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Thread: How do you know if you're being emotionally abused in a relationship?

  1. #11
    Platinum Member browneyedgirl36's Avatar
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    Fudgie, I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this. You give some of the best advice on this site. Can you give us a bit more of the story? Maybe people could be more helpful if we knew a bit more about it. I think going to a therapy appointment on your own is a huge start.

    One of the things that alerts me to emotional abuse is the feeling that I *must* be doing something wrong, even if, intellectually, I know I'm not. An emotionally abusive person will often try to make you feel as if you've done something terrible -- or that you're "crazy," or a bad person; it really whittled away at my self-esteem and self-confidence when it happened to me. Also, feeling controlled -- or that the other person is trying to control you -- may be a sign of emotional abuse. It's not just name-calling, putdowns, or threats, though those are very common tricks of an emotionally abusive person.

    Maybe with more of the story we can give you better advice. The one thing to remember, regardless, is that if you're feeling this bad, something is definitely wrong. It's not something to be forgotten or swept under the rug.

  2. #12
    Platinum Member iamkaylee's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Fudgie
    I can't mentally reconcile him asking me to cut off a family member. I feel trapped and horribly stuck. If I felt any worse, I'd feel suicidal. I'm so close to the edge.

    Therapy tomorrow. Just me.
    Fudgie HUGS sweetie.

    The important thing is to remember WHY he's asked you to cut this family member off.

    If he's asking for a valid reason like your own well being, such as this person has treated you horribly in the past or is doing so right now, that's not abuse, it's something to think about. People on the outside can often see what we can't or simply don't want to. This forum is full of that Could be he's still stuck in the past and isn't really seeing things the way they are now.

    On the other hand, if he's asking for no good reason other than he just doesn't "want" you to see this person or because he's jealous, possessive or attempting to isolate you, that is a sign of abuse and you should really question it.

    I remember the thread where you talked about this and while I don't know the backstory, I don't think it's abuse. Not in your situation. I do think that he has some issues he needs to work out regarding your family and your relationship with them. I can understand if he thinks it's bad for you to go see them, but he should also respect your wishes after giving you his input on it. I honestly think your solution will be in talking to him. I know you're trying to repair your relationship with your family. Maybe if your BF will go and see that things really are starting to get better now, he will ease up a bit. It was incredibly unfair of him to put you in the position he did.

    I know that trapped feeling and it sucks. The one thing I can tell you is that you're really not. It feels like things are spiraling out of control, but you can get that back by standing up for what you want and what you feel is the right thing to do for YOU. It's your family and your BF. If he can't handle you having room in your life for both, that's his issue he needs to work out; either find another hobby to keep busy, learn to deal or hit the bricks. But not put you in the position of feeling like you have to choose between them. That's just wrong.

  3. #13
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    Take a look at this link. It should help you. There are many forms of it, and things that you would never have guessed was emotional abuse.

    link removed

  4. #14
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    Typically in a relationship that's emotionally abusive as a whole one walks around on eggshells feeling afraid and questioning everything. You have no confidence and often find yourself either increasingly cut off from people outside the relationship or certainly not being truthful about what's going inside the relationship to them. You also feel you're unworthy and are often told that in so many words through insults, criticisms or putdowns. I don't know if any of those things describe your relationship or not. If they don't then no, it's not emotional abuse but it is still very much a problem regardless. That's a pretty heavy thing to demand you do and there had better be a very good reason for it or else it masks something much deeper going on with your SO.

    If your SO doesn't want you communicating with a family member you have to take a step back for a moment and assess why he doesn't want you in touch with that family. If the family member in question is someone dangerous or who makes you suffer or they are abusive to you in some way then your SO could be doing it out of love for you, not wanting to watch you suffer at the hands of someone. If the family member is a good person and is worried about your SO doing hurtful things to you then he may be wanting the communication to end, so that you don't have an ally and/or witness to any abuse. I have seen both sides of this coin both with myself and others, so without more detail Fudgie I can't really advise you as much as I wish I could. You have helped out so many people and you are an exceptionally smart individual, so on this one Fudgie I would say carefully review all of the reasons why this may be happening. I know it's upsetting, but this isn't a time for emotion. It's a time for logic and deciding what are the decisions that you can and can't live with, not your SO, not anyone else. Hugs and I hope this gets resolved quickly and is something you can live with.

