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Need Advice

I need advice on how to approach a touchy subject with my husband.

He has road rage issues. We will be on the phone and he will stop the conversation to scream at people. A lot of times it's just directed towards them but not directly AT the person, but sometimes he will actually roll down his window to scream at people, or insult them. If people are jaywalking he will come dangerously close to hitting them to "teach them a lesson." I understand that driving itself is a tense and stressful thing, but he makes it way worse than it needs to be. 

He knows how much it bothers me, and we've had multiple conversations about his driving habits. However, especially lately, anytime I bring it up, he just shuts down. I want to be able to talk to him about seriously getting some sort of help (therapy maybe?) but have no idea how to approach the subject other than our previous conversations, which obviously have not worked, and may have even exasperated the situation. Now he just thinks that whenever he gets mad on the road I'm set against him and pissed off at him. I really just don't want anyone to get hurt. I had an uncle who used to have road rage issues and the only thing that solved it was when his dog got killed when he got out of the car at a red light to scream at someone; I would hate for a similar situation to hit rock bottom with my husband. 

 Any advice on how to broach the subject without him shutting down or for him to take me seriously? Any similar issues with fellow knotties? 
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Re: Need Advice

  • In Response to Need Advice:
    [QUOTE]I need advice on how to approach a touchy subject with my husband. He has road rage issues. We will be on the phone and he will stop the conversation to scream at people. A lot of times it's just directed towards them but not directly AT the person, but sometimes he will actually roll down his window to scream at people, or insult them. If people are jaywalking he will come dangerously close to hitting them to "teach them a lesson." I understand that driving itself is a tense and stressful thing, but he makes it way worse than it needs to be.  He knows how much it bothers me, and we've had multiple conversations about his driving habits. However, especially lately, anytime I bring it up, he just shuts down. I want to be able to talk to him about seriously getting some sort of help (therapy maybe?) but have no idea how to approach the subject other than our previous conversations, which obviously have not worked, and may have even exasperated the situation. Now he just thinks that whenever he gets mad on the road I'm set against him and pissed off at him. I really just don't want anyone to get hurt. I had an uncle who used to have road rage issues and the only thing that solved it was when his dog got killed when he got out of the car at a red light to scream at someone; I would hate for a similar situation to hit rock bottom with my husband.   Any advice on how to broach the subject without him shutting down or for him to take me seriously? Any similar issues with fellow knotties? 
    Posted by egeurts[/QUOTE]

    Was he like this before you got married?

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    One of my best friends has this same issue with her husband, so I am curious if you will get any advice I could pass on to her.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • OjitosVerdesOjitosVerdes member
    250 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2013
    Yikes. I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I understand some people have more anger issues in the car than others, but the almost hitting people to "teach them a lesson" indicates that he is not in control of his anger.  He could kill someone. 

    When you say he "shuts down", what do you mean exactly? Does he refuse to talk to you? Get angry with you? 

    I agree with the above poster that you definitely shouldn't bring in up in the car - I'd approach it when you are both calm, and I'd tell him that you're concerned that he gets so angry in the car that it could be a safety issue.  If he won't make an attempt to change his behavior after that talk, or refuses to talk to you about it, I would tell him that I refuse to be in the same car with him until he talks to someone about his anger issues. I also agree with the PP that these patterns of behavior are learned over time and he might need help to break them. 

