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Help! How can I handle DH's temper?

(30 Posts)
notlettingthefearshow Wed 31-Aug-11 20:44:58

I'm 5mths pg with our first baby. We have recently bought a house which needs alot of work - superficial, ie decorating and furniture rather than knocking down walls. The house is a bit of a tip while various tradesmen/parents come and go to help us sort it out. IMO it's going well, it's what we expected, but DH is not coping with it well. There IS a lot to do, and he is doing more physical work than me, but I am doing all the online and baby research, IYSWIM.

He gets so stressed with the house being messy and today has told me to off for leaving a splash of tea on the sink when we were rushing to leave the house for work. I was shocked but not as shocked as later tonight when he shouted at me in horrible language and complained about how useless I am. I am a mild tempered person and I don't shout back - I said we had to talk about it, not shout, and this seemed to make him angrier and he stomped off upstairs. I've said before that he has anger management problems but he blames it on me for being messy/not doing enough/not caring.

I'm worried that he will shout and swear and have this temper with the baby, and I don't want the baby to grow up in a household like that. What can I do?

wompoopigeon Wed 31-Aug-11 20:50:35

Poor you.
Have you tried talking to him about it when he is calmer, rather than when he is all het up? What does he say then?

notlettingthefearshow Wed 31-Aug-11 20:56:35

He sometimes apologises but mostly tries to dismiss it, saying he is just stressed etc. The problem is he is usually stressed - I don't think life will get any easier with a baby to look after.

GloriaVanderbilt Wed 31-Aug-11 20:59:27

I think you're right and it will get a whole lot worse. I'm so sorry. Domestic violence often escalates during pregnancy (this includes shouting, verbal abuse, psychological abuse etc etc)

Have you thought about leaving him? Seriously.

buzzsorekillington Wed 31-Aug-11 21:01:58

It's not down to you to handle his temper. Don't tolerate it or start trying to change your behaviour to avoid confrontation. A splash of tea on the sink doesn't deserve this sort of reaction, what it deserves is him getting a dishcloth and wiping it up - that's the rational response.

He needs to get a grip and start treating you with respect, not a verbal punching bag.

neuroticmumof3 Wed 31-Aug-11 21:03:01

Has he just got a thing about cleanliness (possibly OCD?) or is he controlling and critical in other ways as well?

buzzsorekillington Wed 31-Aug-11 21:03:24

And him dismissing his own behaviour and treating it as out of his control, is worrying.

notlettingthefearshow Wed 31-Aug-11 21:03:33

No I haven't - he has only really lost his temper several times in the last few years. I couldn't say it's getting worse as such - but I am more concerned now I'm pregnant.

notlettingthefearshow Wed 31-Aug-11 21:06:45

He is a bit OCD about cleanliness - honestly, I am totally normal and not a complete mess. People at work would consider me neat. The difference is that I can tolerate things being a bit messy. I think you can choose not to let it bother you.

He's not critical of me in general. He just doesn't like any kind of untidyness. I don't pander to that.

GloriaVanderbilt Wed 31-Aug-11 21:09:58

But he is being a bully.

You are right to consider how this will affect the baby. Have you got any ideas about what you would like to see happen? What are you thinking of doing about it, yourself?

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 31-Aug-11 21:17:49

How can you handle someone else's temper? You can accept it. Or you can choose not to accept it. But you can't change it.

There's another poster with a similar problem on page 1 of Relationships now. Maybe it will help you to read her thread (I know that when I was having relationship issues, I was able to be more objective when reading other people's threads on MN than when reading answers to my own thread -- hard to create objective distance from your own life).

The following might also be helpful reading for you; try it on for size:

- verbal abuse
- emotional abuse
- why does he do that?

notlettingthefearshow Wed 31-Aug-11 21:18:24

I think I'll try to talk to him tomorrow, when he's calmer. I've no problem with him being annoyed with me for a genuine reason if he can express himself calmly. It's like he just needed to shout at me to vent his anger. I just can't tolerate that, and when he's that angry, nothing I say makes any difference, so why does he do it?

notlettingthefearshow Wed 31-Aug-11 21:22:03

Thanks Puppy, I'm having a good look at those recommendations.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 31-Aug-11 21:27:26

Given the eerie similarity between the last 5 words in our two posts at 21:17 and 21:18 which I believe were cross-posts, maybe start with that last link!

notlettingthefearshow Wed 31-Aug-11 21:31:14

Too right!

