"My wife is abusive"-More resources and inspiration for you:
- Using Imago therapy to deal with rude, hostile people
- Stopping emotional abuse in marriage
- Is name calling verbal abuse?
"My wife is mean to me. I can't say anything without her ripping my head off. She constantly criticizes everything I do. She is a yeller and screamer, the kids can't stand it either. She doesn't know how to communicate with me in a nice way, and I frankly find it abusive, and I want out. Do you have any suggestions? Can our relationship even improve if I wanted to stay?"
Your hostile environment is quite common. The good news is that it is possible to remedy your situation.
It's no fun living in a home with a screamer or feeling constantly criticized and while you may push your wife's buttons, such interaction is not warranted.
However, if you want to make things better, it's important to realize that your wife is not acting that way because she is a nasty person but that there are reasons why she is reacting so strongly. (Don't believe that? Watch what happened to this "mean" spouse at an Imago workshop)
In relationship, when we are feeling unsafe, scared, unheard, we tend to react in one of two ways. We either withdraw, or we become aggressive. It appears your wife is exhibiting the second path.
Instead of viewing her as someone who is trying to harm you, realize that there is something bothering her and that there may be things that you can do, on your part, that will help the overall situation which in turn will diminish her reactivity.
We see a lot of couples in our 2-day marriage therapy intensives where the wife is a "screamer" and perhaps verbally abusive, who is married to a more quiet, withdrawn man.
We aim to help them connect in a safer way, helping them learn a very structured and safe way of communicating so that reactivity is diminished, and the chances that she'll fly off the handle are nill.
We also explore the underlying issues in the relationship which are often the root of the hurt feelings. Once we can address those, there is no need to react in such a strong way.
Sometimes people are so frustrated that they aren't getting what they need and they don't have a better way of asking for it, that they lash out.
We teach emotional maturity and a path to be able to articulate what you want in a healthier way so that instead of damaging your partner, you are actually creating a stronger bond.
It's amazing how quickly this negative dynamic can change with the right tools.
Read our book to continue learning how to create a safe relationship for yourself and your family's sake.
Be in touch,
Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin