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My Husband's Anger

by Joanne
(CA)

My husband has terrible anger issues. I never know what's going to set him off. When one of the dogs does something wrong he will beat them. When he gets mad at me he will break things, throw things at me and call me names. At times he scares me.

Once he calms down he knows he has done wrong and says he's sorry, but I hate walking on eggshells at home. My 17 year old daughter (not her father) hates him. She hates the way he treats the dogs and when she tells him to stop he calls her names and throws a tantrum like a child.

He has promised to get help, but has not done so. We tried going to couples counseling, but after the 2nd session he walked out of the office angry before the session was over. He has medical issues and is in constant pain, which i know makes him irritable but it doesn't excuse his behavior.

I am not sure what to do anymore. My daughter and I are miserable, but I love my husband very much. Your help is appreciated.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hi Joanne, and thanks for telling your story on this site. Your situation sounds very difficult, for all three of you. I will do my best to help you.

I think you're going to have to break the egg shells. What I mean is, it's time to stop tip-toeing around the issue of your husband's anger. You and your daughter are being held hostage to his outbursts.

It is unacceptable to allow your husband to continue to abuse your dogs. It is unacceptable to allow things to continue the way they are, contributing to your daughter's hatred and misery. The responsibility is yours, since your husband is not taking action, and it's not your daughter's place to take action.

You need to let him know exactly where you stand. At a time when he's calm, and you're calm, hug him and tell him how much you love him. Then tell him that his abuse of the dogs cannot continue, and his anger outbursts at your daughter also cannot continue. Tell him that you will not allow him to make your home miserable for you and your daughter.

Without realizing it, you have been giving him the impression that things are okay, after he says he's sorry and knows he's done wrong. You have to be very, very clear with him that things have to change. With love and respect in your heart, say, "You will be kind to our dogs, you will get some help and deal with your anger, and you will not direct your anger at my daughter." Also tell him, "I know you're a good man, and you want this as much as I do." If he's open to it, show him this site and encourage him to write his story and ask for help here also.

Meanwhile, focus on the positive aspects of your husband, and make up your mind that you will be with the good man you know him to be. Be very clear in your mind that your husband will treat you, your daughter and your dogs with respect and love. Keep that focus very strong and clear in your mind. If it works with your beliefs, think of this as a form of positive prayer.

If there's something I've missed here, Joanne, please write a comment and fill in the blanks for me. The above is just what came to me as I read your story. I know there is a lot more to your picture than I'm seeing here.

I wish you, your family and your dogs the very best,

Dr. DeFoore
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