If he does a sudden rage attack, do you go into fright? how much does it scare you?
In the middle of any conversation, your husband suddenly gets really upset…and in a short time, he is yelling and cursing at you.
Does your husband yells at you when he gets mad?
Of course, it takes you by surprise! the issue you were discussing was not life or death, and was developing in a casual way…suddenly, a button is pressed and you have a full blown anger attack in front of you.
I’m here not suggesting to discover what was the psychological issue that got involuntarily triggered…what I want to focus on is on your fright. Suddenly, from a silly domestic conversation, you are thrown in to an unexpected state of war. Surprise, shock and fear keep you paralyzed while he shouts insults at you…who is this person attacking you?
Even one episode of sudden rage attack can be very damaging to you. The receiver of such attack has no defenses, and gets inundated by fear hormones that take a very long time to dissipate…You can feel scared, fearful and numb. Even if he manages to stop, and apologize to you, the fear attack is in your system and keeps breaking havoc in your defenses.
When you can breathe again, there is a lot of work to be done to recover your emotional health. You can ask yourself some questions. Answering yes to a majority of them most likely indicates that you need a break from the toxicity of this marriage:
- Do you doubt your own memory or sense of reality after the attack? (“It wasn’t so bad”)
- Do you doubt your own judgment about what’s best for you? (“I need to be patient with him”)
- Do you often feel unsafe, as if harm could come to you at any moment? (“I’m concerned about my security”)
- Do you feel that you can’t do anything or go anywhere without their permission? (“It’s better to avoid his anger”)
- Do you feel depressed, dejected or like there is no point in being alive? (“I don’t care about anything”)
- And the most important question: Do you feel afraid of your partner?
If you answered yes to many of these, especially the last one, you probably need to leave your partner for the time being. Leaving your partner for the time you set down will give you the chance to discover how deeply you are wounded, what it will take to heal, and whether it’s even worth the emotional challenge of staying in the marriage.
Where can you go? When you take a break from your home and abuser, you can seek the shelter of friends and family (especially if you’ve been isolated from them), and they will be able to give you feedback about who you are and how loved you are, instead of abusive feedback about your “mistakes.” This would also be a good time to reconnect with what you’re capable of and what you can do with your life, today on.
Leaving sends your abuser a signal of zero-tolerance. The responsibility to change then rests on your partner – the ball is in his court. Will he change? Is being in a relationship with you more important than allowing himself to explode? If he refuses his own responsibility in your fright, it adds to the possibility of more serious damage in the future. At the least, you need him to accept that there is something wrong he needs to take care of, and seek external professional help to solve. And get some support for yourself, as to heal the hurt of watching your loved partner becoming an angry monster ready to pounce on you.
If you wish to read more, we have a book recommendation for you: When Love Hurts
We wish you courage to face this difficult situation and find a way to recover your self-respect!