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Thread: She stopped being abusive. What now?

  1. #1

    She stopped being abusive. What now?

    So for several years of our relationship, current girlfriend was quite abusive. Name calling and belittling, some physical abuse (hard shoving, nothing beyond that), threats to expose personal/private information and tarnish my reputation (never did it though) or to fabricate allegations of child abuse (I work with kids so this would definitely affect my career), on phone talking poorly about me right in front of me to men that were interested in her, etc. Sometimes it happened when she felt neglected or that I was not paying attention to her. A few times it happened when I had had enough and broke up with her. I'll admit, several times I went back with her because I was terrified of what she might do. It was a very stereotypical 'walk-on-eggshells' environment. There were many nights that I would cry myself to sleep or wake up with my eyes burning from crying the whole night before. It was rough, and I probably should have broken up with her a long time ago. But I did not. Please don't judge me for that, I can't go back and change things now.

    Fast forward. She started getting help, seeing a counselor, taking medication to control mood swings, etc. She's a lot better than she was. She still has a temper, but she hasn't done anything I would consider to be overly 'abusive' in a year or so. She is much better at communicating and we talk through problems a lot more than we used to.

    Now I'm struggling to let things go. I see her making changes, I really do. And I want to put the past in the past. But it's hard for me and I find myself assuming things about her when I shouldn't. For example, if we have an argument and she suddenly starts texting on her phone, I assume she's texting a guy to come get her or to tell him what a so-and-so I am, and I might blurt that out only for her to show me that she was just writing a work email or something else innocent. I know it's not fair of me, but I just flash back to all those years when that is exactly what she would do. It happens all the time. I think and brood over things she did, things she has apologized for many times. Even now, at work when I should be doing work stuff, it just pops up in my head and I feel like I did when it was happening. It's not fair to her to be punished for sins she is trying to atone for, but it wasn't fair what she did to me either.

    Has anyone else been in this situation? I read a lot about recovering from an abuser after you leave them. But how do you recover when the abuser stops abusing and you didn't leave them? I do love her, but it feels like there is this cloud hanging over my feelings towards her and I really hate it.

  2. #2
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    It would be good to seek counselling for yourself. Personally, myself I would be gone and putting her in the past and getting myself some help .

  3. #3
    I agree, but would it be wrong of me to do that now a year later when she is already making changes? I can see doing it back then, that makes sense and I should have but I didn't and she stepped up and is making changes. I am seeking counseling, there is a very long wait and I wont see anyone for a month or so.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    How long are you dating? Do you live together? What inspired her to get help and get on medications? What are the arguments about? Have you considered that you've never been compatible and now your actions are becoming controlling?

    Unfortunately this still sounds very toxic. As to you can see she got help and you didn't so now the dynamic has changed and you can't cope. It also reveals that her abuse was not the only problem here.
    Originally Posted by booradley321
    She started getting help, seeing a counselor, taking medication to control mood swings, etc. She's a lot better than she was. I might blurt that out only for her to show me that she was just writing a work email or something else innocent. I do love her, but it feels like there is this cloud hanging over my feelings towards her and I really hate it.

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  6. #5
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by booradley321
    I agree, but would it be wrong of me to do that now a year later when she is already making changes? I can see doing it back then, that makes sense and I should have but I didn't and she stepped up and is making changes. I am seeking counseling, there is a very long wait and I wont see anyone for a month or so.
    You are not bound to stay with someone because they make chances. That is what someone who was abused would think though. But you are required to make a good life FOR YOU. If she wants to make changes for her self to become a better partner that is her job . But she can make her self a better partner for the next person not necessarily for you. You are not responsible for her issues or helping her fix herself. She is.

  7. #6
    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    How long are you dating?
    6 years now.
    Do you live together?
    Yes.
    What inspired her to get help and get on medications?
    A mix of things. Panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, mood swings, and me basically saying I couldn't handle it anymore.

    What are the arguments about?
    Now or back then? Back then it was endless accusations of infidelity on my part, which never happened. She was burned in a previous relationship.

    Have you considered that you've never been compatible and now your actions are becoming controlling?
    I have considered that we were never compatible, but am I being controlling? I didn't think I was. I don't accuse her of things anymore, it was only when she first 'turned a corner' and I wasn't expecting it. But I still think things and it affects my demeanor, as much as I try to not let it.

    Unfortunately this still sounds very toxic. As to you can see she got help and you didn't so now the dynamic has changed and you can't cope. It also reveals that her abuse was not the only problem here.
    Maybe I should have gotten help sooner. I'm working on that. But that won't help me now.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by booradley321
    She still has a temper, but she hasn't done anything I would consider to be overly 'abusive' in a year or so. She is much better at communicating and we talk through problems a lot more than we used to.
    I commend her for getting help and working on getting better, but I had to highlight your own wording here.
    Granted. . a little abusive is better than alot. But both are ultimate deal breakers.
    Being a little bit abusive is much like being a little bit pregnant. You either are or you are not.

    Add in, you do not trust her and for good reason. There is no magic spell to make this go away in a short amount of time.


    It's a long grueling road and if you really want to be successful and see this relationship work, in addition to her personal therapy you two should be in couples therapy was well. Some individual counseling for you would be in order as well. Her growing in different ways and you staying behind feeling wronged and confused by your reactions likely isn't going to end well.

    You've been a participant in this dance and stayed this long for a reason. So you are part of this dynamic in some way.

  9. #8
    These are great answers, and I appreciate everyone taking the time to write them.

  10. #9
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    Wait a minute! You're still having arguments? Then the emotional abuse hasn't stopped. Maybe the meds and the counselor have lessened the abuse, but it hasn't stopped. By now, you're emotionally dependent on her. You've got to get out and get back your self-esteem and your self respect. It's time to move on. Now that she has help, you don't need to take care of her anymore. You've got to move on for your own mental health. You probably won't (because you're trying to justify staying), but you really should.

  11. #10
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    Sorry...nope. Her Medsís wonít be as effective some day. Or she may stop taking them for whatever circumstance. Itíll be worse than ever.

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