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My Husband Has a Temper!

My Husband Has a Temper!

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Question:

My husband is intelligent, funny and friendly. He is generally a really sweet guy, but he has a temper.

Before we got married, he was very patient and tolerant. He never got angry, even when I said things that were rather provoking.

We are now married for five years. At first the outbursts were mild and far apart. Even now there are stretches where we get along quite well, until something provokes him and he explodes. Afterwards he feels guilty and tries to make it up, is extra gentle and kind, and keeps trying different things so he won't get angry again.

He has been to a psychologist, who basically said there is nothing he can really do to help. His only advice was to keep a daily log of every and any incident of anger. My husband started a log, but after a long calm stretch where everything was under control, he started believing that he conquered his problem, and he stopped writing.

I don't want to leave him, but I can't live with his angry outbursts.

Response:

What you describe can be quite distressing, but it is most certainly something that can be helped. Most important is that your husband recognizes that his outbursts cause pain, and that he wants to be in control of it.

"Who is strong?" the Mishna asks. And it answers, "He who conquers his passions, as it is written, 'He who is slow to anger is better than a strong man, and he who conquers his passions better than one who conquers a city.'"

Discuss this with your husband; let him know you see his reservoirs of strength.

I'd strongly urge you to find someone who is expertly trained in teaching men anger management. It's not a one-time event. It is a process . . . and it is a successful process. It is something that's learned. Like any other skill, it takes time and exercise. Speak to anyone who's gone from being a couch potato to a marathon runner.

Encourage him. Tell him you're with him all the way. Let him know how much you respect his efforts, and how admirable it is when a man is strong enough to control his own impulses.

I've no doubt that he will be able to accomplish what he sets out to do. Be there for him during this time.

In addition to his learning how to control his outbursts, the two of you need to speak to someone about how you can be in control of your own reactions. His remorse means he's not out to hurt you. It's not about you. It is about his own control issues. But, nonetheless, you suffer the fallout. Talk about this. Learn what you need to do to protect yourself, and him, from these incidents. Speak about how you can preserve your own feelings of respect and love when he loses control.

Mrs. Bronya Shaffer is a noted globetrotting lecturer on Jewish women's issues, and serves as a personal counselor and mentor for women, couples and adolescents. Mrs. Shaffer, a responder for Chabad.org’s Ask the Rabbi service, lives with her ten children in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Discussion (37)
August 27, 2013
To UK anonymous august 24
A big thank you for your shared insights and for helping me to better understand the issue. I do agree that any considered decision made by someone regarding their own life will hopefully be supported by friends/family/spiritual resource.
I now realize that my bias certainly comes from personal/professional experiences.
I stand corrected and truly appreciate what I consider positive "criticism".
louise leon
PA
August 24, 2013
back to the case in point
Lets remember this lady asked for advice about HER situation. Whether or not the anger/aggression/abuse is physical it is clearly something that has her near breaking point & makes her afraid, unhappy & feel trapped. People have offered sage advice, especially recommending things that have worked for them; books, going to the Rabbi, him getting some counselling/guidance, getting a support network for herself etc but only she knows how bad it is and whether there is hope of change. Yes 'standing by your man' is laudable but she's has stuck at it already. If all fails or she cannot bear it any more, a loving wider-community HAS to give her the way out, and say it is within her rights as a human to leave and no-one should condemn her for saying "enough!" I hope she receives care, support & encouragement whatever she decides, but if love is still there with G-d's help her happy in a peaceful loving marriage would be the most wonderful. I hope she has family/friends to turn to at this time
Anonymous
UK
July 26, 2013
marital discord
The marital relationship can be a complicated challenge for any two people. A person brings not only himself/herself to the relationship but also bits of residue from other unresolved relationship issues from the past. I find this to be crucial in understanding a current relationship whether marital, parental, employer/employee etc.
Specific to marital relationships, unresolved mother/son, father/daughter, sibling/sibling etc. relationships from the past can rear their ugly heads in a current relationship.
This is one view point that suggests that it could be helpful to talk thru past issues with someone in order to remove anger/jealousy/control buttons that are interrupting a current relationship.
louise leon
PA
July 25, 2013
There is hope
I have been where you have been. I could do nothing right. He was sweet to the outside world and explosive at home. I could not take it anymore. I stumbled upon the book ,"Garden of Peace for men". I bought it for him. He was resistant at first but I sought advice from another Rabbi and he told me to pray for him.

