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  #1  
Old 12-03-2006, 11:11 PM
purple haze purple haze is offline
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Do you know someone that yells? How do you deal with it?

Tonight DH and I got into an argument. The problem is that he doesn't have any control over his temper when he's pissed off. He gets right in my face, points his finger in my face (I really hate that) and yells as loud as he can.

Yeah. We have two kids, 11 and 17. It's so fun for them, I'm sure.

His brother is the exact same way from what my SIL tells me.

I'm so sick of this shit, you just have no idea. It's also very demeaning to be yelled at like that.

What do I do? Constructive help, please. I don't need any advice on how to get a divorce lawyer.
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2006, 11:32 PM
Manatee Manatee is offline
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Living with it is the only (non-) solution. After this long, I can't see someone changing something that is so deeply ingrained and (apparently) a family tradition. I haven't known anyone with this particular problem, but other, comparable, ones seem to be permanent. Talking about it maybe makes them aware for a short while, but soon they're back to their old patterns.
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2006, 11:35 PM
squeegee squeegee is offline
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Define "yelling", please.

I have been accused of "yelling" in an argument when I repeatedly (in a calm voice) insist on an explanation of something that the other person said.

I assume you meant something more strenuous, but let's be clear.
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2006, 11:36 PM
DataZak DataZak is offline
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In my experience, people who yell during arguments don't have anything to stand on and use loud noise to cover the fact.

I counter that tactic by not shouting back and reply with a good zinger or two. Maybe you should tell us what were you arguing about?
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  #5  
Old 12-03-2006, 11:58 PM
Heffalump and Roo Heffalump and Roo is offline
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It might also help to tell us what you've already tried and why it worked or didn't.

I have a couple suggestions which you may already have tried.

When someone is getting loud, I generally say in a very calm and even voice, 'you're yelling' or 'why are you yelling?' In many instances, they don't even know they're doing it and will stop. If the person doesn't stop, then they may be using the loudness as some kind of intimidation. Intimidation is a different issue.

If informing the person of their action doesn't work, I would suggest leaving the room and saying that you'll be back when the other person is willing to discuss the issue in a rational manner.

Of course, I would vary my suggestions if any physical action is involved.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2006, 12:49 AM
purple haze purple haze is offline
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The argument was about Christmas gifts. It was nothing to get very worked up about, that's for sure. I stay calm and rational, and say "Stop yelling at me", or "Why are you yelling at me?". His response? Because I'm fucking pissed off, now deal with it. He knows he's doing it, and quite frankly doesn't care about the effect on me, or the kids for that matter.

Walking away is a good idea. If I'm not there, there's no one to vent on.
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2006, 12:51 AM
purple haze purple haze is offline
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I do reply with zingers, now that I think about it. That's like throwing kerosene onto a fire.

I think I'm going to check into marriage counseling. Something that's gone on this long won't change on it's own. Also, I'm sitting here feeling like shit. Then I get angry for allowing someone else to make me feel that way.
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2006, 12:54 AM
purple haze purple haze is offline
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The thought crossed my mind while he was doing his yelling/screaming act that I wished I had a video camera to record the whole thing. Then I would play it on You Tube or something. Well, not really.

Then again...
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  #9  
Old 12-04-2006, 12:57 AM
DataZak DataZak is offline
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Well, at least he hasn't gone physical (other than that finger-pointing-in-the-face bit).
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2006, 12:57 AM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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It might help to point out that the yeller may think he's out of control, but in fact he's in complete control (and he knows he's intimidating). For instance, if your next-door neighbors called the police and they showed up, he would stop yelling--right? Therefore he's in control. He can change this behavior whenever he wants.

Therefore he does it because he gets something out of it. He keeps doing it because he keeps getting something out of it.

Now maybe he feels like nobody listens to his side of things unless he yells, or maybe he just needs the release and after he yells a bit he feels better. (I'm kind of like this myself so I want people to just let me yell; in my case it only lasts a minute or so.) Whatever it is, try to find some other way for him to get it.

For instance, "I'm not going to talk to you while you're yelling at me. Calm down and I'll be happy to discuss this reasonably."

Or, "When you're through venting I will listen to you."

