I'm not sure where to post this

Hi. I haven’t posted in a while as things with Dan have only become worse regarding his outbursts that are directed at me (even when he says that they aren’t, I end up being the target because I’m the only person he sees/talks to). He recently told me after I shared that I had learned some more communication skills in my own counseling that (and I’ll be careful with language however it’s important to context as to the abusive nature of his choices of words), “Everything you do and say f’in psses me off all the time. If you’ve been working on communication in counseling, don’t waste your money because it’s doing nothing." I’ve shared his outbursts with people I trust so that I can attempt to gain perspective as I’m highly emotional (something he’s well aware of and throws at me regularly) and having more “head people” helps. Plus I need support and they offer it and it feels good. Admittedly I cry when people (male friends especially…and my dentist-a stranger) talk to me kindly and speak softly as they know about the abuse, which he still refuses to acknowledge as “abuse.” He says "I haven’t called you a btch or hit you so it’s not abuse.” Meanwhile, a woman from the courthouse (I was looking into filing for a PFA) said that since he did cause me to feel unsafe when he backed me into the bedroom door, preventing me from getting out, shouting “I don’t know the rules!” combined with his repeated “I can’t control my outbursts; I don’t know when they are going to happen.” would constitute one. I’ve felt unsafe and had the most horrible things said to me and felt physically intimidated (I’m 4’11’, 110 and he’s 6;, 240) by him for 2 years and I’m the one trying to encourage, support, back off and just leave him be. I remember receiving advice here to (roughly, paraphrasing) back off from getting so involved in his treatment (or something close-please forgive me). Last week, I spent Mon-Thurs talking with a few women at an abused women’s shelter (not for me to attend but for support/guidance), women on a Support hotline and a lawyer that I couldn’t afford. I was seeking something…anything to feel safe. I’d give anything to go back to the first time he yelled at and swore at me and for him to say “Oh my g*d I can’t believe I just did that. I need to do something about this anger so I don’t hurt/scare you again.” I know…I know…if wishes were horses then beggers would ride…I mentioned this to him and his response was “You know I hate to talk to people.” Yes, I’m not kidding. So, I followed up with “Do you hate talking with people more than you hate yelling at me and causing me to feel unsafe?” This gave him pause and I truly felt a glimmer of hope when he got quiet and said that maybe he needed to talk to someone…Well that hope was dashed when 2 weeks ago, he had an outburst and part was “I wasn’t yelling at you; you’d know when I was yelling” and “I am so angry that I’m holding back from screaming.” If that wasn’t upsetting enough, he was holding my dog when he started hitting himself on his head. I told him not to EVER touch my dogs when angry and never to hit himself around me/them because it scares us. I had repeatedly suggested he go out back (outside) and breathe the air, count or whatever, just do it outside. He doesn’t. He refuses to do anything to jog his memory about things/suggestions on how he has managed/can continue to manage his anger so he repeats the cycle and I continue to walk around my once safe home with my phone so I can call 911 if need be. He went to counseling yesterday. When he came home I asked bout it and he shared that he only told her bits about his last blowup (not that it’s gone on for 2 years and it’s not an isolated incident) and that I was looking to file a PFA (which I ended up not doing because the thought of having to go to court and speak to a judge started to feel traumatic to me). He said, based on that, that we should seek couples counseling! Yes, I was flabbergasted and shocked! She knows nothing, had just the intake session, not even delved into his anger and other feelings and he’s ready to work on “us???” As much as I’ve wanted to so badly, there has been so much damage to me that I can’t work on “us” until I see him actively working on “him” like I’ve been working on “me.” It completely felt inappropriate and I’m a MFT myself and would never advise couples counseling until individual work is at least occuring.

Well, thank you for reading. Any perspective/suggestions are always welcome.


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Kim, I sent you a private message.


Im so sorry Kim. This is far beyond me so I cannot comment, but you are in my thoughts. I hope others here can help.

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Thank you… I appreciate your support.

