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Ask Dr. SchwartzAsk Dr. Schwartz:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Will He Hit Me Eventually?

Fri, Jul 30th 2010

I am in my second marriage at 50 to a man who has Bipolar Disorder. He has been on Lithium since his 20's. It started on our honeymoon where he became very angry over something little that I said or did. He was verbally abusive. This has gone on for the past 2 yrs. At first I thought it was my fault (Because he said it was). I would apologize and try not to set him off. It continued to happen and I started to log what happened and what was said.

We went to counseling. He became more abusive when I realized this was not my problem. He would call me F--ing b--- and stupid B---, tell me I was uneducated and could not understand his higher thinking. (He has his Masters degree and I have only 2 yrs of college).

He has walked into me 2 times and pushed me. He got into such a rage that his face turned red, his veins bulged and he foamed at the mouth as he yelled in my face and then made a fist before slamming it into the table in front of me. I have 2 girls at home, one who is under 18. He has started to be verbally abusive in front of them and to them. I have stopped sleeping in the same bed when he is mad because he has turned on all the lights at 2 a.m. and elbowed me etc.

I won't ride in the car with him because then I am a captive audience for his yelling. I filed for a divorce in Feb 2010 but then gave him yet another chance (I left the divorce papers in place). He was nice for awhile and now is back to being abusive.

Now our marriage counselor says he thinks he can help him. My husband admits he is verbally abusive and does not want to abuse me. I am at the point of living separately in the same house. I don't know when his next "explosion" will be and if he will someday hit one of us. I never know what will make him mad...some little thing that another time wont even bother him.

My friends are concerned for our safety even though he has never actually "hit" me or my girls. I have read the Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans and that's what made me understand what was happening to me finally.

Can someone unlearn bad behavior at 57 when they are
Bipolar and probably have a personality disorder?

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