Good luck.
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  #11  
Old 12-04-2006, 01:20 AM
InternetLegend InternetLegend is online now
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I understand how you feel. I can't stand to have anyone yell at me, and once someone starts, I know nothing constructive will come of it. Because of this, if I'm arguing with someone who begins to yell, I turn around and walk away long before he can point a finger in my face, and I won't resume the discussion until the volume level is turned down.

You might try talking to him about it when you're both calm and the kids aren't around. Get your thoughts collected before you sit down with him - if you think you'll get flustered and forget important points, write them down. Tell him how important this issue is to you, let him know exactly which behaviors bother you and why, and stay focused on communicating how things look from your point of view. Try very hard to stay away from accusatory statements or any statement that begins with the phrase "You always" or "You never", since those things are likely to start another argument rather than facilitating discussion, and stay focused on the issue at hand rather than letting any other disagreements or problems you may have with him come into it. After you state your feelings, ask him to respond in kind - you may have to prime the pump by asking him how he feels (and you'll have to try to ignore any of his "You always..." statements) and if he has any thoughts about how to solve the problem. Really listen to what he has to say, and try to consider his point of view as carefully as you want him to consider yours. Also, you didn't mention it, but is alcohol involved? You cannot reason with someone who's drunk, so if it's an issue, be sure you're having your discussion before anyone's had a drink.

Don't let him dismiss your feelings - if one person in a relationship is having a problem, you both are. Marriage counseling is an excellent idea, but you'll have to start talking in order to get him to realize that this is an issue that won't just go away.
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  #12  
Old 12-04-2006, 01:50 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is online now
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Sit him down and give an ultimatum one day while everything is calm. True, he'll probably blow up as soon as you tell him he's going to stop. But just last through it each time knowing that he's just lost sex/conversation/whatever with you for the next two weeks.

Never back down. If he's been good about it for a while, and he starts yelling again one day, do not be nice. Regardless of how long he's been good, any and every time he does something that is frightening or demeaning, follow through. If he becomes physically violent of course, get out, get a divorce.
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2006, 02:28 AM
lissener lissener is offline
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You're describing my parents.

Can I please counter a couple of the suggestions above? Don't ask, "Why are you yelling?" That's passive aggressive and puts him on the defensive; now he has to give you an answer, which may make him angrier. My sister, who is monstrously passive aggressive, is all about, "Why are you doing that? Why do you do this? Why do you . . . ?" To respond that way is an accusation, without being direct about it.

Make statements, not questions. Calmly, quietly. Make them "me" statements, not "you" statements. "I don't like it when you yell at me," not "You are yelling at me."

Subtle, but it may change the tone of the exchange.

Report back.
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  #14  
Old 12-04-2006, 05:27 AM
Kyla Kyla is offline
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My dad is a yeller. It helps that once he's over the initial rage, he usually feels bad about the yelling. So my solution is that I absolutely refuse to argue with him when he starts yelling. I just walk out of the room. If he follows me and wants to argue, I tell him to go away and we'll talk about it in 10 minutes. By then he's usually calm enough to discuss whatever it is in a rational manner.

When I was a young teenager, before I developed this method, I used to have some real screaming fights with my dad. Now...I actually can't remember the last time we fought. We get along wonderfully. (Does it help that we live on opposite sides of the planet? Maybe...but even when I was living with my parents in my early 20s we didn't fight at all.) My sister, on the other hand, is also a yeller and they fight all the time. Really unpleasant.
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  #15  
Old 12-04-2006, 08:21 AM
Canadiangirl Canadiangirl is offline
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Walk away. Only talk to the person once they don't yell any more.

I guarantee it will only take a few times before they're standing there, all by themselves, wondering what the heck is going on. They will learn.

Do your kids yell too?
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  #16  
Old 12-04-2006, 08:27 AM
Caricci Caricci is offline
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Purple Haze , what's he like otherwise? His response to you asking him not to yell is so disrespectful, IMO, that it concerns me even more than the yelling.
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  #17  
Old 12-04-2006, 11:29 AM
stargazer stargazer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lissener
Make statements, not questions. Calmly, quietly. Make them "me" statements, not "you" statements. "I don't like it when you yell at me," not "You are yelling at me."

Subtle, but it may change the tone of the exchange.

