Can a person with anger issues change their ways?

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Can a person with anger issues change their ways?
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 12:22am

I've been with my boyfriend for 5 years and we've broken it off twice within that time, partly because he has anger issues and it's hard for me to deal with. He's never physically hurt me or thrown/punched things for that matter, but when he's mad he will yell and scream and say whatever he can to emotionally hurt me. He also gets angry over the smallest things, to the point where I have to carefully word what I say to him about certain things out of fear he'll get mad. I even get severe anxiety when he starts to raise his voice, even if he's not getting angry about something.

I told him I needed to take a break and clear my head, and now he's telling me that he's going to be more patient with me, that he'll start walking away from arguments instead of blowing up at me, that he'll keep his temper in check. I want to believe him, because there are so many good qualities in him and in our relationship that I'd miss if I wasn't with him. 

I just wonder what's going to make this time different than all the other times he said he'd change--I don't want to waste any more time if things are going to go right back to how they were again. He thinks he can control it on his own and doesn't need counselling, but do you think he can really keep his anger in check for good?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 1:22am

I reckon that with conselling, there is a chance he may change.  But without counselling and learning the strategies required to change his way, there's little hope for change.    Besides, it's not as if this is a new issue to him.  If he was able to change, why didn't he change when things first became a problem? 

I wouldn't be giving him another chance if I were you.   It's OK to tell him that you have no faith in his ability to change and are not willing to risk wasting any more of your time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 11:29am

I doubt very much that he could change his behavior w/o a long period of counseling.  When someone is calm, of course he thinks that the next time he gets angry, he will just walk away, but he hasn't tried it yet.  Even if he is sincere and not just trying to manipulate you to come back, he needs therapy to recognize where his anger is coming from and to get techniques to deal with it better.  I think 5 yrs is long enough to have to deal with this--I agree w/ the Op who said since you have already broken up twice over this, why didn't he take steps to deal w/ this before?

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Wed, 08-15-2012 - 11:26am
Tell him you need to see concrete steps by him to address his issues with a professional. Only then will you CONSIDER getting back with him.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2001
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 3:17pm

I'm the poster with the "Flabby Thigh" headlne. The bf of 10 months with severe anger issues. Never knew what anger issues were until the honeymoon period ended, and the real Bob (they're ALL Bobs) entered the building. It's been quiet followed by periods of anger at nothing stuff. Recently escalated in how often he gets angry. Yes, you guessed it, I set him off. 

I will post again, but right now the need to leave my place so as not to be home when he picks up his stuff my biggest concern. Yes, I changed the locks on the doors. I will stash everything outside under the stairs. 

I couldn't take it another day. You've been in it for 5 years. It WILL NOT CHANGE. I have a therapist. Do you? 

The other posters are right and right on in what they've said. 

I call it verbal abuse. Whatever you call it, do you want to life your life tiptoeing and placating your man? Not my idea of fun. 

Bob does NOT SEE MY SIDE. It's not a 50/50 thing. 

My offenses are in his head. Won't go into the details here, not intending to hijack your post. But the short response is that no matter what I did or said, I would not be able to please this man. He is looking for slights and offenses. 

Is yours like-minded? is the world at large his adversary? 

Just a few thoughts for the moment. 

Please let me know what you decide.

Breaks usually mean a break-up. Maybe it's time for a vacation. For mind, soul, and body. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999


Do you think this Bob is bipolar?  His behavior sounds a lot like my bipolar ex's--and I endured that for 8 yrs, 6 of them living together.  It was like walking on eggshells all the time--who knew what would set him off?  With a normal person, you can kind of predict what will make them unhappy--maybe being sick, losing their job, being in a car accident--with him it might be someone parked in front of our house--on the street which is where people are supposed to park their cars, right?  Or some major catastrophe like the kids left their shoes in the living room or ate the last cookie that he wanted to have.  I really hope I have learned from this that I won't tolerate this kind of behavior again.  I do not like anger & fighting--I am a very easy going person and rarely get in argument with anyone so I want a like minded person.