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Will He Hit Me Eventually?


I am in my second marriage at 50 to a man who has Bipolar Disorder. He has been on Lithium since his 20’s. It started on our honeymoon where he became very angry over something little that I said or did. He was verbally abusive. This has gone on for the past 2 yrs. At first I thought it was my fault (Because he said it was). I would apologize and try not to set him off. It continued to happen and I started to log what happened and what was said.

We went to counseling. He became more abusive when I realized this was not my problem. He would call me F–ing b— and stupid B—, tell me I was uneducated and could not understand his higher thinking. (He has his Masters degree and I have only 2 yrs of college).

He has walked into me 2 times and pushed me. He got into such a rage that his face turned red, his veins bulged and he foamed at the mouth as he yelled in my face and then made a fist before slamming it into the table in front of me. I have 2 girls at home, one who is under 18. He has started to be verbally abusive in front of them and to them. I have stopped sleeping in the same bed when he is mad because he has turned on all the lights at 2 a.m. and elbowed me etc.

I won’t ride in the car with him because then I am a captive audience for his yelling. I filed for a divorce in Feb 2010 but then gave him yet another chance (I left the divorce papers in place). He was nice for awhile and now is back to being abusive.

Now our marriage counselor says he thinks he can help him. My husband admits he is verbally abusive and does not want to abuse me. I am at the point of living separately in the same house. I don’t know when his next “explosion” will be and if he will someday hit one of us. I never know what will make him mad…some little thing that another time wont even bother him.

My friends are concerned for our safety even though he has never actually “hit” me or my girls. I have read the Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans and that’s what made me understand what was happening to me finally.

Can someone unlearn bad behavior at 57 when they are
Bipolar and probably have a personality disorder?

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I do not believe you are asking the correct question. After reading your posting, my question is, not can he unlearn bad behavior, but, can you learn to live without being abused any longer?

It is very striking to me that you have tolerated an enormous amount of abuse from this man. Bipolar Disorder is neither an excuse nor an explanation for his attitude and behavior. There are many people with this disorder and who are married and happy. There is nothing inevitable about having Bipolar Disorder and acting abusively.

You state that he has not yet been physically abusive but then report that he has pushed and elbowed you. You state that he gets so angry that his veins stand out. In other words, he has great difficulty controlling himself and will, most likely, hit you and your children at some future time, in my opinion. Do you want to wait until he harms you or the children? There are tragic cases in which physical abuse became deadly. Do you want to risk that happening?

Remember, people who are abusive almost always vow that they were wrong and will never do it again….then, it happens again.

I want to emphasize that you have a responsibility to protect your children as well as yourself. In my opinion, abuse is abuse, whether its verbal or physical. That is why I will give you my opinion that you may or may not agree with: Get out of this marriage, and you and your children, far away from him.

As for your marriage therapist let me just say that, if it was me, I would not bet the safety of my family and myself on what any therapist says.

My recommendation is that you find a good therapist for yourself or a self help group for women who have suffered from abuse, so that you can get all the emotional support you will need to end this relationship.

Best of Luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

  • Cathy

    I agree with Allan. I was horrified at what you are having to deal with and more horrified for your children being in the house. You have an obligation to protect your children. Does it really matter whether or not he will hit you? You can live with all the other abuse? If you some other perspectives on this, come in the community support forum and see if you can connect with someone who has experienced something similar. I lived with someone that was verbally abusive, but it got worse and the last straw was when I found myself with his hands around my neck choking me and I thought I would die. I remember it so well because my son, 4 years old at the time, was in the room and my eyes searched the room for him because I wanted to see him one last time - that moment changed my life. Protect yourself as it only takes an instant.

  • Anonymous-1

    Dr. Schwartz is right, but the short answer to the question you asked is yes, he will eventually hit you. By that time, of course, you won't care. Physical blows will be nothing compared with what you have already experienced. Get out now, understand you will miss the good times and that's ok, but you can't have them back anyway.

  • Anonymous-2

    I can see what you are saying. I have found out he his his ex wife. The house we live in is my house and still in my other name. I have been advised not to leave my house. My lawyer says it is almost impossible for me to get him out of the house and if I leave it gets messy unless we can prove we had to. I even sat in the psychologist 's office ( marriage counselor) 2 weeks ago saying what he has done to me and that I often feel afraid that he will get physical. The counselor said nothing about that as he madly took notes. He didnt touch the subject. I truely do not know what to do. I live in PA. I have checking into a PFA

  • Anonymous-2

    I think there were several reasons I tolerated all of the abuse:1. It was like I believed him- that I was the one with the problem 2. Things would get better and he would give me an explanation of how we could improve our relationship. 3. I believe in forgiveness but now I realize forgiveness does not mean "restoration" in an abusive relationship if there is no remorse. 4. I wanted this marriage to work so much that I was willing to overlook the bad times for the few good times. All of those reasons are not good reasons but it has been a process for me to get to where I am now...feeling stuck in MY house with a man who is verbally abusive and who refuses to move out. I am in counseling now and working on issues for me. thanks so much for your input. I appreciate it.

  • Anonymous-3

    Dr. Schwartz is absolutely right! I am just now getting out of a relationship with someone who has bi-polar. I endured 5 years of abuse, both physical and verbal. I kept thinking things would change and they haven't. They start to get good then get bad. It's not worth the emotional despair, fear, loss of self-worth and loss of self-esteem and confidence. You should get out of the relationship before it's too late.

  • Jamie

    I'm going through that right now as well but he is physical with me. He also has an ocd for cleaning. I am not aloud to watch tv unless he is or he will get very angry with me. I've lost my friends due to his controling and I get hit all the time if I voice my opinion. And if I do something wrong it is continuosly rubbed in my face. I have a car but its not on the road right now so I feel reliant on him and I feel trapped. I also have a son so it complicates things even more. i wish there was an easy way out.


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