I’m an otherwise happily married father of two, but I have a problem. When my wife goes out for the night with her friends on her own, I get insanely jealous. I literally stay up counting the minutes until she returns and my mind goes crazy thinking that she is up to all sorts with God knows who.
When she returns at the end of an evening, I verbally attack her, accusing her of sleeping with other men, to the point where she is in floods of tears and won’t speak to me for days after. I know that all she is doing is going out and enjoying herself and relaxing like anyone else would away from the stresses of home life and taking valuable time out for herself without me and the kids being there. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t help myself. I just feel this anger and rage build up in me and it all just comes out to the point where she probably doesn’t dare go out anymore.
I know what I’m doing is not justified and my wife has told me she is now at breaking point and becoming resentful. I feel if I cannot curb my jealous rages that she will leave me and take my children with her, which obviously is not what I want.
Can you help me?
May I begin first of all by saying well done to you for being brave and reaching out for support. It is never easy to confront negative behaviours such as this, especially the emotional cocktail of anger, jealousy and rage.
Know that you have already begun to address your issues in that you are already demonstrating great self-awareness, in terms of your actions and also in terms of the damage it has caused to your relationship, never mind the turmoil to your family dynamic as a whole which now hangs in the balance.
Maintaining such self-awareness is paramount here Patrick as you venture down this path of redemption. Take this moment to ask yourself some tough questions and be absolutely honest in your answers. It may help to privately write down your immediate responses to the following;
1. Where does your jealousy stem from? Have you experienced difficulty in the past to trust your partners or have you yourself ever had an affair or betrayed the trust of a loved one?
2. Are your actions fair? You have already expressed that your behavior is unfair to your wife who is suffering unjustly. However, despite this acknowledgement, you continue to persist in this destructive conduct. Why do you think that you act this way?
3. Are you actually as happy as you have stated? Thinking about the big picture here Patrick, are you happy in your life, both inside and outside of your marriage? A deeper question to contemplate here, is whether or not you are happy in yourself? If not, why?
Exploring your answers to these questions may illuminate some otherwise blind spots for you as to your overall happiness and contentment with life. You have already expressed both a need and desire to change your ways. What will it take for you to modify your behaviours? Given the distress that you have already caused your wife, it may require the further intervention of counselling support, for it reads as though your wife may well have some issues she too, wishes to address. The counselling process will allow you both the opportunity to communicate your frustrations within a calm and non-judgmental environment. It will also allow you the opportunity to appreciate where your wife currently stands with regards to you and your marriage. This brings me to my next point, that of listening.
It is vital moving forwards, that you are able to listen carefully and with the utmost consideration to your wife, as to how she feels and also as to what she needs from you in order to make your relationship work. Be prepared that what your wife has to say may well be difficult to hear, but endeavour to do so anyway.
It may well be the case, that you discover some underlying personal issues that need to be confronted individually, in order for your jealous rages and expressions of anger to stop for the long term. Be open to the notion that you may need some counselling sessions on your own to explore your anger issues further, in order to fully understand what fuels them.
This will not be an easy journey Patrick, but it is a journey worth taking in order for you to restore your trust and also in rediscovering your peace of mind.
Warm regards and the very best of luck to you,
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