Maya6 Wed 31-Aug-11 21:57:03

Sorry to hear it's horrible to be screamed at and when your peg so much for you to deal with without his attitude too. I am in a v similar position I am the neat freak but living in the midst of building works plaster dust ect I hate it but just get on with it and I am preg too. We are having problems too not the mess just me being super controlling bitch I suppose can't help myself from interfering but planning to get some counselling sessions in as I too worry what will we b like in a few months time as I don't want fights or arguments. Think we all want everything to be perfect when there is a baby on the way and women are better at communicating this stuff than men. Good luck x

cestlavielife Wed 31-Aug-11 23:24:29

it is up to him to handle his temper not you.
he is an adult.
if he stressed/angry - he has to learn to take it out differently.
life will get whole lot more stressed with new baby. there is a lot you cannot control....

do you have family support, friends?
places you can escape to if you need?

if he will talk camly then piont out that when you have baby there will be times when you wont clean up/do housework to his standards - and he will need to take over doing that without shouting at you.

solidgoldbrass Thu 01-Sep-11 01:34:35

When he is calm, sit him down for a talk and explain that you are worried about the future of the relationship if he can't get his temper under control.
WRT the 'anger management' does he shout at the builders/his colleagues/his parents/shop workers/waiters like this? If he does, then it's possible that anger management might help. If he doesn't, if it's onlly you he feels entitled to bully, then you have a bigger problem: he's an abusive man who thinks that it's fine to shout at, intimidate and even hit his female partner, because she is his inferior and his property and needs to be trained to obedience.

colditz Thu 01-Sep-11 01:36:57

It is not up to you to manage his temper. Only he can manage his temper. Please be careful, most domestic violence starts as verbal abuse, and much of that starts in the first pregnancy.

CailinDana Thu 01-Sep-11 06:45:20

It really worries me that the question you ask is not "what can I do to get DH to control his temper?" but "How can I handle his temper?" That's the language of an abuse victim, someone who feels responsible for the behaviour of another person because they've been convinced that they're in the wrong and they "make" another person be nasty to them. Don't become that woman. Don't accept the "you make me do it" bullshit. No one has the right to just shout at you and make you feel like crap. You don't have to manage it or put up with it. Either he changes or you leave, those are the choices. Don't bring your baby into this.

notlettingthefearshow Sun 04-Sep-11 08:03:57

Thanks for everyone's advice. The next day we had a long calm and adult discussion about it and I feel much better for it. He apologised and recognised that it is his anger therefore he has to deal with it, and admits he has to work harder to not let things bother him (house being untidy). He felt bad when I said his fussiness made me anxious sometimes (good!) and recognised it is about him, not me. I made it very clear I am not going to change my behaviour to fit his petty cleaning habits. We agreed to try to communicate with each other more and not let resentment build up, because I will not be shouted at.

I realise my title was a bit provocative and yes, I totally agree I cannot handle his temper - he has to do that. I have only once or twice seen him angry like that in our 5 years together, and they were when there was resentment building between us. Normally if he is in a bad mood he just keeps to himself until he calms down.

I feel very strongly that if it happens again I will tell him to seek help and make it clear it's not the environment I want for our child. I have good friends locally and elsewhere, family not too far, and I would be prepared to leave him if I thought it best.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 04-Sep-11 08:45:04


Yes but these men always apologise and promise change. How is he going to change exactly, what work is he going to do on himself to make such change?. Answer is probably nothing and if that is the case the nice/nasty cycle will start up again soon enough.

Please do not downplay what has happened to you; I feel like you are minimising or rationalising what has happened to you in your last post.

Re this comment from your original post as well:-
"I've said before that he has anger management problems but he blames it on me for being messy/not doing enough/not caring".

I would be extremely concerned about that because if he is not shouting at other people like this then he can and does control his temper so it is not an anger management issue. The fact that he has blamed you for his outbursts is very worrying and also a red flag. He did not take any responsibility for his actions but blamed you instead.

You are not there to take verbal violence from him; currently you are doing so. The only acceptable level of violence (that includes verbal) in a relationship is NONE.

notlettingthefearshow Sun 04-Sep-11 10:39:59

This time he did accept it was his problem and his reaction was his fault. I think he probably has got angry at work and with his parents, but I haven't actually seen that so it's hard to say.

You are right that he didn't say HOW he would control his anger other than not reacting and not trying to discuss things until he feels calm. I did actually stop him midrant after a few minutes and ask him to leave the room because he couldn't speak to me like that. So I don't think I was overly tolerant.

Do you think I should suggest he seeks counselling straight away, or read a book on it? I will look at some of the books recommended.

Peachy Sun 04-Sep-11 10:52:39

If he says he is stressed a decent route would be via the GP, who might refer him to counselling but also from a male eprspective (stereotype time, sorry, I know many men are very different) can seem functional and like treating an illness rather than being about changing them.

So that's what i would do. There's a possibility he is a bit depressed- antenatal pregnancy apparently common in men - though that's not an excuse. It is however then solvable if meds help. Or stress management techniques. It's possibly teh difference between run and minitor, though there's always temporary break in the middle.

But don;t ever let yourself feel at risk and never tell yourself you deserve this. You do not, and if those thoughts enter your head it is time to run.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 04-Sep-11 10:54:55

Its not up to you to suggest to him that he seeks counselling. I would be surprised if he even agreed to the idea of counselling in the first place; such men rarely if ever believe that their own behaviour is wrong.

You can only change how you react to him, you cannot change him.

Do read some of the books recommended. He is also acting like this because he can.

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