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Angela
Angela, Counselor
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Spousal sudden public verbal assault

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Situation: spouse and i go out to dinner with couple, first time. Spouse on Adderal and had begun to drink his wine 15 minutes earlier. no food yet. we were joking around, i and the woman teased him about how,earlier that day he had diminsished something i was complaining about, a feeling. he got explosive, loud, verbally abusive, one sentence directed at me. i and others showed shock in our faces; i shut up, not escalate further. but got home and told him he owed me and others and apology. recently, he had been snippy often in evenings, tells me how to behave and once hit a person but never anything to me. he refuses anger management. i tell this partner of 17 years, i feel unsafe and cannot be with him until i can trust again. this is my true feeling. i am ashamed and scared. he apologised to others and me but says it was my fault to tease him. he says other couple did not think it was too out of line. they are in AA. i think he has anger /rage issues that could escalte. is this an accurate assessment of situation. if he refuses, we are 63, 67, should i call it quits.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Angela replied 4 years ago.
Hello my name is Angela.
I am more than happy to assist you with your questions by giving you my honest and respectful opinion.

Based on what you have written, what matters the most is that you don't feel safe in this relationship. Therefore, I would recommend talking to him one final time and sharing with him how you feel about him and also share with him how you cannot continue on in this relationship due to feeling unsafe unless he gets some type of anger management help or goes to counseling. Then ask him will he do this? If he says no, then due to feeling unsafe in the relationship, you should leave it, however, before you do be sure to let your loved ones know that you will be leaving him so that they can ensure you are safe and able to leave him. Also, it would be a good idea to let your loved ones know that you will be having a conversation with him and giving him an ultimatum before you actually talk to him so that they are aware and can check on you to ensure you are okay. Due to feeling unsafe in this relationship, call 911 immediately if he threatens you, hits you, or etc.
Angela, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience: n/a
Angela and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the information you gave. and yes, he still continues to refuse anger management. saying his reaction was justified. that i had shamed him first. he has explained what he feels, that by me teasing him he felt 'like i got' him one more time, he perceived shame, so he reacted to shame. with his verbal escaltion so loud and public i FELT assaulted i explained. the issue IS one of safety but alos one of perception. i wanted to know now if in your opinion it is justified to feel unsafe based on what he did. or would a person who retaliates to joking like this and is so hypersensitve actually be told by a thrid party he needs anger management? is that reasonable? or do i just never tease him again? he has agreed never to drink and take adderall at same time again. or if, trust that, and there is a next time will it be 'due to another reason', as i have read is the pattern of verbal abuse, due to something else i did. that is why i do not feel safe.because i do not trust that if i stop the one thing i did to trigger it, all will be solved. i do not feel sure i can trust my feelings. is feeling unsafe a REAL VALID resoponse to what he did. what i mean bty 'not feeling safe', is if i must always walk on eggshells and monitor my speech, as he asks, will it be fixed. will my being careful solve it? is that a way to have a relationship. he says he does not believe that using tools to monitor and change responses is for him. he can do that on his own.
Expert:  Angela replied 4 years ago.
What your husband is doing is not accepting responsibility for his verbal abuse towards you, and as a previous full time domestic violence crisis counselor, I can assure you that verbal abuse is a part of domestic violence behavior. Furthermore, by him also blaming you for his actions is another red flag and another sign of domestic violence (-domestic violence is not just physical, it also includes mental, emotional, verbal, and financial abuse). Therefore, no matter what you change about your behavior, it will not guarantee that he no longer verbally abuses you because you are not the source of his abusive behavior although he would like for you to think you are because then he does not have to be accountable for his behavior. He can change his behavior, but first he must be accountable for what he is doing and accept full responsibility for his behavior instead of blaming you, or other people or other things. Your relationship can survive if he is willing to do this, however, as long as he continues to be unwilling to do this and to blame others etc. for his behavior, your relationship will remain is this unsafe state.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
thanks again. what i mean by unsafe is that as an al-anon person i am committed to having my serenity come first. i take meds for high blood pressure and ptsd and depression. when something like this verbal attack happens, or situation seems out of conttrol it is not that i feel i cannot take care of me but my autonomous systems shut down in flight or flight response. my blood pressure is huhg, i cannot sleep, my regimans fall apart and i kind of go numb, taking wrong meds sometimes by mistake. it takes days for my systemes to get back to regular. so unsafe means i am afraid that some system of mine, bad heart in family, will malfunction and i will pay indirectly. i do lots of things to calm myself, have learned, but most do not have much except except meds. so that i why i feel unsafe. his words DO to some senses of mine feel like an assault. so far he has agreed to ll i ask , no alcolhol ever, include me in adderall decisions, apologies, and he thinks he is done tho i keep saysing please do anger management. for my serenity. i have asked why he would not want our life to me more serene. so with this additional info i am pretty sure you will still say what you did as i am familiar with that too but i am just checking giving you more info about what i mean by not feeling safe. i do not think he will ever do more than verbal assault. it is enough for him. his voice is loud deep, and he is muscular and tall. however, as you say, should i try to leave, things could escalate most likely into him promising the moon and not doing it.
Expert:  Angela replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information, it helps me understand better. Yes you are right, my previous answer still stands because he is the missing link here not you. However, it is good that he does appear to take some responsibility by making promises and apologizing, however, it remains to be seen as to whether or not he will actually keep those promises. If he does, then he would be making some progress and you could continue to work on him from there.

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