I need advice on how to handle a problem I’m having with my husband. He has this issue with yelling. He pops off about something, then acts like it never happened. And for him, I’m sure it didn’t. But I don’t like being yelled at, and I’ve expressed that.
A few years ago, he was put on an antidepressant and that really helped him. He began having normal reactions to things! I became less anxious because he stopped raising his voice all the time. It all worked.
Recently, he decided to cut his pills in half so he could go off of them. He didn’t consult with his doctor, and I’ve been clear that I think this is a bad idea.
Now he’s back to raising his voice and he’s embarrassed me a couple of times. Like he yelled at me so loud on the phone that my co-workers overheard. I don’t know what to do, help!
Tara E. – Miami, Florida
Yikes! That sounds horrible. I’m sorry you’re faced with dealing with this, but you need to confront it swiftly and head-on.
Lucky for you, your husband has a track record of good medicine(s) that work – evidence that this very real problem is 100% solvable.
Here’s what you say:
“Love. There’s something that I’ve been tolerating that I won’t tolerate anymore.
When we were new, you yelled. It was unbearable, but I put up with it. Then you got on (medication name here). It worked! Problem solved. And it saved our marriage.
Your yelling at me is controllable. Choosing to go off your medicine has resulted in your choosing to yell at me. Here’s the thing: I won’t tolerate it anymore.
If you want us to stay together, you need to fix this immediately. I don’t care how you fix it; that’s up to you. We both know there is a quick fix to this. There will be no grace period here. Your yelling is now a deal-breaker for me. You can choose to yell, and I will choose to leave.”
And if/when he yells at you after that, put your words into action and literally remove yourself from his presence.
Now, Tara, normally in a conversation when someone’s expressing what they need, I’d advise them to ask, “Is there anything you need from me in order to give me what I’m asking for?” That’s a “good partner” type of question to ask. But, in this case, it’s cut and dried: He’s either yelling at you or he’s not.
I don’t want you to have to train him to not yell at you. His boss didn’t have to train him to not yell at him. His mom didn’t have to train him. His butcher, clergy person, and dry cleaner didn’t have to train him, either. So, what do these people have in common that you don’t share? They don’t have any magical powers here, they simply wouldn’t tolerate that type of behavior from him. You shouldn’t either, my dear.
Good luck. I know what I’m asking you to say isn’t easy.