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Hi there. There is a problem in my marriage that I'm not sure about and I would really like outside perspectives on. It's not a topic I'm comfortable speaking on because frankly I'm afraid of being judged, but I know it's important and that's why I'm here.

I'm 32 and my wife is 39. We've been married for a little over a year now and we live in her home country. Our first year of marriage has been anything but a honeymoon - we didn't get a proper one for a start due to Covid, but additionally she has a weak immune system so we've had to live very, very carefully and this has put a lot of stress on us on a daily basis. Unfortunately around Easter this year she caught Covid and had it pretty bad for two months. She needed another three months of physical therapy to recover. I tried my best to take care of her while I was working (thankfully I work remotely from home), but I freely admit I'm not the best cook or cleaner in the world.

And of course sometimes we fight - though even when we don't I feel like she often adopts a raised or curt tone with me I would describe as bossy or snappy when she wants something done (which is most of the time), especially when she gets anxious about running late in the morning (which is every morning). One problem is I don't feel like she fights "fair" - from my view, it seems when we fight that she puts words in my mouth or tells me I think or say x even if I explain or have just explained that's not the case, accuses me of playing with words or trying to manipulate her because I don't see things the same way, things like that. She's not a native speaker but I honestly don't think it's a language barrier thing, since she graduated from a university in an English-speaking country (where we met) and I try to explain things as clearly or as rationally as I can, though it never seems to work. There have also been times when I've tried to leave the room because I've become so frustrated and need to cool down, and she follows me into the next room; if I close the door behind me, she tries to open it and force her way in and I have to hold it shut.

In general I often feel railroaded, especially when we talk about feelings because it seems that we always talk about hers and never about mine - the subject is always turned back to her whenever I try to talk about how I feel. This kind of thing isn't uncommon in the relationship, and I've been pretty vocal with her about how it makes me feel irrelevant or powerless in the relationship, though she's never seemed to consider that much of an issue.

Above all, the one thing I've always found hard to deal with from anyone (let alone a partner) is when someone takes out their feelings on me. I've never felt that's fair, and I bore the brunt of my older brother doing that to me a lot when I was a kid. My wife, however, does this on almost a daily basis, and does not acknowledge it as a problem. She will say "well I was angry" or "I was anxious or running late" as a rationalization, and she means it. I don't know what to do with that.

But I'm aware that I have a problem in dealing with this current situation, which is the reason why I'm posting this today. Sometimes when I get so angry or frustrated about not feeling listened to or being blamed for something that's not my fault for what seems like the millionth time while I'm trying my best to help her is I'll hit something in frustration, like a table or a wall, even myself sometimes. I know it's not healthy and I make no excuses or justifications for doing it. I need to be better - period.

My question, and for me it's a really uncomfortable one, is about the notion of violence. My wife knows I do this and has seen me do it in front of her and says she now feels unsafe around me and doesn't trust me, and that I need to earn her trust back. Now, I've never felt that doing something like pounding a table with your fist is much different from slamming a door or closing a cabinet harder than normal when you're mad; I can see it being violence in a sense, but does that make it something like domestic violence? Does it make me a violent person to do this? That's one of my questions.

I've spoken to a therapist about this who told me they've treated many patients and have never seen something like this lead to violence against other people, but my wife is not convinced that that's the case (in fact she got angry when she heard that he said that, stormed out of the kitchen to eat dinner on her own and refused to talk to me for a day or two). I can say on my end that my reactions in this way have never been directed at anyone except myself - I do them not because I feel out of control or because I want to hurt anyone, but because I'm mad at myself for not being able to do anything about the situation (again, a feeling of powerlessness).

We've spoken/argued about this a few times and I always admit that it's not a good thing and I need to improve there. At the same time, I feel like she could be a lot less bossy, snappy and frankly mean just because she's angry or anxious about something else that's nothing to do with me. Now, to be clear, this is NOT to say that that makes me "in the right" (this is always her comeback), it's just to say that my reaction doesn't just fall randomly from the sky, it happens for a reason, and just as I have something to work on, I think she has something different she can also do not necessarily to avoid this problem specifically, but just to make our relationship better in general. Does that make sense? My wife doesn't think so, and continues to completely reject that she has somewhere to improve - she says that it's important for her to "be herself" and basically that it's all on me to earn her trust back so she feels safe.

