How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Mark Manley Your Own Question
Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Mark Manley is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Possible toxic anger.

Customer Question

My husband's most dominating emotion has always been anger, non-violent, just quick, judgemental, inconsolable, silent-treatment, never introspective. Positive qualities: moral, high integrity, ethical. Collision happened: has an affair going-on with a woman young enough to be his daughter. Me, wife has let him down throughout 32 years of marriage; he's justified. Anger continues. Wants to reconcile but seems as though he can't stand me. Angry at our grown children, angry with the way we run our family business; refused to join us for Christmas Eve. His own siblings/mother think he has lost his mind. Please help.  His recollection of the past is so angry, tears well up when he recalls how hurt he's been (???) He admits that he never told me how lonely he was.  "I should have known."  I think that his actions have so violated his conscience that he has few choices:  change his conduct, lower his standards (he has done that to a degree, admits that he is less judgemental of other people's weaknesses) OR Blame me for 32 years of past hurts that needed the attentions of this other woman.  Of course she is everything I'm believed not to be.  P.S. Any books I should buy?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for using JustAnswer.

Please give me some additional information so I may be of more service.

What do you mean when you say 'Collision happened'?

How did you let him down through 32 years of marriage? I am assuming you mean you have not been a good sexual partner. Is this your perception? Please give me more details.

How is it he can't trust you?

Does he give her money or other types of support?

Besides sexual relations have you been unaffectionate as he claims. If yes how and why?

Who controls the family business?

What else am I missing that would help me help you?

Mark Manley
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I mean: the affair has been a collision between his anger with me, need for more attention and his high standard of morality.


I don't know whether I have been good sexual partner; he's not complained; I don't refuse. However, the demands of our expanding business has occupied both of our attentions, business is the first thing talked about in the morning; the last thing talked about at night; conversations are little more than checklists "did you do this, did you do that?" He then apparently reflects on the business-only relationship and feels lonely.


Can't trust me because I failed to realize that he was lonely. A good wife should know these things.


The Jerry Springer sordid nature of this whole ordeal is that she is (now "was") the manager of our business. Lawyers told me that I can't fire her; she could claim sexual harrassment. So I have had to work with her, face to face, for nearly a year. I put on my happy, professional face every day, knowing where my husband goes at night. Oddly enough, he and I would meet privately for long conversations with me as a "therapist." He would tell me about her explosive, jealous behavior, how he can't stand her kids, how self-indulgent she is; wonders if he is just a sugardaddy. I listen, try not to react; try to reason with him. Yes, I will work on the shortcomings in our relationship. I learned quickly that there is nothing to be gained by my defending myself or pointing out all the things I've done for him. In one explosive rant about my failings, he went so far to claim that I never cooked a meal except when we had company. REALLY???? Raised three children and I never cooked. His need to find fault has veered into nonsensical allegations. So I just listen; try to examine myself honestly, admit that I must have wounded him grieviously and I'm sorry. He has apologized for his actions but then adds: "but you must ask yourself, 'why would, after 32 years, would I need someone else.' you needs to ask yourself..."


My husband has a PhD and is world renown in his field. She has a high school education. We hired her as an regular employee; she quickly was advanced into a management position and I became her mentor. I told him that she reminds me of the movie "My Fair Lady." He has taken on a "project." He's helped her file a restraining order on the previous boyfriend, helped her find a more upscale place to live (within her budget- on our payroll), bought her more professional clothing; picks up her child from daycare, taught her how to pay her bills, helped her get a checking account. He admits that he likes to feel needed. I remarked that my independence has become a liability (?) and is no longer an asset. He swears that physical attractiveness has nothing to do with it (double-D implants). We three have had some hours-long arguments. For 7 days of consecutive no-call/ no-show, I fired her. He had made an occasional rent payment but no she has no job. Can't find one that pays like we did. Looked a couple of places. My husband is surprised that the experience she claims to have (law office, bank teller and us: as an assisted living facility manager) she can't find a job. Now we are supporting her even more. Once again I'm the bad guy.


I have tried to be affectionate. But in the last 3 years he has grown cold. Walks out of a restaurant without me; doesn't look back. I've pleaded for him to hold my hand. His reply: if you want to hold my hand then catch up with me. No kiss, no words of affirmation; 2-4 times per month he tells me to "Close the door." to our bedroom; that's the cue that it's time for sex. I've bought books, read some of them out loud, about the need to have an affectionate attitude all day; there would be no awkwardness about that orientation continuing into the bedroom. My repeated analogy is that I'm a plant that is dying for lack of water. I've been clear about my needs. It would seem that the all-business relationship we have, harmful as it was, was really the only place I got fulfillment. It's hard to feel affectionate when I am told on a regular basis that I am an ineffectual manager, lousy wife, bad mother, never cooks. However, I am efficient, organized and well respected by staff and the community. My husband is my biggest critic. I am finally able to sleep when he falls asleep. No telling when some point of irritation pops in his mind and he has to berrate me (10 PM, 2AM) Why do I continue to hang on? I guess it's because I have always been the fixer in our relationship. Dealing with rejection is still more painful, difficult than trying to placate each round of complaints. I think I can do it. I can and will be the missing piece to his puzzle- I just need to be given the chance. Betrayal and rejection are crushing. I have lost 30 pounds- actually look more attractive and have bought new, sexier clothing. Don't know how to approach the single life; I've been a wife and a partner for too many years. Friends/family tell me to move on; I don't deserve this and there are better men out there. All of this brings me around to the start of my request for help. I think the source of the unhappiness is him. We used to joke about his lack of contentment and how that will never change unless the summers in Arizona cool off, there is peace in the Middle East etc. He is chronically unhappy. He thought about that question posed in the movie "Bucket List" : Do you bring joy into anyone's life; is there joy in your life? He wasn't sure. His sister and brother-in-law, both MDs, think he is severly depressed. But no one can tell him anything. I've ordered 5 books about anger management/toxic anger from Amazon


