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Husband Over Reacts With Rage

by Erika

My husband of 18 years has occasions where he completely over reacts with anger. He yells and lays blame and insults in the most over-the-top manner. My daughter and I are usually left shell-shocked after one of his tirades. Then when it's over and he's had a chance to calm down he feels very badly about what happened and apologizes.

The last outburst was yesterday. He was supposed to pick up my daughter early from school. She told him to be there to get her out of school at 1:45 pm for an appointment she had. He arrived at the school at 1:45 and waited in the parking lot for her to arrive. By 2:00 she still had not come out to meet him, and he called me at work angry wondering where she was.

I told him he can't wait in the parking lot, he needs to sign her out at the school's office. This just made him angrier. He was blaming me and her for not telling him this before hand. I told him to calm down, that it was a simple misunderstanding, and that he was getting worked up over something that was not that big of a deal.

We hung up, but later I found out that he yelled at my daughter the whole car ride (20 minutes) to her appointment for making him look like a fool, and not informing him that he needed to sign her out. He was scaring her with his anger, because he was yelling at drivers for the way they were driving. He would speed past them and call them names.

I worry that he is causing irreparable damage to his relationship with our teenage daughter. She doesn't understand where the anger comes from. She recognizes that his anger is over-blown and feels hurt and angry towards her dad. Even though he apologizes, it's hard to forgive him knowing that he will eventually do it again.

It seems that his outbursts have been more frequent these last 3 or 4 years of our marriage.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Erika, and thanks for telling your story here. Your situation is very challenging, and it is good that you are seeking help to know the best thing to do.

Only you can decide the next best step. You're right that your daughter is being damaged, as are you.

I have written several web pages specifically to help people in your circumstances. I suggest you read them all, and see if that helps you know what you need to do.

Start with this page on abusive relationships and how to know what to do next.

I strongly encourage you to consider that you are all your daughter has to keep her safe from your husband's anger.

Here are some questions for you to consider:

1) Have you told him exactly how you feel about his anger, or do you accommodate him to avoid his anger--thereby giving him the message that he is justified?

2) Have you asked your daughter how she feels--not just once, but over time. You need to have ongoing conversations with her to get a real sense of how she feels. Do not put her in charge of the decision--you have to be the one who decides what to do.

3) Have you sought counseling? Have you asked your husband to get help?

These questions are just to help you along in deciding what to do.

I wish you all the best in making the best possible decision for yourself, your daughter and your family.

Dr. DeFoore

Comments for Husband Over Reacts With Rage

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Jul 10, 2022
To the author of 'My Husband is Too Sensitive'
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi, and thanks for reaching out here. I highly recommend that you read Dr. Harville Hendrix's book entitled Getting the Love You Want. (We get commissions on Amazon sales.)

Ideally, you could convince your husband to read it with you. The third part of the book is a workbook for the couple to complete together.

Unfortunately, if he is not willing to take responsibility for his own inner healing process, he will be very likely to continue to act out his hyper sensitivity toward you.

You have every right and reason to be respected in your marriage. Be very clear within yourself about that fact.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Jul 10, 2022
My Husband Is Too Sensitive
by: Anonymous

My husband had an abusive childhood by adoptive parents. His early childhood was physically and emotionally abusive. Later childhood into adulthood he had a very critical mother.

He has always been very sensitive to anything he perceives as not caring or not listening. I will attempt to be caring due to a previous issue he did not like, only to be reprimanded for being how he said he wanted me to be previously.

We have been married 35 years. It has always been this way and our kids dealt with this also. He is a clinical psychologist and tends to use his knowledge to justify or blame or a combo of such.

I'm so tired of arguing over stupid stuff that is of little consequence. He is not open to couples therapy. I'm sure because he will have to confront his personal demons.

Mar 12, 2022
To the author of "Husband Grew Up..."
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for sharing your story here. I'm glad you're planning to leave. Clearly, your efforts at peacemaking and creating stability are not working. Without meaning to, you're enabling his addictive anger. Every time you appease, accommodate or make any effort to avoid his anger, he is getting the nonverbal message that his anger is correct and effective.

You are in a battered wife situation, even though the abuse is verbal and emotional, not physical. You show all of the signs of the battered wife.

I hope you will set your heart and mind to move forward in creating safety for yourself and your children.

Believe in yourself, and do what you know is right in your good and wise heart.

All the best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Mar 06, 2022
Husband Grew Up In An Emotionally Unstable Home
by: Anonymous

I know why my husband yells and has angry outbursts. However it is getting old and I don't know if I can last. We have been married 24 years and have 4 kids together ages 22, 21, 16, 14.

All know about his explosive anger because all are victims of it. He is not always physical. He has punched my older boys in the arm when very mad at them. I have spoken to him about his explosive anger and he gets annoyed that we feel emotionally unsafe. He feels we need to toughen up. Or he will insist we need a divorce or he will give the silent treatment or he will tell me I always take the kids' side.

He refuses help. Two of my kids are peacemakers like me and avoid conflict and do not engage with him when he yells. The other two kids will engage and enrage him by standing up to him. Why have I stayed? Well I wanted to provide stability for my children. And when spouse is not angered he can be very caring.

What helped me cope is him working long hours. However that doesn't totally shield us. He can explode after work, or via text while at work, or on weekends or vacations. I find myself taking on many responsibilities in order to keep peace and avoid him getting frustrated with having too much to do. I also find myself doing things to avoid him and he can tell.

A wall of resentment has been building. I don't open up to him anymore because I do not feel safe doing so. When I do he says things like that’s stupid or why do you care about that. I am thinking of leaving him but need a plan since I do not work full time and we have dogs, cats, chickens (all to keep me busy).

Jan 13, 2017
Husband Always Overreacts Like A Child And It's A Little Scary To My Son And Me
by: Anonymous

My husband threw my 6 year old son's stuffed animal at him and it hit my little boy in the eye, because my son asked him to get off of him. My husband came to lay on him and his stuffed animals while he was relaxing!

After several attempts asking his dad to get off of him and his toys, saying, "Please," his dad would not move. So my son sort of whacked him on his head to get him off, like an impulsive reaction. My husband was upset because my son wanted his space, which is why he wouldn't move. My son had been relaxing with his iPad before bed.

Well my husband started screaming at him for this and called him a jerk and threw his stuffed animal at him and then took his iPad away. And when my son was crying and said he was hurt my husband yelled at him for crying.

I told my husband to leave the room so we could all go to bed and that it was okay for my son to cry. My husband stormed around raging!

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