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I'd like some advice from anyone. I'm seeking answers about emotional abusers and if it's possible they can ever change. I know the typical 'oh they never change' or 'they only change if they want to' responses, but I'm looking for actual experiences and stories from anyone out there. Is it possible to improve a relationship after emotional abuse?

 

I met my boyfriend online. We were good long distance friends for 2-3 years then finally became romantic. He was overseas visiting family at the time so I flew over there to meet him and spent 1 month there. Everything went perfect and we fell madly in love, except the fact that we had one fight and he raised his voice at me and told me I'm acting like a bit*h. No hard abuse there... yet.

 

When I flew back home I was completely heartbroken and I knew that I had grown an immediate attachment to him. We continued a long distance relationship for the next 3.5 months. During this time I was emotionally abusive TOWARDS HIM. I didn't notice this until recently. I would call him names ( * * * * * * * , douche bag, idiot) and yell, curse, and ignore him ("silent treatment") if we had gotten in a fight. I also didn't respect his emotions very well... and sometimes would cut him off without listening. I'd break up with him here and there for dumb reasons, often to 'teach him a lesson'. I'd also threaten to never talk to him again, etc. I had no intentions to truly hurt him. I really love him so much. He never pointed any of this out to me during the time, probably because I was unknowingly being unapproachable.

 

I flew back overseas to live with him again after those 3.5 months of being apart. This is where it really went downhill. We had some really terrible fights the first month I was there. It started out with just yelling at me and give me the silent treatment. He would tell me horrible things and leave me crying alone. Then after the fights he'd try his best to make up for it... at least in the beginning. The last month I was there was the worst. He called me a few names here and there (stupid * * * * * , dumb * * * * ) and would not allow me to touch him or talk to him while he was angry. He would break up with me several times per week and threaten to send me home. If you're wondering why I didn't just go home... well I felt I was not strong enough to actually leave and I'd beg him to let me stay. Sometimes I would just tell him to send me home but he'd never actually go through with it, so I sort of figured out that he was maybe using it as a punishment mechanism. He would also pack my things up and send me to the other room to sleep alone after a fight. At one point we got in a discussion about my looks, and how he wishes I'd wear more makeup and dress more elegantly. He would open up facebook photos of his female friends to give me examples of what he wants me to look like. I would be in tears the whole time, but he didn't seem to care. Sometimes he would get angry if I cried and send me away from him like a dog. He admitted that he checked out other girls, and if I didn't improve my looks asap he would be tempted to possibly cheat on me. He was also hiding things from me, like talking to one of his ex girlfriends and exposing my emotions to her. I had asked them to stop talking previously because it made me feel really uncomfortable (they only spoke on AIM instant messenger), and he agreed to do it for my own security. I know, I made a mistake by asking him to stop talking to her and I quickly learned that PEOPLE ARE GONNA DO WHAT THEY WANT. He was messaging her behind my back. Finally he shut me out and started talking to her in front of me and when I'd try to explain why I feel the way I do he'd say " * * * * my emotions" or "keep them to yourself." Today when I ask him why he said that to me he explained that he thought I was "going on a power trip." He holds this double standard when it comes to talking to females. Of course I'm not allowed to talk to any males or hang out with them. He would also convince me that he's falling out of love with me, or doesn't love me anymore. I believe he did this so I would "improve my behavior" or basically serve him better. I once told him "I still love you" after one of our fights, and he replied with a "go f*ck yourself." He said things like this often and many more incidents happened while I lived with him. I'd wake up every morning with intense anxiety, scared of what he might say or do next, worried about what we would fight about next. I was extremely lonely, far away from friends and family, and entered into depression.

 

I am home now, away from him, but still in a long distance relationship. I feel liberated and I felt like this was my chance to approach him. So I broke up with him and showed him a website about emotional abuse and pointed out he fit all the criteria. He was sure to point out that at one point in the relationship I also fit the criteria... So after I broke up with him he begged me back for hours, explaining why he did what he did while I was living with him and although there is no justification, I know what it's like to have a bad temper and lose control.

