You realize that everyone gets angry from time to time. As a result, you might strive to forgive someone who doesn’t always succeed at anger management. Then again, perhaps you’ve referred to some people who are angry all the time as passionate. In doing so, you may have failed to realize that the person’s anger was out-of-the-ordinary.
When the anarchistic man engages in verbal abuse or emotional abuse or psychological abuse encased in rage, it’s time to face up to the fact he is not passionate. For that matter, his anger is not ordinary. And yes, it is hurting both him and you.
See, when your partner is raging, stress hormones are being poured into his system. These are harmful to his heart and the overall functioning of his body. As the victim of his rage, though, you also experience negative consequences. For example, have you ever had aches and pains your physician couldn’t diagnose? Perhaps you might want to think of these as your body’s alarm system—telling you that how you’re living, or the environment you’re submitting your body to, is detrimental. Furthermore, if you don’t heed these warnings, you might end up with some type of significant disease-- a disease that might prove deadly, in fact.
Quite frankly, have you ever considered this?
Sure, we know that toxic chemicals can kill people. But so can toxic relationships.
Okay, even if your bad marriage or relationship doesn't lead to physical death, such a relationship can nevertheless drain the life force right out of you. Personally, I think of this as a kind of slow death. As a result, you might hardly realize how you’ve lost your strength and will to live--at least until that day when you wake up and truly believe you don’t have the strength to walk out of your current harmful life and start over again.
In fact, you realize you can hardly make it through the day.
Awakening to the Need to Change Yourself
Well, I want you to know that all is not hopeless. You do have the ability to make changes yourself that can help you get started toward creating a new reality for yourself in the future. But the truth is, you're probably going to need professional guidance if you already feel beaten down. In other words, if you're suffering from anxiety and depression (which would be reasonable things for you to be experiencing because of the toxicity of your home environment), it might take a combination of medication and psychotherapy for you to be able set aside the type of thoughts that likely filling your head regularly. and by the way, these thoughts likely keep you filling scared and stuck. However, a therapist can help you to replace these with more positive and constructive thoughts instead.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me step back a minute. Can you admit that being the victim of your husband’s or partner’s rage attacks can be terrifying? Really, I’m not the only one who experienced this reaction, am I? Also, isn’t it darn frustrating to have to listen to his accusations when you know you’ve done nothing to deserve such a monstrous attack? Nonetheless, as those butterflies swirl about in your stomach, do you kid yourself that your anxiety is benign, and it won’t do anything to your health?
Yes indeed, you’re kidding yourself if you believe he’s the only one being harmed by stress hormones awash in his sytem.
In fact, consider doing some research on how anxiety and stress can impact your health. After all, you’re living with both of them almost constantly when you’re living with someone who rages— and someone who's also engaging in emotional abuse and verbal abuse when he does so, too.
Once you’ve been the victim of even one rage attack, I believe it’s difficult to trust your partner again. A wedge has been driven between the two of you which makes heart-to-heart communication difficult, if not impossible. But then, we humans are wired to avoid pain. Indeed, we want to avoid pain more than we want to seek pleasure. Thus, with the memory of that episode floating out there in your memory banks, you’re apt to avoid bringing up something that you find upsetting about your partner or the relationship because you know your words will upset him. However, when you can’t clear the air, resentment builds.
There also might be sadness at the loss of the connection that was once there (or you are least believed was once there even through it probably wasn't because the narcissist is not capable of establishing and maintaining such a connection) . Soon, hopelessness and helplessness set in—part of the reason that depression hurts. And once you've been beset by these, you may well feel there is nothing you can do to stop the downward spiral. Indeed, all you can do is strive to endure it all.
The truth is, if you're responding this way, your husband or partner probably has you exactly where he wants you. Okay, he might say he feels badly about his raging and the emotional abuse and verbal abuse that spew forth as a result of it. I wouldn’t put too much stock in what he says, however, and especially not if he is doing nothing to change himself. Oh, and if his focus is all on you as the problem—you are the one who needs self-improvement and should be reading the self-help books on personal development and other such things—he’s into playing the blame game. Furthermore, this is a defense mechanism on his part. After all, this way he doesn’t have to look at himself and his need to change. Yes indeed, why should he seek to change when you're the problem?
You Can’t Make Him Change, but There are Things You Can Do
There are things you can do. And frankly, you should do them if you’re in such a relationship.