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  6. #15
    Platinum Member Fudgie's Avatar
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    I'm sorry I left you all hanging. I had to sleep, eat, and do chores.

    N doesn't feel that my dad is good for me. It's due to a weird dynamic I had growing up. He blames my dad for me being with older guys in the past. That was my choice though, not my dad's.

    While I do think he cares about me and my well being, I feel that his desire and ultimatum (now he has taken away the time line and just wants me to cut contact) comes from a place of fear. I think he fears that I'll revert back to how I was and leave him for an older man. Actually, I know he feels that way, ever since he got with me. He has seen me go through these relationships.

    N is the only man my age I've had intercourse with.

    However, I'm changing as a person. I'm in a relationship with him so I'm not looking at others, regardless of age. I do not flirt with others or cross boundaries, and he knows that.

    However, his not wanting me to have a relationship with my dad is ripping my heart open. It also affects his reaction toward me just seeing my mom. My parents are still together so if I go home I'll see both of them.

    I've been working on a better relationship with both of them. I talk to each other them at least once every other day and I try to see them once a week. I feel like he can't handle this sometimes.

    I've never pushed him to spend time with them. I just want to see them. He can do what he wants. I'd be fine if he just stayed home.

    This is the only issue we've had as a couple, despite living in a tiny, tiny place and having other hardships. I'm on eggshells with this issue with him.

    It's ripping my heart apart and I feel like crying when I think about it. I try to keep my my mind busy. My meds no longer help me feel okay when it comes to this issue and I feel so depressed and almost suicidal. I haven't felt pain like this in a very long time. I am at a loss.

    If I don't get this resolved, ultimately, the relationship will end.

    I try to tell him how badly this makes me feel but he throws it right back at me in my face and says that this makes him feel bad too. I say that if he truly loved me, he wouldn't do this to me. He says if I truly loved him and myself, I'd cut contact.

    He has no contact with his family. No mom, no dad, no siblings, etc. That's fine if he wants that. But I don't want the same for me.

  7. #16
    Super Moderator Capricorn3's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Fudgie
    N doesn't feel that my dad is good for me. It's due to a weird dynamic I had growing up..
    Can you elaborate more on the "weird dynamic" please? I only ask because it just seems that there must be a lot more to the story for N to have such a strong reaction to you seeing your dad. Either he's way over reacting to something, or there's something more going on. I'm just trying to understand what can make him feel so strongly about you and your dad's relationship to almost demand you don't see him.

  8. #17
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    Originally Posted by Fudgie
    I can't mentally reconcile him asking me to cut off a family member. I feel trapped and horribly stuck. If I felt any worse, I'd feel suicidal. I'm so close to the edge.

    Therapy tomorrow. Just me.
    I think that he is asking you to cut contact as a knee jerk protective reaction. He may feel that your relationship with your dad is not entirely healthy for you right now. He is not asking you to cut off your entire family or your friends. Maybe you have been especially bothered by your relationship with your dad lately and as a man, he wants to give you a solution to make it better.

    I know awhile ago you were having a problem knowing your dad was looking at porn on the computer and your reaction was closer to a jealous wife than "eeeww...um...yeah...that's gross dad." Maybe I am not remembering correctly. And I know that you said you had an unhealthy dynamic where dad was trashtalking mom to you. Your boyfriend may feel like you have some sort of strange alliance.

    Your boyfriend could be asking you to choose right now to sort of feel you out and see if he can ever come first or it will always be dad. Even though your bf is first - you live with him, etc, - in many ways, he may feel when the cards are down, you will run to dad. And if someday you marry,you have to forsake others.
    Maybe as the relationship has gone on for awhile, he is nervous that you won't do so, and dad will be first.

    He also may be protective = how could dad have treated you like he did in the past?

    I knew someone who seemed more married to a parent or more so more concerned with the feelings of their parent than their partner - can't do this or that because mom or dad would be sad, etc.

