Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 1999 10:47 PM
Dear Dr. Irene
I am in love with a man who can be so wonderful but on the other hand can blow up and go
into a verbal rage over a small issue. My son accidentally let go of his
horses that he was trying to hold (they got stirred up by a dog and he wasn't really doing
his job of holding them properly) however they took off and galloped up the paddock.
They are hard to catch. Did he give out a verbal lashing with all the nasty
and hurtful things under the sun. He did not care that other people were listening
and that he was over the top with his abuse. Later my son apologized to him.
When I confronted him about his bad behavior, he could not admit to his bad behavior but
only justify his actions. Also when anyone gives an opinion on horses, he hails them
down and gets loud and has to be right. I also washed one of his horses late one
afternoon when he said do it in the morning. It was a time management thing, so I
did it anyway thinking that I was being helpful and not
wasting precious time in the morning. I was accused of disobeying him and that when
he says something that he means it etc etc. On the horseracing holiday, small things
like forgetting to take a plate to the dinner table became mammoth issues and I was
branded as incompetent and had left my brains home according to him. It was dare I
do or dare I don't. If I tried to help I did things wrong according to him and if I
did not help etc. I was still not right.
It appears that to him to control an animal like a horse, you have to give it a beating
with a lump of pipe or a punch in the neck if it does something wrong. I do not
agree with this. I feel that he has to overpower or verbally berate in order to gain
control over me and others too.
Am I beating my head against a brick wall in trying to stay in this relationship? I
have left a former marriage of 20 years to be with him and now all this controlling and
angry behavior is coming up. I know
that he really loves me and when everything is good which is mostly, it is a
wonderful relationship but I am scared that things will only get worse and the anger and
controlling will gradually become more and more. About six months ago he was
verbally and physically abusive when he was jealous of me having lunch with a male friend
in mixed company. Apparently his former wife suffered at the same kind of behavior and
according to her, he would be lovely in-between the blow ups which would happen every six
months or so. He has been to counseling with his ex-wife but seems to discount that
he has a problem.
I mean if he can't admit or accept the fact that his behavior was wrong, then what? What
do you think that I should do?
Reread your letter...because you say it all. If
you read Patricia Evans (and you should if you haven't already), you would know that
the abuse pattern gets progressively worse over time. Your man worries me particularly
since the physical abuse boundary has already been broached. Look up Lenore Walker's books
on that one. Once physical abuse has occurred, it is likely to occur again and again and
it is likely to escalate. Most of all, I worry about you: You describe a relationship
with significant problems, and you still wonder what to do? Odds are good that one of
these days your man will think its OK to control you...the same way he controls his
horses. Are the "wonderful" periods in-between worth it?