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#66667 - 06/12/03 03:14 PM Re: best response to anger over small issues?
PAS Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Oh my gawd this is EXACTLY my problem in my relationship!! My BF does the exact same thing from time to time. When he gets really angry sometimes, it just seems to appear out of the blue (it has been simmering for awhile but he is really good at covering it up) and most times it just doesn't make sense... he starts acting all weird, saying all kinds of bizarre things and just acting like a really insane person!! He has in the past, accused me of trying to control him, stalking him, being condescending, purposely irritating him, etc. etc... (yeah right!!)

I have a really hard time when he does it - when I have pressed really hard to find out why and to tell him to quit it, and fought back, things have gotten REALLY bad (read earlier posts about fights that have escalated to serious verbal abuse and some shoving matches). I'm a pretty strong-personalitied/willed person and I just dont want to "take that crap" from anyone - which is why I fight back (I have to be careful becuase sometimes my "fighting back" has been as bad as his initial assault - which takes the focus away from the initial "wrong" he has committed and puts the spotlight on me - not good!!)

Nevertheless its pretty awful when it happens and it is really really hard on my self esteem, and feelings of security about my BF and about the relationship. I have had a hard time dealing with it - I do agree that I dont want to make things worse when this happens but I don't want to slink away like some kind of sacrificial cow, content to play the "poor me" routine and lick my wounds and say nothing. My pride is too wounded. When this happens I do feel like I have to say something if only to keep my dignity intact after an attack.... it even gets tougher when I can't control my tears - becuase my BF starts to accuse me of "controlling him through tears"...

However, I'm starting to learn that there's no sense even TRYING to talk to my BF when he's in such a state. As long as he's in that "acting really nonsensically bizarre" state, I never get very far (and may even inflame things) if I even try to talk to him (hard to reason with an unreasonable person)!

Whats hard for me is that I've been subjected to this shite all my life - my dad is an abuse victim of some kind and has felt that he's had total liberty to say and do whatever he wanted to his own family. So - likely why my emotions are REALLY close to the surface with this. I've been in my own therapy (hypnotherapy seems to be helping to reorder my subconscious to stay calm when this crap arises and react with my brain instead of my emotions).

In my experience, the best thing to do is to just
walk away when he's in the state (easier said than done in my case).. and then try to talk to him after. When he's in a more calm state, you should try to tell him that this type of treatment, although you understand why he does it, is NOT acceptable (as my brother says "being an abuse survivor is NOT an excuse to get a "get out of jail free" card"), bf's behaviour *IS* abusive and really, no matter how much we care and can sympathize with the reasons for this angry behaviour, we really shouldn't stand for it!

FYI my boyfriend is currently in a 12 week anger-management for men group therapy programme - it is really helping this situation a lot. So is my hypnotherapy. My bf's group therapy is really making obvious to him what is acceptable and non acceptable angry-behaviour. Its a good experience as it teaches him that FEELING anger is ok but it is not OK to act however he wants as a result. I think he has been confused about the difference between feeling and action for a long time.

#66668 - 06/12/03 06:25 PM Re: best response to anger over small issues?
Cement Offline

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
My wife has used several ways that effectively defuse the situation.

One is very much like what Dave said..."Don't take your shit out on me!" can be effective under certain circumstances.

My wife will also, very calmly say to me, "I am just going to leave you alone right now because I don't want to crowd you."

I have a brutal "Get the f*&k away - hey! where are you going?" syndrome. I behave like a child sometimes; unable to ask for what I want, I act out, then wonder why I don't get positive attention. It is a tough cycle to break.

Just like with a child, the way to divert is to distract, and not to react the way we 'want you' to.

We, I, the pack of wolves here, CSA's (I don't really like that term, nor survivor), whatever, have a responsibility in this. You cannot and should not have to MAKE us do what we should be trying to do.


And let the darkness fear our light.

#66669 - 06/12/03 11:49 PM Re: best response to anger over small issues?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Isn't the temptation to use our SA as a 'get out of jail free' card huge at times ?
Well, it was for me at times I know. But somehow I resisted the temptation.

Perhaps the good things that were imprinted upon me as a child stuck, and weren't totally destroyed by the abuse ?
My parents ( both none abusive ) were cold and unemotional, but the loved me in their own way and taught me to be a 'decent' person.
And I suppose the very strict discipline at the boarding school had a big influence as well, despite my abuse there.
I grew up being polite and decent I suppose, and that's the way I am in my marriage.

If we do argue I very rarely 'lose it' - maybe 2 or 3 times in 28 years ? And I've never become physically abusive with any woman in my life.

