Am I safe from him?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have been married to my husband for six years. Three years ago he’s physically abused me about 4-5 times. He blamed it on the alcohol and I’ve felt it was my fault as well because I provoked it. I’d always get angry with him for getting drunk and coming home late. I was getting tired of it and I always told him I was going to leave. But every time I tried to walk out that door he’d hurt me in so many ways. The abuse has stopped now and we are fine. Things are perfect between us but I’m he will go back to his old ways. He still drinks but not as much as he used to. Recently he told me he wanted to start a family with me. Also, just this past week he has shown signs of jealousy. I think it’s because I am going out more and I have more friends. Prior to this I would only go out with him. He tells me it’s fine that I go out and have a good time but when I come home late he’d question me as if I was having an affair. I love him and I would never do anything to hurt him. Please help me understand what my relationship can lead to. Am I safe? Thank you for reading and sharing your advice.

A: I am glad you have written and have asked the question. The short answer to your question is “no.” You are not safe. There are three things that prompt me to be so direct.

First, your husband displays a very particular profile of men with anger management issues which involves alcohol / drug abuse, jealousy, and a history of being physically abusive. This is a VERY difficult pattern of behavior to change. It requires a significant amount of desire and commitment to therapy and recovery. While I am glad that things are okay, I know how difficult it is for true change to happen for men with anger management problems.

You did not mention any treatment for your husband like AA or an anger management group. He cannot make any significant gains if he continues to drink. The alcohol is both a mask and then a lit fuse for his unresolved anger.

Finally, he blames you and doesn’t take responsibility for his own behavior. Adding a baby to the mix is likely to increase his stress. The barometer will be his signs of jealousy and then increased drinking. With other men like your husband it is typically only a matter of time before abuse happens again.

The real work here is for you to get some support. Your community should have a women’s center. Please call them and start counseling with them. Explain what is happening so that you can get some support. This organization can help you find a women’s center nearby.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Dec 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Am I safe from him?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/12/31/am-i-safe-from-him/