S.O. Did something, don't know what to do

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Anonymous

Anonymous

#1
Sorry for the anon status but it's easier to talk about like this. I'm going to keep it brief because I'm still shaken up.

My S.O. and I had a fight this morning that literally just ended after he left just ten minutes ago. I don't want to say too much about the content of the argument as it may give me away and, really, it's of a personal nature to myself. We have our spats but this time it felt different. He was yelling in a way he never had before, so hard he was sweating but white in the face, and I couldn't fight back because I was just so baffled by it. I was calm during the fight, not really saying much other than to respond but in reality I was shook. I just wanted to keep my composure but he took it as indifference to his anger and frustration which, I guess, amounted to more of both.

Then he kicked a plastic stepping stool and it slammed into me so hard that I actually fell down and hollered out in shock and pain. Now, the minute he did this his expression changed to one of panic, began apologizing, and tried to help me up but I was so fucking stunned at that point I didn't want him near me. Thankfully, he had an obligation and he had to go but he kept asking if I was still going to be here when he got back, clearly aware he had crossed a big fucking red line.

I told him I wasn't sure. We have kids, one of which witnessed this event. I don't want to send the message to them that this is okay.

What do I do? I'm not one to hold on to anger. I find it too exhausting and it just adds to the constant static in my brain. Even as I write this I'm second guessing myself and just kind of want to delete this all.

Has anyone else had something like this happen? Is there a high possibility of 're-offense' as it were? What should I/we do now?
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#2
That's terrible. Has anything like this happened before? A history of anger?
 
A

Anonymous

Anonymous

#3
That's terrible. Has anything like this happened before? A history of anger?
Nothing physical, no. He's always shown disdain and disgust for those that would hurt others. He does have a history of anger and is aware of it. He's been on a wait list for therapy and management assistance for a while now but he's done classes and seminars while he waits for an opening with a specialist. This felt so different though. I don't know how to describe it. It was like I was looking at a different person.
 

Dave

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#5
I have nothing much to say other than to echo Gared. I'm sorry this happened to you and you kids as well.

Did he KNOW that the stool would hit you? Was he kicking it at you or lashing out like someone hitting a wall and it turned bad? I'm not being apologist or excusing the behavior, just wanting to know if there was intent behind the abuse.
 
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#6
The automatic response is, of course, “seek counseling.”

I do not say this lightly, either. I know that when someone says to “seek counseling,” this is often taken as an intimation that the person making this suggestion must think that you obviously can’t handle the issue(s) on your own and now it’s too late and you’re going to have to admit defeat and let someone else fix your problem(s) for you. And there is the real possibility that this may be true IF it actually has gotten to that point.

...but assuming it hasn’t, bringing in an uninterested party will still bring the benefit of someone who does not take anyone’s “side,” is not caught up in any family dramata, and whose perspective is unclouded by hate not colored by having lived in either of your heads their entire life. And I don’t mean involving another as some sort of referee. That person’s physical presence and perspective (and presumably also their support!) should help keep emotions from getting to the point where the fight-or-flight starts to kick in and people start doing things that they might regret later. I absoLUTEly understand how difficult it can be to keep the rational part of your brain running during tense discussions, and how tempting it can get to slip the tether off your emotions and let them have their head.

—Patrick
 
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#7
I'm also going to say counseling, because if he's had anger problems and they escalate to this, then this can escalate too if left alone. Now is the time to put a stop to it, especially when one of your kids saw.
 

Cajungal

Staff member
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#8
Yikes. I'm really sorry this happened.

I think that Dave has a point, asking about intent (did he aim that stool at you?), but I think it's also important to note that if he didn't mean to, that demonstrates a dangerous lack of forethought. You were in the room. A child was in the room. If he can't think long enough to consider it's a bad idea to engage in that that kind of behavior around y'all....is there any way to fast track that counseling? It's really good that he is aware of the problem and is trying to seek help.

You said there was no history of physical violence. Does he yell and destroy/hit/kick things often, even if theres no intent to physically harm a person? Because that would also extremely worrying.
 
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#9
Count me in for counseling no matter what, although I would think whether the stool was supposed to hit you or not does make a difference in your next step. If it was launched haphazardly and happened to hit you, then I think this should be part of your conversation about seeking immediate assistance. Anger that results in the need to physically aggressive or hurt is anger that has gone beyond normal and safe amounts.

However, and I hate to say this, if it was kicked at you specifically, I'd say there is even more to be concerned about. ACTUALLY inflicting physical harm on purpose, regardless if it's in the "heat of the moment", is a line that should never be crossed. You do have a right to be concerned for yourself, your kids, and your spouse if his anger has gone that far. I would say there has to be a sit-down and under no uncertain terms can things continue without some kind of intervention by a professional. Even if he swears it will never happen again, there needs to be some sort of counseling immediately. We're allowed to disagree with our loved ones, but we should never fear being hurt because of it. And the kids need to see that this is NEVER acceptable behavior, even if it was "one time". One time is one time too many.

Hugs to you. I know this has to be one of the worst feelings in the world.
 
