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Coming to terms with being emotionally abusive?


ladydayblues

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I went through a relationship where, when I think about it in hindsight, I was emotionally abusive of the person I was with. I was very insecure, and didn't know how to communicate my emotions properly and was always expecting him to read my mind and got angry at him when he didn't know what I wanted. Part of what it was was that this person didn't want a proper committed relationship and I resented him, so withdrew from him at times because I hurt so badly and hoped that maybe he'd "figure it out" that way (passive-aggressive). At the time, I only acted on how miserably I felt during the relationship and didn't understand how my behavior might have affected him negatively and would create a downward spiral. I suppose at the time I did not take full responsibility for my behavior, however now I take it on fully. If I had known that these were consistent with abusive tendencies, I would have run out and gotten therapy as soon as possible. I am in therapy now and trying to address my issues.

 

I do feel deep regret when I realize that I might have hurt him in these ways - he was the last person I'd truly want to hurt. Why is it that we sometimes treat the people we love most the worst? There is no excuse for being abusive, but in truth a lot of these things just came out of strong emotions at the time, and not really understanding how to communicate respectfully. My family never really talked things out - only had big blowups and then things kind of died down, and we typically forgave and forgot without apologies. I am realizing that the rest of the world doesn't necessarily operate this way and have found out the hard way.

 

Have any of you had any of the same relationship behavior and if so, how do you come to terms with your bad behavior? I know that all you can do is take the information you learned and change for the better in the future. But for me... the hardest part is forgiving myself... how do you do it?

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I am realizing that the rest of the world doesn't necessarily operate this way and have found out the hard way.

 

And you are aware of what caused the problem in the past while taking necessary steps to improve yourself which you should be proud of.

 

We all regret the negative actions and feelings from the past but without any resolution that guilt and regret will always remain. You're realizing the problems you had within yourself, accepting the cause and making changes. That in itself will free you and forgiving yourself.

 

I feel you're going down the right path.

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I am very glad you wrote this. Yes, I have been there. I think the reason is right here:

 

Part of what it was was that this person didn't want a proper committed relationship and I resented him, so withdrew from him at times because I hurt so badly and hoped that maybe he'd "figure it out" that way (passive-aggressive).

 

When the other person doesn't want what you want, there are problems. If you settle and compromise on this very important issue you will feel self-anger and take it out on the other person. If you fool yourself into thinking you can change them, and they don't, then you resort to unhealthy tactics.

 

At the time, I only acted on how miserably I felt during the relationship and didn't understand how my behavior might have affected him negatively and would create a downward spiral. I suppose at the time I did not take full responsibility for my behavior, however now I take it on fully. If I had known that these were consistent with abusive tendencies, I would have run out and gotten therapy as soon as possible. I am in therapy now and trying to address my issues.

 

I do feel deep regret when I realize that I might have hurt him in these ways - he was the last person I'd truly want to hurt. Why is it that we sometimes treat the people we love most the worst?

 

You must have been frustrated if you loved him and he didn't love you to the same extent. Good for you for getting therapy and looking at your issues. Don't be too hard on yourself. You'll be better in the future.

 

There is no excuse for being abusive, but in truth a lot of these things just came out of strong emotions at the time, and not really understanding how to communicate respectfully. My family never really talked things out - only had big blowups and then things kind of died down, and we typically forgave and forgot without apologies. I am realizing that the rest of the world doesn't necessarily operate this way and have found out the hard way.

 

My family is the exact same way! And my parents don't communicate well at all. They just read each other's minds as to what they want. And getting angry and forgive because "that's what you do with family." Terrible training for trying to have a relationship with anybody!

 

Have any of you had any of the same relationship behavior and if so, how do you come to terms with your bad behavior? I know that all you can do is take the information you learned and change for the better in the future. But for me... the hardest part is forgiving myself... how do you do it?

 

Yes and yes. Therapy helps. It's ok. The important first step is already there. The past is over, but you can make the future you want. Once you start communicating in more positive, healthy ways, then you'll forgive yourself.

 

Don't know what happened in your breakup or what your status is now with your ex, but for me personally when I communicate with my Ex (whom I realized I have hurt a lot through very similar patterns as yours), I keep it short and positive. Forgiving him is a way of forgiving myself.

 

It's nice to know I'm not the only one. Keep us posted.

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Hi, sorry I haven't had access to the internet so couldn't respond for a few days. I should have posted this in the "healing after breakup" section but glad I found responses in this section!

 

It is helpful to hear that someone else has been there and that it sounds like maybe there's hope for me. I truly want to be a better communicator and more assertive person instead of passive aggressive like I've explained. I suppose this is just how you learn. thanks sidehop and squirl for the words of encouragement.

 

squirl I'm glad you have similar feelings and realize the same thing about how our families have made it hard for us to communicate in relationships. I imagine a lot of families are the same way and that's why I suppose we need a few extra relationship experiences before getting it "right."

 

My ex broke up with me saying that he didn't think we were compatible. He did not love me even though I was madly in love with him and had been waiting around for him to call me his official girlfriend. He did not site any abuse in his breakup explanation, but did say that I didn't have my life/self figured out enough. He said he had been waiting for me to change and I never did. I wish I had questioned him more about what he had wanted me to change, but at that point, when I finally realized he simply didn't love me I didn't want to keep pushing the issue. I do imagine some of it had to do with my poor treatment of him though I could have explained that it was due to my frustration with the lack of committment.

 

I haven't had contact with him in about 6 months because I still have feelings for him and haven't forgiven him or myself fully yet. My hope is to be friends with him again someday, but only when I can stop thinking of him romantically. We were good friends for almost 20 years (since we were 4 years old!) before "dating" -- perhaps that's why I treated him the same (poor) way as my family since he was like a brother. It was another reason I wanted the relationship to work out so badly despite it's obvious flaws -- I didn't want to lose a 20-year friendship. But I did anyway!

 

As far as this particular relationship goes, therapy has helped me see the relationship as something that was very unhealthy on many different levels and it helps me realize that I will be far better in the future with someone who is properly committed to me. My therapist says that maybe I should never be friends with him, as he treated me poorly too. I'm not sure about this, but I guess time will tell if we can be friends. I still blame myself mostly, but will try not to beat myself up.

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