Anger, Mood Swings, Short Temper
By Viola Edward & Michael de Glanville….
Any Questions for us?
Question: My husband is so angry, I have no more tolerance for his anger, he is pessimistic and negative. For years I have tried to help and understand him, I even blamed myself so many times for his unhappiness. Now, I feel I can’t be with him anymore and at the same time, I know that after all the years of being together, even when the children have their own families now, I will not have the heart to leave him. I have done lots of work on myself to forgive him and I have managed that, but I can’t take his anger anymore, he makes me ill. My husband doesn’t accept that he has a problem; therefore he will not go to therapy to deal with his anger. I need to find a solution for me and maybe for him.
Thank you for sharing your feelings. I think many women will be identifying with you concerning this subject. The fact that a woman understands her man and his background doesn’t mean that she always has to hold the residues of his anger. Marking your boundaries is an important part of the love and respect you can show to your partner. It takes women long years to build up the courage to say “stop” and maybe during those years the behaviour of the man becomes more fixed as a habit. Congratulations for the work you have done in forgiving.
This behaviour you describe is usually referred to as neurotic behaviour. The term neurosis was coined by the Scottish doctor William Cullen in 1769 and refers to “disorders of sense and motion” caused by a “general affection of the nervous system”. Cullen described various nervous disorders and symptoms that could not be explained physiologically. Sigmund Freud and Carl G. Jung substantially developed the meaning of this original term over a century later and it has continued to be used in contemporary theoretical writing in psychology and philosophy.
We like to think that people displaying neurotic behaviour are not necessarily neurotic people themselves; it is only some areas or situations that trigger such behaviour, but the effects are displayed as an over-reaction, the scale and frequency of which is what determines the depths of the condition.
Anger Management is a modern term for transforming the condition, particularly in corporate contexts. It is well known how much damage the excessive anger and mood swings can create at different levels. To further complicate the situation, the partner and the children of such a person develop what we call co-neurotic behaviour.
There are different stages in the development of Co-neurotic Behaviour:
- The spouse is surprised by the violence of the reaction but they try not to see it.
- The spouse tries to reason with the partner… but it doesn’t work because the neurotic person has all the answers without assuming any of the responsibility of their behaviour. They can even get angrier.
- The spouse has the tendency to excuse him/her because of excess of work or illness or because they themselves don’t have the energy to argue for hours.
- The spouse starts trying to avoid anything and everything that can trigger the neurotic behaviour; they stop being themselves and force themselves to be somebody else, the one who can fix all the possible problems…
- Frequently, the reactive person will blame others (especially the spouse) for everything that goes wrong in the relationship and in life… the partner starts believing the lie and blames themselves.
- Spouses find themselves “walking on eggshells” and apologizing all the time.
- Children can be nervous around the angry parent too.
- There is a time that the spouse feels trapped and does not know what to do.
- There is the time that the spouse wants out.
- There is a time that if they stay together, she over-empowers herself but she still cannot liberate herself and then in older age the roles get switched…
- Then there is a moment when the spouse understands that is not their fault.
- They understand that it is the angry one who is the one that cannot manage.
- Sometimes, she can’t leave nor can she keep her balance, so she slides into depression or …
- There is a time that the over reacting person calms down but still does not manage to connect with their inner source of balance. The children have grown up and have lost their respect for the father. He drifts into depression and the family is unhappy anyway.
- More …
As Karen Horney wrote, neurosis is a distorted way of looking at the world and at oneself, determined by compulsive needs rather than by a genuine interest in the world as it is. In Horney’s view, milder anxiety disorders and full-blown personality disorders all fall under her basic scheme of neurosis as variations in the degree of severity and in the individual dynamics. The opposite of neurosis is a condition Horney calls self-realization. This is when an individual responds to the world with the full depth of his or her spontaneous feelings rather than anxiety-driven compulsions. The person can then grow to actualize his or her inborn potential in a process Horney compares with an acorn growing into a tree.
The earlier this form of behaviour is correctly treated, the easier the task of anger management will be. When the couple manage to go to Coaching or Psychotherapy and deal with the situation at home, uncovering the issues beneath the anger, a lot will be learned from the other and there will be much relief for all involved.
Remember that you can only change your behaviour and nobody else’s. The good news however, is that once you begin to change your responses to your partner’s behaviour, the dynamic of the relationship itself may change along with it. Nowadays, we have so many opportunities and different ways to work on our behaviour, there are Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Relationship and Life Coaches, Breathworkers, Counsellors, Hypnotherapists, etc…If you decide to do this work, please choose a technique that appeals to you, contact the professional of your choice, work together and re-empower yourself to create your boundaries and co-create the loving relationship you deserve.
If you are interested in deepening your knowledge about “Conscious relationship” you can participate in sessions with Viola and Michael, in person and online.
We would love to hear from you with your comments, experiences and questions. Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. Mob. 0533 867 3685. FaceBook: ViolaEdward Coaching
You can download a free copy of Viola’s book “Breathing the Rhythm of Success” and find a collection of previous articles in this series from www.violaedward.com
About Viola & Michael.
Viola came to Cyprus from Venezuela in 2002 to join Michael who was born on the Island and returned from France in 1999. Viola and Michael are both trained therapists in Breathwork and they founded Kayana Ltd in 2003. Viola specialises in Relationship Coaching, Business Consulting and Colour and Image. Michael has an Engineering background and specialises in Massage and Watsu.