    Are there other issues that cause him to get this angry, or is it just in the car? 
  • In Response to Re: Need Advice:
    [QUOTE]Yikes. I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I understand some people have more anger issues in the car than others, but the almost hitting people to "teach them a lesson" indicates that he is not in control of his anger.  He could kill someone.  When you say he "shuts down", what do you mean exactly? Does he refuse to talk to you? Get angry with you?  I agree with the above poster that you definitely shouldn't bring in up in the car - I'd approach it when you are both calm, and I'd tell him that you're concerned that he gets so angry in the car that it could be a safety issue.  If he won't make an attempt to change his behavior after that talk, or refuses to talk to you about it, I would tell him that I refuse to be in the same car with him until he talks to someone about his anger issues. I also agree with the PP that these patterns of behavior are learned over time and he might need help to break them.  Are there other issues that cause him to get this angry, or is it just in the car? 
    Posted by OjitosVerdes[/QUOTE]
    He's gotten to the point that he shuts down because we've had enough of these conversations about his road rage that he just refuses to talk about it anymore. He knows that I'm upset, he doesn't want to talk about it because he feels... I don't know how he feels. Maybe like I'm judging him? Maybe I am? I don't know. He just refuses to talk about it with me anymore. Sometimes he gets upset with me in that he verbally snaps at me, but then he just refuses to talk about it anymore.
    I can't refuse to be in the car with him. I have a medical condition that means I don't have a drivers license. For a short period of time I may be able to take the bus, but I rely primarily on him for transportation if I need to get anywhere that buses don't go. Plus there just seems something... wrong... with resorting to blackmail. 
    No, there are no other anger issues. It's just road rage. In every other aspect he's a complete gentleman. We've been together for almost 8 years, and as long as I've known him the driving thing has been an issue, but it seems to have gotten worse when we moved to the city (from a very small town) 3 years ago. For awhile we stopped driving and took the bus everywhere, but he just recently got his car back so that he could get to his new job (not on a bus line) and it seems significantly worse. 
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  • This is tough. I feel like many people I know have road rage to some extent, and honestly, it typically doesn't bother me IF it puts no one in danger. Like if someone cuts you off and you flip them off and call them a bad word, eh. They probably deserve that. I have been known to scream profanities in my car at other cars before even though I know they can't hear me. I like to think they can at least read my lips :)

    But doing it to the point that you guys or someone else is in danger is not good. Like you said he comes dangerously close to hitting pedestrians? Yeah that would freak me out.

    Does he have anger issues outside the car? Like if you two argue, does he explode? If it's an overall anger issue, then some sort of anger management therapy or class could be helpful. If he shut down and won't listen when you say something, maybe could you talk to a good friend that he trusts privately and let him know of the situation? Then invite him to go somewhere with you guys and ride in the car with both of you? If your H gets ragey, maybe after the car is parked safely, the friend could also bring this up and his/her concerns with it. If a second party also has these thoughts, maybe H would realize it IS a problem. I don't know, just thinking out loud.


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  • Hmm.

    My ex husband was like this. One day a girl cut him off and he started driving right up to her bumper to "teach her a lesson" and she stepped on the breaks and I thought we were going to die. I totally let him have it and when I expressed my concern that he would drive like that with our hypothetical children, he said he would NEVER drive like that with kids in the car. I said, but it's okay to drive like that with your WIFE in the car? 

    He apparently found that profound enough to stop at least when I mentioned it in the future. So perhaps you can help him see that he's also threatening YOUR life instead of protecting it.

    I also dated a guy who actually got out of the car at a traffic junction to rush up to a woman's car who sort of cut him off. I really thought he was going to reach in and grab her and was terrified for her and for what he would do to me if I said anything to him when he got back into the car. I waited for him to bring us home safely, calm down, and then talk to him about it.  I dumped him right away, but I mention this about to help you with the timing of when to say something. It may not be in the moment.
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  • OjitosVerdesOjitosVerdes member
    250 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2013
    It's good to know that he isn't like this in other aspects of his life and it seems confined to driving situations. 

    If he has completely shut down and won't discuss it with you at all, but the behavior continues, I think you should probably go talk to a counselor together. As others have mentioned - this is a safety issue for you and others. 

    "Plus there just seems something... wrong... with resorting to blackmail."

    I agree that utilizing blackmail isn't productive, but I don't see this as blackmail any more than a woman telling her husband, "if you ever hit me, we're done" is.  I know he isn't violent with you, but I see it as you establishing boudaries to protect yourself, not threatening him to get your way. Although it sounds like having to take the bus would complicated things. 

    I don't mean to sound judgy and I'm sure I'm coming off this way, but it is dangerous behavior. Personally, for me this would have been a dealbreaker in the dating stage. 

    Edited to say - do you think there are other stressors related to your move that could be manifesting themselves in his driving habits? I know that city living can be really stressful. 
  • If it were just the yelling profanities I would be ok with it too; that's "normal" road rage. But he does other things that trigger other drivers to get mad at him. Like, if someone is going too slow or cuts him off, he will cut them off and then proceed to trap them in and go 15 mph (or something) because "if I was stuck behind them, now they'll know what it's like" Welll... ok, that just pisses people off, causes a backup of traffic, and makes MULTIPLE other drivers pissed off. It's actions like this that freak me out because you can never tell how other people are going to react and who is going to blow up someday. 
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