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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Is change possible in an abuser with PTSD and anger management issues?

Answered by
Dr. Ornela Ademovi

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 593 Questions

Posted on Tue, 24 Jul 2018 in Mental Health
Question: My Husband is a 56 year old Male. We have been together 37 years. He was sexually, verbally and physically abused as a child. He has very serious anger issues. Usually directed at me or our Sons who are now grown men. He is unrecognizable when he has a raging outburst, he looks as though he will kill someone.
He gets made at everything. Such as the spoons not being in the drawer or a door being left open. Everything is "What the Fuck". If I try to talk to him about an issue he does not want to acknowledge he will say "Whatever" and dismiss me. I walk on eggshells, developed GAD and now am having stomach issues again. It is like he is making me physically ill. Yet he never admits fault or has remorse. He was diagnosed with PTSD years ago but never followed through with the treatment plan. I have filed for Divorce 3 times, each time he has made it impossible for me to financially survive and delays the process. He always convinces me he will change, promises me he will get better. I have been to therapy 5 times. We went together once and he basically said the Therapist was a quack and freak. I feel trapped... I am afraid to approach him about him getting help and I am afraid to leave again. I think I have a toxic co-dependency. Most people see him as charming and cannot believe he is an angry verbally abusive man. After a blow up he will so silent for days. Disappearing for hours. Now my Son's have told me they do not want to be around him and are staying away from him. He can be so degrading and negative. I want to believe he has a medical issue that causes his huge mood swings. But being cruel is a choice or is it. Can he control it? I thought maybe it is his sleep apnea but he has been like this since his teens. I just never saw it until we moved in together, when I was 18. He can be the best person for months then "Bam" he turns into a monster. If any major life crisis happens, such a my getting Melanoma Cancer he becomes distant, detached and moody. He can not express or chooses not to express his feelings. When I need him the most to be positive and helpful he is negative and the world is doomed. I am a very positive person, it is like he does it to hurt me. Like I can never be allowed to be truly happy or move on from a difficult time. Like we must suffer in dome and gloom together. I am loved deeply by my 3 Kids, 3 Nieces, Sister, Friends ... but he puts me down in front of them all on a regular basis. He will tell me to "Shut Up", make fun of me and more.
My 32 year old Son highly educated Son is very concerned about his Father's escalating anger.
I just do not know what to do anymore... He repeats everything I say back to me, which I find stranger by the day. If I say ...I talked to XXXXXXX today, he responds.. you talked to XXXXXXX today? or I am going to make a cup of tea...You are going to make a cup of tea? Everything I say, is returned in question form from him.
I have been told by Therapist that he is an abusive Man. Can a man like this change? Can he have an illness that makes him this way? Because I am the one who is continuing to have health issues which I believe are directly related to constant stress.
Answered by Dr. Ornela Ademovi 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please see as below

Detailed Answer:

I read your questions very carefully and I understand your concern. I must say the situation you are in is particularly difficult given the financial and emotional dependence on this person.
His trauma has created an unconscious conviction that he is and cannot be genuinely loved by anyone, family included.

His falling short and failing however small only increase his inner insecurity which he has long decided will not be soothed by anyone, and therefore he responds by reasserting his unhappiness about it through hurting and offending, which is obviously a cry for help.

People like your husband can change only if they understand their situation and are willing to let both experts and those surrounding them help them, professionally and emotionally, respectively. I find the biggest issue to be his utter lack of trust, the capacity to rely on close ones, and a damaged sense of empathy.
I think you should have a sit down as a family and present him with the only remaining option, that is a plan for therapy and reform in the way interpersonal relations in the family are organized and managed. Otherwise, everyone will go their own way and it will only be harder for him.

Meanwhile, my suggestions to you are to seek help for financial XXXXXXX if not directly then at least in stages. A status quo will only aggravate your physical and mental health, possibly irreversibly.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask or share further.

Wishing you good health and all the best.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee

The User accepted the expert's answer

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