My husband abuses me

my husband\’s unpredictable behaviour is driving me mad. I can never predict where I stand with him. he shouts and yells and even abuses suddenly at very commonplace conversations. He is very good and polite with others and extremely broad minded. I have always admired him for all his good qualities but he is totally unpredictable at home. It is having a bad effect on my kids. Many times I have asked him where I have failed him, so that I can try and change. He insults me and threatens to kick me and says I am not normal. But the strangest thing is he starts talking normally after a while as if nothing has happened. It affects me very badly though.

Your husband has a problem. Not you. You are not the one who should change to stop this violence – he must. You are not the one who is failing him. He is failing you, your children and himself.

Let’s get a few things straight. We’re talking domestic abuse here. Whether his actions amount to putting you in fear with emotional abuse – shouting at you, insulting, humiliating and putting you down; or with threats of physical attack – threatening to kick you; or by actually striking you, it’s all the same. He is abusing you and there is never, ever any excuse for it.

People who shout or hit out do so because of their issues. I can’t really even speculate on why he does it – loss and abuse in his own childhood, perhaps. Whatever, it’s not your fault and it’s his responsibility not to lay that on you and his children.

Trying to appease and placate a violent person never stops the violence. He may tell you – so many do – that if only you wouldn’t provoke him everything would be hunky dory. But because he does it for his own reasons, for reasons that well up from his own mind, nothing you do can stop him erupting in anger. You should’t have to change since it’s not your fault. You shouldn’t try to change because it won’t make a difference anyway.

Tell him you can no longer countenance his behaviour, which is damaging to you and to your children. Ask him to contact the Male Advice & Enquiry Line on 0845 064 6800, which supports and helps men with anger issues sort themselves out. You can get help and advice from the National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247 (I’ve given you the English number – if you live in Scotland, Wales or Ireland go to The Home Office Website to find your national line. You’ll also find some reassuring and helpful advice and information there on domestic violence.

If he can come to see what he is doing and wants to change, there is help around from Relate or through counselling via your own GP. If he won’t accept there is a problem and that it is his to do something about, I would strongly, strongly suggest you seek help to protect yourself. All the evidence shows that men who are violent only get worse, not better. It won’t go away. Do you really want to live like this, when the situation is NOT of your choosing nor your responsibility? And what about your children – is this what you want them to grow up experiencing as the reality of family life? Get help. Today.

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