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?