Report back.
I have a new job, working in the field of couples' counseling (I am NOT a counselor; I'm just learning a lot being around them!). This sounds like a good idea, but I'd tweak your "I" statement a bit -- say, "It makes me feel ______ when you yell at me. I need you to be calm when we talk." And I would do this NOT in the heat of the moment, but at another time, so that it doesn't get lost in the fight. Tell him what you do need/want him to do, not what you don't want him to do -- focus on the positive, and give him direction.

Also, I would try to create some rules around these discussions/fights -- something like a code word, that either of you can use, that means "we are not getting anywhere in this state; let's take a break for __ minutes and come back and try to discuss it calmly."

Another thing I've learned is that men take a LOT longer to calm down than women do, physiologically speaking. So even if you've recovered from being yelled at, give him more time.

I have some great resources through my work; my email's in the profile if you're interested.
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  #18  
Old 12-04-2006, 11:42 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stargazer
I have a new job, working in the field of couples' counseling (I am NOT a counselor; I'm just learning a lot being around them!). This sounds like a good idea, but I'd tweak your "I" statement a bit -- say, "It makes me feel ______ when you yell at me. I need you to be calm when we talk." And I would do this NOT in the heat of the moment, but at another time, so that it doesn't get lost in the fight. Tell him what you do need/want him to do, not what you don't want him to do -- focus on the positive, and give him direction.

Also, I would try to create some rules around these discussions/fights -- something like a code word, that either of you can use, that means "we are not getting anywhere in this state; let's take a break for __ minutes and come back and try to discuss it calmly."

Another thing I've learned is that men take a LOT longer to calm down than women do, physiologically speaking. So even if you've recovered from being yelled at, give him more time.

I have some great resources through my work; my email's in the profile if you're interested.
When we get to an impasse, one of us will put up our hand and say..."This conversation is OVAH."

I disagree with the "I" statements with regard to verbal violence. He doesn't give a shit how you feel, so reiterating the fact that he's hurting your feelings will be ineffective. The only thing you can do is cease to participate. "I'm not going to stand here and be treated like shit. When you want to discuss this, let me know." Then walk away.
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  #19  
Old 12-04-2006, 12:06 PM
StGermain StGermain is offline
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"And if you stick that finger in my face one more time I'll bite it off."

StG
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  #20  
Old 12-04-2006, 12:08 PM
SnakesCatLady SnakesCatLady is offline
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If he doesn't seem to care how he's making you feel - will knowing he is having a very negative effect on the children make any difference to him?

I cannot stand to be yelled at, or to have anyone get in my face. It very seldom happens to me, as Mr. SCL is not a yeller. I recommend walking away. Don't say anything, and don't wait until the finger starts waving. As soon as the volume goes up - leave. If he asks why, explain that you will not allow yourself to be demeaned and your children to be scarred by his behavior.

Counseling is a good idea if you can get him to go. If he won't go, go alone. Going alone won't change his behavior but it may give you some tools to deal with it.
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  #21  
Old 12-04-2006, 02:00 PM
BigDoggie BigDoggie is offline
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We were just talking about something similar to this over in this thread. It may have some relevant info to your situation.
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  #22  
Old 12-04-2006, 02:05 PM
According to Pliny According to Pliny is offline
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There are clerks at stores I go to who yell at the top of their voices for absolutely no reason, and often bustle at full bore, making a show of how important their errand is. I complain to the checkout clerks, but they usually just roll their eyes because they know the one I mean.
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  #23  
Old 12-04-2006, 02:10 PM
Little Bird Little Bird is offline
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Can you tape record him next time he yells? Maybe he doesn't realize how awful he sounds and playing it back for him later on, when everyone's calm, will help.
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  #24  
Old 12-04-2006, 02:36 PM
phall0106 phall0106 is offline
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Please approach this situation with caution, purple haze. What you've described may be one step from becoming more physical. (Lack of respect of your physical space by getting that close to you during a heated argument, the finger in the face, telling you to "deal with it", etc.) If you do try to turn and walk away while he's in this state, he may very well react by grabbing you or otherwise attempting to detain you or get his point across. If possible, try to walk away before it gets to this point.

I would second those here (and yourself) who suggested marriage counseling. If he won't go, then go for yourself. A good counselor will give you tools that you can use, even if the other person doesn't have the same or similiar tools.

