Q:

My partner grew up in an angry household

My partner grew up in an ‘angry' household and over our five year relationship his anger has become progressively worse.

He was diagnosed with depression and bipolar last year but he hasn't told anyone other than me and he refuses to seek professional help. I convinced him to go to couples counselling last year but after one session he wouldn't go back. 

He has pushed me around but he hasn't actually hit me, although I feel like it is only a matter of time. It's like I can see it in his eyes and the ways he holds himself that he wants to use his fists. 

Every time we have an argument he gets really angry and then shuts down and doesn't want to talk - he can stay in that ‘mode' for days. 

I have tried to get him to talk it out, I have tried leaving him alone, I have tried getting angry and I have tried remaining calm but nothing I have tried seems to minimise how angry he gets. 

He never used to get angry in front of the kids but now it doesn't matter whether they are around or not. 

I don't want to be ‘that woman' and I know being with him isn't the best thing for any of us. But I love the man I met and I would do anything to make it work - I just don't know how to help him anymore.


A:

Hallo, thank you for writing in.

YOU are absolutely right YOU don't know how to help him. If your partner has been diagnosed with depression and bipolar, he needs medication.

Now I am not an expert on mental health. What I do know is that while he is not taking medication for depression and bipolar nothing makes sense.

He needs to be on an even keel to deal with his ‘pushing you around' and ‘he gets really angry and then shuts down and doesn't want to talk - he can stay in that ‘mode' for days'.

It starts with pushing and quickly gets worse as he continues to not get his way.

Nothing will make sense to him until he takes his medication on a regular, continuous basis, then he will be stable enough for communication to happen around the issues of ‘anger' that you talk about.
The reason, I believe, that he goes into the state where he gets angry and shuts down, is because he doesn't know what to say or do.

He knows that what he is doing is not right, but there is nothing in his memory/knowledge banks to help him get out of this state and the more he stays in it the worse it gets.

It's like how can I be so stupid that I can't figure this out.

These thoughts go around and around and you know that you should talk with someone about it, but the problem now is he doesn't know what the problem or issue is and doesn't have the words to communicate what is going on in his head, heart and soul.

So he's stuck and this is what you see when he is ‘It's like I can see it in his eyes and the ways he holds himself that he wants to use his fists'.

TOTAL FRUSTRATION.

None of the above is an excuse for the violence, anger and abuse that you and the kids are suffering. There is no excuse for it. He has to know that it's ok to ask for help

I DID AND SO CAN HE!

The help you can give him is to ring our information line on 0800 456 450 and find a stopping violence programme that he can join. In his assessment at the programme they will identify any medical issues and get him the help that he needs or the proper follow up, while he is on the programme.

The fact that he now gets angry in front of the kids is a clear indication that his violence and all the ‘verbals' is escalating.

It would be good if he could leave the house now and find a safe place to begin his journey to get well. If the journey to get well happens outside the house, the home remains a safe place for you, the kids and eventually him, once he's well.

If he can't or won't leave, then YOU and the KIDS may have to leave, to keep yourselves safe. Women's Refuge can support you with this. They will help you with a safety plan.

The stopping violence programme will also help put a safety plan in place for your partner.

With your partner taking his medication and sticking to his safety plan, he can be a safe man. With the right help you can have the safe family that you want and get back that man that you met and love.

It can happen. YOU need to LET GO and get in contact with the people that have skills and help for him.

I really hope this helps you to understand the dilemma that exists in your partner's soul.

Vic

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