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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.
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Anonymous June 2, 2017

Anger is an emotion requiring toil to express it in a way that it does not hurt others. Anger is an emotion created by almighty. When anyone is angry there is a always a reason. Someone said something bad to you. Someone scratched your car. The reaction of anger is natural. Why one has to be ashamed of it or control it? How to express it is a choice. One option is to scream and hurt. Other is to say what you said hurt me it's not true. One is to shout hey you moron why cant you be intelligent while driving. Other is to forgive or say May be we got saved it was a scratch and not a crash. Anger is universal emotion and is in all. If we express it in a way we hurt others then only we feel bad. Or if we hold it then also we feel bad. The only way we perhaps may not feel bad is if we express it in a way that we don't hurt others. So that's the hard work perhaps required. Reply

Anonymous South africa May 4, 2014

Seriously, unexplained, uncontrolled anger , that seems to come from nowhere is often a symptom of adult ADHD . See a Neurologist, it is a condition that can be treated.. Reply

louise leon PA 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". Reply

Anonymous UK 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 Reply

louise leon PA 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. Reply

Anonymous Netherlands 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. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA 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. Reply

Anonymous Brklyn, NY 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. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA 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. Reply

louise leon long pond, PA 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. Reply

wondering in Bklyn bklyn, NY 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? Reply

Anonymous Ma., Ma. 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 Reply

Anonymous Seattle November 11, 2010

Abuse should not be tolerated by anyone. I could never understand how and why my father kept tolerating the emotional abuse from my mother with her constantly belittling him, humiliating him in front of relatives, her total home life control, etc that he put up with for decades. I think he felt that it was his lot in life to accept her rather than divorce which he felt was wrong. Perhaps also he wanted to be there to protect my sister and me. I can only imagine the degree of mental and emotional damage that must have seeped into him from the never ending 'attacks'. Fortunately, he was physically a big man and she was a small woman. Otherwise, I imagine that her attacks on him would have gone physical.

Men, if your wife is abusing you demand that she get help or move her out. Reply

yoheved North Miami Beach, Florida November 11, 2010

i got out as someone previously married to a lost soul and abusive man ... I often felt my life was in imminent danger .... yet I must take note of the previous comments about learning abusive behavior during early childhood ....and how someone raised in a home like this is destined to repeat it .... it is not necessarily true ....

Both my boys saw their father being physically, verbally, and emotionally violent and abusive to me... and to them ..... and (thank G-d and prayer) made it priority to learn what the Torah says about marriage and spousal relations. Both boys are in yeshiva and they often discuss the halachic path to shalom bayis (domestic harmony) with their rabbis and in class. it doesn't have to repeat itself in future generations ... G-d and halacha can, and will, intervene and rescue us from this horrific tragedy .... there are many mitzvahs pertaining to how to obtain shalom bayis ... we must make it a crucial ongoing educational priority in synagogues and classes for this generation .... Reply

David G. November 11, 2010

You've got an uphill battle....... There is an old saying that goes: "The older you get, the more like yourself you become." Think about it and people you know.... Some become nicer while others become meaner, more bitter, more cynical, and in your husband's case, more short tempered. Now you're really beginning to see the real person you married. Therapy can only go so far (we are who we are.) Get to know all you can about the signs of being a "battered wife." Learn to recognize the signs. Look in the mirror and ask the person looking at you if you're in denial. You may be in the relationship for all the wrong reasons! Being abused is a valid reason to leave a relationship. Reply

Jenny Mesrie Brooklyn, NY November 11, 2010

Don't miss the point The point is not which gender is more violent or more abusive. We all have the capacity for these tendencies depending on what we experienced or were exposed to as children. A man who has a temper and abuses his wife has deep seated pain within him. There needs to be a safe space for him to be able to get in touch with this pain, express it, and set it free. Someone who abuses a loved one is abusing themselves. They feel so much self-hatred and out of control. If they truly loved themselves, they would not commit these kinds of acts to others. Again, this is not about comparing genders to say who is more at fault. This is about the sufferings of human beings. Reply

Anonymous fort lauderdale, fl November 10, 2010

i am one i am one to admit that as a man who was married and now divorced, my anger had a lot to do with the destruction of the relationship. but i would also like to add that i was a product of my environment. i am not making any excuses for my bad behavior but when you are brought up in a home with hostility and alcoholism it is all you know. the trick or the solution is to know where the anger comes from deep within your soul and why. you CANNOT unteach yourself with 18 years of watching it happen as a child and in adolescence and it not take effect on you. i will say that although i did personally get angry i never physically did anything nor did i ever even spank my children in a 13 yr marriage. years ago women tended to blame themselves but those days are over and sometimes go in the opposite direction and not take any responsibility for their actions. i will never marry again personally only because i would never want to go through it ever again. finding another is pointless at this stage. Reply

daniela November 10, 2010

where is the limit? abuse is destructive and women are not victims.
his "I am sorry" afterwards does not correct or heal the anxiety and pain and despair he causes, again and again.
nobody should live in an abusive relationship and sacrifice herself for the illusion that one day he will be a better person, and losing year after year of precious life. sorry for being so unromantic, but in my opinion the limit to violence should be very clear Reply

Anonymous Boston November 10, 2010

in response to some interesting comments I generally find women to have more issues controlling their tempers i.e. anger than men. The common assumption about women being more nurturing than men is exaggerated way out of proportion. As usual, the focus or reporting on such subjects places the blame either completely or primarily on the male while continuing to play into the ongoing poor-me innocent female victim song.

Playing mind games, manipulating, nagging, demanding, and criticizing can quickly become emotional abuse. Which gender do you think does more of that…?

The most current figures in America for domestic violence are that 40-45% of cases are now initiated by the woman against the man. A large university study found the majority of domestic abuse was initiated by the female undergrad. Among lesbians, domestic violence is about a 3X higher than among heterosexual couples.

Mothers are the largest killers or murderers of their own young children.

When is the mass media going to begin reporting such issues? Reply

Anonymous olney, md November 10, 2010

I totally agree with Ms. Cucher of Phoenix. Spousal abuse of either partner is a potentially life-threatening issue that must not be swept under the rug. Unfortunately, I have seen an instance where the abused spouse was taken from the home in a body bag.
Help is out there - go get it! Your life, and the lives of your children may depend on it! Reply

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