Emotional Abuse Is Still Abuse
Published: April 8th, 2009
By: Maggie Shayne

Emotional abuse is still abuse

Dear Maggie,

My husband has a terrible temper, and he’s always angry. When he’s his normal self, I love him so much, but when he gets into one of his moods, I can’t even stand to be around him. He’s not violent, never has been, and I don’t think he ever would be. But he shouts and swears and and stomps around, and it’s just impossible to talk him down. Little things like not being able to find something he needs around the house set him off, but lately, it’s money more than anything. He gets furious over every nickel I spend, even though we’re really all right financially. He’s constantly worried about money. Every month when it’s time to pay bills, he gets angry at me for them being too high. (And no matter how low they are, they’re too high, and it’s no more my fault than his.) And holidays have become a nightmare.

Maggie, I love my husband. We’ve been together almost twenty years, and I don’t want to leave him. And as I said, he’s not like this all the time, and when he’s not, he’s a wonderful man. But it’s getting harder and harder to live with his temper. What can I do?


Weary Wife

Dear Weary Wife,

I’m going to tell you from the top that this is a form of abuse. And it’s one a lot of men tend to dole out. It’s also one you don’t have to tolerate. But by letting it go on for twenty years, you’ve basically told him that it’s okay to make you his whipping post. By tolerating it, you’ve helped keep the problem. Sorry, but it’s true.

He needs to be told that it’s unacceptable, and that you’re not going to live with it any longer. But only if you really mean it. He’s going to try claim that it’s just the way he is and that change is impossible for him, but believe me, he can change. All he has to do is want it.


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