Yet not going to couples counseling as offered really sends the message that you are already out. Sounds like you need to decide where you are at in terms of this relationship and make your choice on which road you will now travel. I am sad for both of you and wish you both the very best


I hear you and what you are saying. I even suggested that, after a night’s sleep i wasn’t ready for couple’s counseling yet. He has yet to get to learn about himself, who he is now, what he likes, his struggles, what he wants for himself. I feel like this ought to happen before he can completely focus on “us.” “We” can’t work effectively until each of us has our separate goals, things we are working on and what we want from ourselves and from our marriage. I definitely can see both types of counseling overlapping however he needs to invest in himself first. He’s made every excuse since last week not to schedule another session. This has me saddened.

I understand what you are saying and it makes very good sense. Simply saying from his perspective it may look different. It does say to me that he wants things to be better between you though.

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I don’t want to sound confrontational or disrespectful, however I spoke with 2 individual therapists and based on my experience of the abuses, they also feel like he’d benefit from some individual counseling to start. I have been holding our relationship together almost solely for 2 years with the abuses, giving him chance after chance, holding all hope. It’s scarred me to no end. I’m a shell of who i was even when he was hospitalized. When he was starting to come back to me he was so sweet and loving, never once taking any frustration out on me, the nurses or Drs… Even in rehab, he was extremely even tempered. As soon as he got home everything changed. I researched, searching for relaxation techniques, meditation, anything and everything. I got a brain coach, found a weekly half hour YouTube show given by a gentleman who had a stroke 13 years ago. He wanted to have video chats with Dan so much and Dan refused. I had a chat with him to try to get perspective. He focuses on mindset. And training the brain. By repeating a negative action or behavior, thats what the brain becomes rewired to. If repeating a positive action or behavior, that can rewire the brain post aneurysm. If this makes sense. Unfortunately in this case, he continues to repeat the hurtful things anf yelling instead of even trying to practice some of the anger management techniques mentioned here and suggested by myself. Like leaving the room, breathing, holding up a finger when feeling triggered (a sugn for me to stop which I’ve honoured), going outside (it’s so close to do), going for a walk, having a mantra… Things like this. No, I’m not giving up. If i was out, I’d have left 2 years ago. I’m still here. Just have to protect my heart because it’s broken in many pieces and I’m desperately trying to glue it together in my own counseling and with the help from my support network.

Again, i mean no disrespect. This is where things have to be to try to feel safe.



I’ve followed what you’ve been saying for a couple of days and trying to work out what I might say that might help a little. I’m a bloke, so I feel it’s difficult for me to suggest things, and I don’t have any direct comparable experience.

I do like @ModSupport Merl’s comments on another thread about his line of thinking when he was going through a similarly tough time as your husband.

I also love the fact that while it’s as tough a situation as it can get, really, you’re still trying to hang in there. I was reading it very much like Kellie that the optimism that is clear in your posts back in January and earlier had worn off completely, so it’s great to hear that you’re still hanging on but it does sound much more difficult. You do sound very worn down.

So what can I say that I hope might help?

This is the bit that struck me. While I’m sure it is right, I guess the thought I’ve had is to work towards this rather than insisting that it’s done in what is clearly “the right order”. I’m no expert in these things so I might be talking rubbish but for some people, the realisation that something else needs to be done only comes from trying the thing they want to do (and realising that’s not the way). My son’s primary school teacher made exactly this point about my son age 7: “You can’t tell him X won’t work. He has to discover it for himself.” And as parents we already knew that he was awful at listening to advice! :rofl: So that was very informative to us.

My thought, therefore, is to take the imperfect route and do some work together, be patient about it (and I think we can all see how painful this is, so I’m not sure who would have the patience required, if I’m honest) and maybe that’ll lead him, a bit slower than you’d like, to get there.

It’s a fantastic thing that you’re holding on. It’s clearly hard. It also sounds good that you’re having some counselling support yourself.

