On Your Mind: Is this a red flag for abuse?

on your mindNOTE: The question below reached us through our “online hotline” button which lets anyone send a question to a local counselor at Ozark Guidance — in a completely anonymous way. The email comes in with no email address and no identifying information. We set it up this way so women would feel free to write about anything on their mind.

Today my husband pushed me in anger. I was not bruised but it shocked me. I have an 8-year-old son (with him). I am glad at least my husband followed me into another room so he did not witness this because I would never want my son to do this to a girl.

We have been married 10 years. He sometimes gets angry and gives me the silent treatment, but has never touched me in anger before. I want our family to stay together and do not want to overreact, however, my training tells me this is a warning sign of potential abuse….

Thank you for your note. You’ve exercised good judgment in this situation in several ways; one is that you recognized that this was not OK. Your spouse should not physically react to you in anger.

Also, you recognized that you don’t want your son to witness violence in your home. Another way you exercised good judgment is that you paused long enough to say, “How should I react to this situation?” Ask yourself the following questions:

  • “How did my spouse react after the incident? Did he recognize that this was not OK?”
  • “Have I seen my spouse react appropriately when he is experiencing anger?” (Appropriate reactions could include discussing his anger in a calm manner, taking time alone to process his anger, or anything that does not make you feel like your safety is being violated.)

Other questions you might ask yourself include:

  • “Was I able to discuss the incident with my spouse in a safe way?”
  • “Do I feel comfortable around my spouse following this incident?”

If you’re unsure about any of these questions, talk to a mental health provider about your feelings and concerns. You have an appropriate level of concern in this situation. I would recommend spending some time thinking through these questions and determining if your home is a safe place for you and your children.

You may decide that this was a unique situation that your spouse regrets, or you may come to the conclusion that you and your son should seek other living arrangements. Either way, this is an important topic for you to give a considerable amount of time, effort, and thought over. Ozark Guidance Center is here to help, so contact us anytime at 479-750-2020.

Therapists at Ozark Guidance would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback.

Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.