I don't think SA is the cause of abusive / aggressive behaviour on it's own.
One of the pioneering psychological studies into how and why we learn influences from our 'parents' was done by a guy called Bowlby, who states that 'attachement' between the infant and mother is detectable as young as 7 to 11 months.
This is generally way before abuse starts ( although neglect is abuse ) - so SA is probably not solely to blame for abusive / aggressive behaviour.
Just 'bad' parenting, and early influences. Which is another form of abuse.

When my wife confronts me, because even though I don't get really 'angry' - I do get arsey and awkward, I guess I just react better by being confronted with someone behaving with the same strength of feeling, or emotion, that I'm experiencing at that time. It might be different, even opposite, but it's strong. If she held back I'd just roll on over her and not confront whatever is troubling me.
I guess it's a kick on the arse, whatever it is it works.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#66670 - 06/13/03 01:46 AM Re: best response to anger over small issues?
stpbb Offline

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
Yes, that makes so much sense to me. I have been coming to the understanding that my bf (ex?) has issues that compound the abuse recovery. I think from what I know about his family dynamics, that there were underlying issues in their case that are what set the kids up to be abused in the first place -- parental personalities that appear to me to be extrodinarily selfish, self-centered and not very in touch with reality.

Anyway, those issues come up in his behavior as well & I sometimes feel like his perceptions of me & my behavior have some shadowy origin in his past which is not necessarily related to SA. But as you so clearly stated, he IS using the SA as a 'get out of jail free card'. I have acutally been told that I can deal with his being inconsiderate of my feelings because I am so 'healthy' that I can take it. So, because my family gave me certain good things growing up, I deserve to be picking up the costs of his crappy upbringing & selfish relatives....I don't think so!!! And the frightening thing is that it wasn't just him who takes that attitude, but also his family. They reinforce the fact that he is just not capable of much and tell me that I deserve better in a relationship & should find someone else. Then when he is really down & needs more attention they want & expect me to be there for him & take care of him because they are too selfish to adapt their schedules to accomodate him. Ugh.


#66671 - 06/13/03 10:43 AM Re: best response to anger over small issues?
lauraanimal Offline

Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 58
Loc: montana
my name is laura, i am jokers wife. i can totaly relate to what you ar talking about. both my husband and i are survivors and we both do that to each other at times, ofcourse in my mind he does more than i do, im sure in his it is the
in the 1st few years of being to gether and married, joker was not just verbaly abusive, but physicaly as the time i didnt know about his abuse but suspected it. i always just put up with it or faught back. finaly one day while i was prego he got physicaly abuse with me, this was with our 3rd child and the 1st time he had gotten that way with me while i was prego.i decided then and there he was to NEVER lay a hand on me i looked him square in the eye and told him straight out if he EVER touched me in a harmful maner again i would kill him. (i also explained to him what i would to to his priavate parts and use super glue to help with it) needless to say standing up for myself in that way made him realize what he was doing was wrong and he has never touched me again.
now i cant say the same for our walls, they soon became the blunt of his anger, as well as anything breakable with in reach. however he has gotten great about not taking his anger out on them anymore either.

also what has helped greatly is the fact we have been diagnosed as b.p (bi-polar) and have been put on mood stablizers. this has helped out greatly he doesnt have such crazy moods swings anymore and neither do i. with this it has helped out with us being able to communicate better instead of either one of us striking out towards one another.

however before this i learned the best way to deal with him when he did things like your bf did to you, was to wait till he was calmer and then tell him that i was sorry he was in a bad or angry mood but i was still a human being and that i deserved to be treated with the same respect he wanted to be treated with. i was polite and to the point with it. and droped it at that. i would also take note of the things that bothered him and try to respect that fact and give him the space he needed. for example if the same situation had happened with us, i would decided to only call him the 1 time leave a message on his call notes or what ever it was he had, and leave it at that. if he did not return my call within a day, i would then call the next day doing the same. giving him the respect and the space he wanted rewarded me in getting things that i needed back in return. sometimes it requires you to swallow your pride and make the 1st move towards that no matter how unfair or ridiculous it may seem. it saves the frustration you go threw when you dont give him the leway or space he needs.

hopes this helps.


always be true to your self and your heart.
dont forget to love yourself 1st, then the restwill fall into place.

#66672 - 06/16/03 07:13 PM Re: best response to anger over small issues?
PAS Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Good post re: other issues that compound recovery. My BF was not abused by his family but by a teacher whom he befriended outside of class. I often get very angry at my BF's family for creating such a non-responsive, closed, fearful environment where he had no choice but to reach out to find out about girls, dating, relationships. Just being in the wrong place at the wrong time - the person he turned to in his time of need turned out to be a predator....

In my BF's family the whole concept of negative emotions was "unacceptable" nobody was allowed to BE mad or show anger - hence both him and his brother have problems with anger. And with so much anger inside because of his abuse.. no wonder it just leaks out all over...

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