Hoping the best,



Hi Richard,
Thank you for your response. Yes, I, too, appreciated Merl’s honesty and can relate as Dan has (and continues to do) said he’d “borrow money from my sister and stay at a hotel” and “I’ll just sleep on a bench and walk the streets.” I most assuredly don’t want either of these scenarios, though, painful as hearing them have been, I’ve validated him in thinking and feeling these ways. I’ve told him that I feel that he is extremely useful, especially when he says he feels “useless” and remind him of all of the things he’s done/does that are so helpful to me. I don’t have any “expectations” for responses because I know, from what he’s said many times, that he always feels “like a useless piece of sh*t.” That breaks my heart, however I remove my emotions and validate that he feels this way and I cry in the bathroom.

The reasoning for my talking to the 2 therapists was to get their opinions on their feelings regarding his therapist immediately suggesting couples counseling in the middle of her first session with him. I, myself, had strong feelings and was trying to get perspective. Not to be swayed one way or the other. I didn’t tell him that I “never” wanted to do it or that it was off the table. I said that I wasn’t able to yet because my own hurts are still so deep (and I’ve been working on this for 1 1/2 years, for perspective to the abusive damage done, and I’m haunted by his bulging eyes, his leaning over me, yelling hurtful, hateful things). I know that bringing this hurt into couples counseling would negate from the process of attempting to build the “us” now, rather than “rebuild” the “us” we were. I didn’t TELL him that he needed X number of individual sessions by X date and then I’d be ready. I knew that wasn’t the way to go and everyone’s personal journey is unique and there can’t be a time frame attached or that adds pressure. I suggested that perhaps he’d benefit from a completely unbiased person’s advice/technique/approach on finding out where he is now. I never said he had to do it “or else.” It was me sharing my thoughts like I always do (because I always have and he told me that he needed to know so he felt “secure.”) Unfortunately my sharing, as careful as I’ve done my best to do, hasn’t been met in ways which make me eager to share regularly. He’s yelled at me and accused me of blaming him…things I’ve never done. I don’t think it’s right that I should have to walk around my own home constantly on eggshells not knowing when the dam might burst or what might cause an outburst. So far, he’s identified a few triggers and I’m very careful around them (though finances do need to be discussed-I follow his lead when he’s had enough even if I need more). It’s the things that he doesn’t tell me, the things he deems as “burdens” and chooses not to share that end up being the catalysts that I can’t do anything about. I know that I can’t make him talk, however, how much longer do I walk the tightrope? I’m losing my balance.

I have been extremely patient (ask my therapist) and have many techniques to help with my own frustrations. I do not want to ever blurt anything out in a potential “he said, she said” thing because, from experience, I know how badly words hurt, especially when already living with extremely low self esteem. My patience has gotten me through a year of hearing (after a blowup and verbal beating) “I’m sorry. It’ll never happen again.” repeatedly until it no longer registered as meaningful. I saw no effort on his part (still don’t, if I’m honest) in action or word choice. I saw no attempt to try coping techniques/anger management…still don’t. I’m not willing to allow myself to feel comfortable again because every time I have let my walls down, he’s exploded and I’m the one he directs his anger/frustration at. Yes, I still believe that he doesn’t intend to do it to me on purpose. However I’ve given him that benefit of the doubt countless times only to have it happen worse the next time. He’s stood over me, yelling and backed me into my closed bedroom door and grabbed my arm in anger. How much longer until this rage against himself turns physical on me? He beats his head in frustration, flailed his arms whilst leaning towards me. When will they “slip” and hit me? He swears it won’t happen; he also swore he’d never say anything hurtful after the first time (and the second…and the third…). I’m trying to protect myself whilst giving my best effort to stay open. He’s doing absolutely nothing. And if he is, I don’t know it. And I don’t assume anything.

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It sounds like you’re doing brilliantly. Everything you say rings perfectly true.

I’m from a different (but similar) community of patients, where we have a similar number of people who are fighting with brain deficits of one kind or another and I have to say I recognise the

as being a common thread for the men, and I’m tempted to say for American men in particular. The loss of ability to do things we all took for granted hits deep.

Now, I know I’m straying into apologetics, so I mustn’t. I just recognise that the feeling of uselessness is one of the roots of the situation.