Again, I know I need to be better in how I handle this and I'm getting help on it. I just want to know other people's perspectives on whether this sort of thing means I'm a wife beater in waiting or someone who is a danger to my spouse, and whether there's any sense in what I'm describing from my end of things. Thank you for your time.
 

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How long were you 2 together as a couple before you got married? You both seem very toxic. An ex of mine started punching walls, doors etc, then that anger was taken out on me. Another ex would break things, hit things and never laid a hand on me. Your wife knows which buttons to press with you, and your therapist is wrong. Sometimes the anger can be turned towards your partner/husband/wife. You are doing the right thing when you walk away to try and calm down, but your wife is like a bull and seems like she is trying to carry on the arguing by following you, and this is toxic. She should leave you to calm down. One of these days I can see one of you getting hurt. Has she ever lashed out in anger? You both need to go to anger management before things progress more violently. This is not a healthy marriage, and you should still be in the honeymoon phase. If this is how you both are 1 year down the line, can you imagine what it will be like in a few years from now? Neither of you seem happy. Both of you have issues and if not worked on to improve, one or both of you will get hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a lot for your reply.

We were together for two years before we got married and had been living together for six months.

She hasn't lashed out in anger at me directly, but she has also reacted similarly to me in the past albeit not as often; for example she has forcefully thrown the door to the room open when she's mad at me about something, she's slammed something down in the kitchen before though I don't remember what that was about to be honest.

For what it's worth, she found out this past summer (during her Covid recovery) that she may have been sexually assaulted when she was a few years old. This has led her to do things like break a plate and hold a shard of it up to her neck as I tried to tell her to put it down (she has a history of attempting suicide but hasn't attempted it for 10 years now - she has dealt with a lot of trauma in her life). She also ran out of the house during an argument a couple of months ago saying she was going to throw herself in front of a car - I had to run around the neighborhood basically playing hide-and-seek with her the entire evening......when I finally got her to come inside she was very difficult to deal with, taking anything I said in the worst way possible and screaming at me, breaking a couple of things around the room.

Point being that she's been going through a lot, and she does use this as justification for these violent reactions, essentially saying that her reasons are valid because she's dealing with a lot more than I am. I'm not sure whether that's a valid thing to say or not? Understand that she has been through a lot of trauma in her life, so it's not uncommon for her to (in my view) dismiss or minimize any of my issues because I haven't had it as hard as her. That also makes me feel ignored a lot of the time.
 

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Your wife sounds like she has anxiety.

She has over the top reactions to situations, and then believes her reaction was justified.

The thing with people with anxiety is that they are really feeling the emotions and acting upon them, its just the emotion is about 100x too strong for the situation.

It can be extremely frustrating for the spouse who takes the brunt of the anxiety.

The anxious spouse also goes to worst-case scenario in their mind on every situation, which is why she thinks you pounding the table means you will abuse her.

What you need to understand is that you can't fix her, and she can only fix herself by admitting the issue, then significant therapy and likely meds. I'll be honest by saying that it is unlikely that this type of personality will admit fault and then go through the steps to try to fix the fault.

Do some reading on generalized anxiety disorder... to me it sounds she has it.

I'd be making plans to exit stage left as this will go on for eternity.

(What is her mom like btw?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for the reply.

What is her mom like btw?
Oh man.

I've actually never met her, but I've heard things. Not just from my wife, but from her family as well - they don't want anything to do with her and haven't been in touch with her for years. Without getting into specifics, let's just say that for many different reasons she was horrible to her kids.

Thanks for your reply, it's given me something to think about.
 

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I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to both of you. Trauma is a horrible thing to live with; my childhood was similar. And anxiety does cause over the top reactions. But unless she can see that she is hurting you and take responsibility for healing herself, you aren’t obligated to let her spoil your life. I say this with all compassion for her; your story is painfully familiar, down to my husband punching walls in frustration in our early years. (He has NEVER been violent with me.)

