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What to do if he/she is on short fuse

Dear Doc,

My husband sometimes loses his temper and becomes violent. This usually happens when he feels somebody has insulted him or that people around him do not care enough for him or don’t respect him enough. He loves being worshipped, he believes his words should be final. Most times he tells me that I am not respectful and that I don’t love him. I know that I love him, but his violent behaviour is beginning to scare me. Two weeks ago, I woke up on the hospital bed. We were told that these are features of a personality disorder and that he should seek for help. Please how can I make my home a happier one devoid of violence?



Thank you Funke for your mail. From what you described, he seems like someone who is easily offended, takes the offense deeply and personally, and this affects his self-esteem for days. He also has a lack of concern for the feelings of others and he is not overly aware of or concerned with the way people react to his antics.

Like you were told already, he could have a personality disorder, since his behaviour makes sense to him (that is, his behaviour is egocentric). He thinks others are the problem and that he is the victim. This is because he seems brittle, unpathetic, easily wonders, he may have specifically what is known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

He will need to get help, but that is going to be difficult since he does not see anything wrong with his actions. They’re some management programs that could be planned for him if he accepts. However, I am more concerned about you because you mentioned that he sometimes gets violent.

The following tips will help you in dealing with a violent person:

1) Trust your gut, whenever you feel he might get violent please always look for a way to leave the place. Always make sure you have a possible exit in case he gets violent.

2)Avoid dealing with violent person alone, as much as possible always have company in your home, especially when you suspect he might be angry.

3)Keep your children away from seeing the violence. If you think that any child or children are in a dangerous or abusive home situation, let the appropriate authorities know immediately. Children  can’t protect themselves.

4) Stay calm. Take a deep breath, don’t take his anger personally. Avoid becoming agitated, raising your voice or fighting with him. Remember that anger is rooted in someone’s personal pain. It is not about you, even though he is taking it out on you.

5) Keep your voice down, even if he is shouting at you, respond to him as calmly as you can. If he is too angry to communicate rationally, don’t say anything until he quiets down a little.

If you raise your voice, you’ll only fuel his anger. Don’t encourage him to fight.

6) Avoid telling him to calm down or settle down or relax. This will probably make him angrier. He may resent being told what to do and feel like you are brushing off his problems. Let him know you acknowledge his anger, say something like ‘this is really bothering you, we can talk about it’.

7)Reflect his feelings, when he tells you what is bothering him, make him feel like you are on his side even though you don’t agree with him. This will less likely lead to violence if he feels like you understand him. Say something like ‘ you’re angry that no one cares about you right?’

8)Use nonthreatening body language, maintain an open relaxed posture. Make eye contact with him but keep your expression non-confrontational. Move slowly and calmly. Give him plenty space.

9) Find out if he is using drugs or alcohol as this will make him easily aggressive and violent.

10) I know you love him but you must not be an enabler. Encourage him to get help as soon as possible. Psychotherapy and maybe some medications may help him. A psychiatrist or psychotherapist will surely know what to do to help him get better.


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July 2018
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