Reply To: Empath wife ADHD husband

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I’ve been living with your situation for over 10 years. My boyfriend (we never got married because of his rages) has a violent temper that includes punching walls and throwing things. I walk on eggshells around him to avoid triggering it. He has ADD and intense moods. I’m sure there is some other mental illness in there as well. I consider myself an empath too and the rages hurt me for months and I’m still processing things that happened years ago. I’ve also essentially checked out. I no longer want to fix it. I’m just trying to survive it through the next life stage and move on. It’s sad because at one point I loved him deeply but I’ve decided for myself that the rages are just too destructive to continue to put my energy into this relationship. There was a long time I tried to understand him and I tried to make it better. But then I realized putting the correct label on his condition doesn’t really change anything or make it better although that journey did help me learn it was not my fault. It also helped me learn that I can’t fix it. It’s really his own journey to understand himself and want change and I have to accept he doesn’t want to do that. I spent time in therapists offices working on myself to cope better and trying to be better in the relationship to calm the rages. I did learn some helpful hints and they did at times make it better but the rages have always been there. In the end what worked best is setting boundaries. If my boyfriend starts raging or screaming, I leave the area immediately. I have extra car keys in my bag which I keep ready to go. The rages still do damage to our relationship but it doesn’t damage me because I don’t stand around to hear his cruel words. You don’t have to stand there and listen to him rage. You can tell yourself and him that you will listen when he can talk in a calm tone and be respectful. I’m pretty sure once I leave, he calms down pretty quickly. It hurts that his rage is so centered on me but again I have to let that go because it’s his journey not mine.

I’m going to ask you the difficult questions. Do you realize you can’t change him? That means you have to make the decision for yourself whether you want to stay or go knowing he may never stop no matter what you do. It’s likely no matter what you do, the rages will continue. In some cases, the rages escalate in which case you should be in touch with a women’s shelter. Are there children in the situation? If so, are they safe? Only you can decide what is best for you. Are the pros in the relationship outweighing the cons? Hugs to you. You are in a difficult situation. Just keep telling yourself you can’t control other people’s behavior and choices and that their behavior is not your fault.