To make a long story short, my husband is a new man and has apologized profusely.

I have read "Garden of Peace for women". I wish you happiness.
Anonymous
Netherlands
August 8, 2011
Here are phrases to use for either gender:
BEFORE the blow up, sit down and agree it is best for both of you to have a peaceful and harmonious life together. If the person doesn't like it, that says a lot about the relationship.
DURING the blow up. here are phrases to use: I will not discuss this issue with you while you are screaming. Let me know when you cool down; I do not deserve that, and name calling is not a part of a healthy discussion; Go and think about what point you REALLY want to make and THEN get back to me, etc. If the person THREATENS anything at all, call their bluff and be strong. Ex: "I will LEAVE IF YOU...." Say, "I love you, but if you decide to leave because I have self pride and won't let myself be verbally attacked, then do what you have to do". No one deserves to be bullied by anyone. Never, not in a marriage, not on the job, and not in school.The dif between verbal ATTACK and verbal ABUSE is in how you handle it. ATTACK, you calmly respond and don't internalize. No fear.ABUSE, you R a victim.
Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell
Riverside, CA, USA
August 6, 2011
What about the other way around.
Do you have any advise in a situation where the woman often blows up and uses demeaning language.
Anonymous
Brklyn, NY
April 8, 2011
There are many books on the topic, but
I suggest when he is angry, saying you will not discuss things with him until he cools down, then turn around and walk away. Always have snacks ready in case he does have low blood sugar. If he verbally abuses you, that's different from showing anger. Which does he do? How, exactly, does his anger show up? What actions go with the anger, and what words go with it? Please explain further.
Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell
Riverside, CA, USA
January 24, 2011
temper
one very easily remedied reason for temper is low blood sugar. My husband and his mother both evidenced this. Since I figured this out, I'm sure not to discuss anything until my loved ones have eaten.
louise leon
long pond, PA
December 13, 2010
divorce from an abuser
I left a very abusive marriage. I hatsd to protect myself. I didn't want my sons to think that this was the way life was supposed to be. Every type of abuse possible was employed. I even went to many therapists including a rabbi that supported staying in the marriage. I didn't think that getting hit, things thrown at me, shoved, constantly demeaned and ridiculed was a way to live. I am in enormous debt-but there is nobody here hurting my feelings ANYMORE. My sons laugh together again as when they were younger and displaying less and less of the nasty mannerisms of their father. I pray to G-d that they will be KIND and loving husbands. It was a 24 year marriage. I am still working on adjusting. I am divorced a little over two years. I am always thinking. It is very Peaceful in my home now- but I somehow feel -could I have saved this marriage?
wondering in Bklyn
bklyn, NY
November 13, 2010
reasons for outbursts
There are also medical reasons for changes in behavior. Alcoholism and drug addiction are progressive diseases.Tumors pressing on nervous tissue and syndromes have been known to cause anger.

A healthy woman would not tolerate anger outbursts and making up but one or two times.

A compassionate woman will stay with the marriage in sickness or health and help with the process of recovery.

The woman may have a personal mental health issues that she came to the marriage with like low self esteem or personal issues due to childhood problems. This contributes to the marriage problem, giving no boundaries. Some women learn to be angry back.

If the wife is healthy, tolerating anger leaves a woman more abused and not healthy. One loses their self, what they like about life. Intermittent outbursts, never knowing when it comes again, can be more controlling. Why? leaving one thinking about anger outburst even when anger is not happening is wearing on one's mind.
Abuser and victim are unhealthy
Anonymous
Ma., Ma.
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