LIFE GOES ON: Stay Off Your Spouse’s Roller Coaster



I’m married to a very moody man.  One minute he’s up, the next moment he’s raging. His temper is explosive and seems to come out of nowhere. He rants for a while and then acts as if it never happened. Unfortunately, I really love him but I feel abused. Sometimes I yell back, other times I ignore him. I want our relationship to change. What can I do?



You must be walking on eggshells most of the time! If a verbal attack could come at any time over nothing predictable, you must feel constantly on guard! This is not emotionally or physically healthy for you.  Chronic fear and anxiety may cause stress symptoms such as high blood pressure, headaches, aching muscles, and depression, just to name a few. This is no way to live. He must also be stressed and depressed over his outbursts. Being out of control is scary for both of you. There must be an underlying emotional or physical cause for his behavior that could be treated with therapy and/or medication.

I’m assuming you’ve tried talking to him with no success. I urge you to go to a reliable psychologist for couples counseling. If he refuses, please go for yourself. In the meantime, please stay off HIS roller coaster. Stay grounded. His moods go up and down but yours can remain stable. Detach from him when he loses control. Learn how to stay off his roller coaster of moods. Remove yourself from the situation. Tell him you will talk to him when he calms down. Just say “STOP” And of course always make sure you are physically not in any danger.


Kathleen Cairns, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in West Hartford, Connecticut. She works with adults, adolescents, and couples. You may call her at 860-236-5555 to make an appointment. She is the author of “The Psychotherapy Workbook.”  You may email her at and she will try to answer as many of your questions as possible.

Life goes on… and every day matters…

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5 Comments on "LIFE GOES ON: Stay Off Your Spouse’s Roller Coaster"

  1. It’s spouSe, not spouce.

  2. Sorry about the spelling of SPOUSE, its my error, not Kathleen’s. At this point can’t change.

  3. Elainetiels | July 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    There was a time when I could have written that. So grateful I don’t have to live that way anymore

  4. Elainetiels | July 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    There was a time when I could have written that. So grateful I don’t have to live that way anymore

  5. I know how the woman feels. I know what my hubby’s problems are: high blood pressure, diabetes, aging and almost dying from vessel blowout and ensuing hemorrhaging five years ago. He’s not dealing with getting older very well. We’ve been married 20 years and it wasn’t until the near death that he got short tempered and often verbally abusive.

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