Eight Years Of Anger And Abuse
Dear Dr DeFoore
I have been with my husband for eight years and we have two very young children.
My husband seemed pretty nice when I first met him, however when I moved in with him he became very aggressive. If I made any mistakes or disagreed with him, he would shout and swear very loudly, call me names and sometimes throw things around and kick tables or doors. He would also look very scary and sometimes I thought he was going to come at me.
As time has gone on, he has become somewhat less abusive as I realized that I had to look after myself and have told him he must stop, or I will leave. (I have left him twice, but returned after promises). He still has anger outbursts but not as often, however I still do not find his anger acceptable, especially now with our two young children around.
I gave him an ultimatum last month of either getting professional help or that I would rather be with the children on my own and at least would want a separation (or maybe even divorce). He is now seeing a counselor and his change seems genuine. However, he has seemed genuine before and then he reverts back to his old ways after a while.
Also, the result of his abuse means that now I don't feel much emotion for him and I am doubtful if I can regain any trust back with regards to his bad behaviour. He says that I must trust him this time and he will never be angry again. I am scared that I may have to bring up my children alone, but I also don't want to stay with my husband if he is abusive towards me and subsequently our children.
Dr DeFoore, is my situation hopeless? Can angry people really change if they want to, or is their behaviour so ingrained that it is difficult to change?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Nell, and thanks for telling your story here. Your situation is not hopeless, according to what you've told me here.
You didn't mention alcohol or drug abuse, so I'll assume your husband is not an addict. And, he is getting counseling, which is a big plus.
This doesn't guarantee anything, it is just an indication of positive possibilities. I have seen many people make genuine, lasting change in their emotions and behavior over the years I've been in practice. It takes a lot of commitment and follow-through, but it is definitely possible.
That being said, you have to take care of yourself and your children. That is your top priority. In line with that, you have to find a way to heal from the past abuse in your marriage. That can be very challenging. You may want to try to meet with your husband and his counselor together to help with your healing. Your husband needs to take full responsibility for all of the ways he has hurt you, and show genuine, heart-felt remorse.
You might find it helpful to use these imagery processes for emotional healing regarding the ways your husband has hurt you.
Trust yourself, Nell. You're the only one who can know for sure what is best for you and your children. Focus on yourself and how you feel, and make that more important than any promises or demands your husband might be making.
My very best to you,
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