My husband is charming the outside world but has violent outbursts with me…. Can he change?

by Rod Smith

Readers, kindly offer your insights through “comments” and read the therapists’ (Jean’s, and Kathryn’s) opinions in a day or two.

“I have been married for eight months to a man who seemed well educated and liberated. Barely months into the marriage he had a violent outburst and bullied me over a trivial things. In disbelief, I gave him another chance only to see him go off again. He used bad words, made me feel wretched, and blamed me for his outbursts saying I ‘provoked him’. We started therapy. I see him not getting violent. He is as touchy as ever, argues for hours, days even though I beg him to leave me alone. He makes demands and expects me to fulfill them and shows no appreciation. He makes me feel like I am a lowly creature with crude, unrefined thoughts. To the outside world, he is the most charming husband. Can he be expected to change?”

From Canberra

From Canberra

Change can happen – but it will be you who begins it. Are you able to tell him how you feel about the way he treats others in comparison with how he treats you? Would you be prepared to tell him that you won’t tolerate his choices to be violent with you? Change can happen, when you change the way you relate to him when he inflicts pain on you. If you need professional help to implement this, I suggest you go for it.

Can YOU change?

Can YOU change?

Can you change? Do not cooperate with his pathological outbursts and bullying. Leave whenever it begins. Say, “I’ll come back when you get over yourself and begin behaving like an adult.” Expose his dark side to your closest family and friends. These patterns of his behavior did not begin with you and nor are they provoked by you, and are beyond your role as a wife to even begin to attempt to fix. The man needs help (and discipline, and a tough stand) beyond the calling of any wife. In short, get out of the way of his pathology, expose – as far as you are able and as far as it directly affects you – his charming appearance, and find your own powerful voice whenever you have to deal with him.

Midwest, USA

Midwest, USA

KATHRYN: He has pent up anger which didn’t just develop after your marriage. You’re the closest person to him, therefore he chooses to release it on you. Blaming you for his outbursts is his way of not dealing with it, which allows him to continue doing so, as long as you are a willing participant. You have the power to let him know what you will and will not accept in your relationship. Take it back. He may need individual therapy before marriage therapy may prove helpful.

READER RESPONDS (NO PICTURE AVAILABLE): Regarding the query from the woman whose husband is so discontented (Mercury, 16 July 2009) – this man has no concept of what it really means to love someone, let alone be contented. In fact, he sounds very self-centred and immature. A Don Francisco song goes, “Love is not a feeling, it’s an act of your will”. There is also a book on depression, by Minirth and Meier, with a title I like: “Happiness is a Choice”. There are plenty of other cliched truisms along this theme.

The concepts of love and marriage have been done a great disservice by the media’s romance industry. Yes, there is a place for romance, passion and excitement, but these are essentially self-centred and depend on feelings. One cannot remain infatuated and at a peak of passion all one’s life. True love is unconditional and other-centred, not self-centred – on both sides of the relationship. It values the other person and involves mutual commitment and fidelity, regardless of what life throws at them. In a one-sided relationship, there is a giver and a taker, which is unbalanced. The tragedy is that this man will probably leave a trail of broken hearts as he pursues his self-centred agenda, charming women then getting bored once the infatuation abates. He really needs to grow up!

One Comment to “My husband is charming the outside world but has violent outbursts with me…. Can he change?”

  1. you are exactly right/ I think people like this see themselves as perfectionists. jeolous of other people doing better than them.

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