When Anger is Suppressed

Dear Corinne:

My husband works shift work, would come home all used up, with no energy left for me or our kids. I would do what I could to tend to what he needed, then continue to manage in single mom- mode with the kids, the driving to lessons, the housework, the routines, getting the lunches ready for the kids. I don’t get to say “I’m tired” and collapse.

I made allowances for my husband to have a higher need than me at first, but after years of this, I find my needs are not even on the list. I am angry that I am giving, giving, giving and he is not even aware of what I need. I feel he has taken me for granted. He just expects that I will take care of him and do all of the family caretaker work.

Lately, I get repulsed by my husband. He is selfish. It is all about him. When he does reach for me sexually, I feel he is demanding and I have no desire. I am so hurt that he isn’t aware of me as a person. I can’t respond sexually when there is no emotional connection. He says “I’m too emotional.” How do we get the romance, the connection back into our relationship?

Answer: Your husband sounds like he is self –absorbed. Sounds like he is functioning somewhere on the narcissism scale. Is he the only important one in the relationship? Are you doing all of the work in the relationship? Does all of your energy go to take care of his crisis? Does he take care of your crisis?

Often, the narcissistic partner will behave like an energy vampire, sucking up all of your loving energy but has no energy to reciprocate. Over time you can start to feel depleted, frustrated, and angry. Do negotiated agreements get honored? Do you make win/win agreements that get put into action? This kind of stoked anger cannot be resolved until both partners agree that win/ win solutions are needed, and then put into action –without sabotage.

Narcissistic tendencies can creep up into relationships because of expectations, social training and habit. Strong boundaries and values that both partners need to win are starting points. Marriage counselling can help identify the willingness and capacity for mutuality. Anger issues can be resolved by understanding things better.

Are both partners willing to create safety, and change to meet the problems that are part of your lives? What will it take for both of you to choose love and connection in your relationship? How can you meaningfully connect with your partner and fill up the loneliness you both are feeling? When needs are met, anger dissipates. When mutual joy and love are experienced, there is no need to dominate. When personal needs are being met, growth, personal development can happen. YAY!

We have another article about similar anger issues on our blog..