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Marriage help at breaking point.

Community Member

When we got married it was really the best day of my life.
And for the first 3 days it was pure heaven. Affection , love , speaking softly and kindly.
But on the morning of day 3 she began with her sarcasm and attitude.
I cannot for the life of me figure it out.
Its like a switch flicks.
Sarcasm , Criticism , Judgement and Jealousy. Its been constant since then for 20 years.

It was then hot and cold for the first few years.
Arguments would usually end in with her extreme and erratic yelling and screaming to the point I would have to leave.
Red faced bloood boiling up in my face anger.
Or I would just beg to get along. .. .I would always admit it was all my fault … even if she was 100% wrong.
Sometimes I was scared of her self harming of harming me.
Several times I was tempted to call the police as she could not calm down.
Her soloution to discussing issues with me , was tototally ignore me, then get dressed up and go out partying with friends leaving me alone at home. That happened many times.Only once or twice after a big argument she actually apologised … but it was a strange apology. She was in tears in my arms saying to me 'I'm so sorry I'm like this … I don't want to be like this I just cant help it…"
This only happened twice I think. I have reminded her of these comments she made long ago... but she has since denied it.
She has inherited the angry gene from here dad. Her uncle has it too. Uncontrollable anger. For the smallest thing she can explode and cannot be calmed down.
More often even the smallest thing would piss her off she would go into shut down mode. That could be anywhere from a few hours to over a week. AS per usual I have to apologise and make things better.
I must say to her at least 5 times per week…. 'stop getting angry'. .. Which can also makes things worse as it makes her more angry.
She will get angry when driving. She will sometimes speed up to cut people off if they upset her.

I don’t know if its split personality ? Or manic depressive ? Or if there is a name for it ?
But she only does it to me. And sometimes to the kids.
She has a very very short temper … It can ignite and explode at anytime.
I feel most calm when the kids and I are alone I can just be myself with them.
The kids and I can spend the whole day together . We get along very well.
As soon as she is there she becomes a disruptor.
Complaining, lecturing, sarcasm.
If there is another person with us during any activity … she will refrain from disrupting.

19 Replies 19

Community Member

Hi Ronny K

Your post describes a very challenging situation for you and the kids. Can I ask, if this anger has been a part of your life for twenty years, have you ever tried to seek couples counselling, psychological assistance for yourself and/or wife or some other sort of professional intervention?

I once lived with a girlfriend who displayed similar tendencies. She would become angry if she couldn’t open a jar, or a restaurant was too noisy, or a plane had its departure delayed. The irritability would rise and she would lash out verbally and sometimes physically. Unfortunately, it got worse over time. Every attempt to discuss it would make her even angrier. In the end, I left.

Your case is different, two decades, marriage and children. I assume you lover her and wish to hold the marriage together. I would seek help through the RESPECT hotline with a view to obtaining professional assistance. It’s obvious you can’t live indefinitely with a bubbling volcano. If she refuses to cooperate, I’m afraid you are only left with two choices, stay and put up with it or end the marriage.

I’m sorry to be so blunt but I can’t see any other way.

Community Member
Perhaps you should look up narcissistic personality disorder.

Your wife seems to have a lot of the traits. It may help you to understand whats happening

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Ronny

I can only imagine how incredibly challenging it must be to live in the house, for you and the kids. Walking on eggshells makes for a painful experience.

The fact that she can manage her temper and her mind in general when other people are around shows that she is capable of self control. So, the question becomes 'What's going on here?'

I can understand that you and the kids aren't quite sure how to handle things. In such uncertainty, the only option feels like the option of 'not rocking the boat'. The problem is 'your captain's out of control at times'. Mutiny or manipulation appear to be the choices.

When I speak of manipulation, I'm not looking at it from a dominating point of view. I imagine her dad and uncle have manipulated her behaviour in some way for her to have acquired this nature. Such a nature is basically not natural, so someone's taught it to her perhaps or has enabled her to behave this way without setting this behaviour straight.

'Reason' is definitely a skilled to be acquired in life. Sounds a bit weird perhaps but has anyone ever taught her to reason effectively? If she can't reason, she definitely needs skills here before you and the kids become more deeply impacted by her unreasonable nature.

The sudden change after getting married sounds like it requires some detective work. Getting married sounds like it was a trigger for her in some way. A simple trigger may be something like the newly acquired belief that you will accept her no matter what, now. Yes, seriously unfair given your circumstances and struggle. Setting her straight is going to be a major challenge for you, especially after all these years. If it was a challenge you never took on up until now, you might want to get some advice. If she doesn't want to see a marriage counselor with you, you can always set up an appointment just for yourself. I did this myself once when my husband refused to go to counseling some years ago. It helped me seriously put things into perspective. It had me establish a new set of rules for what I wanted and expected in my marriage. I came home and set the record straight. By the way, we're still together.

My thoughts remain with you Ronny as you navigate this incredible challenge. Being a mum who has to make some pretty intense decisions for my kids, they rely on us as parents to take control seeing they don't have much say at times. If you are the reasonable parent, it's up to you to act in the best way possible for them.


