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My husband and I have one child together and two stepkids from his previous marriage. I love him very much, but I am at a loss for what to do in response to his temper.

He is not physically abusive, and I don't believe he ever would be. But he grew up in an extremely angry house, and is quick to scream and yell in pretty intimidating ways. Sometimes it's unprovoked (or provoked by regular kid behavior) but often it's in response to my being annoyed about something.

This morning, it was the latter. Our youngest wakes up very early, and my husband promised to get up with him this morning so I could try to recover from lack of sleep the night before. When the time came, he didn't get up; our little one crawled all over me until I was fully awake, and just got up out of a sense of futility. When I came back into the room after my shower, I was irritated about the situation and said so, probably more emotionally than I should have. And there it went.

Within about a minute, he was explaining why what I wanted was not reasonable -- and maybe it's not. I don't know anymore. (I wake easily and can't get back to sleep, so I'd hoped he would just get up right away so I could have a chance.) Anyway, it got to be a fight, and I can handle that.

What I can't handle is what happens next -- what starts as an argument invariably brings out this wild-eyed monster, who stands over me, angrily yelling about what a selfish child I am, and in front of the kids. This morning, as before, it ended with me sitting in the hallway sobbing while he continued to yell from the shower about how horrible I am -- and with our three year old right there listening. Once I could stop, I grabbed our son and tried to get the normal morning routine going, but there's no pretending this stuff away.

What on earth am I supposed to do? Confrontation sets this stuff off, and my husband is convinced that he is the flexible, empathic spouse, whereas I am childish and selfish. (I'm far from perfect, but I do support all of us, take care of the house, handle the finances, etc.) Oh, and he's in therapy already (paying for that too), but I'm beginning to suspect that he's not talking much about this anger there -- at the very least, it doesn't appear to be getting better. I'm terrified that our kids are learning that this is an acceptable marriage dynamic, which it obviously isn't. And I'm terrified that, if I did leave (which I don't want to do because I love the bastard -- he is not always this bad -- and this is *marriage*) the stress of single parenthood would exacerbate his worst behaviors when I wouldn't be there to intervene and protect the kids.

So focusing this on myself (the only person I can change, right?), what can I do make my marriage a safer place for me and the children?


Dear Exhausted wife, I have to tell you, my heart hurt reading your post. I would really like to talk to you one on one and get some more information and was wondering if you would PM me so we can chat? I really hope you will. Look forward to hearing from you.



I am also really sad to read this because sometimes we just can't get the answer on the question - what makes person angry. I never was able to understand why my husband is angry all the time. My kids also were suffering. I was suffering as well.

I was trying to find a solution, to talk to him, to help him, but he just was refusing my help. He just was not there for me or for my kids. We were alone.

I started to be home all the time, I didn't want to go out with my friends because I believed that this is going to make him angry even more. 

I've lost all of my friends because I was trying to save him. And I was not able to save him, he just didn't wanted to let me help him. 

I decided to leave him and I got the kids because they saw his depression, frustration and anger while we were at the court.

I don't know what to tell you, this is something that you need to deal with - help him or leave him. I think that there is no other way out from this ugly situation. 



Dear Exhausted Wife,

I don't know entirely what your situation is like, but I have been living through one of my own. My stepdad started off like how you described your husband. He was angry, he would flip out over the simplest of things, and he would verbally abuse my mother. We tried being understanding because he's retired military and has PTSD and traumatic brain injury from being in Iraq. This went on for a pretty long time. Eventually, it got worse. My stepdad would just "accidentally" bump into us or push us. My family and I have lived through this for 9 years and it has gotten to the point where we have had the police at my home on numerous occasions. Just recently my stepdad hit us and that has become the turning point. My mother has decided to leave him. I can honestly say that going through all of this has been a horrible experience and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. I don't suggest waiting as long as we did to leave my stepfather, but you need to protect your children and give them an example of how a loving marriage should be and of how a father should act. This will not only effect you, but your children too. You deserve to be happy and to have the life you want to live. I wish you the best of luck and know that if you must, you will find the strength to leave. I hope you can use my experience to help you.



