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Trying And Failing Miserably

by Rain

My husband and I have been married for almost two years, and have been together for ten. Ugh. I don't even know where to start right now. I am upset, hurting, and do not know where to turn. I feel so alone.

I cannot turn to friends or family because I do not want their pity or there dead end suggestions and do not know how to seek advice without harming people's opinion of my husband. I love him and I committed my life to him and am committed to making our life together work.

My husband and I have been through a lot (to say the least) and know each other better than anyone else. We both had abusive childhoods and were given terrible coping mechanisms as tools.

We have both always had a problem with our temper and our anger control. This has resulted in both physical and emotional abuse on both sides. However I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago to work on myself and my anger. This was a decision I made for myself to myself. I decided I was going to take responsibility for my own actions, I would try to take a step back when I start to see red, and I would not provoke a fight just because I was angry. It has been a very long, tough road, but I feel that I am making progress.

Lately I have been having an extremely hard time dealing with my husband’s anger. I feel like me trying to keep my emotions under control is compromising my emotional health. I walk on eggshells to not trigger his anger. I do not invite him to family events or social gatherings any longer because I simply don't want to fight about why he should be there with/for me.

I lie to friends and family about why he does not come to events, and make excuses to get out of events. I absorb bad news to try to buffer him from having an eruption. These episodes may or may not get directed at me but I still have to deal with him yelling, throwing things, breaking things, or slamming things around.

He has a terrible job that does not respect him, and is up for sale (and has been for 2 years). He is overworked and underpaid. I feel badly for his situation and try to offer suggestions, try to get his mind on happier things, or simply offer an ear for him to vent. None of this helps.

I have told him repeatedly to quit and find something else. He will not because of a looming prospect of a large severance if his place of work sells to another owner. I have told him that no amount of money is worth his health and the health of our marriage. I have told him that he can either change his situation or change his attitude about it. I have tried saying nothing. I have tried to express that I feel like his emotional punching bag. Nothing seems to help or get through.

Tonight, for instance…he was told he needs to come in on one of his days off this weekend. So instead of at least trying to enjoy the time he has away from his job, he sat stewing, and complaining, and getting angry, and speaking negatively about the people he works with and his boss.

He was very quick to anger for the smallest trigger, and was physically tense and brooding all night. I received a wedding invitation from a close childhood friend, and made a comment that we could go on a road trip and visit some family and attend this wedding, since it's during a time of year that he can actually take a week or two off.

He immediately jumped down my throat and expressed it was a "bad idea". I got angry but quickly decided not to press the issue, and put the card down. He stormed off into another room and slammed things around, and then went off to brood. I then confronted him about his anger, and expressed much of the same sentiment I have shared here already.

This led to more yelling and throwing things around, then he said he was leaving because he didn't want to deal with my shit. He eventually sat back down and just totally closed me out. He just sat silent and brooding, glaring at the wall.

I calmly, through the tears in my eyes, told him that he needed to work on his anger and that I do not deserve to be treated like this. I walked away. He took a shower (continued to knock things around and aggressively move things) then went into our bedroom and slammed the door.

I work full time, go to school, take care of all of our finances, keep our house clean, take care of our dog, do all the shopping, make almost all of his meals, and am almost never confrontational when he has friends and family over to play music (which is consistently 2-4 nights a week, during which I make dinner for everyone who is here and clean up after everyone when they leave).

I am struggling to find my voice to tell him how I feel. When I do find it, it inevitably ends up with him shutting down in fierce anger and me crying and feeling worse than I did before I opened my mouth.

I am struggling to find the strength to keep my own emotions in check. I am struggling not to just give up and give in. I am struggling to make myself happy. I am struggling to take care of myself. I feel stuck. I feel so sad. I feel unheard. I feel like I have no one to turn to. I feel alone. I feel like no one understands. I feel like no one will understand.

I feel like I have tried everything. I feel like I have no more energy to fight. No more words to say. All I can do is cry.

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Jul 07, 2017
You May Be Supporting His Anger Without Meaning To
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi Rain - Thanks for telling your story here where others might benefit.

Good for you for gaining some control over your own anger. I get what you're saying though, that keeping it all inside is really bothering you.

You'll find some guidelines here that will not only help you to control your anger, but also to heal and release it so that it's not just building up inside.

By doing everything you can for your husband, and trying your best to help him and fix everything to keep him from getting angry, you're unintentionally sending him the message that his anger is effective to get what he wants. I hope you understand what I'm saying here, because this is important.

I suggest you do a couple of things:

1) Slowly, steadily, reduce the number of things you do for him. It sounds like he's not really pulling his weight, and often acting like an emotional do not want to support this by always trying to accommodate his every need.

2) When you're ready, tell him that you can't go on like this. Tell him that you do not want to continue to be on the receiving end of his anger and abuse. You're working on your anger...he can most certainly work on his.

I hope this is helpful, Rain. I know you don't want to give up on your marriage, but be sure you don't stay in it too long (without improvement), to the point where you give up on yourself.

You are worthy of kindness and respect. There is no real love without kindness and respect.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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