All of the other tools suggested here (sticking with "I" statements) may be good suggestions, but I think your relationship with your husband may be past that point and may need something prior to those type of levels of communication.
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  #25  
Old 12-04-2006, 03:30 PM
Scissorjack Scissorjack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purple haze
The problem is that he doesn't have any control over his temper when he's pissed off.
The problem, I think, is that he does; or does he also do it with people he can't exert control over - his boss, or a traffic cop? In my experience people who "lose their tempers" permit themselves to express their anger only in certian circumstances: and thus they do have control over themselves, they just choose to apply it selectively.

The whole shoving himself in your face while pointing and shouting, well, that's frankly physical intimidation - it's bullying - and you should not put up with it. If you've asked him to stop and he still persists, that's worrying: he's bullying you because he can even though he knows what effect it's having.

This sounds as if it has a nasty potential to escalate physically, and you need to take a stand now: I second the idea of calling in some kind of counsellor or mediator, if telling him directly hasn't worked, but he needs to know that this behaviour must stop or there'll be consequences for him.

No-one in any relationship should have to put up with that kind of shit: it's scary, and it's borderline abusive. Wheel out the big guns now, before you end up in hospital with a black eye and broken ribs.
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  #26  
Old 12-04-2006, 04:36 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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Originally Posted by purple haze
Then I get angry for allowing someone else to make me feel that way.
Bolding mine.

[new age crap that I have actually found to work voice]
Your more than halfway there...he can't "make" you feel anything you don't choose to. As long as you believe he is "making" you that way, though, you won't be able to choose differently.
[/nactihaftwv]
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  #27  
Old 12-04-2006, 09:50 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scissorjack
The problem, I think, is that he does; or does he also do it with people he can't exert control over - his boss, or a traffic cop? In my experience people who "lose their tempers" permit themselves to express their anger only in certian circumstances: and thus they do have control over themselves, they just choose to apply it selectively.
Absolutely. If he's not controlling himself, who is? Aliens pointing their mind control at him? He is CHOOSING to be angry and abusive. My husband has pointed out that he might have poor impulse control, never having learned how to control his temper. That is a learned skill, though - he hasn't had enough motivation to learn it yet.
Quote:
<snip>This sounds as if it has a nasty potential to escalate physically, and you need to take a stand now: I second the idea of calling in some kind of counsellor or mediator, if telling him directly hasn't worked, but he needs to know that this behaviour must stop or there'll be consequences for him.

No-one in any relationship should have to put up with that kind of shit: it's scary, and it's borderline abusive. Wheel out the big guns now, before you end up in hospital with a black eye and broken ribs.
I agree. He is at his most dangerous if you change the behaviour patterns and he feels he is losing control of the situation and you. I would also suggest you confront him with a mediator present. We never want to believe that our loved one could get that out of control with us, but it happens every day.

You can't control or change him, but you can change yourself. Your goal is to change yourself and your behaviour enough to motivate him to change. What would do it? What would motivate him to learn to control his temper?
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  #28  
Old 12-05-2006, 10:22 AM
zelie zelerton zelie zelerton is offline
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Lots of good advice in this thread.

I too have some concerns about his lack of respect for you and his manipulation of violence in order to get his own way. Please, please, please make sure others know about it. Don't hide that he goes into rages out of some misplaced embarrassment. At worst all that will come of it is that he will be shamed in front of his friends and family. At best, it could save your life.
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  #29  
Old 12-05-2006, 06:30 PM
TheLoadedDog TheLoadedDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purple haze
The thought crossed my mind while he was doing his yelling/screaming act that I wished I had a video camera to record the whole thing. Then I would play it on You Tube or something. Well, not really.

Then again...
Not so much YouTube, but just as a permanent record in case you need it. I split from my ex in an extremely nasty and acrimonious separation, and her family, all of whom I really like as sensible,decent, and kind people, now think I am the devil himself. I am out of contact with them, and they only ever hear her twisted side of the story. I am kicking myself for not ever having gotten a video record of my ex in one of her blind, screaming banshee rages with our son, aged seven, cowering in a corner. I'd love to send her brothers and sisters a DVD of one of those episodes with a simple note: "draw your own conclusions."