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#10
If there is still a 'we' worth counseling, then yes, counseling. Particularly for him, since they're the one with the anger issues.

If you're not sure there's still a 'we' to consider, get out get out get out. (I used to work with women leaving abusive relationships - again I say, get out). Even just temporarily, until they get help, get out.
 
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#11
My first thought is that you need to take yourself and your children out of a potentially dangerous situation. Even if there is a "we" to consider. You do not want to expose your children to this kind of violence (yes, it is violence, regardless of intent) against you or possibly against them later. Asking for his intent doesn't mean you will get the truth and can actually be part of the cycle of abuse. It's easier to forgive someone who says they didn't mean to do it, even if they obviously did. He needs help and you are not obligated to stay with him while he waits for a specialist.

I also hope you have talked with your child who witnessed this incident not just to reassure them that you're ok or to reject this type of behavior, but to let them express their emotions about what took place.

Also therapy. For all of you.
 
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#12
Many of the recent comments advocate removing yourself from the situation.
If there is overt hostility or actual fear for safety, then yes, please do so in order to mitigate potential harm.
But if this is instead just a case of, "Whoa, it sure went too far that one time," then I really don't believe abandoning him (or kicking him out) would be in everyone involved's best interest, since the guilt and self-anger AND LONELINESS engendered by forced isolation will create the perfect breeding ground for self-harm, suicidal thoughts, etc.
So if everyone involved agrees that this is merely a step too far, a slip-up, an uncommon but unfortunate incident, then please do not treat his anger as some sort of communicable disease. Instead treat it as an injury that needs healing and professional care. And then go find a professional.

--Patrick
 
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#13
But if this is instead just a case of, "Whoa, it sure went too far that one time," then I really don't believe abandoning him (or kicking him out) would be in everyone involved's best interest, since the guilt and self-anger AND LONELINESS engendered by forced isolation will create the perfect breeding ground for self-harm, suicidal thoughts, etc.
So if everyone involved agrees that this is merely a step too far, a slip-up, an uncommon but unfortunate incident, then please do not treat his anger as some sort of communicable disease. Instead treat it as an injury that needs healing and professional care. And then go find a professional.

--Patrick
I have to disagree. This places the responsibility for SO's behavior in Anon's lap. Anon needs to be responsible for their own safety and that of their children, including ensuring the children are not exposed to violence in the home since that sows the seeds for their future behaviors. Anon is not responsible for SO. If SO has a mental health crisis up to or including suicide, that is not Anon's fault in any way.

If everyone involved agrees it went a step too far, then SO needs to take immediate steps to see it does not ever happen again. Anon only has to be responsible for their own actions.
 
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#14
Only you can answer the question of "how many times does he/she have to be violent before I leave?"

For me, at least, the answer is "once".
 
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#15
If everyone involved agrees it went a step too far, then SO needs to take immediate steps to see it does not ever happen again. Anon only has to be responsible for their own actions.
Not knowing the details makes it harder to be certain, but I suppose I should've emphasized the "a," as in "a single time which was a surprise to everyone" as opposed to "one of many."
Ultimately everyone is responsible for their own actions, though if everyone involved agrees this is something which is salvageable/recoverable/repairable, then they should probably not hastily take actions which exacerbate the rift and end up making the repair process that much more difficult. Again, a decision which only those involved have the perspective to properly consider, since without standing (and professional training) it's hard to say which option is best.

--Patrick
 
A

Anonymous

Anonymous

#16
First, let me thank everyone for their wonderful, compassionate advice. It has certainly made rough times a little less so.

My S.O. and I had a long, emotional conversation when he came back home on Saturday. He agreed that his anger went over the top. I also conceded that the incident with the stool, while painful and frightening, was an accident. He wasn't aiming for me but I also reiterated that it was totally un-fucking-acceptable. He apologized to our daughter and told her it was never right for someone to behave that way.

We had a rather uneventful Sunday. It was just a normal day for the family. It's funny how things can go back to normal so quickly, right? Still, it was on my mind and I was reading your advice.

I decided to sit on this thread until I saw my therapist, which I did last night. I made a plan with them for what to do if such a thing were to happen again, though the greatest obstacle we found was my unemployment and crippling anxiety that makes me unable to interact with people for long periods of time. That's a hurdle we've been working on.

As it is we'll be staying put right now...but trust that I have some details worked out should something like this ever happen again. We've been together 14 years and this was the first time it has ever gotten so far so here's hoping it's a one time thing/help will be gotten so it never, ever happens again.

Thank you all again.
 

Dave

Staff member
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#17
I'm glad to hear that it was an accident. Talk about a wake-up call for him and you. It'll help him keep his anger in check.
 
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#18
I decided to sit on this thread until I saw my therapist, which I did last night. I made a plan with them for what to do if such a thing were to happen again, though the greatest obstacle we found was my unemployment and crippling anxiety that makes me unable to interact with people for long periods of time. That's a hurdle we've been working on.

As it is we'll be staying put right now...but trust that I have some details worked out should something like this ever happen again.
Glad to hear you have a plan in place, Anon. I truly hope it all works out for the best.
 
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