We have made it through 38 years, but I’ve been willing to do my work and accept responsibility for my behavior. I was never actively suicidal, either. And even in the best possible scenario, it is a hard road I wouldn’t wish on anyone. She needs a LOT of help, and determination. Trauma is not an excuse to create chaos for the people around us, and some victims will never understand that. My father was one of these, incapable of empathy, passing his trauma on to his wife and kids. Please don’t have children with this woman, unless she spends a great deal of time in recovery and seems truly concerned about your rights and feelings.

You can’t fix or save her, but she can take you down with her. If she sincerely wants to be well and is able to love you, supporting her is an option, but not a requirement. If you want to walk this road with her, require her to get help and work with you. Otherwise, be willing to walk and save yourself, and make her understand that is the choice.
 

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Hi there. There is a problem in my marriage that I'm not sure about and I would really like outside perspectives on. It's not a topic I'm comfortable speaking on because frankly I'm afraid of being judged, but I know it's important and that's why I'm here.

I'm 32 and my wife is 39. We've been married for a little over a year now and we live in her home country. Our first year of marriage has been anything but a honeymoon - we didn't get a proper one for a start due to Covid, but additionally she has a weak immune system so we've had to live very, very carefully and this has put a lot of stress on us on a daily basis. Unfortunately around Easter this year she caught Covid and had it pretty bad for two months. She needed another three months of physical therapy to recover. I tried my best to take care of her while I was working (thankfully I work remotely from home), but I freely admit I'm not the best cook or cleaner in the world.

And of course sometimes we fight - though even when we don't I feel like she often adopts a raised or curt tone with me I would describe as bossy or snappy when she wants something done (which is most of the time), especially when she gets anxious about running late in the morning (which is every morning). One problem is I don't feel like she fights "fair" - from my view, it seems when we fight that she puts words in my mouth or tells me I think or say x even if I explain or have just explained that's not the case, accuses me of playing with words or trying to manipulate her because I don't see things the same way, things like that. She's not a native speaker but I honestly don't think it's a language barrier thing, since she graduated from a university in an English-speaking country (where we met) and I try to explain things as clearly or as rationally as I can, though it never seems to work. There have also been times when I've tried to leave the room because I've become so frustrated and need to cool down, and she follows me into the next room; if I close the door behind me, she tries to open it and force her way in and I have to hold it shut.

In general I often feel railroaded, especially when we talk about feelings because it seems that we always talk about hers and never about mine - the subject is always turned back to her whenever I try to talk about how I feel. This kind of thing isn't uncommon in the relationship, and I've been pretty vocal with her about how it makes me feel irrelevant or powerless in the relationship, though she's never seemed to consider that much of an issue.

Above all, the one thing I've always found hard to deal with from anyone (let alone a partner) is when someone takes out their feelings on me. I've never felt that's fair, and I bore the brunt of my older brother doing that to me a lot when I was a kid. My wife, however, does this on almost a daily basis, and does not acknowledge it as a problem. She will say "well I was angry" or "I was anxious or running late" as a rationalization, and she means it. I don't know what to do with that.

But I'm aware that I have a problem in dealing with this current situation, which is the reason why I'm posting this today. Sometimes when I get so angry or frustrated about not feeling listened to or being blamed for something that's not my fault for what seems like the millionth time while I'm trying my best to help her is I'll hit something in frustration, like a table or a wall, even myself sometimes. I know it's not healthy and I make no excuses or justifications for doing it. I need to be better - period.

My question, and for me it's a really uncomfortable one, is about the notion of violence. My wife knows I do this and has seen me do it in front of her and says she now feels unsafe around me and doesn't trust me, and that I need to earn her trust back. Now, I've never felt that doing something like pounding a table with your fist is much different from slamming a door or closing a cabinet harder than normal when you're mad; I can see it being violence in a sense, but does that make it something like domestic violence? Does it make me a violent person to do this? That's one of my questions.