I wouldn't agree with posting anything to the net though.
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  #30  
Old 12-05-2006, 11:16 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Dog, my husband would commiserate with you. He dated an unstable manic-depressive for a while (too long, he says), and she beat him and called the police. He was the one bleeding, but he was the one who got stuck in the back of the police car and charged with assault because no one has ever heard of a woman beating a man, apparently.
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  #31  
Old 12-06-2006, 12:15 AM
purple haze purple haze is offline
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There is a lot of sensible advice here, and I am listening to all of you. I will walk away when things get like that. This last time did scare me. He seemed to be restraining himself from physically attacking me. I actually called his mom and told her what was happening. Of course, I got some advice on how to be a better wife but she is 75 now and also a trifle hard of hearing. It was hard for either of us to tell her what was going on. Hearing his mom's voice worked to calm him down.

This morning I also called my mom and told her what's been going on with the out of control yelling. She was surprised. My SIL knows because her husband and my husband are brothers. She almost left him because of his temper (among other things).

Right now DH and I aren't talking. I'm not sure what's in his head right now, but I don't think he is sorry or feels like he did anything wrong. I've told him many times how I hate the yelling, and how will our son turn out? I feel that he has no intention of ever stopping. I'm sure it feels good to yell and vent his frustration on me, not only for what he's angry at me about, but his anger at things that happen at work, or whatever else.

His dad yells. He yells. What will our son be like to his wife?

Why it never occurred to me to walk away I don't know. I'm also having issues with my 17 yo daughter - she is sweet to dad and rude to me. Husband has told me that is between us to figure out. I don't need to "figure out" anything. It's obvious what's going on.

Sometimes I want to pack up the PB&J in a knapsack and run away.
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  #32  
Old 12-06-2006, 12:43 AM
InternetLegend InternetLegend is online now
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I know I'm being presumptuous, but it sounds to me like you really need to get some immediate, real-life help for yourself now. Maybe you can get your husband to agree to counseling later, maybe you can get the whole family into therapy so that you can break the cycle, but right now it really sounds like you need to talk to someone who can help you start to make some changes. Please, today, look up "counseling" or "social services" in your Yellow Pages and start making phone calls. There are plenty of counseling services that charge on a sliding scale or are even free (especially when it comes to domestic violence, and that's what this is).

The hardest part about getting help is convincing yourself that today is the day you need to call, and I'm hoping that me being arrogant enough to tell you what to do might give you that push. Today. Before it gets any worse.
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  #33  
Old 12-06-2006, 05:52 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purple haze
Why it never occurred to me to walk away I don't know. I'm also having issues with my 17 yo daughter - she is sweet to dad and rude to me. Husband has told me that is between us to figure out. I don't need to "figure out" anything. It's obvious what's going on.
Stockholm Syndrome - you know, when a hostage begins to sympathize with the captor and even helps them. Well, not exactly, but close, I suspect. My father-in-law has bipolar disorder, and chooses to do nothing about it because he loves the highs. When he's on the high end of the slope, he acts like he's the top dog in the world, and if you dare not support that wholeheartedly or disappoint him in someway, he could go into a screaming rage. My husband told me about having to sit for a couple hours or more of a yelling lecture about whatever his latest screw-up was, be it a bad grade or a quarrel with one of his sisters. (It got repetitious after a while, naturally, so if you dared not look like you were giving him your full attention, the screaming got even worse.) He would also occasionally use physical abuse but that wasn't as common since my FIL typically got results by screaming. (He can't keep up the sustained rage these days, but that's because now he's in his mid-70s, and he's had a few mini-strokes that have taken some of the wind out of his sails.)

Anyway, the one SIL of mine who (last I heard) continues to this day to go to counseling over the abuse is also the one most likely to jump to her father's defense if someone criticizes him, or to accuse her mother of being senile, etc. Reading about your daughter reminded me of this.

My totally unprofessional opinion (IANAP, though I did get my degree in psych and go on to graduate study in the field) is that your daughter has learned that he's the one with the "power," and she's going to try to get on his good side because that's the best place to be in her view of things. She might've also learned that you can be disrespected with impunity, by watching him. It might not even be conscious on her part.
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  #34  
Old 12-06-2006, 09:36 AM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Your son's going to yell at his wife, and your daughter is going to find a man to yell at her. In my in-expert opinion. It's not too late for any of you, but nothing will change if nobody does anything to change it.

