Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D.

My Husband is Angry! 
 

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Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D. MFT  
PsychotherapyHELP  
818-882-7404  

phannigphd@att.net  


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Ask Dr. Paul ...

Question:

 

"My husband gets angry at me and the kids for no apparent reason. It's causing all kinds of trouble in our relationship and I am starting to fear that he will do something to hurt me. I am afraid for my safety and the safety of my children. I have often thought of leaving him, but I don't know where to go and how to take care of myself. We have been married for 12 years and things have slowly deteriorated. Sometimes, we don't talk to one another and pass each other like ships in the night. My marriage is dying and I am not sure how I feel about him. Can I save my marriage?"

 

Answer:

 

Do you want to save the marriage? Have you any idea how your children are reacting to your estrangement? You can bet that your children are watching what's going on. Have you ever wondered what they are learning from this? Most kids can handle conflict between their parents, as long as they are able to see them resolve their conflicts, negotiate solutions and arrive at satisfying agreements. They want to see both of you come back together again and be intimately happy. Stable closeness provides a strong foundation for children to grow up in.

 

You say that you don't talk to one another and avoid the issues by passing each other like ships in the night. How is that working for you? You don't talk to each other and you avoid working the issues. Sounds to me, like very ineffective strategies ... as is destructive anger. It has no place in the relationship and it has to be removed. The boat is leaking and if you don't stop it, it will sink and somebody might drown.

 

Now, let's take the anger. I don't buy the idea that your husband's anger occurs in a vacuum. If it does, then he has an explosive disorder. If he has an explosive disorder without any triggers, then a psychiatric evaluation is needed. In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Somebody's got to initiate constructive conversations. You will need to sit down and calmly discuss with him what are the precipitating factors that lead up to and trigger his anger. Remember, you have your own perceptions and he has his. But, they are only perceptions and no one sees the same event in the same way. Perceptions are not reality and you should not fight over whose perceptions are right and whose are wrong. Right and wrong, blaming and defending do not belong in a marriage. Anger usually occurs because people are not able to safely express their feelings, thoughts and opinions. Anger is usually a signal that your relationship has reached its outer limits, the love barrier. This impasse has to be solved by the both of you sitting down and discussing both of your most important needs. He is angry, in all probability, because you have not taken the extra step to really hear what he needs. Once he senses that you are fully listening and responding to his real needs, he will feel received, accepted and loved.

He will also need a way to work on the bottom line of his anger, so that there is nothing there inside of him that can react to what ever you are doing to trigger or provoke his anger. Ask yourself and him what you have brought to the marriage that he does not want or need. At the same time, you'll need to discuss with him your need for him to protect you from his anger. He will need to know and understand that you need him to satisfy your needs for safety and protection. Then both of you can discuss and negotiate ways to eliminate those things that each of you bring to the relationship, that you both don't need or want.






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Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D MFT w PsychotherapyHELP

Chatsworth, CA 91311 w 818.882.7404 w phannigphd@att.net


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