I am an RN and founded/established our assisted living facility- now three locations. He was an aerospace engineer who exposed fraud, whistle-blew to the top and was promised corrective action to the offenders. Corrective action never came. His leave of absence ran out and he had no choice but to take early retirement. He has moved his attentions/drive into MY business where (he was once my biggest fan) now I am incompetent. I am recognized to have some competence in the medical arena but he has claimed dominion over Human Resources, thereby making her bullet-proof. Current status: she's been out of work for a month, my husband continues to live with her but admits that her kids drive him crazy, although she sent two away to live with the father of one; she's willing to send the other two away. Has promised for months to break it off because he sees no future with her but adamantly refuses to set a time, or be pushed. He has been waiting for the right time when she might blow up and he can then walk out. He feels that if she returns to the ghetto, then HE failed. I told him that she is a "project." He disagrees. He says he wants to leave her but wants her to be successful and not too mad at him. Doesn't want her to accuse him of leading her on. In truth, he has a reason for everything. His own family doesn't know what has happened to him.



Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information. I am sorry to read about so much pain in your life and his.

I see your husband in a perfect storm combined of several factors:
His melancholy temperament which craves an ordered and moral world (his could hardly be in a greater state of chaos).
His self image, self esteem and self respect have been massively assaulted by his occupational tragedy combined with his dependency on your business (he has been emasculated).
An irresistibly dependent damsel in distress whom rescuing presents an irresistible temptation to bolster his flagging sense of masculinity.

Most of the rest of his behavior can be viewed as an expression of his pain and/or unconscious rationalization for his misbehavior. (anger outbursts, cold, mean, irrational blaming etc.)

Your task is to learn how to rebuild his masculine self esteem and how to affirm him. This is not an easy task especially under the circumstance listed above. You have to become an expert in the psychology of the male ego and the melancholy temperament type, while being deprived of the dignity and respect and love you deserve.

Bellow is an excerpt from one web site with some description of the melancholy personality type. Please review and let me know if this fits for him.

"This person is very sensitive to others. He loves to make plans and tries to make everything in his life perfect. These individuals are usually very creative.

This group has its weakness also. As the word melancholy suggests, this personality is very moody. Often sad or depressed one moment, the individual may be happy and content the next. The melancholies in life tend to be very pessimistic, critical and suspicious. They are also insecure people who do not easily make friends. However, when they do make friends, they make lasting friendships. Melancholies are usually hard to please and fussy over details.

A melancholy person is a self-sacrificing individual. He will be a loyal friend no matter what it costs him. This individual wants things done right or not at all and strives for perfection in all things. He needs order and sensitivity in his life above all else. If you encounter a perfectionist who is creative and moody, you have just met a melancholy person.

A melancholy personality tends to be persistent, a perfectionist, pessimistic, depressed and revengeful."

Lets talk about this some more.

Mark Manley
Mark Manley and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Okay so it's not toxic anger? Where should I get information about dealing with the melancholy temperment?
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.

Here is a video clip for you

Also one of the best books on the topic including how to deal with them is
Personality Plus for Couples: Understanding Yourself and the One You Love [Paperback]
Florence Littauer

She writes from a Christian perspective which you may or may not relate to but the information is helpful either way.

Happy to chat more re: the above and dealing with his male ego.

Mark Manley
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Mark,


I have bought the book you recommended and have started reading. I spoke to my husband about you and he is interested in your advice. How do we proceed? Seems like one of the "Ask the Expert" captions mentioned a monthly fee. He admits that you described him well. So now the question to me is "So, what does your expert say about how to get out of this relationship?" this is good news.




Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Good glad to hear it.

Regarding his question "How to get out of the relationship" it would help me to know,
does he believe in God? (not at all, a little, more, a lot).

As far as how to proceed:

I don't know how the monthly subscription works, you can check with customer service.


We can use this current thread and you just click on 'Accept' now and then as we go along' (I can help you know when I need you to click on 'accept' based on my time invested).

Happy New Year.
and happy reading (good for you for getting the book).

Mark Manley
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for the reply.

I don't want to have my husband use my email address to communicate with you. He could look back at our correspondence and may be derailed by the way I put him in a nutshell. His name is Ahmed and his email is [email protected]- I don't know what your professional boundaries are, but an invitation to dialogue may be helpful; from you to him. Hopefully he will contact you. Don't be surprised if he wants a second opinion. He wants advice but it must come packaged in a way that doesn't make him rush to defend his damsel-in-distress, by saying "she's no good...." He tunes out the family member who tell him that. He also tunes out when he is "reassured" that separating from her is "easy...say a few things...and it's over...she'll be weren

't the first and won't be the last"

Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the information about your husband. Your sending me his e-mail address is not practical because all identifying information is deleted from the site automatically. The way for him to contact me is to send in his question with the preface "This question is for Mark Manley ..................." Thanks for the heads up regarding his sensitivities to certain types of advice.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks again for your speedy replies.

Hopefully he will be contacting you soon.

P.S. Can our dialogue be deleted from your bank of previous responses (that is open for others to read)? He'll recognize me.


Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
I have no control over the content of the web site. I don't think it can be deleted. I would advise you to check with customer service on this to see if they can delete.

Related Mental Health Questions