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#456181 - 12/06/13 03:13 PM Acts of Aggression
Esposa Offline

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 811
Loc: NJ
Our couples therapist yesterday suggested that my husband commits acts of aggression toward me. This is not the first time I have heard this. My husband's best friend has suggested it to me on a number of occasions.

And if I look at the last 3-4 years, I can see those things. These subtle passive aggressive acts - and some not so subtle. Like the affair (with a friend of mine). Like trying to sabotage my efforts to start my own company, to lose weight, to build what I thought was our dream house. (Seriously, the list is crazy when I start really taking an honest look.) When I look at things through this lens, it aligns with how I feel and starts to make sense to me.

Couples therapist also suggested that these are unconscious acts for my husband. That he is not in touch with his anger and thus cannot control it. And this aligns with what I see too because he is often surprised by how I feel or how I react. And he sometimes seems confused by his own actions -like he himself cannot reconcile why he would do one thing and feel a different way.

Living this way has become impossible for me however. Regardless of the fact that our therapist believes they are not acts against ME, but that I am a stand in for his mother or other people who have taken away his control. Aka, it is not personal. And I get that. It is not me. I have not acted against him - nor sought to destroy him. But all of this aside, living with someone who acts out his anger on you is not healthy - nor is it good for my children.

I wonder if any survivors have experience with this type of thing and if they were able to bring their anger into consciousness and thus work through it. I feel like my only option right now is to remove myself from the equation - to take away the target - but this also makes me worry about my kids - will they take up the slack if I leave?

#456182 - 12/06/13 03:24 PM Re: Acts of Aggression [Re: Esposa]
Valkyrie Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
I have definitely been the target or my H's unresolved anger. It manifests in varying degrees. Sometimes he just snipes, sometimes he walls himself off, sometimes he becomes verbally hostile.

When he walls himself off or becomes snippy, I ignore him, give him space, and lately he has started apologizing (later) for his bad mood. When he is verbally hostile however, I am in his face informing him that he will not speak to me that way. This push back resorts him going off somewhere for a while only to come back and apologize, or an immediate decompression where he starts to talk, and now, rarely, where he tries to "bite back" until it becomes a fight.

I can handle the hostility when it devolves into conversation about what is going in his head. I can also deal with the walk-away and return as well. The fighting though, never ends up being about me or even us - it's just his projections. It's maddening, really.

He is supportive of me and my goals, I will give him that. He also started long-distance running again which has helped enormously.

I don't what to say, it's up and it's down, but if I felt it were real anger being constantly directed at me, I'm not sure I could deal with that either.

Edited by Valkyrie (12/06/13 03:26 PM)

#456186 - 12/06/13 04:03 PM Re: Acts of Aggression [Re: Esposa]
sugarbaby Offline

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 382
Well that all sounds familiar. This is a rare occurrence here since his inpatient therapy but I have learned to nip anything in the bud if it starts feeling like it is going the passive-aggressive way.

I don't think H was aware of what he was doing. He seems very remorseful and embarrassed when I point things out. He had other 'targets'.... like people at work, one particular relative, probably others.

I'm curious to see what the guys say but my inclination is that there will be a target until the behavior is recognized and worked on.

#456214 - 12/06/13 09:49 PM Re: Acts of Aggression [Re: Esposa]
Esposa Offline

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 811
Loc: NJ
Doc says it is almost like an alter - he has to name it and bring it into his consciousness. I am tired.

#456273 - 12/07/13 06:07 AM Re: Acts of Aggression [Re: Esposa]
tbkkfile Offline

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 393
Loc: Surrey, United Kingdom
Esposa - I can't speak for your H but only for myself.

The first thing for me was to admit what I was doing and take responsibility for my actions, it was so hard to do and it meant going further than just saying to my wife "I'm sorry", as she say's "those are just words", it mean't for me something fundemental in pealing away the layers of the last 40 or so years of hiding mentally, reliving my abuse, and finally opening up the door in my head where I'd piled all of the crap and facing it. Not to be too spiritual but stepping into the fire and walking out the other side cleansed - does that make sense?

It was only when I accepted fully what I was doing that I was able to change - It helped that my wife did exactly what Valkyrie and sugarbaby did, believe me there was no room for me backsliding.

I guess though that even after everything there will still be moments, but I'm someway in recognising them now and being able to own up accept that I was wrong and apologise, and try harder.

I wish you peace and happiness

#456291 - 12/07/13 11:57 AM Re: Acts of Aggression [Re: Esposa]
catfish86 Offline

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 832
Loc: Ohio
With my wife, it was mostly coming out in wall-off type things. Some of it was hard to deal with for her, my emotional distance. Some of it she got used to taking advantage of. For instance, when we would have a fight, she could say ANYTHING to me and it would not get a reaction. Then after some time in therapy, we got into it and I suddenly started crying because what she said hurt my feelings. Her reaction was startled, she said, "what the hell are you doing?" and I told her "I don't know, you hurt my feelings". That stuff took some getting used to because I had stripped that away.

It wasn't just my wife, it was my children. I still have to fight the urge to log onto the computer and growl at anyone that tries to ask me for anything. I now have to try to unteach my children those behaviors.

With others, it could sometimes get violent. Now, in the list of things I am going to mention, please note that most people doing these things should not be surprised to get a fist in the face, but my reactions were a little over the top. Also, I was picked on a lot and of small stature. While ice skating at a rink, a kid commented on my long hair, said I was cute and he wanted to ** me. I slammed his face into the ice and pounded his head into the pool of blood from his nose. A company commander in the army thought it would be funny to give me a severe wedgy (lifted me off the ground). It ended with him having a broken arm, even though he literally outweighed me by a hundred pounds. Not good. I had several of these situations. It finally stopped happening when I, through a long process suggested by my sponsor in AA, forgave my uncle (I would previously say I forgave him but wanted to hear him scream in hell, that's not forgiven).
God grant me
The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

#456319 - 12/08/13 12:10 AM Re: Acts of Aggression [Re: Esposa]
lucylives Offline

Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 367
Shocking how alike our situations can be.

When in his addictions, my husband was the kindest, sweetest, most accommodating man. I didn't realize it was because he was medicating and acting out the anger in a passive aggressive, life threatening way.

Now, it is a whole different story. Things go really well and then bam, it is ugly. Verbally hostile and aggressive is the best words to describe it. That and flailing his body. It is scary when it happens. He has no idea what it looks like or feels like to be on the other side of it. A lot of times it is the "me, tarzan, you Jane" mentality which is not happening here at my house.

What I know now, I think for my husband, he can be so easily triggered by a feeling he gets that is reminiscent of his abuse i.e. not being in control, feeling less than that he flies off the handle. I do believe it is unresolved anger towards the people who hurt him. I know when he acts like that ( a raving lunatic, verbally hostile or me tarzan) that that triggers my own unresolved trauma from being married to a sex addict and childhood trauma. Recognizing this doesn't help me all the time, but there is progress in recognizing it.

Anyway, these last 24 hours this shit has been on my mind as I just experienced it again yesterday. These outbursts are fewer and farther between, thank God but they still happen and I still hate it.

I told my husband, you have a can act like that and have a wife who can't stand the sight of you and is unhappy to pull up to the house and see your car or you can have a wife who can't wait to see you, be with you and who likes you (which is how I feel most of the time)

So go ahead, Tarzan, the choice is yours!


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