Husband’s continuing anger & refusal to get help

My husband lost his sister to cancer 4 years ago (having lost his mum at the same age as his sister to cancer previously). His sister was diagnosed with cancer when I was 6 months pregnant with our 2nd child and died shortly after he was born.

My husband always had a temper on him, but since his sisters death he is so angry, rude and aggressive at times, and after 4 years of dealing with it I’m really struggling to hold it together, especially as we now have a 3rd child who is 3 months old and waking every 2 hours throughout the night.

I know my exhaustion doesn’t make me the most patient person at the moment and I’m worried his anger is effecting our children, especially the 2nd one who was born into the eye of the storm and has his own temper issues. My husbands father and other siblings have all gone for counselling to help with their grief, but my husband refuses to accept that he needs help and if I suggest going for counselling he generally blames his anger on me or the children.

We’re sleeping in separate rooms as our baby boy is such a bad sleeper, which is distancing us further and it’s got to a point where it’s a relief to go to bed to avoid his anger. He also works from home so it feels like there is very little escape from it and I also feel myself getting angrier as a consequence, which is so unfair on our children. I’m at my wits end and don’t know what to do next. I realise that going to counselling will only be effective if he makes the decision to have it, but don’t know whether he’ll ever feel the need to talk to somebody about his grief and reaction to it.

Any advice would be very warmly welcomed as I’m feeling incredibly isolated and drained and am not sure I can take much more after 4 years of it (which I realise makes me sound like a horrible wife as he’s grieving for his sister which I can’t imagine going through). Please help.

What a sad and difficult situation you are in, my heart goes out to you. I honestly don’t know how to help other than to let you know that you have done the right thing by reaching out for help yourself. Please don’t say or think you are in any way a ‘bad’ partner for feeling the way you do, you are doing your best in such sad circumstances. You say other members of the family have been to grief counselling, could you ask them for help in getting your husband to do the same? You really do need to find some support for yourself, someone you could be open and honest with as right now your husband can’t be that person. I hope you can post again, please take care and take time to look after yourself. Post again when you can, let me know how you are doing. X.

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Thank you for your reply, which I’ve only just seen, and for your kind words, it helps me not to feel as alone.

My husband has gone to spend a few days with his family (it was the anniversary of his sisters death a few weeks ago) and since posting my message I did reach out to his brother so I’m hoping that his brother will encourage my husband to get some help. But I also tried to explain how I felt to my husband and it ended in a huge row during which he suggested I might be better off if he just left.

But his family are also quite closed so I’m not sure he will. If nothing else I’m hoping a few days away by the sea will help his mood to improve and give him some perspective.

I feel guilty for even thinking it, but it’s a bit of a relief to have some time apart from him to spend with the children without feeling like I’m treading on egg shells constantly. He says he’s missing us, but I just feel numb. After so many years of being surrounded by his anger I also feel that my temper is much shorter and that’s something I need to work on too.

I’m just so exhausted by it and don’t want it to end our marriage but honestly can’t see how I can continue being bombarded by anger for the rest of our lives together. I’m sure it’s just a phase and things will improve as our baby boys sleep improves (he’s been up every 2 hours for weeks now but isn’t quite 4 months old yet) and I’m feeling more human (my husband sleeps in the spare room so he gets a good night sleep as adding exhausting into the mix for him would be too much, but it also puts more of a distance between us). Anyway, I’d better get some sleep as I’ve been poorly as has my baby boy, and I think our middle son is getting a bug now too. Thank you letting me vent.

Please don’t feel guilty about the relief you feel with your husband being away, you need this time to think about yourself and your little ones. Your mental and physical health is essential to you and your babies so take the best care of yourself that you can. You said you tried to tell him how you feel and it ended badly but it might be a good idea to write it all down when you are feeling calm. You have been so understanding about the way he is feeling but he really needs to be aware of how it is affecting you. Writing it down gives him the time to ‘hear’ your words without either of you becoming too emotional and ending up in an argument again. Grief is a terrible thing to deal with but you have been there for him and he needs to recognise that. I can’t imagine how difficult all this has been for you, please let me know how things are going for you and vent all you like. I just wish I could give you a hug. XXXb