Anger Rocks A Marriage

Jim Glenn Gives His Wife An Ultimatum

For 43-year-old Jim Glenn, there is much to be proud of. He makes good money as an investment broker in San Antonio, Texas.

He has a new house in the suburbs, two kids (Chrissy, 9, and Daniel, 4), and a dynamic wife, Tracy, 39.

The couple tied the knot 13 years ago on Valentine's Day. "She was very outgoing, very vivacious, full of life, never slowed down," he said in recalling what struck him about his wife. "And that was really the opposite of me."

But, in recent times, their marriage has been in trouble. "Right now, I don't know if we're going to make it," Jim Glenn said.

Tracy Glenn's anger is at the root of the problem, as 48 Hours Correspondent Susan Spencer reports.

"For the first several years of our marriage, it wasn't real bad," recalled Jim Glenn. "But it got worse."

The Glenns agreed that things deteriorated after Tracy Glenn quit her job as a stock broker two years ago to stay home with the kids. Work had provided Tracy Glenn a lot of her identity, according to her husband.

"I would feel so angry inside, and then I would just be horrendous to him," Tracy Glenn said, adding she would stop talking to her husband or pick on him.

Different Approach?
Do men and women handle their anger differently? Share your view on 48 Hours bulletin boards.

"He might be sitting on the couch, and I'll berate him and say, 'You always lay on the couch....You know, if you'd just get up and do something,'" she explained.

When asked if he did things to provoke this anger, Jim Glenn said no.

But the couple hit rock bottom after Jim Glenn secretly taped one of his wife's outbursts. Then he played the audio tape for several friends.

"I couldn't even describe to you what that was like," Tracy Glenn recalled. "He wanted to be believed. He wanted my anger to be exposed."

Tracy Glenn destroyed the tape but anger and resentment grew - on both sides. Counseling didn't help.

"We had a horrible argument one night, and my daughter Chrissy heard it in her bedroom," Jim Glenn said. "I said, 'That's it,' to myself. 'This is never going to happen again in front of my children.' And then, two days later, I moved out."

e began divorce proceedings and wrote his wife a blistering letter. In essence, he threatened: Shape up or I'll ship out - for good.

"I was given an ultimatum," said Tracy Glenn.

"If the problems didn't get addressed, I couldn't stay," Jim Glenn explained.

Tracy Glenn ended up at the Arizona-based Cottonwood de Tuscon, a center initially started to deal with drug and alcohol problems. "It was pretty hard to tell my daughter that I had to go away to learn how to be a better mommy and to stop my anger," Tracy Glenn recalled.

In operation for 16 years, Cottonwood added anger management to its treatment options about a year ago. Enrolling in that program is expensive; the cost for 28 days, $18,000, is not always covered by insurance.

The clinic's intensive four-week program includes a complete medical evaluation and lots of therapy, such as an anger management group led by Brian Walker.

"Rage is much like alcoholism," Walker explained. "There's a payoff to it. People get...their way. There's also a payoff in terms of their discharge of physical and emotional energy."

This may explain why it's tough to stop getting angry.

At the clinic, patients can act out such habits in psychodrama or examine them while participating in child-like games.

Eventually, Tracy Glenn had to prepare for a critical face-to-face encounter: a meeting with her husband at Cottonwood to share what she planned to do for her recovery.

Click here to see what happened at that critical meeting, where their anger would be laid bare - with the couple's future on the line.

Rage: Main Page