My Husband Is Like Dr. Jeckyll And Mr. Hyde

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I love my husband. I will start by saying this. When I first met him he was the most amazing man I’d ever met. Then I started seeing his anger. He never hits me; but there is emotional abuse. As far as us being in public or with my family he is not my husband. He puts on a fake faced as he hates himself. He has told me this. He does have some things that bother him from his past as well. When we talk intimately it is amazing. He loves me, our daughter and would do anything for us. When I tell him he needs to fix things he cries and apologizes and does for what used to be a month or so and now is about a week or less. He he is so easily irritated. He snaps in a second. He says mean and hurtful things about. Little things for example like me asking him a question about his day or something we are planning to do makes him insane sometimes. He is constantly being disrespectful and mean. He knows it really hurts me so he has tried to calm it down. So he no longer calls me derogatory names often. I also can see he is trying to be a good man. He got a job for the first time that lasted over 3 months. I know he cares or he wouldn’t try to improve. So these are positives. Now the negatives are he snaps over nothing, he is constantly berating me and basically emotionally abusing me. He can’t help but point out how stupid I am or any flaw I have. He has major anger issues which do NOT extend to violence, although he used to get into multiple physical fights with others, but he has made me question having him around my daughter. He swears at me in front of her. He has held her close and screamed in her face. She is only two and she is scared of her father. She doesn’t want to be around him and refuses to hug or kiss him. This hurts him so I try to facilitate her giving him affection because 1/2 of the time he is amazing, but she flat out doesn’t want it. To summarize he has extremely wonderful highs where he is amazing. He is so easily angered that myself, his mom, his dad, his sister, and my daughter are walking on egg shells. He refuses to get help. What do I do.

A. You are in a difficult situation. You love your husband. There are many positive qualities about him but also some negative qualities, namely the emotional abuse. You, in particular, are a target of his abuse, as is your daughter. Unfortunately, that will not likely change as long as he refuses to seek help.

If he cannot change, cannot control his behavior and refuses to seek help then you have a difficult decision to make. Your options, as I see them, would include:

1. staying in the marriage and tolerating the abuse;
2. giving him an ultimatum: agree to treatment or else a separation; or
3. consider terminating the relationship.

Of the three, the second option might provide the necessary leverage to begin treatment.

When a loved one refuses to seek help, and their behavior is negatively affecting others, it is often those who are being negatively affected who must act. That seems to be the unfortunate reality in this situation.

I would highly recommend consulting a therapist. A therapist could offer a much-needed objective perspective into this situation. He or she could also gather detailed information about the history of the relationship, advise you about how to handle this problem and offer his or her support during this difficult time.

The primary reason why I am recommending therapy is that you may be in denial about the full reality of your situation. Your love for your husband may be clouding your judgment. Your husband apparently cannot control his behavior and is abusive toward you and your daughter. His abuse is damaging. It is harming you, the relationship and your daughter. The proof is that your daughter is now frightened of your husband. In addition, you characterized your household as one in which all of the family members feel as though they have to “walk on egg shells” when he is present.

There is no simple solution to this problem. That is why I hope that you will consider seeking professional help. Mental health professionals are trained to deal with these very problems. The find help tab, at the top of this page, can help you to locate a mental health professional in your community. I wish you and your family the best of luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Dec 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). My Husband Is Like Dr. Jeckyll And Mr. Hyde. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/12/07/my-husband-is-like-dr-jeckyll-and-mr-hyde/