Dear Dr. Romance:
I hope you can be of help to me. My husband and I will be celebrating our 23rd anniversary next week - this is a 2nd marriage for both of us. I was widowed after 10 yrs of marriage and he was divorced after 10 yrs of marriage. All our children are grown and out of the house. The problem is; lately his controlling seems to have caught up to me - (didn't bother me as much in the past and tolerated it to "keep peace"). Recently, however, something came over me
and I have decided that some changes have to take place. (me, as well, I guess) HE is a hollera! When I do not agree with him, or respond in the manner in which he expects, he starts hollering and goes out of control; usually walking away and eventually leaving the room entirely. Cannot DISCUSS anything calmly (that involves him and me). I typically feel that if I disagree w/him on most anything, he will be angered or at the least "bothered". Any thoughts or suggestions?
Unfortunately, you've aided and abetted this temper-tantrum thrower for 23 years, so changing now is still possible, but not easy. the best thing for you to do is to get therapy for yourself, the therapist will coach you in how to modify his behavior. What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Marriage will teach you to use animal training techniques on your husband and kids. It's very good. "Stop Reacting and Start Relating" and "How Not to Fight" for tools to make changes in your marriage. Try discussing things with him via notes or e-mail, so he can't holler at you when he reads them. Be clear and concise in your writing, and stay calm. Treat his temper tantrums as you did your children -- be sure they don't get him any result.
How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together can teach you and your husband to work together and stop fighting.
For low-cost counseling, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org