 

And though all of it didn't add up, I did feel a sense of guilt and regret from him. Keep in mind that before this I was somewhat emotionally abusive towards him as well, though I did stop it once I was in his household. Maybe he acted the way he did because he resented me? Maybe it's because I was now within his power, trapped, in his home?

 

I've been home for about 3 weeks now and he has really payed great attention to my emotions and really been there for me with any problems I have or had with the relationship. We have pretty much gone over everything that happened while I lived with him and he recognizes and admits that he was wrong. He has basically gone back to the old boyfriend he was. I almost see him as 2 different people; the amazing long distance boyfriend, and the abusive boyfriend I lived with. A lot of times I would see the amazing boyfriend while living together... which was very confusing for me. But then when he was angry... it was back to abuse.

 

The first 8 months of the relationship he was generally a great boyfriend. It was after that the abuse began. I'd like to believe that regardless of the emotional neglect he really is in love with me. At times I really feel it. When things are going good between us it's amazing. We are a great couple and I feel like he's perfect for me. I love him a lot and don't want to end the relationship. I know that if we did end it there would be a lot of heartache and depression between the both of us. And even though it seems things have improved I feel I've been emotionally scarred and still get very depressed thinking about the past and how I once felt.

 

So my questions are...

 

At what time in a relationship does emotional abuse usually set in?

 

It seems he is trying to fix things and change, but how can I be sure he won't go back to his old ways once I am living with him again?

 

From what you have read, does it sound like his emotional abuse towards me was a 'stage' of resentment that he needed to release because of my previous abuse towards him?

 

I'm super confused at why his attitude and respect towards me takes a complete 180 when we are apart from each other. Could it be because he doesn't want me running away?

 

For those who have been emotionally abused before; When you're fighting with your SO and they are being abusive towards you what are your forms of escaping at that time?

 

Thanks to any who took the time out to read this and give me advice.

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yes i have just got out of that except i was the guy part... she told me exactly how she felt.. and it justed clicked in me.. i really love this woman and i dont want to lose her.. so it first started off with a bad weekend she went to new york for the weekend and i wanted to talk to her but i couldnt cause she was mad.. and really felt like at the point of giving up.. so i just took my time.. i text her admitting what i did.. and been honest... i listened to her.. and didnt even make any comments back... and i told her how i didnt want to lose her... just once and im willing to really change and she gave me a chance.. but it didnt jst happen right away couple days pass and we finally talked on the phone.. and i approached everything different then i normally do.. its been about 2 weeks and everything is great we dont argue and we are constently wanting each other but we cant cause we are in LDR right now.. i just looked back at everything i did wrong and how i know personally that i didnt want to treat the woman i love like that.. the only way he will change is if he comes around himself.. it could of been a stage of resentment but if you love someone you shouldnt have resentment..whatever happened to loving your other for who she or he is?honestly his behavior is way over the limits of return when you get strong enough leave him.. he is a bad person...

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Well I'm gonna be typical and say people only change if and when they truly want to..cause I've been that guy. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I'd promise my ex changes..that I would try harder. But where did that really get her or I if she was just gonna forgive me and take me back? If I wasn't "punished" in a sense? I like to compare it to disciplining children. What child learns by his or her parents simply saying "don't do this or that" without taking something away?

 

As far as your behavior being the cause of his actions, that could very well be the case. But manipulative nature still had to present beforehand. How you treated him may have just made it worse.

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Your ex was abusive to you even before you started your abuse of him...perhaps the way you treated him escalated is anger and caused him to be abusive back to you..but it seems like he had it in him anyway. One thing I will say is that abuse feeds on itself..if one partner is abusive, be it verbal, emotional or physical, over time the receiver of this abuse builds bitterness and resentment and they start to lose respect for their partner..and with the loss of respect they start lashing out and becoming abusive right back. Abuse happens because of a lack of respect for the partner, amongst other things...when there is no respect for someone then you don't care about their feelings..and that is when abuse sets in. So the the abused can also end up hurling abuse at his/her tormenter because they are fed up and have lost all respect for the other person. Ending the abuse of someone is an internal decision...nobody can make someone stop the behaviour...the person has to want to stop it.

