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Angry Fiance

by Anonymous

My fiance and I have been together for almost 5 years and we have an 18 month old son. We got engaged a few months before he was born. I've always known my fiance to be moody and have a temper but I'm starting to be afraid for my son.

I don't want him watching the way his father acts and thinking that it's ok to lose control over his emotions like this. He blames me for anything out of place in the house, blames me if we are late for something (even if he is the one who isn't ready). He doesn't take on any parenting responsibilities, unless it's to yell at our child.

Yesterday he came home from work and got mad because I had let our son use markers in the house (at his highchair). I told him he needed to calm down, and that it wasn't worth a fight, and he yelled at me that I had no respect for him and threw a handful of forks across the living room. Thankfully the baby was already in bed and didn't see this.

He does know he has a problem with his temper and anger and admitted he could use some help but won't commit to anything I try to set up for him (anger classes, therapy etc.). We are seeing a couples therapist together which has helped but he keeps going back and forth.

His own sister asked me how I could deal with him. I'm starting to lose hope and feel that I need to protect our son from following the same path.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. Your thinking makes sense here. I'm sure you saw (and/or see) a lot of good in your fiance, but his anger issues can easily overshadow any good qualities.

The bottom line is that if he does not decide he wants help, seek it, and follow through diligently for several months or a year or more, you will probably see things stay the same or, more likely, get worse.

I am glad you want to protect your son from exposure to his father's anger. You also need to think in terms of protecting yourself. From what you've written here, you seem more concerned about your son than yourself, which is totally understandable, just not healthy.

You have to learn to care as much for yourself as you do for your son. You put up with the abusive behavior (it sounds like), but you reached the end of your rope when you saw the damage to your son. I want you to be as devoted to your own safety as you are to your son's.

Please read the following page on relationships:

battered wife syndrome (this is definitely where you don't want to be...and in some ways already are)

If you do decide to stay with your fiance, I suggest that you read Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, ideally together with your fiance. There are excellent exercises in this book that will be very helpful, if you both use them together.

The most important thing is to take care of yourself and your child. It is up to your fiance to take care of himself, which he will either do or not, that's up to him.

Take these recommended steps for yourself, and for your son. You can do this.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

P.S. If you found this to be helpful, please consider making a donation to this site to support our mission to help you become your own best anger management resource.

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