I would bet that neither of your children respect you, because you're not demanding respect from the man who should love you and never hurt you. Please find a way to remove yourself from this dangerous situation, and please do it very carefully. We're all very worried for you.
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  #35  
Old 12-06-2006, 05:36 PM
Q.N. Jones Q.N. Jones is offline
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It's not that he "can't" control his anger. It's that he won't.

People who feel the need to bully others when things don't go their way are capable of changing their behavior. But they have to want to do it. It doesn't sound like your husband wants to change, based on his statement that you need to "deal with it" when he treats you this way. He believes he is entitled to treat you that way.

But you can change your situation. You have a number of options open to you. And they're all pretty tough roads to walk, whether you stay with him or you go.

I grew up with a father who yelled and bullied and raged. He treated (and still treats) my mother like his (verbal) punching bag. He doesn't think there is anything wrong with this because he is not physically abusive. The result was that his four daughters, including me, do not date because we don't understand how to relate to men, and we tend to assume that being in a relationship means the woman gets stomped on. (I'm in therapy to try to overcome it, my sisters are in denial about this.) Your children are learning a powerful lesson about how to treat their significant other, and it's not a good one.

Furthermore, one of the things I did was to be a bullier and a rager myself. The only two options I saw for behavior were "bully" or "doormat." And I didn't want to be a doormat. Over time, though, I saw that I didn't like the results of my bullying, and I worked hard to become more reasonable in arguments. I still have my moments, but now the people I argue with usually agree that I am rational and respectful during arguments.

But, like I said, he has to want to change. And if you want him to treat you differently, you have an obligation to yourself and your kids to lay down the law and tell him, firmly but calmly, "I will be treated with respect. That means you will not beller at me and you will not stick your finger in my face. When you are angry, you will argue with me constructively. You will work with me to find a solution. You will not verbally abuse me by saying cruel things that you know aren't true. And if you refuse to do those things, then I will not interact with you. I will walk away and not have a discussion with you until you will treat me with respect. You need to change. I find the current situation unbearable. It hurts our relationship. There are times when I do not like you. If this continues, it will poison our marriage. That is why I think we need to see a counselor to help us figure out how to change. We both need to make an effort to change what is a very destructive pattern. I will not do this forever."

I wish someone had been that clear and forthright with me. Of course, there is no guarantee of a positive result. In fact, he very likely will be angry with you over that, at least at first.

It'll be hard as hell, but working to try to make it better is probably less miserable than accepting the status quo forever, or going through a divorce.

My best wishes to you.
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  #36  
Old 12-06-2006, 06:33 PM
purple haze purple haze is offline
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I'm replying to let you all know that I picked up the phone this afternoon and called a marriage counselor. The woman I spoke with was so kind, and we have an appointment at 5:50 tomorrow. The counselor is a man and a PHD. The woman on the phone told me that he's very laid back and easy going, and has a sense of humor. That sounds good to me!

I really don't want to do this, but then again I'm looking forward to it. I have so much to say and this way I can say it without being drowned out.

When my husband got home from work today he seemed just fine - like nothing was wrong. It's obvious he has no intention of apologizing. When I mentioned the appointment he clammed right up and got angry. I've mentioned doing this in the past and then never followed through.

Thanks for giving me 'the Straight Dope' and taking the time to say something. I don't think I would have done anything (again). Last night I read and re-read some of the replies and at first I resisted what you were saying to me. There were too many responses for me to ignore.

Wish me luck tomorrow. With our insurance, 50 minutes will cost $45.
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  #37  
Old 12-06-2006, 06:39 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Bravo for doing something, and please, please carry through. He'll probably resist going; I'm sure that going would be an "admission" that something's wrong, and that's tough regardless of what's happening in one's relationship.
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  #38  
Old 12-06-2006, 08:16 PM
Scissorjack Scissorjack is offline
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Well done, purple haze - wishing you all the best, and hoping you can work through this.
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  #39  
Old 12-06-2006, 08:23 PM
Alpine Alpine is offline
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I'm glad you moved forward and made an appointment. This was a really tough step, and you should be proud of yourself for doing it.

I have a few more points to add to all the good advice on this thread. IANAP, but I worked with victims of domestic violence through a hotline for several years. The way he dismisses your feelings is a red hot indicator.

