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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
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My husband (age 75) has for the past few years become an angry

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My husband (age 75) has for the past few years become an angry driver. When he's in a passing lane and the car in front of him stays in that lane, he butts up to the driver's back bumper and follows him until he changes lanes. Or if he does not change the lane (husband gets very angry, sometimes shaking his fist and saying "get off the road". This behavior makes me very anxious and upset especially when we are on long trips and it takes us several days to get to our destination.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 4 years ago.

This question is a good one. It is certainly understandable that you would feel so fearful at your husband's driving behavior. Just reading this description made me feel apprehensive. He is acting in an unsafe way and is not hearing you, his wife, an even bigger concern.

 

You have tried the appropriate interventions. You calmly tried to talk with him. He rebuked you instead, and minimized your feelings. "I am the driver" he says. Yes, that is true and as such he is responsible for your safety.

 

The biggest concern here is actually not his driving.That is concern enough, but the real issue is that he refuses to see your thoughts and feelings as important. And, that is where I would start with him on this issue.

 

I would mention to him that you feel disrespected and not loved when he acts like this. True, you trust his skills as a driver, but you are nervous and scared and need him to hear you. Make this issue about listening to you and respecting you, not about driving. He can easily dismiss your criticism of his driving technique, but it is much harder to dismiss the fact that he is not acting as a husband, loving his wife above himself and respecting your concern. It should not matter if he thinks your feelings are valid or not. The real truth is that you are scared and he can stop that fear, easily.

 

If this angle does not work you are left with only one other choice, and that is to refuse to drive with him. Yes, that is drastic, but so is being seriously hurt or worse on the road due to his rage, a behavior that shows that he is not fully in charge of his feelings. (and can be a sign of a frontal lobe issue in the brain, a condition that does affect more men than women and is worthy of a medical examination, and is treatable with certain medications.)

 

Your safety in this case takes precedence over his actions or desire. And, if he denies that he is being disrespectful of you then the consequence will be that you cannot drive in a car with him. BotXXXXX XXXXXne. You are not wrong here. He is, and he is creating a hazard for you and all of us on the road.

 

If he loves you he will hear you, and I would state it that way... as this is not just about driving, but about what he thinks of your thoughts and of you. You are worth more than being treated as a "voice" in the seat next to him. You are his wife and deserve all the respect he can give. Steven

 

 

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