I've spoken to a therapist about this who told me they've treated many patients and have never seen something like this lead to violence against other people, but my wife is not convinced that that's the case (in fact she got angry when she heard that he said that, stormed out of the kitchen to eat dinner on her own and refused to talk to me for a day or two). I can say on my end that my reactions in this way have never been directed at anyone except myself - I do them not because I feel out of control or because I want to hurt anyone, but because I'm mad at myself for not being able to do anything about the situation (again, a feeling of powerlessness).

We've spoken/argued about this a few times and I always admit that it's not a good thing and I need to improve there. At the same time, I feel like she could be a lot less bossy, snappy and frankly mean just because she's angry or anxious about something else that's nothing to do with me. Now, to be clear, this is NOT to say that that makes me "in the right" (this is always her comeback), it's just to say that my reaction doesn't just fall randomly from the sky, it happens for a reason, and just as I have something to work on, I think she has something different she can also do not necessarily to avoid this problem specifically, but just to make our relationship better in general. Does that make sense? My wife doesn't think so, and continues to completely reject that she has somewhere to improve - she says that it's important for her to "be herself" and basically that it's all on me to earn her trust back so she feels safe.

Again, I know I need to be better in how I handle this and I'm getting help on it. I just want to know other people's perspectives on whether this sort of thing means I'm a wife beater in waiting or someone who is a danger to my spouse, and whether there's any sense in what I'm describing from my end of things. Thank you for your time.
I can't believe you had a therapist tell you that I've never known of an instance where hitting something led to violence against people. It's quite common that it does. Ask the police.

You two need to be in marriage counseling to learn to communicate. You need to be in anger therapy to learn how to cope with your rage. It is hard when you have an old family scenario that you never learned to manage that still triggers you. I would never stay in the house with someone who is hitting the wall or whatever. It should terrify your wife and any kids you have. So get in anger management.

Then get into marriage counseling with her and learn to communicate fairly between the two of you. If that doesn't work maybe you're just not a match. If you don't already have kids, definitely postpone that.
 
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On a fundamental level this is a self-esteem and confidence issue on your part.

You're with a crazy woman with issues that is 7 years older than you....... why???

Why do you believe that you can not get a mentally and physically healthy woman in her 20s without all of these issues?

The real questions you should be asking yourself is why you allowed yourself to get into this postion, why you are putting up with it, and why you aren't packing up to move on to someone that doesn't have all these problems and doesn't bring out the worst in you.
 

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Part of the problem with your anger is the notion you have of ‘someone made me do it, they were like this, and I don’t like this this and this, so I bang on a table but I didn’t stab anyone, so it’s not that bad’. It can be a ‘see what you made me do’ situation which doesn’t bode well for you. Does this make sense?

Great that you see that it’s a problem, but I also still see a lot of justification, minimisation too. So you have made a start, but have a long way to go.

Minimisation is done by both perpetrators and victims. A woman on the receiving end will describe an incident but follow up with ‘he’s a great provider and he’s never laid a hand on me! I mean, he just gets so close to my face and screams until I’m backed into the wall’.

The perpetrator will describe the incident like this: ‘I can’t stand anyone blaming me or telling me how I need to be or how to get stuff done. My father was just like this and don’t even get me started on the 4th grade teacher. If only she would stop nagging I wouldn’t have to scream over her! I felt like ripping her head off but I don’t hit women!’.

But what’s lacking here, is that he may have been drunk for days, didn’t pay bills and the wife was sick and bedridden. And the kids needed taking care of. Also what’s lacking, is any indication of the wife’s fear. If we talk about her fear, it’s much like what you have described. ‘She thinks I’m dangerous and is trying to paint me as some violent-wife basher.’

There’s a lot of minimisation. Unfortunately in these situations, there’s also an element of the perpetrator referring to the victim as having issues. Like an abusive childhood, a mental health condition, hormonal issues for example. Some perpetrators will outright just say, ‘she’s crazy!’.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the continued replies, everyone.

You're with a crazy woman with issues that is 7 years older than you....... why???

Why do you believe that you can not get a mentally and physically healthy woman in her 20s without all of these issues?
Not that I'm comfortable with using this term, but it wasn't like she was doing these "crazy" things before we got married.