Don't be surprised if even having told your husband about the appointment triggers escalation. So far, all he's had to do to keep you intimidated is to yell. Taking it "outside" may make him feel like he's losing control (cause that's what it's all about, baby) and needs to increase his controlling behavior. I would suggest asking your new counselor straight out if he's worked with victims of d.v. The strategies are very different when dealing with a potentially dangerous situation, and the counselor should be familiar with that. I would also suggest being pretty low key about your appointment(s) and what you talk about in them with your husband. Don't throw in his face what the counselor says, etc. stay focused on what you need to do to protect yourself, emotionally and physically.

There's a good book on controlling behavior in relationships you might want to check out. When Love Goes Wrong Your counselor may have other suggestions.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss anything. And remember - you're NOT alone.
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  #40  
Old 12-06-2006, 08:27 PM
Jaade Jaade is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purple haze
I'm replying to let you all know that I picked up the phone this afternoon and called a marriage counselor. The woman I spoke with was so kind, and we have an appointment at 5:50 tomorrow. The counselor is a man and a PHD. The woman on the phone told me that he's very laid back and easy going, and has a sense of humor. That sounds good to me!

I really don't want to do this, but then again I'm looking forward to it. I have so much to say and this way I can say it without being drowned out.

When my husband got home from work today he seemed just fine - like nothing was wrong. It's obvious he has no intention of apologizing. When I mentioned the appointment he clammed right up and got angry. I've mentioned doing this in the past and then never followed through.

Thanks for giving me 'the Straight Dope' and taking the time to say something. I don't think I would have done anything (again). Last night I read and re-read some of the replies and at first I resisted what you were saying to me. There were too many responses for me to ignore.

Wish me luck tomorrow. With our insurance, 50 minutes will cost $45.
I understand exactly what you are going through. I've been through it twice myself. Be completely open and honest with the counselors, they are there to help, not to judge. Do not hold back things to make yourself OR your husband look better. Be as open-minded as you can. It will be your first instinct to defend him and your relationship to these new people.

Email is in my profile and I'd be happy to talk to you myself. The counselors are your best choice, of course, but speaking with someone who knows how you feel is sometimes very comforting.
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  #41  
Old 12-06-2006, 08:47 PM
SmartAleq SmartAleq is offline
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My SO's a yeller too--I know he can control it because he mostly does, but sometimes he just loses it and yells and yells and yells. It's almost funny because I can just about repeat along with him, word for word as he goes off--it's like it almost doesn't have any real relationship to what's actually happening in the world around him. It's like he has this track in his head and the choo choo takes off and round and round it goes, stopping at the same places and tooting the horn in rhythm...

I have to actually leave the house when he goes off because if I'm anywhere near he will just keep going and going with absolutely no input from me. Top of his lungs, for HOURS. This really annoys me, because it's MY GODDAMNED HOUSE.

I've considered the video camera thing--I have a phone that does video and I think I'm going to record one of the rants someday so I can just burn it onto a DVD and run it on constant loop whenever he goes off so he can see how stupid he looks and sounds.

I've also considered giving him a face full of pepper spray to chill his shit out. I bet it's really tough to keep screaming with a snootfull of owie...

So yeah, good luck with the counsellor--if you can get him to go with you. Even if he doesn't, it'll make you feel better about the situation and maybe you'll get to the point where you'll just pack it up and move it along. I've done that a couple of times, and right now I'm at the point where if Himself goes off at me one more time he's going to find all his shit on the front porch and the locks changed AGAIN. You'd think he'd learn by now that my patience has limits, but I suppose the ability of the human male to fool himself about the capabilities of the human female is limitless.

Oh, and don't discount the physical thing--SO tried that a couple of times but he definitely came out the worse from the interaction. I have berserkers in my lineage, I suspect, and when I get pissed and am pushed to fighting physically I don't stop until hospitalization is a good idea. If you are less tough than I you don't wanna be there when he decides to escalate to bigger and funner forms of intimidation. If you can't mount a scorched earth response you don't want to go down that road.
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  #42  
Old 12-06-2006, 08:54 PM
SnakesCatLady SnakesCatLady is offline
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Keep the appointment - even if your husband refuses to go. The counselor can help you deal with this, although it will be best if you both go. But don't let his refusal stop you from going.
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  #43  
Old 12-06-2006, 09:42 PM
Heffalump and Roo Heffalump and Roo is offline
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purplehaze, that was a brave step and I wish you much success with this.
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  #44  
Old 12-06-2006, 09:52 PM
Q.N. Jones Q.N. Jones is offline
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Good for you!

