He Takes His Stress Out on Me

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband seems to get very stressed out while he is away for training. I can understand that, but he takes his stress out on me.

I know it is just his way of dealing with the separation. He gets really upset when he is away from me. I just wonder if understanding and allowing him to treat me this way is wrong.

Sometimes, it can be hurtful and upsetting. We have talked a few times about it, but nothing really changes. I know I can't change him and I would never want to, but is it OK that this happens?

-- Disrespected

Dear Disrespected,

I can tell this situation is upsetting to you. I wonder what happens when your husband is upset and stressed. Is he verbally abusive? Or is he just irritable, moody and mean to you?

Either way, it's not good. You know why? Because it's upsetting to you, that's why.

My grandmother always said, "Vicki, you teach people how to treat you." So I tend to agree with you that "understanding" him might be going too far.

Perhaps he is comfortable with the way he treats you because he knows you will make excuses for him or come up with reasons why he is behaving like he does. In other words, you could be teaching him that his behavior is OK.

My mother always said, "You can show them better than you can tell them."

So you can show him differently by refusing to talk to him when he is in one of his moods.

You have to say, "I can't talk to you when you are in one of these moods. You make it difficult for me to give you any support through your difficult times ... so I'm hanging up now."

Then you have to actually hang up. CLICK!

Separations because of deployments, schools, trainings and field exercises can be tough for any couple. Being in a committed relationship means that you still have to respect each other.

If your husband is disrespecting you, you don't have to accept it. He is an adult, and it's time for him to learn good coping skills to help him handle his stress.

Please let me know how you are doing and what you decided to do.

-- Ms. Vicki

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