As for the age thing, I don't know what to tell you except I don't see relationships that way. Past maturity concerns, I've never thought of age as a limiting factor in choosing a partner.

Part of the problem with your anger is the notion you have of ‘someone made me do it, they were like this, and I don’t like this this and this, so I bang on a table but I didn’t stab anyone, so it’s not that bad’. It can be a ‘see what you made me do’ situation which doesn’t bode well for you. Does this make sense?
I tried to put a lot of effort in stressing the point that this is exactly what I'm not saying, though. It isn't her fault that I react this way. I'm not trying to minimize it at all - what I am trying to say is that irrespective of whether or not I continue to do that (obviously I don't want to do and I am trying to change that), there are still things she does that cause me to feel the ways I have described and I don't think it's fair to put them on me on a daily basis.

Every day we go from something minor like the bed not being made correctly to me getting a bit of bleach on my trousers while cleaning to me not putting away the dishes in the right way, and each of those is treated like a crisis worthy of me being scolded like an 8-year-old who set fire to the carpet. It just gets exhausting after awhile.

A metaphor I can think of, which I understand some people not familiar with baseball may not get, is that I'm a pitcher going up to the mound and I have to pitch a no-hitter; if even a single runner gets on base, I've lost and it's all my fault. Every day I have to go out there and pitch a perfect game, and I start the day knowing I need to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Things came to a head again last night. I'm about to leave for a work trip for two weeks and we both intended for this to be a sort of break while we think about things (for the record, she is the one who suggested I go and even came to me with a list of flights before I even thought about going).

I brought up last night shortly before bed that we should think things over while I'm away. I used some of the things I've learned from here, including what "Angie?or..." said about not causing chaos in other people's lives due to your trauma.

Long story short, it didn't go well. She did what she usually does: accuse me of manipulating her or twisting words or having some hidden agenda, telling me what I think even as I finish saying that's not what I'm saying, etc.. She often brought up me hitting things, and I always admitted it was a problem and I pointed out I'm getting help for that - predictably she continued to deny she had any obligation to do anything differently, at least not before I changed first (over something I'm already seeking help on...?). I told her that didn't feel fair to me, because we both have things to improve and we need to meet halfway.

She mentioned couples therapy and I asked her whether she would take action if the counsellor told her she needed to change anything (specifically her management of her anxiety). Her answer was no, so I pointed out this would just be a waste of time and money.

I mentioned how I feel like my feelings aren't considered by her in the relationship, something I've brought up many times before. As usual, she didn't respond to what I said and ignored the point. This went on for awhile, but the key is I told her I think we're done and that I can't keep doing this. I knew that was the case when I tried to leave the discussion (I warned her that if she put words in my mouth again I was leaving the room, and she did it again) and as I went into the other room and tried to close the door she blocked it with her arm, stood in the doorway with her head bowed forward and said "fine close the door, hit me I know you want to" (which I definitely, 100% did not want to do). I told her this was toxic behavior, she said she didn't care. I told her she was being a bully, she didn't care. The whole time she just stood there refusing to move and not letting me close the door because she felt the discussion wasn't finished.

For my part, I absolutely never raised my voice or hit anything or made any threats.

The rest of the night consisted of her (in my view) trying to provoke me into another argument by saying all kinds of things about me that aren't true (like I just want to have sex with other women, I think I'm completely right, I think I'm the victim and more).

There's more I'm probably forgetting but it's the next morning now and I just feel exhausted by all of this. At this point I feel like I want to just leave for my trip and never come back.

And look, I know I'm not perfect. I've made my mistakes too. I'm trying to admit and deal with them, but I don't feel like she's willing to do the same - and what's maybe worse is that I feel like I can't talk to someone who argues in this way and reacts this way.
 

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Sorry so why are you with her? It doesn’t sound great to me.

As for the hitting things, just stop. Don’t do it. If she’s winding you up just leave and come back later. If she’s still winding you up, leave and stay at a hotel; or just leave period.
 

