Over the last 5 years I have committed heinous acts of verbal abuse to my wife. My wife has finally put her foot down and has suggested leaving me. At first I knew I had a problem, and was embarrassed to share with the world. I gave her false promises of changing and never did. Now I'm at a lost and in fear I may lose the best thing that has happened to me.
I'm currently seeking help now, and told her I know I have an issue, and I want to change. Of course she doesn't believe me and doesn't know what to do nor understand why I acted the way I did in the past.
I know what I want, and I know I have to change my lifestyle. I'd like to hear from recovering abusers and those who were abused and stayed with their partner to work through his/her issue.
First thing is always recognizing the problem for what it's worth. It has nothing to do with her (other than being your victim of choice) and everything to do with you.
Second, recognize that your anger issues fall back onto you. When you say hurtful words to your spouse, what you are really doing is projecting your disappointment in your own failings. You are not perfect. You are not infallible. You have to look within yourself and understand why you hate yourself so much that you must lash out on your loved ones instead of dealing with your own demons.
Third, dealing with this sort of abuse in a marriage is demeaning to your spouse. She may or may not forgive you. She may or may not want to continue with this marriage even if/when you do seek help. You must respect her decision. You created the problem and there are consequences to be dealt with.
It's sort of like being married to a recovering alcoholic. Only time will time tell whether you are "cured" are not. She already has dealt with a history of being married to you and she may or may not trust that you will "see the light" and mend your ways. She has learned to "walk on eggshells" with you. It will take time for her to "unlearn" her response to your temper. She may or may not be willing to do so.
My ex was verbally abusive to me. I walked on eggshells. He did eventually get anger-management counseling, but I continued to tread carefully. I did not feel comfortable enough to let my guard down, and as a result, we as a couple never fully recovered. He still had anger issues. I still tread carefully around him. And, when he thought cheating was the right answer, I divorced him. There is no quick-fix. The damage may already be done.
So, yes, get help for yourself. Understand the "why" of your behavior and hope that she forgives you. It will take time and patience, but you do have to recognize that this is your burden to correct and not hers. Do it for yourself.