Thankyou !

I will look that up

Might just help to put a name to it

Thanks so much for your reply
Yes the fact she is all chirpy and happy around others makes it really hard for me.
Her dad , uncle and his sons and her all have this angry switch. Blew up one night at a BBQ and they were all in a scuffle !! Even my wife !!
Our youngest son has the same issue. We struggle to play a board game because if he loses it usually triggers a melt down.
When you say reason. I have tried many times to have a conversation with her discussing her behaviour and trying in as nice a way as possible. But it usually ends up with anger and yelling as she cannot take any criticism or judgement or advice.
I often just say 'what ever makes you happy' , or 'whatever you want' for example what to make for dinner. If I do make a suggestion I'll get responses like 'not that meal again'.
Problems had actually started before we got married. We had split up not long after but she begged me to take her back. I never had anxiety in my life before until around 6 months into pour relationship I think I started realising what I was getting into.
We are of the same ethnic heritage , the familes all know each other … it was complicated.
I honestly just want to get along and have a happy life
It seems to come in waves and right now I'm in the middle of a very big wave.
Nothing is ever good enough. The meat is always under or over cooked. The toast is never buttered the right way. The tomato is cut too thick.
The bench is never wiped well enough. The towel is never hung straight. Basically I feel like I can never make her happy.
I just try to agree to everything … Where do you want to go ? What do you want for dinner ? What should we do ? I just say yes to everything.
I have even said to her 'whatever makes you happy' … And apparently that’s the worst thing I can say.

She thinks she always knows what she wants , but at the same time she is extremely indecisive. She will ask my opinion … only to go against it … I really cant work it out its so annoying and I'm in a panic state in case I give the wrong answer she will explode.
Simply asking me which shoes she should wear could end up with angry wife appearing.
She often second guesses whatever I do. Whatever I say or whatever I buy.
There is always the sarcastic comment.

One time she lost some keys. And she began the blame on me. It went on for a whole day. Anger , Sarcasm general rudeness. While she went through the whole house she was constantly criticising me. Your such a mess you never put things back I'm sick of this shite ect. But really being mean and aggressive the whole time. Then she found them …. Where she left them underneath another item. Immediately she burst into laughter and was hugging me. Like it was ok to insult and abuse me … But when she reaslied she was wrong she was trying to make a joke out of it.

She has verbally insulted me on too many occasions.
One time she angrily called me a d-head in front of her parents ... I was pointing out where the toilets were as they were walking the wrong way.

She basically has no friends. Many of her new friends are my mates girlfriends.
No real hobbies.
She suffers from a lot of headaches … probably 2-3 times per week.
If she is not feeling physically well then it usually means short sharp rude language and Anger , sarcasm.
So imagine being with someone who 3 times per week has a massive headache and then stops being nice.
When she gets her period … watch out !!

She does all of the cleaning and care of the house. Never really asks for help.
I do help sometimes but I cannot fold clothes to her standard as goes with everything else.
She hates cooking. She will make dinner and that’s usually followed by 2-3 hours of anger / attitude.
I'm not a super tidy person. Yep I can be lazy sometimes.
I am the main money maker. And I have worked extremely hard to get us where we are today.
I have my hobbies and my mates. Many of whom I rarely see anymore.
Its become very hard to socialise with people as she doesn’t really want any visitors. So the kids are missing out too now as we cant have their friends and family over.
She will say in her own word "I cant be stuffed' with visitors.
Its getting quite weird now as we have been to visit a lot of people but we never have them over to our place.

I think some of the traits are there

But that's not the right description ... These 2 traits are spot on though

Continually demeaning, bullying and belittling others

Lack of empathy for the negative impact they have on the feelings, wishes, and needs of other people


You have given am incredibly detailed account of your wife's behaviour. Every example you provided rang true and as I said in an earlier post, remarkably similar to a relationship I had many years ago.

I'm not sure what to advise Ronny but let me ask a couple of questions.

Does your wife ever tell you that she loves you? Do you ever tell her you love her?

Are you intimate with your wife or has that part of your marriage disappeared?

I can't imagine spending the rest of my life with someone exhibiting such behaviours.

I'm trying to understand what you believe is your end game. What is the outcome you would like to see?

If you can't get your wife into professional counselling, then I believe all hope for the marriage is gone unless you decide you are prepared to put up with her behaviour. The problem with trying to tolerate her behaviour is that one day you are liable to crack and your own mental health will deteriorate further.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Ronny k,I found this paragraph really stood out among your description of your wife's behaviour.

She suffers from a lot of headaches … probably 2-3 times per week.
If she is not feeling physically well then it usually means short sharp rude language and Anger , sarcasm.
So imagine being with someone who 3 times per week has a massive headache and then stops being nice.
When she gets her period … watch out !!

I am wondering whether has she ever seen a gynaecologist or a specialist about her headaches or her periods.

Is she in pain and have head aches before or during her period.

Does your wife get angry when she is feeling well or only when she has a headache?