My husband and I have now been married for 10 months and he has a very bad temper. I have set up couples therapy and have our first appointment tomorrow which he initially agreed to and is now backing out of but I still plan on attending. His anger has turned to rage and his outbursts are directed at me and have become so bad that I am finding myself less attracted to him and not wanting any intimacy at all. I know there are always two sides to every story and some of the things I say that he may disagree with piss him off but in no way do they elicit the awful verbally abusive response he gives me. I’m very worried because we are newlyweds and wonder if this is a big red flag that the marriage is doomed to fail…
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In my opinion, the fact that your husband has turned to rage is not a good sign. Yes, there are always two sides to every story. However, while anger can be acceptable if expressed in non destructive ways, rage is never acceptable.
It is good that you are planning to attend the couples therapy. Perhaps he will change his mind at the last minute or will come for the next session. Clearly, the both of you need to be there. However, you are in need of the therapy as a way of learning how to cope with the situation.
I want to suggest that, when things are quiet between the two of you, both sit down and calmly discuss the turmoil and the reasons for it. It’s important that you do this in a non blame or accusing way and give him a chance to talk. You need to understand the reasons for his upset and what he thinks you might do to help him with it.
My concern about his raging is that it can gradually turn from verbal to violent. In fact, if he is verbally violent with you, cursing and calling you names, it is the next step before physical violence. It’s important that you make it clear that this is not acceptable. If this worsens the situation, be prepared to leave.
Whenever someone writes to me about their spouse’s rage, I can’t help but wonder if alcohol or some other drug is involved. It is known that drinking loosens self control and inhibitions, causing people to act in ways different from when they are sober. Other drugs can make people feel angry, paranoid and irrational. However, make no mistake that there is such a thing as “rage disorder” because some people cannot control their anger and that results in angry outbursts.
Attending the sessions is a good idea even if he won’t go because your therapist may be able to guide you in assessing the problem and helping you towards your own solution.