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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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please help. i cannot stop being angry @ my wife for being

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please help. i cannot stop being angry @ my wife for being away out of the country doing research; we fight constantly on the phone; my anger is destroying our relationship and she is at wits-end with me. . .
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
Let me ask you a few questions first.
Is it possible for you to go with her when she is out of the country?
What's her response to you when you don't want her to go abroad without you?
Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She has been out of the country since beginning of April; I cannot be with her right now. She will be there until mid July. I get angry when we talk when she is out of the country; I cannot believe she would go there without me, but she says she needs to do this to follow her dreams. While I want to understand this, it is very difficult for me to be here without her. She does want me to visit her towards the end of her stay in late June, and I am trying to do that; but still I am having a hard time understanding why she would want to do thie in the first place. can you help me understand so I can talk to her without being angry that she is there in the first place? We talk on the phone and most of the time she can sense my "anger" and she then becomes upset and it spirals out of control from there. Last night she hung up on me because of my being angry and rude. Can you give me some advice on how to be more understanding? I do not want to stand in the way of my wife's dreams. She assures me she is not doing this to be away from me and I believe her, but it still is almost like an automatic reaction from me - I cannot control it. Please help!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You also asked "What's her response to you when you don't want her to go abroad without you?"

Her response is she wants me to be there, but we cannot do that right now and there are too many factors to consider, such as lack of Internet, place to stay for more than her, and other factors. She does want me to go there, but she needed to leave too fast for us to both go.
Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.
I can imagine how sad and anxious this situation must seem to you.
It's definitely difficult for you to allow your wife to be outside the country for months.
Your anger may have to do with feelings of sadness and anxiety.
I don't think your feelings of anger is abnormal, though it doesn't help you and your wife to survive this challenge.
Also, it may be a little late for you to complain of her decision as she's already left to another country for her research.
However, I understand you can't help feeling angry at her for her decision. You've made sacrifices for her dream.
Perhaps, you may try to communicate (talk about) your feelings (anger, anxiety and sadness) with your wife instead of doing what you've done so far.
If you feel like your wife can't hear your honest feelings of sadness, you may talk to someone else like your family and friends.
Honestly, your wife should listen to your feelings unless you yell at her on the phone.

Also, you may benefit from working with a counselor WEEKLY for one or two month or so if your feelings are overwhelming to you.
You may benefit from Cognitive-Behavior therapy (CBT).
You can call your insurance company and get a list of providers in your area.
Or, you can search a licensed psychotherapist or a counselor on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to ( and enter your zip code and optional category of specialty such as Anger. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Cognitive-Behavior therapy (CBT).
You may also want to create your mental image of psychotherapist that you want to work with – Male or female? Old or young? To note, many therapists offer initial consultation for free. So you can see it as an informational meeting. You and he can ask any question. You can also negotiate psychotherapy fee and number of sessions.

If you need a low fee counseling or have no health insurance, you may call The United Way toll free # XXXXX (Dial 2-1-1)to find the community mental health centers in your area in which you can get counseling even without health insurance.

I hope you can manage anger and emotionally survive for your marriage.

Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you.
I appreciate your ideas and insight. Can you possibly offer something more concrete other than to seek therapy? I already know I need therapy and have an appointment this week.

My wife has her own set of problems as well; she's been diagnosed with depression as well as Borderline Personality Disorder and used to cut as well when she was younger, so, as you can see, I am dealing with an emotionally charged problem/person as a spouse as well.

My point is can you offer something a bit more substantive that I can integrate to keep me calm when we talk? I am more passive agressive than outwardly angry, but she can sense that I am not happy. In addition, is it wrong for her to do what she is doing? That is - should I expect something different from my wife or am I way out of line here? We've had similar discussions in the past and it amounts to me not wanting to be "alone" without her. She is also quite a bit younger than me (20 years) and is working on her grad school right now (hence her trip). I think our age difference has something to do with this, but then again I think I may just be resentful of her being away from my side - and so far away at that. Any suggestions for how I can deal with this more effectively? What do you think I need to change about me and my outlook towards this issue?

Thank you for your time.
Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.

Okay. It's a good idea for you to see a counselor weekly in this stressful time.
If your wife had BPD and depression, she may be emotionally vulnerable and want ONLY empathy and understanding from you.
She may have difficulty accommodating YOUR PERSPECTIVE and FEELINGS.
I don't think it's right for her to leave her husband alone for months.
But, she is already in grad school now. Well, then you may have to be patient with her. Perhaps, it's very important for her to finish a grad school as she may suffer from depression and self-esteem issues.

Perhaps, you may write down what you should do when you talk to her on the phone. For example, 1. take a deep breath; 2. tell yourself "I don't get angry" or "I am patient, loving and supportive of my wife" or "anger doesn't solve anything. It will destroy our love and trust" 3. talk to your wife while looking at the notes; 4. Tell her you want to calm down and need some time to be away from the phone when you are getting angry.

Does this work?
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I think I get what you are telling me. So basically I cannot expect her to recognize the fact that I do not like that she is there/away from me; she cannot see my needs at all. Her need for empathy and understanding trumps my own needs and feelings of inadequacy; is that what you are telling me?

She has said in one of our conversations that I am having "problems" with this because I am insecure with our relationship, which is not entirely true. Still, once again the pattern of her need for me to feel what she is feeling while pushing my needs aside; basically, she canno be there for me is what I am seeing here.

So in other words, this is it at least for now. I need to push aside my feelings and be more empathetic since she is emotionally vulnerable. She will not see my perspective and so it's up to me to deal with this alone/without her and all the while I need to empathize with her and be understanding of her need to follow her dreams; seems a bit selfish to me; but that is what it is.

So I will then be more emapthetic and understanding of her needs and try to accept the fact that she cannot and will not see my perspective on any of this; wow...that's pretty depressing.
Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.

It's not easy for you and your wife to process all your feelings and thoughts on the phone as she is already out of the country.

I don't say she CAN NEVER understand your feelings and thoughts.
But, she may have difficulty doing so. Also, you and she can't resolve different perspectives on the phone. Ideally, you and she should've seen a marriage counselor before she made this decision of returning to a grad school.

I can imagine you WANT TO MANAGE YOUR ANGER as angry outbursts may not resolve any...