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He’s killing my love for him

Is his anger my fault? 

No, says our elder, but here’s what you can do to help both of you.

Dear EWC:

Hello, my husband and I have been together for 13 years. Sometimes things are good, sometimes I feel very unhappy.

My husband has the level of job he always wanted though it’s still quite a stressful job. He has anger problems on and off and with other jobs too. He never touches me. It’s all verbal. Sometimes he gets very angry on small issues, i.e. the kitchen roll is empty and I’ve forgotten to change it! He’s a bit of a control freak too though he doesn’t stop me doing anything or control my money or anything I do.

His anger upsets/affects me greatly, I feel it’s killing my love for him. He shouts and swears. This affects how I feel in myself and how I feel about him. I wish I could deal with it better (any advice on this also appreciated please).

Over the years I have hoped things would improve, (we’re both nearly 60). I don’t like to give up easily, we built a life together. We love traveling and have other parts of our life we enjoy. I guess I feel I’m being worn down by it all. I do talk honestly to him about how I feel and he says I’m his life and he will try to stop it! I worked full time for many years but I no longer do. I have a very small pension. I have no interest in meeting anyone else and only keep in touch with 1 or 2 friends. I’m so torn.

I wish it would work out for us but I’m feeling more and more tired of my husband’s behaviour. Thank you.

Grandpa-Matt replies:

We humans are good observers of behavior, but we don’t know what that means. A couple of possibilities could be some anger issues that your husband is dealing with that probably have nothing to do with you specifically. It might be his inability to cope with the stress of life.

I think it would help to understand where he is coming from. Let’s look at anger. It is an emotional response. It is natural. Everyone gets angry from time to time. What is important to remember is what one does with it. I believe anger and resentment generally come from hurt feelings. We set this up when we create expectations for other people and those expectations don’t get met for some reason.

If we think that a person should always act in the way we expect, we are doomed to experience upset. The reason is because humans can’t always perform correctly. We would be robots if we always completed a task correctly! We are only human. So with people in his life who do not live up to his expectations for them, he would experience hurt and anger toward them. It is a natural result of feeling let down. The only way out of that trap of his is to expect that you and other folks will occasionally fail and accept that fact.

When it happens to me, I have expectations that people will always be on time when they make a promise. When they don’t show up on time, I feel hurt that they don’t care enough about me to keep the agreement. Those hurt feelings make me angry and resentful toward them until I recognize that there are circumstances where they can’t help being late. When I accept that, the anger dissipates.

It is one thing to feel angry. It is another thing to choose what to do with that anger. One always has a choice about that. Sometimes we stuff it down. Other times we explode and lash out. Luckily he does not get physical, or damage property, etc. There are ways to handle what we do with our anger responsibly. With anger, what one can do is reset all the expectations for all the others in the universe. 

I don’t know if any of this information can help you deal with your husband, but you might have a better understanding of where he is most likely coming from. However, having said that, you are entitled to enforce your personal boundaries. Good Luck.

Marriage 

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