    Honestly, if right now your relationship with your dad is a little straining, I think you should consider limiting contact for a short time. No calling him in the car so your boyfriend doesn't know you are doing. See your parents - the both of them as a couple - meeting them for dinner, etc, in a controlled environment like that, etc. for a little while.

    I know people might say if he doesn't like your dad, the heck with him - but you said it isn't an average dynamic. So you may have this rear its head with future boyfriends if let's say you end things (hopefully you guys will survive this,but just saying).

  9. #18
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    Do you know why he doesn't have contact with his family? Are they drug addicts? Dangerous people? And does he have contact with his extended family - grandparents, etc? or just no one. I think you are at the point where you need to explore this and also need to let him know cutting contact is not always the answer, but in some cases temporary distance is in order for healing, you know? Maybe you can heal this wound once and for all and not have things carry over where people just have to accept the weird dynamic - without it ever moving forward a bit. I know you are getting along with your folks - but he must have observed something about the relationship. It can't be because you just told him about something from the past.

    btw, i was in an abusive marriage. If he is not asking you to cut contact with anyone else, is fine with all the people that are healthy and supportive , and is good to you otherwise, I think this is a very sore sticking point versus abuse at this point. It is just a very hot, hot button. Steaming hot.

  10. #19
    Platinum Member Fudgie's Avatar
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    My father always treated me differently than most father's would do with their daughters. He confided a lot in me (still does) but things he should have gone to my mom with, he came to me with. Weird misplaced emotions I suppose.

    I spent 20 years being angry at my mom and feeling rejected and in the background because of my sibs. My dad, I really bonded with him because he felt tossed aside too. It was clear to us, at a time, that we felt like a separate family just the two of us. Our relationship was littered with inside jokes. We still have inside jokes. My dad was the first person in my life who always seemed to know how I was feeling, what I was thinking, and could finish my sentences. I've since understood that you're supposed to have that with just partners. I have that with my boyfriend now.

    N blames my dad for me being with older men.



    I just want to move on and grow as a person. I am changing that relationship. My dad has cut back on work and taken up a hobby at home and his marriage has gotten better.

    I no longer hate my mom. I realize she had made many mistakes and does have a tendency to manipulate but I still want to have a good relationship with her. It's good now. I call her and talk to her. we get coffee. She no longer criticizes my weight and is supportive.

    I know if I cut either of them off, I will be sad and regretful. N thinks it would be best. His therapist supports him. I wish I could kindly tell that therapist to go sodomize himself if he's going to give that bad of advice. I don't think it's right for me. I don't see it as being helpful or good for our relationship.

    If N keeps to this, we will break up in a year or less. I will lose my best friend, I will lose my lover (the only person who has truly f____d me in a most pleasurable way I had not known before), I'll lose my confidante, I'll lose my favorite activity partner, I can kiss goodbye our 7 year history, I'll lose the cat, and I'll lose the ability to be completely independent before grad school.

    I agonized over being with N. It was a hard choice. I was so scared. In the end, I made a leap and just went for it. That's usually not in my nature. If my relationship with N fails, I don't want a relationship again, at least, not until my 30s or beyond.

    I know that's what everyone says but I can make it work. I'm just going to have my antidepressants upped so I won't want sex anymore and I'll move back home and start squirreling away $$.

    I want to be with N, that's ideal, but if it doesn't work out then that's what I'm going to do.

  11. #20
    Platinum Member Fudgie's Avatar
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    Yeah his family is a bunch of uneducated, drug abusing losers. His mom is a convicted felon.

    He has limited contact with grandparents. Grandma's a drink and Grandpa is too stupid to know better. He sees them maybe once a month. They got angry at him moving out and becoming independent so the relationship was ruined from that.

    I already only see my dad with my mom. We still talk one on one on occasion. He calls and texts me. I will not call him in front of N, out of respect.

    I still really care about my dad.

    N doesn't ask me to cut anyone else out.

    N does feel I'd drip him for my dad if I had to.

    I've already told N that at this point, I don't want to marry in the future. I'm okay with just cohabiting. He seemed a little sad but I think it's for the best. I told him marriage is skewed against men anyway and that it's best that we just stay the way we are and he seemed to agree. Given everything, it seems like my best choice.

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