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They can change; if they love you and really want to, for the better of the relationship. I met my boyfriend 4 years ago online, we've been together for 3 years. For a long time he was emotionally abusive (controlling, manipulative, jealous, angry). and I put up with it because I loved him. I broke up with him more than once, and each time we got back together, he would improve, but not enough for me to be happy. Now, though, he's grown up so much and has never-ending patience with me (his behaviour before has made me sort of insecure and I'm still trying to trust him 100%), he is being an absolute angel. He had to work on himsef and figure out what he really wanted and what was important. And that ended up being me. So yeah, they can change. It doesnt happen overnight though.

Its up to you as well. Dont let him have the power to hurt you. If you arent happy with him, lay down the law and dont allow yourself to be his silent little emotional punching bag. Make sure he knows that you arent afraid to be without him, and would leave him behind in a second if things get bad.

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They can change; if they love you and really want to, for the better of the relationship. I met my boyfriend 4 years ago online, we've been together for 3 years. For a long time he was emotionally abusive (controlling, manipulative, jealous, angry). and I put up with it because I loved him. I broke up with him more than once, and each time we got back together, he would improve, but not enough for me to be happy. Now, though, he's grown up so much and has never-ending patience with me (his behaviour before has made me sort of insecure and I'm still trying to trust him 100%), he is being an absolute angel. He had to work on himsef and figure out what he really wanted and what was important. And that ended up being me. So yeah, they can change. It doesnt happen overnight though.

Its up to you as well. Dont let him have the power to hurt you. If you arent happy with him, lay down the law and dont allow yourself to be his silent little emotional punching bag. Make sure he knows that you arent afraid to be without him, and would leave him behind in a second if things get bad.

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  • 11 months later...

hi ive been reading your stories on emotional abuse and my friend is going through that right now she is currently staying with my fiance and i and her husband somehow has custody of their child right now because he told the cops she threated to hurt their child (she is bipolar) which she didnt but he hides her medication and uses her bipolar againts her! he tries to control every aspect of her life tells her when she wears makeup she looks like a * * * * * that she doesnt need to wear it and that there are times that he doesnt think she deserves any money! its disgusting!!! does anybody know who we can contact for help?? we live in iowa thank you!

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Why would you even want to stay with someone who treated you like that? You don't deserve that kind of abuse.

 

And no, abusers don't change. They may improve long enough to get you back into their control, but then the person that they are inside will eventually resurface and make your life miserable. (People are who they are. They can't be someone who they aren't, just like a zebra can't change it's stripes and turn into a horse.)

 

There are other guys in the world, men who won't treat you like dirt. Get out of this relationship, cut your losses, and go find someone who will act like an adult instead of a spoiled, controlling child.

 

Good luck.

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  • 7 months later...
Well I'm gonna be typical and say people only change if and when they truly want to..cause I've been that guy. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I'd promise my ex changes..that I would try harder. But where did that really get her or I if she was just gonna forgive me and take me back? If I wasn't "punished" in a sense? I like to compare it to disciplining children. What child learns by his or her parents simply saying "don't do this or that" without taking something away?

 

As far as your behavior being the cause of his actions, that could very well be the case. But manipulative nature still had to present beforehand. How you treated him may have just made it worse.

 

i know this is an old thread but i would appreciate if you'd reply. so did you really change? what prompted you to change? what sort of "punishment" worked on you? i am surmising from your statement that you did change but you never did get back with your ex because if she takes you back then there would have been no punishment and you'd feel entitled to abuse her and continue to do so? or am i reading too much into this? You have changed, right? but not with her?

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