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Harsh Husband Hurts Hearts of Kids

My husband always had a problem with anger. He would yell at me or criticize me when we were just in the dating stage and I would laugh at him bkz I thought he couldn't possibly be serious. I would make light of his bruskness and serious anger and then he seemed to chill a bit.  After we got married and had kids, he'd get angry over the simplest things, like if our 2 yr old spilled his milk or tipped his chair back. My husb would get furious bkz he had already told our child not to do this. Well, I tried to tell him kids don't remember things like that when they are so young but he wouldn't listen.  I suggested books to read, shared what I was reading, suggested counseling, but all to no avail. He didn't feel he had a problem.  So, now 24 yrs after our first child was born, our kids seem to have a beg problem trying to please people, and the also have very low self esteem. I think it's his fault. It is hard for me to accept the fact that maybe it's not mostly his fault. He jokes that it's his fault and I have told him my opinion about that. He is sorry to have hurt them. Now that the damage is done I am sad and some days I am very down when I see my kids struggle or hear of problems they are having. I am deeply disappointed in how my husb has not really listened to me in the past. Now he will listen if I tell him I need him to do that. I think he has changed some, but it has been very hard for him to change, probably bkz he was brought up by a very harsh self centered father and a mother who did not have her voice yet. His Mom divorced his Dad, and I was glad about that. He deserved it. Well, that's another story. Thanks for listening.
melons melons 51-55, F 4 Responses Aug 12, 2007

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My personal opinion is of course you should help hubby with his healing, but you might also want to address what it was within you that didn't cause you to react in a way that could have protected you and your children years ago. I only say that because I know how hard it can be to live with someone that is so critical and domineering. It can be extremely damaging. It would probably be a great idea for your children, as well as YOU, work on building self esteem and empowerment. No one deserves abusive treatment. Just my two cents.

Yes, he is actually changing little by little. And I guess later is better than never. It is kind of bitter sweet though. Anyway, he has apologized to the kids, and has admitted his anger problems to them. They have also spoken with him about how he hurt them in the past. He has been quicker to apologize and to recognize when he has bullied one of us, or over reacted, and this is so good for the children (now young adults) to see. It is a process, a long journey, but it is all part of life, at least our family's life. I can only attribute these changes to faithful friends willing to confront him and willing to listen to me. These friends have been praying for us and with us, and helping us learn about God's care and love for us. I believe I am seeing God's love for us demonstrated in our midst.

Hi Tardy, thanks for your comment. I agree that there is always time to change, especially if he humbles himself and is honest about his anger when he talks to the kids. I just wonder whether I should have gotten out of the marriage and maybe spared the kids the damage they live with now. But who knows what damage they may have encountered if I had left him. I still go back and forth as to the wisdom in staying in the marriage early on. <br />
I know he can have a positive impact on the kids but I can't make that happen. I even wonder if he really knows how. Thanks for your comment.

It's not too late for him to address the errors of his past. Children do grow up to become adults, but some times parents can provide some of the missing pieces that cause them so much trouble in their lives. Knowing that they are accepted, that they are good enough for him, and that his anger was really all at himself (which surely it was) could be very healing for your children.<br />
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It's not too late to undo at least some of the damage :)