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Anger & Ex Convicts

by Jacque
(Crockett, Texas, USA)

My husband has anger management issues. He was pretty bad in his youth & spent a total of 10 years (3 separate stays) in state prison. The last & longest of them was a 7 year stretch.

I met him about a year or so after he got out that last time. Now keep in mind, he can be a wonderful man. He's sowed all his wild oats & his focus is taking care of me & our family. The problem is when he gets angry, he gets very verbally abusive.

He tells me that sometimes he can see what he's doing as it's happening, & sometimes he doesn't realize how cruel he's been until the fight's over. I understand that in prison the only acceptable emotion is anger, but it's been 8 years since he's been out.

How do I help him move past that mind set? I just don't know a good way to approach him to get him calm. I try to keep myself calm (my voice, my body language), but that doesn't have any positive impact. The phrase "please calm down" certainly doesn't work, and if I say his name or "honey" to try & get his attention to diffuse the situation he gets more angry.

I just don't know what to do. I plan on downloading & printing out your worksheets for him (he's agreed to those). I guess my question is, what next? Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Jacque, and thanks for telling your story here. It is great that you care so much about your husband, and getting him the help he needs.

It's a very positive sign that he's agreed to do the worksheets. One of those, the anger management assessment has recommendations in the conclusion segments. In other words, if he completes that assessment, and then reads about his results, he will find recommendations there.

Another possibility in addition to this is to have him do the exercises described on this FAQ page. That will be very helpful to him, if he's willing to do the work.

Believe in him, and believe in yourself, Jacque. See the best in both of you, and stay focused on that.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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