I stumbled across your post & cannot help myself from expressing my almost identical situation. My husband is pretty verbally abusive at times. Not always, & not really frequently, but enough for me to totally remove any emotional support I once had & shown for him.
I'm just living day by day, almost as if we are roommates now. Because I'm so upset about the example he sets & the negative lessons he teaches my two sons (4yrs old & almost 2yrs old). I worry because I do see some behavior in my 4yr old, that is obviously a direct result of my husband's disrespect for me. I also am sick about the fact that they are learning how to treat women, especially once they're in a committed relationship. Of course this isn't the way they should treat women, but in their eyes, it is.
There's so many more worries I have, and stresses that overcome me daily, due to my marriage. We've seen a marriage counselor, but once we lost out health insurance, we stopped seeing her. I however, didn't care too much for that particular counselor, but I could tell he was getting something out of it.
Both of us have experienced a painful past, and childhood. We both agree that once we get health insurance again, we should attempt counseling again. But each of us go separately & seek the help we need as individuals first. I believe our marriage can't be helped until each of us are at peace with our own pasts.
There's obviously a load of details regarding our struggled marriage. I am not an angel myself, but I KNOW I've come a long way. Especially for my kids. He knows how important it is to me, to not fight in front of the kids. So, when he yells or is insulting or degrading towards me when my kids are around, I shut down in hopes to get him to just stop. Because if I don't, I add fuel to the fire & he has gotten physical before. Not a lot & it never is a beating. But 3 -5 times is 3-5 times too many. And it's happened in front of the kids. My son is traumatized from witnessing it. I can tell. And he's afraid it can happen again. My son yells & tells ME to stop talking when my husband & I are bickering, because he knows that when I don't quit, his father has a tendency to get enraged. So, it looks to him as if I'M at fault. When he witnessed his father grab hold of me aggressively & push me, he was absolutely TRAUMATIZED. It was awful. I was so upset because of the sole fact that it happened in front of him & my husband is in such a state that he is not even concerned about his actions & what he is doing in front of his son. He almost is in such a fit, that he has told the counselor he almost doesn't remember the details of the incident.
Anyways, I can feel your pain. I am open to anyone's advice, or story to relate. But you know it's easier to give advice than to use it yourself! I at least think you would benefit from counseling yourself. Or perhaps marriage counseling? Your husband already has taken a step to seek help, so we know he isn't opposed to therapy. So, maybe things would improve if you went with him.
Also, do you have any support? Do you tell anyone about your home life? Family, friends? I used to keep it quiet, but I highly advise against that. I ended up a basket case & breaking down. I confided in a couple close friends that I trust. Also, my brother. He's my best friend. But be careful with family. Pick & choose whom you confide in. You don't want to be judged, but you need to be open to what people think & observe about your marriage. If you keep hearing responses that are similar, it may be something to really think about.
I'm available to chat anytime, so please feel free to post a reply and/or PM me.
Thanks for your courage to speak up. It has helped me to do the same. I'm a member of this forum for other reasons, but I'm realizing this is also an opportunity to receive help in areas of my life that are just as important. If not, more.


-Exhausted Wife-
By the way, my previous post is directed to Exhausted Wife, as I have not read every reply on this thread!! Excuse me for not addressing my reply!!


Hello. How are you a year on? I have been in a similar situation for years, confused about whether I divorce H. It would affect us all financially so much and set me and the girls back forever.

H is very self absorbed. Always angry and lies. He has no compassion at all, I don't know what happened upon marriage and our first daughter's birth. He always puts himself first but denies it. He lies, I ask why as the lies are so pathetic, (ex when over money) and he somehow changes topic and shouts at me, intimidating me with his tone and body language.
I read your post as I, like you, worry for the children. Mine are older now and with the eldest H is lying, shouting, scaring get like get does me. When she's been ill he won't even look after her. He's off to do just thing - comic shop, yoga, concerts, friends- but if looking after the children interferes with what he wants for himself, they are sidelined. It's so sad as he's done it on front of them. Older daughter says she hates him even though I say to respect he goes to work, pays bills etc. She knows a dad should not he mean.

I rarely go out in the evenings as I've become scared if him, lost confidence over tge tears etc. and if I do I'm anxious about him with them. 99% of tge time I come home to tears. He says it's not what they say, he tries to justify his conduct or shouts at me for nothing . He often changes topic to shout at me. It doesn't make sense.

Like you, I'm worried for my children and what they are experiencing. I try to talk to him, about what he's doing to their lives and future adulthood but he is angry and stressed with work. I have often thought he just had little willpower.

We all have stress. But why, when a working dad, has barely seen the family all day, when he does get home, is grumpy to the extent we feel we have to tiptoe around him?

His body language when angry and flustered includes throwing his head around, banging it into cushions, towering over me, screaming in my face, barging into my bedroom to shout at me even in the dark. As I write I feel so embarrassed and sad.

What did you decide? Please any guidance? I'm a smart woman, how did this happen? Do I leave and suffer financially? It will financially really affect the kids.
Thank you.

I hope you're well and settled.



I realise this is over a year old but I could have written the post above. I'm so sorry for all the women who have to endure what these men do. I can't understand why they think they have the right to treat another human being this way.
My husband is currently teaching his daughter it's ok for a man to shout at a woman and call her vile names. He's as sweet as anything towards her but treats me like rubbish. He drinks a lot and wakes me in the early hours coming to bed drunk, sometimes being verbally abusive it seems for fun. I'm at the point now where I can no longer keep quiet. But when I call him out on it I am all the names under the sun whilst he mollycoddles his daughter telling her I'm nasty and horrible.
I feel very alone. I too am embarrassed. I dread to think what the neighbours think of him and sometimes darent show my face outside for a few days.
I have financially invested more in our house and know that if we should split, he will take half of what I have worked hard for. I'm stuck.