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DP angry outbursts scare me - am I overreacting?

(15 Posts)
gotadifferentnameforthis Mon 03-Nov-14 13:10:28

When anything stressful or upsetting happens my DP bottles all his feelings up in an attempt to be strong and not ruin the day. This tends to lead to an atmosphere, walking on eggshells, him being grumpy but not talking, and ends up with us arguing. He will then end up kind of in my face or right in front of me, saying things, not necessarily shouting (normally due to my dc or someone else being nearby) but with gritted teeth and snarly, and I've found it quite scary although maybe im being a bit pathetic there. He is not insulting me but will say, I needed support today why didn't you do it? the one day I needed it? or questionning my feelings for him in an angry way. Even though it's a rare occurrence I feel this is damaging our relationship as he is always so gentle and loving the rest of time and a brilliant thoughtful partner. After first outburst I was quite upset, scared and shocked and i said if it happened again it was over between us as I don�t want a partner that makes me feel scared in any way and that it was like a different side to him. He promised never again would it happen, it was a one-off, he'd open up more and talk to me. 4 months on and it happened again at the weekend. He is so apologetic now and saying he feels totally broken and ashamed after his behaviour and he means it this time that he will change. He has never been violent to me or in any other relationship, and I really don't think he ever would be. I just want him to talk to me about things rather than bottle them up. I feel this is just hanging over us now and tainting things. This is going to sound a bit ott maybe but I can not get the image of his snarly angry face out from Saturday night, out of my head even though he was only talking for about 30 seconds til he walked off. I know its not me thats causing the anger its how he's dealing (or not dealing) with other stuff. How can I help prevent this happening again?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 13:24:23

You should never be scared of a partner. Violence takes many forms and is not confined to physical assault. Aggression, 'snarling', angry silences and other intimidating behaviour is bullying behaviour designed to control you & over time it can really damage your confidence and cause huge anxiety and unhappiness.

Unfortunately you are currently trading empty promises (his) with empty threats (yours). When you say things like 'if it happens again it's over', you have to follow through or you lose all respect and your position gets weaker and weaker. Bullies always gamble that you don't mean it, always say they'll change and see failed threats as carte blanche to do it again next time.

GoatsDoRoam Mon 03-Nov-14 13:28:39

How can I help prevent this happening again?

By leaving, so that you are no longer at the receiving end of this behaviour.

I'm sorry, OP, but you can't change him. You can only decide whether you want to stick around for more of the same, or go.

clenchthebuttocks Mon 03-Nov-14 13:46:39

This is my situation too, happening 2-3 times a year for about the last 10 years. It's not often, trouble is it breaks trust & casts a shadow which is only starting to lift when DH does it again. I have grown massively in assertiveness as a result so at least he says 'sorry' now - but what a tiny acknowledgement & that's the extent of his reparations.
It's so difficult when you have DC to consider, don't know what to do.
I no longer feel comfortable around him like I used to or compelled to hug him. I guess that shows the importance of trust.
My F was a bully & I can't believe things have panned out like this so that I'm still living 'on edge'.

overslept Mon 03-Nov-14 13:47:31

When I read the title I was expecting you to say out of frustration your partner can lose his temper. Mine does this and at first I found it a bit worrying but now I know him I completely know he will never hurt me, it only lasts a few seconds and is never directed at me.
What you are describing actually sounds worse and to be honest I would find it much more concerning and intimidating than somebody who lets out an "oh for fucks sake" angrily, when something goes wrong. It doesn't sound pleasant at all but only you can decide how serious it is. Would he seek any kind of professional help?

tribpot Mon 03-Nov-14 13:49:10

my DP bottles all his feelings up in an attempt to be strong and not ruin the day.

How is his behaviour achieving this? He doesn't actually bottle it up at all, it is all directed at you, in an attempt to ruin YOUR day.

gotadifferentnameforthis Mon 03-Nov-14 14:06:20

He might consider professional help yes. I will suggest it.
tribpot, this is exactly what I said to him but he thinks if he bottles it up it'll just 'disappear' but it always raises itself somehow.

Jan45 Mon 03-Nov-14 14:11:17

Sorry but he is a bully and is using his physical power to frighten you, that is never right, ever! Would you allow or expect a friend to treat you this way, no, so why are you letting him away with it.

Unless you actually made a stand and mean it, it will happen again, there's no reason to expect it not to, you may have already told him how this makes you feel, he did it again, there's your answer.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 14:13:24

Please do not suggest professional help. It's not your responsibility to come up with suggestions. The question to place before him is that if he's really ashamed of his behaviour and serious about rectifying it..... what is he going to do and what measures is he going to put in place to convince you that the relationship is worth continuing? Put the ball well and truly in his court. You then judge him on his actions rather than be fobbed off with more empty promises.

overslept Mon 03-Nov-14 14:28:59

Cogito while I get your point, it hardly seems backwards to suggest therapy. Lots of people aren't even aware there is help for these type of problems, putting an idea to a partner about something that may help them get to where they want to be is hardly unreasonable. It seems like setting somebody you are meant to love and care for up to fail if you don't help them realise they have a problem and there are ways and means to address it. The ball will still be in his court once it is suggested as only he is capable of taking the steps necessary show he has every intention of changing. confused

Joysmum Mon 03-Nov-14 14:52:36

Definitely suggest therapy, I felt I needed my DH to suggest it to me for the reasons overslept outlined plus I thought my DH could solve my problems, might feel a failure if I thought he couldn't, and didn't realise he actually couldn't and it was putting too much on him to expect him to. It's like a weight has been lifted for both of us and progress is being made smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 03-Nov-14 14:59:25

I don't think it's setting someone up to fail by asking them to take the initiative. The alternative is leading the horse to water and expecting it to drink.....

gotadifferentnameforthis Tue 04-Nov-14 11:53:04

Thanks for all the replies. I have spoken to him - I asked him what he was going to do to change and he said he promised to be more open with me when things are bottling up, instead of letting it build up and then go off like a time bomb. Yes, he has promised once before and broken it, but I am willing to give him another chance try and modify his behaviour.
If it happens anymore, then things will be very different.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 04-Nov-14 13:10:04

Did you tell him what 'very different' would look like if he breaks his promise or fails? Do you know what 'very different' means yourself?

Joysmum Tue 04-Nov-14 13:19:45

Totally agree with Cog. You need to be very clear in your expectations and very clear in outlining the consequences.

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