Try to see it through her eyes

Don't hurt me. © Joyce Michaud |

I think many men miss an important piece of the anger issue: the implied threat of physical abuse.

Yes, I know many angry men never, ever, do any physical harm; but that’s not enough. On one level, the wife of such a man can know he will never hurt her, but that knowledge may not override her self-preservation instincts. When confronted with anger, we react in ways that are beyond our control. We have a surge of adrenalin, and our “fight or flight” reflex is activated. Having that happen often is harmful in many ways: physically, emotionally, and relationally.

Understand that for the vast majority of couples, he could take her in a physical fight. There are exceptions (including battered husbands), but even if she is bigger, odds are he could hurt her more than she could hurt him – and kill her if he wanted to. Men don’t tend to think of this because most don’t feel at risk from their wife; but most women on the receiving end of anger have felt scared for their safety – even if they rationally know they are safe.

Bottom line: Outbursts of anger – including screaming, throwing things, banging inanimate objects, slamming doors, squealing tires, stomping around, making threats, shoving, restraining, cornering, or yelling down, all carry the threat of physical harm – even if that threat is not intended. All these things are abusive, and completely unacceptable. Nothing a woman does (including any of the above) justifies a man doing any of these. If you are doing any of these, you have a problem – PLEASE deal with it before it escalates.

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Image Credit: © Joyce Michaud |

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