A better marriage begins with a better you.

Contact us today online or on the phone at (972) 441-4432