It sounds like you’re doing the right things, supporting yourself in the right ways, so I hope it plays out successfully. I think you’re being brilliantly strong!

Very best wishes,



Your partner has suffered a traumatic brain injury and the after effects may or may not ease with time, counciling, therapy or the like. I can relate as I respond to situations and stress way different than before, in ways that I never could have even imagined I would. Sometimes I recognize my response was inappropriate after the fact and do my best to make amends. Unfortunately this recognition is nowhere to be found when I encounter a similar situation down the road and once again I may realize it after the fact. Fortunate for me, my husband raised a severely autistic child (first marriage) and developed the coping skills as a result. As for me, I am trying to learn what the triggers are and I avoid getting myself into those situations as much as I possibly can because I know with certainty that once I am in it I have not developed any sort of work around tekniques or strategies that will override the trigger. The flight or fight response is the only comparable I can give you to describe the feeling. I do indeed wish it could be different, I do not like putting my partner into cope mode, but I most certainly grateful he has this skill and remains at my side. You may find greater resources and understanding of your situation by talking with someone trained in dealing with things like severe autism or traumatic brain injuries, as coping strategies may be a greater help to you and your spouse. Best of luck to you both


I have spoken with a number of professionals who have dealt with TBI’s as well as friends who have children who have autism. I, myself, am on the spectrum and am neurodivergent. I have talked with anyone and everyone who I trust and have shown compassion. Especially because I live with a neuromuscular disorder and this added stress and abuse have rendered me more physically unstable than I already am.Again, with all respect, I am 4’11", 120 pounds and he is 6’, 270 pounds. For me that is different than dealing with a child in a heated, abusive situation when he’s standing over me, yelling. I have zero defenses and go into muscle spasms. I need to attempt to calm myself mentally before my limbs can relax. Then, my dogs require my attention and protection. I have been in such similar situations before, being at the mercy of someone intimidating, abusive and triggering to my disability. I also have my own mental health to consider. I live with severe depression, anxiety, PTSD (from childhood and adulthood sexual abuse), possible eating disorder…My physical and mental health depend on each other and both are affected during an outburst. Not once in 2 years has he attempted to catch himself nor does he remember his triggers. I am doing my best to keep myself on my meds, in my own counseling and constantly working on my communication. I have to protect myself and my dogs. I am estranged from my mother and his family. I am very open about my struggles to people I trust and who truly care, listen and provide empathy. These key things are most helpful when I need strength to carry on and continue to have hope. I know that criticism is a trigger. Dan doesn’t just respond explosively. He can come downstairs and explode and I have neither said nor done a thing. I have been told by many professionals that, with the “right” tools and techniques (trial and error) coupled with the “right” psych meds (again, trial and error) and different combinations of therapies, his brain CAN rebuild itself. It’s neuroplascisity (sp) and it is real. There are wonderful testimonies on YouTube from people who have survived multiple aneurysms and, through combinations of these, are able to live emotionally healthy lives. Yes, it took time and great patience from the partner however it can happen! That’s why I am a believer in therapies and communication. It’s finding which combination for each individuak that is key. No person needs to live with the fear of physical abuse.

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Thank you so much, Richard! Your perspectives are very helpful. They resonate with others regarding men and loss. That makes me so very sad. It always has, moreso now because the man I love, the vital, hardworking, determined man, has lost his identity (in his eyes, which I completely respect. Can’t say that I understand as I am a woman). In my eyes, he is still that man and has so much potential to “reinvent” himself, discover new things, take up hobbies that he couldn’t because of work, dream with me. I wish all of these things for him and would give every Birthday wish, past (57), present and future for him to even feel the tiniest bit of grace for the man he is NOW, not punish himself for not being who he was, not having to like the circumstances now, however to say “This is me now and, though I’m different, that’s OK.” If he could take off the mountain of pressure to be who he was or if I could help, I would have in a heartbeat however I know it’s his journey. My role is his constant support, cheerleader, reminder of what he IS doing, encourager (I invented this word) and just a presence for him to turn to when he feels ready. In the last 2 days, after I had a mammoth 2 1/2 hour counseling session, we have talked…he has talked…and described the things going on inside his head. To him it makes no sense. To me, I see correlations to unresolved past traumas resurfacing and plaguing his dreams, dragging him down. I never force my thoughts on him, I always ask for permission. I voice them as merely my thoughts, not meant to psychoanalyze him. He knows it comes from a place of love and I do check in just to make sure that that sharing didn’t cause negative feelings. So far, it hasn’t. I reassure him, encouraging him to always feel comfortable telling me should those feelings arise and they will not be received with shaming or any negative response from me. We shall see…


