Angry Husband

22 Jul

Letterbalm Man's FistDear LetterBalm: My husband is angry all the time and finds it hard to control his temper. He says it’s because of his controlling mother. (He and his siblings haven’t been in contact with her for years.) Increasingly, our two young sons are subjected to listening to his abusive outbursts directed at me. It doesn’t take much to set him off.  So far, he hasn’t gotten physical, but he tries to control everything I do, and I find myself walking on eggs not to make him mad. He’s refused counseling and anger management therapy. I don’t want to divorce because my parents divorced, and I felt lost and angry with them for years. My sisters say I am crazy to stay with him, especially since our sons might think that their dad’s behavior is the acceptable way to treat people. But I’m scared to break it off with him because I don’t know what he’ll do.

–Cringing and Scared

Your husband is exhibiting all the classic signs of an abuser. Abuse doesn’t have to consist of physical attacks, as you know. Your sisters raise a good issue – your husband is harming your sons as well as you, and your first responsibility is their safety. It’s too bad you didn’t secretly video your spouse in full rant. Maybe a full-blown anger attack on tape would have shocked some sense into him. Ms. L.B. says you’re past considering anger management and counseling. Consult an attorney and work with abused women experts to make a plan to get you and your kids out of the house. Don’t leave anything discoverable on your computer or otherwise. Gather important documents and valuables – birth certificates, marriage certificate, financial records, school and health records, diplomas, passport(s), bankbook(s), checkbook(s), unused checks, credit cards, jewelry, family treasures, etc. – take your children and leave when your husband isn’t home. He’ll be furious, obviously, and anything you say will not quell the storm. So, when you talk with him, be brief and firm:

Mel, I’ve filed for divorce, and you know I have considerable grounds. Your anger, unfortunately, has poisoned our marriage and, what’s worse, the lives of our sons. Your anger has changed you for the worse. You have so many good qualities, but you’ve made excuses for your rage and allowed it to take over your life. I hope you get help because it would be a shame for you not to get the help you need to live a good life.

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