04 October 2012 ~ 8 Comments

I Wish I Knew: Anger and Control Don’t Get Better With Time

This month we have run posts from guest bloggers sharing lessons they wish they had known when they walked down the aisle. Our previous “I Wish I Knew” posts have talked about lessons learned over time in marriage, but what if the issue is something that time alone can’t change? In our last I Wish I Knew segment, our anonymous poster shares her powerful story about dealing with verbal abuse in her marriage.

I wish I knew that anger and control do not get better with time.

When I met my husband I was 19 years old.  I was young, in love, and naive.  He was different from the other superficial guys I had dated and loved me for me.  Over the year and a few months we dated, I had seen some small signs of anger but shrugged them off thinking it was ok, he would get better over time.  I told myself, “If things get worse, I’ll leave.  I will not be a victim.  I am stronger than those girls.”

The night before our wedding, in front of our entire wedding party, my husband threw a phone across the room, dented the wall, and broke the phone.  He was angry at me, for what, I don’t remember.  I apologized to everyone and told them it was just stress.  He’s never done anything like that before–I lied (at least he never hit me).

He was good for a few years after we were married.  He seemed to be maturing with age.  He verbally abused me but did not get overly angry and did not throw objects.  I could handle the verbal abuse–I’ve got pretty thick skin.

A few months after our first daughter was born, my husband got angry at her crying.  He again threw the phone across the room, dented the wall, and broke the phone.  He apologized immediately.  I told him if he EVER did anything like that again, I was leaving.  It was ok for him to abuse me, but my children would not be raised in an abusive home.

Again, things were better for a few years.  The verbal abuse toward me continued but he was a WONDERFUL father.  I thought he might finally be changing, that my girls were softening him up a bit.

Then came the foot in the door.  He had gotten angry at one of the girls and kicked the door so hard it left a hole in it.  I immediately grabbed both my girls and walked out of the house.  As I always said, the abuse toward me was ok, but my girls were another story…

Unfortunately, I only left for a few hours.  I didn’t know where to go or what to do.  I left in such a hurry I had forgotten my phone and purse.  When I got home, my husband was crying and said he would never do anything like that again.  It scared him that I took the girls.

Fast forward a few more years (can you see a cycle now?)…Dinner and we were arguing about something.  My husband took a couple of plates and threw them across the room.  This time, I was prepared.  I had a bag packed for me and my girls and I knew where I was going.  My girls were 3 and 5 and they knew what was happening.  They were “scared of daddy” and I knew that was wrong.  I left for the night and sent the girls away to my parents house for a few days.  I told my husband I would leave again and the girls  would not come back until he got help.

My husband and I have been married for a little over 12 years.  He is now in anger management and is learning to control his anger and abusive tendencies.  I am in counseling learning to recover with him.  Things are not easy but they are definitely getting better.  Though I should have left years ago, I finally know how to break the abusive cycle.  My husband and I both know if there ever is a next time, it is final and forever.

 What do you think? Can time help heal anger and control issues? Is there hope for a marriage when one spouse has anger and control issues, or is an abusive partner bound to repeat the same behavior?



8 Responses to “I Wish I Knew: Anger and Control Don’t Get Better With Time”

  1. Briana Myricks 4 October 2012 at 4:02 pm Permalink

    Very sad to read this story. Abuse is definitely cyclical and continues to happen as long as the abused person allows it to continue. Although the husband is in counseling, I fear that it will only get better for “a couple more years” and it will happen again. Just my personal opinion. It’s great that he’s getting help, but I fear that there shouldn’t even be an opportunity for a next time to come up. Praying for the family.

    • Aja Jackson 4 October 2012 at 4:38 pm Permalink

      Thank you for your post Briana. I applaud the author for being willing to share her story, because I think that many women are caught in a similar place; wanting to believe in help for their spouses but knowing that in situations where abusive behavior is building, there isn’t always the opportunity for a “next time.”

  2. Can't give up yet 4 October 2012 at 10:20 pm Permalink

    I can relate to this story because I am in a similar situation. My husband’s anger (towards me) did not surface until a few years after we were married. He will suddenly fly into a rage, throw things, kick things, etc. Most of the time his anger was towards me and verbal. He hit me once. It resulted in a 9 month separation and two years of counseling. I honestly believe that with continued counseling things would have been ok. However, stess over a new job, a move, and a child from his previous marriage ‘fanning the fires’ all led to a relapse. It started gradually and once again grew into tantrums. So far the abuse has only been verbal. But, he screamed at our 6 yr old and started to throw something so we are once again separated (until then we had managed to keep the worst of his tantrums from the children). I have told him that I will not live with him again until he finds a way to control himself or at least listen to me and leave when I tell him he is getting out of control (I can see it coming sometimes a day ahead but until now any mention of his mood would bring the house crashing down). He has started counseling again. This time he is going to a center that specializes in Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Right now he goes alone. At some point, we will start going together and try to start rebuilding our relationship. I don’t know if it will work but I am willing to try. He does not get mean because he likes it. It hurts him almost as much as it does me; maybe even more. And in the years that he was under control, he was a wonderful husband and father. My hope is that we can find that person again. It is not impossible. It may mean periods of separation in the future, it may mean medication and it will probably mean counseling on some scale for the rest of our lives but if that is what it takes to keep our family together, that is what we will do.

    • Aja Dorsey Jackson 5 October 2012 at 1:19 am Permalink

      Thank you so much for your comment and for being so honest. I know this is a serious issue, and plan to get an expert to weigh in on it soon. Praying for you and your family.

  3. CanRelate 5 October 2012 at 11:33 am Permalink

    I can relate to the author, because I was in a verbally abusive marriage. The difference for me, is my husband refused to go to counseling. After 12 years of marriage, I finally left. It needed to happen, and i should have left sooner. We have children, so we still have to see each other, but my leaving was necessary because things only got worse. From my experience, anger and control issues do not get better with time. I learned that abusers do not change unless they see the problem themselves, and seek help. I wish the best for the author that her husband’s counseling works out and truly helps him. I know it is hard to leave, and it is commendable to stick with the marriage. I do, however, hope the author understands the damage of years of abuse, and that for her and her children’s sake leaving may be the best option.

  4. TC Thompson 18 July 2013 at 6:05 pm Permalink

    Wow!! The author’s story is so relatable, as I lived it for 7 years. I have been hardpressed and led to write my testimony out for others to read. This article and the responses to it is confirmation that others need to hear my testimony.

    I have since remarried to a wonderful, god fearing man, who understands my background and through God’s love I am finally able to rest and relax in the fact that when we argue, he is not going to yell, hit or abuse his authority.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    For the author: My ex-husband went through the counseling and applied the principals for about 6 months and then once my guard was down, he went back to his old ways. I am not confessing that in the author’s marriage because with God all things are possible. I am saying though, without God, old habits die hard.


    • Aja @microwavelove 18 July 2013 at 6:10 pm Permalink

      Thanks so much for your comment TC. I am glad to hear that you were able to move into a loving relationship, unlike many women. And please get that testimony written!

  5. パイロット 万年筆 17 August 2013 at 2:12 am Permalink


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