Hi there,
I am an aneurysm survivor 9/13/2011. I remarried and then divorced my emotionally abusive husband. He called me grandma because I refused to dye my hair after it my head was shaved. He told me there was nothing I could ever do to repay him for being there for me. (I was in the hospital for 3 months.)

You are in an abusive relationship, there is nothing more you can do. Leave now.

I can see other replies that are much more blunt, though honestly spoken. How much to hope for and what the limits will be is for you to judge.

I’m sure, if he is able to make progress, it will be slow. There’s nothing fast about recovery from a stroke or a brain injury. So there’s bound to be a long, difficult way ahead for you while you do your best to stand with him and hope.

When I wrote

I was thinking of some of the people I know in my own support community. I can think of a guy who has had making financial decisions effectively taken from him, his balance is poor and he can’t drive or even ride a bicycle. I tried to encourage him that he could be independent by using a tricycle but the social judgement that he felt he would get by wobbling around on a trike was just something he couldn’t face, another guy who has lost his coordination in a similar way who needs to use a wheelchair, another who used to be a mortgage broker who hasn’t been well enough to go to work since 2018. I’m sure it hits us all. The guys I know find it like a bereavement, a loss of who they were. In a very driven society that judges you by your “success” that’s a big fall from society. A really low place from which to pick oneself up and a society that isn’t wholly supportive, doesn’t generally “get it”. It’s definitely hard.

(Please don’t take this as “justifying” how he is; rather I’m trying to say I think it is difficult getting American men in particular out of such holes. It will take a long time).

To have an injury that affects your ability to judge how to approach someone, all of the things you’ve described about your husband’s outbursts, is an even deeper, much more difficult situation for both of you.

I do note what @Kellie2 says about her direct experience of what she can do and what she only realises after the fact. There has to be a possibility, perhaps more than a possibility, that your husband will always struggle with his behaviour. However, while you have capacity to deal with that, to have the optimism for greater recovery, then it’s a fantastic (but very hard thing) to keep going, keep going.

My understanding of brain injury like those in this forum and in other places, is that it usually takes years to get back to one’s best “new normal”. So please look after yourself in terms of your expectations as to how long this might take, how hard it is to you. It is important, I feel, for both of you that you think as much about looking after yourself as you think about trying to look after him or after the dogs.

As always, these are my thoughts, they are my experience of reading about others and they are offered in case they may help. Please ignore anything that doesn’t help you and make sure you look after you first.

I go back to I think you’ve got a tough, tough situation. Very best wishes from me!



I understand your position. My husband is now an 8 year AVM survivor. His short term memory is poor as is his temper / mood swings. It is very difficult for him to accept what he can and can not do. The AVM took what I call his “righty/tighty, lefty/loosy” and he had to take early retirement from his 30 year job. Some days are better than others as his neurologist says he is in the early dementia stage. Once he gets fixated on a subject or angry, it’s hard for him to change his mindset. He is verbally abusive at times to me and our kids (the ones at home are 17 & 16)
I have found several inexpensive Wi-Fi cameras on Amazon (set up without his knowledge) can be helpful. Not only to monitor him during the day, but as a “backup”; just in case he gets overly loud/verbally abusive, I can play back for him as he has no memory of the instance.
This way, he can’t argue with me that “he didn’t do that” or “he doesn’t remember” I’ve only had 1 instance of playback and he now does techniques to help him keep control. Above all I pray that you stay SAFE! I know it is so difficult to stay when you have no support (or seems that way at times)