Certainly, you must strive to ensure your own physical safety. Thus, if you're being physically abused, your goal should be to leave your partner. Yes indeed, you should strive to get away from someone who's physically abusing you. (Of course, sometimes this isn’t possible in the moment.) Once the man you’re with uses physical abuse, you should see that physical abuse as a deal-breaker. That said, I strongly suggest that you seek sound advice from a professional before you actually proceed in the direction of leaving if it is not too dangerous to stay a tad longer. I say this because there are real dangers in leaving a man who engages in physical abuse that you must know about. A professional can help you develop a safety plan that should help minimize those risks to both you and your family. Also, if things should go haywire, you’ll all know exactly how you should proceed so as to minimize the risk that something might go tragically wrong instead.
But let's talk now about what you should do if you can’t get away from your partner when he's in the midst of a rage attack. First, you should strive to remain calm. Do not shout back or try to verbally defend yourself—no matter how outrageous his emotional abuse or verbal abuse becomes. (I would hope that early on in the relationship when the emotional abuse and verbal abuse first began, you were assertive and told him to stop talking to you that way. However, he has chosen to ignore your requests. Therefore, you know that being assertive doesn’t work with this man. As a result, when he rants and raves, you should try and remain calm.)
How do you do this? Well, you can talk to yourself and feed yourself helpful thoughts while he screams out his lies. Remember, you don’t have to listen to what your partner is saying. Instead, remind yourself that a person in a state of rage is not in a rational frame of mind. Thus, he is not going to make any salient points you simply can’t afford to miss. So instead, silently tell yourself, for example, that he likely suffers from a mental condition. Let that bring forth within you feelings of empathy rather than of anger. Also, you might remind yourself that behind anger lurks fear or pain—or a blend of both.
Of course, that fear or pain might have nothing to do with you even though he likely is claiming this. Most likely, both stem from things that happened to him years ago. Sadly, though, those events likely programmed his brain to overreact to situations in the present--ven when they have only a hint of similarity to what occurred in his past. Oh, and he's probably totally unaware of what the trigger for this current fit of rage might have been. (The problem is, he doesn't want to deal with the fact he is truly the one with the problem and hence, things won't improve until he learns and utilizes some self-management techniques, for instance.)
It’s no fun to be the victim of your partner’s emotional abuse and verbal abuse wrapped in a rage attack. By speaking calmly and perhaps acknowledging his anger in a gentle way—as opposed to responding in an angry or condescending way—you might help him to actually calm himself down. Now, I’m not saying you have to admit he’s right and you’re wrong. But it might help if you were to say something such as, “I had no idea this would upset you so. That was never my intention.” Or, there might be times you can admit he has made a valid point—that you’d never thought of it that way, but you’ll give it some thought. You might even tell him, “You might be right about that.” Again, you’re not saying that you agree, although he might hear it that way. As a result, this might well calm him down because he’ll believe he has won.
You can live with that, can’t you?
Someday, however, you might have to ask yourself the question: Do I really want to continue to live this way? Furthermore, just because you answer the question one way at one time, you have the right to change your mind at a later date!
Do You Still Want to Believe He can Change?
If you still find yourself clinging to the idea that he's going to change, perhaps you need to ask yourself this: Has my partner taken any actual steps in that direction, or does he merely talk the talk versus attempt to walk the walk?
I rather hate to do this, but let me tell you a sad truth: Quite frankly, he might be engaging in these rages—bursting with verbal abuse and emotional abuse—because in truth, he harvests the results he truly wants. He is able to control the relationship and keep it within the parameters he needs to feel comfortable.
Are you screaming back, “But how can he do that? He is pushing away all the people who care about him. He is destroying the love he could be enjoying. And deep down, don’t all people want to be loved?”
Well, not really. Some people are too emotionally wounded to accept the love of others. So, unless these emotionally wounded take actions to heal their wounds, they'll continue to push loving people away—or abuse then and use them to meet the needs they want fulfilled instead.
Okay, I agree there are probably some men out there who don’t realize how much they rage. These same men might be concerned about losing the love of their wives and children. These same men might come to accept that rage is a feeling and, as such, it doesn’t have to be acted out. These same men might also come to understand a feeling should never be confused with a fact. These same men might also accept it is possible to learn how to let go of rage.
Is the man you’re living with one of these men? You must ask yourself that question sometime when you're feeling calm and open to the truth. Only then will you hear and accept the answer your heart whispers back.
I sincerely hope you do ask yourself this question, listen to the answer, and make decisions accordingly. But then, I believe no woman should sacrifice her life for a man who seems quite content to engage in rage attacks that are about emotional abuse and verbal abuse that, in turn, are designed to control her because, in turn, that sense of power and control makes him feel good about himself and his life.
Perhaps if women didn’t help such men feel so damn good about themselves, then these men might come to feel some of the same type of emotional pain we have. Furthermore, their desire for emotional pain relief just might become the motivator they need to change—just as it has been for so many of us.