It is important that he seeks help for this problem. You mentioned that he has suffered these symptoms for years but it seems that the violence has only recently begun. There are several reasons to explain his behavior none of which I could know with any certainty. One is that his symptoms are overwhelming him and he has truly lost control of himself. Two other possibilities include that he may be using drugs or there is something physically wrong with him that is causing him to become violent and behave in an out of control manner. Whatever the case, he needs to be seen by a mental health professional.
As stated in Healthguide.org, “The emotion of anger is neither good nor bad. Like any emotion, it’s conveying a message, telling you that a situation is upsetting, or unjust, or threatening. If your kneejerk reaction to anger is to explode, however, that message never has a chance to be conveyed. So, while it’s perfectly normal to feel angry when you’ve been mistreated or wronged, anger becomes a problem when you express it in a way that harms yourself or others. If you have a hot temper, you may feel like it’s out of your hands and there’s little you can do to tame the beast. But you have more control over your anger than you think. You can learn to express your emotions without hurting [yourself or anyone else].”
Not only should you be concerned about your husband’s symptoms and behavior but you should be cognizant of your own safety. He has acted out violently and this indicates that he is capable of hurting himself and maybe, out of desperation, or inability to control himself, he may be capable of hurting you as well. He is already taking out his anger on your verbally. Please don’t minimize this possibility. People, out of desperation, fear, and confusion, can act in ways that are not characteristic of their “normal” self.
Be careful and encourage him to get help. What is encouraging is that he acknowledges and recognizes that he has a problem; now the next step is that he get into to see a therapist right away. Make an appointment with a mental health professional; this is where he needs to start. Take care.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on July 1, 2007.