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Things came to a head again last night. I'm about to leave for a work trip for two weeks and we both intended for this to be a sort of break while we think about things (for the record, she is the one who suggested I go and even came to me with a list of flights before I even thought about going).

I brought up last night shortly before bed that we should think things over while I'm away. I used some of the things I've learned from here, including what "Angie?or..." said about not causing chaos in other people's lives due to your trauma.

Long story short, it didn't go well. She did what she usually does: accuse me of manipulating her or twisting words or having some hidden agenda, telling me what I think even as I finish saying that's not what I'm saying, etc.. She often brought up me hitting things, and I always admitted it was a problem and I pointed out I'm getting help for that - predictably she continued to deny she had any obligation to do anything differently, at least not before I changed first (over something I'm already seeking help on...?). I told her that didn't feel fair to me, because we both have things to improve and we need to meet halfway.

She mentioned couples therapy and I asked her whether she would take action if the counsellor told her she needed to change anything (specifically her management of her anxiety). Her answer was no, so I pointed out this would just be a waste of time and money.

I mentioned how I feel like my feelings aren't considered by her in the relationship, something I've brought up many times before. As usual, she didn't respond to what I said and ignored the point. This went on for awhile, but the key is I told her I think we're done and that I can't keep doing this. I knew that was the case when I tried to leave the discussion (I warned her that if she put words in my mouth again I was leaving the room, and she did it again) and as I went into the other room and tried to close the door she blocked it with her arm, stood in the doorway with her head bowed forward and said "fine close the door, hit me I know you want to" (which I definitely, 100% did not want to do). I told her this was toxic behavior, she said she didn't care. I told her she was being a bully, she didn't care. The whole time she just stood there refusing to move and not letting me close the door because she felt the discussion wasn't finished.

For my part, I absolutely never raised my voice or hit anything or made any threats.

The rest of the night consisted of her (in my view) trying to provoke me into another argument by saying all kinds of things about me that aren't true (like I just want to have sex with other women, I think I'm completely right, I think I'm the victim and more).

There's more I'm probably forgetting but it's the next morning now and I just feel exhausted by all of this. At this point I feel like I want to just leave for my trip and never come back.

And look, I know I'm not perfect. I've made my mistakes too. I'm trying to admit and deal with them, but I don't feel like she's willing to do the same - and what's maybe worse is that I feel like I can't talk to someone who argues in this way and reacts this way.
A woman who has your vacation planned down to the last minute, who isn't going with you, seems suspicious to me.
 

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Thanks a lot for your reply.

We were together for two years before we got married and had been living together for six months.

She hasn't lashed out in anger at me directly, but she has also reacted similarly to me in the past albeit not as often; for example she has forcefully thrown the door to the room open when she's mad at me about something, she's slammed something down in the kitchen before though I don't remember what that was about to be honest.

For what it's worth, she found out this past summer (during her Covid recovery) that she may have been sexually assaulted when she was a few years old. This has led her to do things like break a plate and hold a shard of it up to her neck as I tried to tell her to put it down (she has a history of attempting suicide but hasn't attempted it for 10 years now - she has dealt with a lot of trauma in her life). She also ran out of the house during an argument a couple of months ago saying she was going to throw herself in front of a car - I had to run around the neighborhood basically playing hide-and-seek with her the entire evening......when I finally got her to come inside she was very difficult to deal with, taking anything I said in the worst way possible and screaming at me, breaking a couple of things around the room.

Point being that she's been going through a lot, and she does use this as justification for these violent reactions, essentially saying that her reasons are valid because she's dealing with a lot more than I am. I'm not sure whether that's a valid thing to say or not? Understand that she has been through a lot of trauma in her life, so it's not uncommon for her to (in my view) dismiss or minimize any of my issues because I haven't had it as hard as her. That also makes me feel ignored a lot of the time.
She is full of ****. Quit acting like her puppet, cut tge strings. You need to get away from this creature before you have kids.

I told my wife in the past,

The louder you get the less i listen to you.

This conversation is over until you can speak in a civil manner and go outside, get in car and leave if she follows.

She has no justification for her behavior. She reminds me of a spouse that is abusive and blames the other for making them be abusive.
 
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