Case: The rollercoaster

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Good afternoon!

I’m 26, I’ve been dating my husband since I was 14, we’ve been married for 2 years.

1.Over the past 4 years, every few months I get this huge desire to break up and escape, it seems that I’m not living my life. This desire is preceded by a certain period of accumulation of problems and attempts to solve them. There are no significant changes in the relationship until the conversation is about divorce. But then a lot of things change (some permanently, others temporarily), we hit a new phase in the relationship and feelings move to a new level, get deeper, and we are actually both happy. Until the next similar crisis. I’m tired of these swings, I don’t understand, the fact is that I don’t really know an adult life without this person, and I want to find out who I am on my own, and try another life; or really want to get a divorce. At the same time, I have my hobbies, work, etc., my husband supports it. There are many good things in the relationship, including How to figure out what I need?

2. One of the main reasons why I am thinking about divorce is how my husband expresses anger and irritation (the reason and the object are unimportant, could be whatever). He starts throwing something, breaking, pounding, there are holes in the walls in the apartment,  and many things were thrown out because of this. Everything happens very loudly and unexpectedly. He’s never hurt me, and he’s usually affectionate and caring. Sometimes he’d get to the cats (he didn’t hit them, but could throw them out of the room or throw a slipper at them), but now he controls itself. I always feel fear, and also either the desire to hide and be as inconspicuous as possible, or the desire to defend myself and shout at him, once I lightly slapped him myself, protecting the cat. Every time I want to cry and make an effort not to be hysterical. I feel that this affects me, I wasn’t this hysterical before or this afraid, it’s not how we express negative emotions in my family. I’m afraid to get pregnant. Could this turn into violence against me? I worry that these are red glas , and I hope that everything isn’t that scary. He says that he’d never hit me or a child, but, in my opinion, he doesn’t fully control himself during outbursts.

I understand that we both need to see a specialist, but my husband is categorically against a therapist.

I hope my situation makes it into the column. Thanks in advance! And I really appreciate this opportunity.

Hi, Anastasia!

  • First of all, about your husband. There are risks that someday he’ll cross the line. But nobody knows this. Yes, there are men who allow themselves to hurt “cats,” but they wouldn’t hit a woman. And there’s a possibility that sooner or later you’ll do something challenging to him (try to leave or somehow upset him very much), and he’ll do it to you. You won’t be able to predict this. It’s up to you to decide what to do. But you need to take care of yourself. This behavior is not acceptable. Your husband must work on his outbursts of anger, and his behavior is unacceptable. It violates the safe environment in the house. And you can’t have a baby with the current situation in such a house. The child will grow up in difficult conditions. Plus, the actual child is a strong irritant – with all the crying, screaming. This can be an additional source of stress for the  husband, which will unsettle him even more.

If he’s prepared to work on himself, then you’ll need to monitor the effect of this in time. That is, the start of working on oneself is not an indicator that the situation will change. It’ll be necessary to see what’ll change in him in 3-6 months. Therefore, the decision to break up and to have a child should be postponed up to the period when you can understand whether he will be able to restrain himself.

  • Second of all, this situation clearly scares you and you should deal with your feelings. With him it’s clear that sometimes he has outbursts of anger. But the fact that it scares you and stresses you out is a good reason to think and consider the option of working with a therapist on your reactions. This situation is hurting you. And on the one hand, it’s quite reasonable to perceive his actions as a threat to life. And on the other hand, you experience an accrual effect (you write about hysteria).

You also ought to work on yourself with a therapist. This is also about developing a clear position regarding his outbreaks. For example, they’re unacceptable for you. And if he continues to behave this way, a relationship is impossible. Or another option – you are ready to accept him only if he works on himself, and you will stay if you see that he’s managed to. These should be your thoughts. Also, in terms of working on yourself, you need to digest your experiences with your husband and take out hysteria and fear. It’s useless if the husband continues his previous behavior. Therefore, it’s worth starting to work on yourself at the same time.

Regarding the first part of your letter. Your worries about finding out who you are on your own are quite normal. Even people who have had several relationships in the past sometimes forget how to “be alone” without relationships. Therefore, such an experience should be interpreted as some kind of a need that you have, to live a different life. But this need may be small, or it may be important. Here, only you can tell how big and important this need is.

You ask, “How do I figure out what I need?” That’s a good question. You need to understand what you like, what you strive for more, to see the pros and cons of the situation if you stay with him or leave him. And make a choice. The choice isn’t forever, but for a foreseeable future. For now, perhaps you’ll choose a husband and this relationship. But after some time this may change. And vice versa. If you are planning to leave, then after some time you might understand that this relationship could continue. Therefore, it’s important to get to know yourself, to understand yourself, your desires and needs deeper. And then you’ll have less doubt. You’ll understand what you want and where you’re going, and it’ll be more clear-cut. But a good understanding of self takes a long time. Therefore, you can also contact a therapist to find the answer to this question quicker.

I’ll also say that it’s great that you’re seeing the problem and talking about it. But apparently you tend to endure and accumulate stress. Hysteria wasn’t formed in a day. This is the cumulative effect of prolonged stress. Therefore, in your case, I would pay attention to your own feelings. Do you see them well? Why do you build up stress?

Note the “Psychocleaning” course. It’s a basic course to get to know yourself and your emotions. If you know yourself well, and the problem is that you accumulate tension and stress to, for example, save a relationship, read about the “Love addiction” course.

This situation was accumulating, and it’d be good to know why it was the case with you.