Thanks for the strong advice. I stand corrected. I passed judgement, failed to listen properly, had an angry outburst. Not healthy in a marriage.

On the positive side I'm not an angry person, so next time it's pretty easy to switch that off. My new anger comes from other books I've read about "protecting boundaries" and standing up for yourself. I need to find more positive ways to protect boundaries.

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Had you addressed the problem at a neutral moment in a respectful way

Yes. So I'm watching things unfold, I don't like it, I feel dis-respected, hurt. How do I react?

For example one time our family of four were ready to leave for a function, my wife says "I need to make myself another coffee" and heads back inside for 15 minutes to have her coffee, leaving us waiting. I, like many mortals, feel strong negative emotions during events like this. How do I keep that from being destructive, while at the same time enforcing a boundary that I feel has been crossed? Because what I actually want to do is go inside, pick up the coffee machine, and throw it in the bin. Bad. Angry. Instead I sit quietly and resent her. Also bad.

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Does your "counselor" actually know people who do not have a problem with an angry, hotheaded spouse? You might want to check with a qualified marriage counselor because they will tell you that anger destroys marriages.


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I imagine that your wife grew up in an angry family and is extraordinarily sensitive to this.


The counselor was great. My wife started with "my ideal childhood" and ended up realising how angry and destructive her mother is. Her mother dislikes women, including her own daughters. My wife spent her life hiding inside a wall of anger, but is visibly moving past this. I'm very proud of her. What's crazy is how well she hid her anger behind a false persona. The book "toxic parents" left her sobbing in tears, chapter after chapter. And yes, I believe she's particularly sensitive to anger, stonewalling as a defense against her mother.

My problems are all about judgement and storing resentment (SO embarrassing to admit out loud, even on a anonymous forum, it's not how I want to see myself). I'm doing my best to move past this as well. Particularly expressing where my boundaries are crossed now instead of storing up future negative hurts. My wife's past anger left me feeling bullied, and I guess I'm sensitive to my boundaries now.

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Does she think that an hour late is ok? Have you discussed this?


I chatted to her today. She thinks an hour late OK, I couldn't get her to tell me a lateness that wasn't OK. But to me it's something that causes me pain and embarrassment once I'm more than 30 minutes late, I feel I'm now being rude to the hosts. It's also not about the number, for some it's 5 minutes, for some it's 5 hours. I really hope to find a way for my wife to recognize my pain without blowing it off as ridiculous.

So how do I set the boundaries? How do I know if my boundaries are reasonable or I'm over-reacting? How do I protect my boundaries in the moment without anger?