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#63575 - 11/12/02 10:39 AM Question
searching Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 21
Hi, all.

I have a question--mostly for survivors, but it would be great to hear from other spouses/SOs also--about rage issues.

My husband has been doing really well over the past year or so in dealing with his abuse issues, depression, etc. I've been trying my best to be supportive and helpful. But in the past month or so his depression worsened, probably mostly due to the change in seasons and a very, very stressful job. And the spiralling down ultimately leads to increased anger on his part. I also become less able to cope, more forgetful, and probably less supportive (hard to look from outside . . .)

What this led up to was my doing something that triggered his rage. He wanted to get out of the house when he was feeling terrible, I got stupidly caught up in something for a few hours and didn't call him, and he went ballistic.

I don't know how to deal with the rage while it's happening, or the aftermath of pain, anxiety, fear, and loss that I feel now. I could really use some help in understanding how best to deal with this.

Thanks...


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#63576 - 11/12/02 01:28 PM Re: Question
New to this Offline
Member

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 138
Loc: Mississippi
Searching,

Many of us have trouble dealing with our feelings. We bottle them up until they overwhelm us. Instead of dealing with things as they happen, we save up our rage and vent it on those we love.

It's hard to seperate the rage from the person. It's hard to not take it personally because it seems to be directed at you. Being a scapegoat is not easy, but if you can understand where the rage comes from and that it is not a personal attack on you, dealing with it may be easier.
There is a considerable amount of guilt on our part after venting our rage. I found that I felt better after venting my rage, but I took my wife several hours to get over it(and I felt really guilty also). I'm not trying to absolve your husband of all responsibility, but you should not feel responsible for his rage. Let him rage, but engourage him to vent constructively. Don't punish him after he vents. That seems to reinforce our pattern of suppressing our feelings.

Help him develop acceptable methods of dealing with stress & frustration. If your husband is like me, he doesn't want to talk about his day when he gets home. He may be experiencing a "sensory overload" and just need some time to relax.

If you are up to it, use his tantrums to get to the bottom of what is really bothering him.

I know that I've rambled on a bit. I put my wife and kids through what you are going through. maybe a little insight into my experience will help you understand your husband's experience.

I really didn't mean this as advice, but this is what I think would have helped me.

Good luck.

Devon

_________________________
"Knowledge itself is power" Francis Bacon

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#63577 - 11/12/02 03:13 PM Re: Question
Cement Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
Oh, my...rage, my closest friend and sworn enemy.

My pre>
_________________________
And let the darkness fear our light.

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#63578 - 11/13/02 10:56 AM Re: Question
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
My BF has problems with rage also. We have both been going to couples therapy (and he goes to his own individual therapy too) to better understand what goes on in his mind/body when he gets into a rage, and what both of us can do about it (I didnt always react well to his anger being a verbal/emotional abuse victim myself). A lot of this anger goes back to fundamental beliefs about himself being somehow flawed, unworthy, damaged, etc. that are the result of his abuse, and the subsequent feelings he has about his mother for not protecting him.

One thing my BF has learned from his therapy is that anger has long been used to protect him from the bigger feelings of grief, loss, anger, anxiety, fear, etc. that he has NOT processed from his abuse. These feelings do not completely go away even after therapy - they may be farther apart and less frequent and/or less intense, but I do believe that even despite therapy (my BF has been in therapy on and off for about 8 years now) anger fits may still happen once in awhile.

What I do when he gets like this is a) give him time to himself to let him calm down b) tell him that his anger scares me (and if he has done or said anything inappropriate during his anger fit I tell him that) c) tell him that even despite his anger, however, I still really really love him and I understand where his anger is coming from - and then I sometimes give him a big hug.

Most times when my BF is in an anger fit he really really really is just scared and feeling unsafe (feeling safe is a big thing for him), and a bear hug really helps. He often bursts out crying in my arms after I give him the hug, releasing his emotions. And then all is well for awhile.

Soc


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#63579 - 11/13/02 11:46 AM Re: Question
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
EEps.. rereading the original post I am not sure if I really answered the question...

I'm sure your husband's stressful job and the changing of the seasons is affecting his ability to deal with SA. What I have found from both my abuse history and my BF's history is that we are both prone to strong reactions under stress, and we are probably not as good as others in dealing with excessive stress. Both my BF and I have found that dealing with abuse takes a serious amount of energy, limiting our energy to deal with "life".

What helps when we are faced with excessive stress in our lives that is making life difficult to cope with, both my BF and I is to analyze life at that time and remove any unnecessary stress (i.e. put off appointments or tasks that can be done later) or take a day off work, or something to just ease the stress when things get too much. Dealing with SA requires a lot of energy leaving less energy available to deal with other stressors in one's life - a lot of additional life stress is often just "too much".

Heading into the "holiday season" can also be hard for abuse survivors - we are expected to think happy thoughts about our families, spend time with them, etc and for many of us (myself included) and happiness is the LAST thing that comes to mind when I think of spending extended time with my family. Many abuse survivors feel very lonely/isolated during the holidays. I have found that right around the time of the first snowfall I get *really* uptight until Xmas is over.

soccer


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#63580 - 11/13/02 10:18 PM Re: Question
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Survivors of abuse have a lot of rage in us. That is true. We need to vent it. But, we need to vent it in a way that does not harm us or others. Sending our blood presure up to near stroke level does not help, for me, it just scarred the hell out of me.

If rage is a regular problem it seems we need to have some boundaries that we do not cross. And we need to come up with ways to get the energy out in a way that does not exhaust us mentally--a litle physical exhaustion at that can be be ok.

There is a book I found helpful in dealing with my rage. It is caller YOUR PERFECT RIGHT. Before I read that I feared I would really harm myself, or someone else and I also thought that I would go crazy, get locked up etc.

We have a right to be angry. We also deserve to learn ways to vent without going on an around the world guilt trip.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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