"I've been in that place of being appalled at my own "reptilian reaction" and it was excruciating; I'd really thought I was getting somewhere in my recovery.
I'm grateful for my first sponsor, who reiterated enough times for me to hear her, that I was only human, and the reason we have Step 10 is because we are going to continue to be wrong. No way around it. We may have only a few years in 12-Step, we may have 25, but we are going to screw up. Regularly. At times, spectacularly.
When we lose control, we may feel shame, or unworthy, embarrassed, humiliated, depressed. Perhaps we begin to wonder whether our perceived recovery is all a smoke screen we're hiding behind, and we haven't really changed at all - all perfectly normal responses to that rush of rage, and however we acted while in its grip.
You're a good man who loves his mate, and she was being threatened - that bypasses all the civilized veneers, and taps into the primal self.
Examine it, take your own inventory, make an amend however you choose to do so, and after discussion with your sponsor, then move on. You are not one scrap less of a wonderful loving and good-hearted man now, than you were the second before your response. You're the very same man, who has learned something new about himself."
I do have flashbacks of what happened. I am forcing the images out of my head, but they aren't gone. And I am grieving the change in, and perhaps loss of, a relationship that I have had for a long time. But I am not blaming myself. My wife feels better as well, after reading your comments and information about elder rage. Neither of us has experience in dealing with a situation like this. We are learning, have the legal system backing us, have talked with DSS, and know that we are doing the best that we can to protect both of the parents and keep them comfortable.
The best thing is that my mother-in-law was playing cards and listening to jazz yesterday. She was happy and having a good day in her little world. No one was yelling at her. We each deserve peace in our lives no matter how it is achieved.