One word of warning: therapy only works if the person(s) getting therapy make an honest and candid effort. When a person feels forced into a therapy session, it's really common for them to get defensive, to clam up, and to even be disingenuous and try to manipulate the direction of the therapy away from the issues that would require them to face harsh truths about themselves. It's a defense mechanism.

At a couple of points in my life, my parents were told that they should attend therapy sessions with me. (I'm bipolar and was hospitalized a few times.) Neither one of them wanted to be there because of the fear of being judged--something you say your husband has a problem with. Dad monopolized the whole session narrating his (white-washed, self-serving) version of his personal history, so as to keep the conversation off of subjects he knew would involve criticism of his actions.

Your therapist will have ideas about how to handle this, but I'm saying, be prepared to walk out of that first session feeling disappointed. You'll feel you didn't get to say everything you wanted to say, and my guess is you will be disappointed in your husband's lack of willingness to participate (though he may surprise you). Don't let it stop you from going back. It takes at least several sessions to get a meaningful result from therapy. And if you continue to insist on going, your husband may become less afraid of judgment and more willing to participate. Learning that it is safe to be candid in therapy takes most people awhile to accept.

Best of luck tomorrow!
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  #45  
Old 12-06-2006, 10:22 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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My parents, especially my father, yell constantly, about everything. They're nice people but any disagreement, ANY offense, and the shouting begins.

I didn't really realize until recently how much it affected me, but having a baby sure opened my eyes. I was like "Jesus, I don't want this around my kid."

Thankfully, I didn't seem to pick this habit up. In our household we do not raise our voices in anger.
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  #46  
Old 12-07-2006, 12:09 AM
InternetLegend InternetLegend is online now
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I was thinking about you this afternoon and hoping you're doing all right. I'm relieved and happy that you had the courage to take action. Congratulations for taking that first step!
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  #47  
Old 12-07-2006, 09:06 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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When people yell at me (and if my own blood pressure manages to stay within tolerable levels), I say "you're yelling".

That's the only thing I say until they stop yelling. I don't say it again and again and again (that would get on my nerves big time if someone did it to me), but I make it clear that there will not be another response until they Stop Yelling.

I once had a boss who yelled, got in people's faces (I've been closer to her than to some of my dance partners), shook her finger so close to the nose of whomever she was yelling at that it's a wonder you didn't get fingerprints on your retinas... the one time she started doing it to me in front of two dozen other workers and I just said "you're yelling" and pushed her finger to the side ended up being pretty funny. The other people were still looking away (as usual) but you could see some of them shaking with laughter. I'm told it's one of the few times anybody has managed to beat that bitch.
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  #48  
Old 12-07-2006, 09:08 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lissener
You're describing my parents.

Can I please counter a couple of the suggestions above? Don't ask, "Why are you yelling?" That's passive aggressive and puts him on the defensive; now he has to give you an answer, which may make him angrier. My sister, who is monstrously passive aggressive, is all about, "Why are you doing that? Why do you do this? Why do you . . . ?" To respond that way is an accusation, without being direct about it.

Make statements, not questions. Calmly, quietly. Make them "me" statements, not "you" statements. "I don't like it when you yell at me," not "You are yelling at me."

Subtle, but it may change the tone of the exchange.

Report back.
haze, print this one out. And as you already have noticed, no zingers either. Best wishes.
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  #49  
Old 12-07-2006, 09:26 AM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Good job, purple haze. I hope the counselling works out for both of you, because I don't think your husband is very happy, either. If he doesn't want to work on his own issues, please still keep going to a counsellor yourself. One of you learning to break your old patterns is better than neither of you learning.

One more note - the counsellor should be good, helpful, and challenging. If this counsellor doesn't fill these requirements, don't be afraid to look for a different one. You don't have to particularly like your counsellor, but they should be helping you.
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  #50  
Old 12-07-2006, 09:21 PM
SnakesCatLady SnakesCatLady is offline
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Just wondering how things went. Let us know - we're concerned.
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