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Was this the wrong move?


shortchica

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If you read my previous threads, you'll see my past with my boyfriend, but to save the hassle... he is over ten years older than me, we've been living together for about ten months. When things are good, they're really good; when things are bad, they're really bad. Right now, things aren't 'really bad,' but I'm at my breaking point and something needs to change. After suppressing it, I've come to accept the fact that my boyfriend is emotionally abusive. He just says things to me that aren't very nice and blames me for "having" to say them. He also says things like "if I want your opinion, I'll ask for it." He is always pointing out things I do wrong (stupid things, like I used all the hot water taking a shower and now he doesn't have any to wash a bowl) and he devalues me by saying things in disagreements like "are we done here" or "get to the point." He very rarely calls me names, but will occasionally tell me I'm being a or, the phrase that sparked last night's argument, "that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard." He seems to just expect me to do everything around the house even though I'm working full time and he works from home and gets upset when I ask him to do something.

 

I have expressed this to him before, usually either by yelling or in between sobs. He always starts out defending himself, then when I point out he is blaming me for the things he says to me, he comes to and admits his wrongdoing. He has told me that his parents spoke to him that way so he has been conditioned into believing it is acceptable. He agrees that he always tells me the negative and that he is largely to blame for what a low self-esteem I have. When he has broken me down into a sobbing mess, that is when he can see what he has done to me. Otherwise, he is nothing but defensive and fails to see that the things he does are hurtful. So... he grew up thinking this way of speaking was okay, and I have a past of being abused in relationships. My first 'boyfriend' would call me a stupid all the time, and my first intimate counter ended in rape (I asked him to stop because it hurt and he said he would get 'blueballs' - pardon the vulgarity). My high school sweetheart's mom would talk smack about me while I was still in the room and my college boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who lived with them took out her jealousy and insecurities on me by constantly attacking me. So... every relationship I've ever had has resulted in me being abused in some way. Our pasts meshing together mean that he can talk down to me and I will roll over and accept it.

 

Last night, I had enough of that. He said something I said was "the stupidest thing I've ever heard" and this time, it just made me angry. I didn't cry, I didn't yell. I told him that is NOT something you should say, let alone to your girlfriend, and he told me it was because I said something stupid. So, I spent the remaining hours of the night writing him an email. I was too upset to talk to him face-to-face, and even if I did, he would never listen. I told him his behavior is emotional abuse, gave him a few websites to look at that describe emotionally abusive relationships and where they stem, and told him that changes needed to be made or I would be moving out by the end of March. I told him that if we can't be respectful to each other, even in an argument, we would not survive as a couple. I told him that we needed to get counseling (which I have suggested before and he will flat out refuse) or else it was over. I know we can't conquer this alone because our instincts naturally enable each other into this treatment. In the end, I gave him an ultimatum - we change our behavior and attend counseling or it's over.

 

 

 

Was this the right thing to do? When I told him I sent him an email, he asked if I had really thought it through and that I should sleep on it before sending it. Should I have slept on it and sent it in the morning? I just felt like it was going to be part of the stupid cycle we're on... I wait until morning, I feel better in the morning, we go on our merry way, and a few weeks later things are awful again. I wanted to force myself this time. When I got up to get ready for work this morning, he went into his office and shut the door (as he had done for the remainder of the night after he read the email)... I assume this was an attempt to manipulate me and make me apologize and say I didn't mean anything in the email. But as the morning went on, I started feeling bad, like maybe he isn't abusive. Maybe I just really hurt his feelings by accusing him of such a thing, and maybe I ruined everything... I just want someone to talk to. Everyone I know thinks our relationship is perfect, so I have no one to talk to. I don't know if what I'm doing is the right course of action or if I'm being over dramatic... please help

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honestly you made the right choice my ex was like that and had been raised very similar even his sibling relationships resulted in "constructive criticism" Its a mentally abusive thing when youre feeling so inadequate and will only drive you towards further anger and conflicting "love", you as well as I have been through circumstances which call for "finding the good" and seeing beyond stupidity, but there is also rage and that will escalate on both behalves and one will eventually leave not being able to take any more. Granted you don't seem to do extremely dumb things like bringing home a stray puppy you found at foodmax... Anyways get counseling it will help him to see that his upbringing does not define his individual action there really is nothing further you can do to help him realize his faults.

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Congratulations on forming a personal boundary that you don't want him to cross. Now all you have to do is not feel guilty about doing it. Do Not let him manipulate you into reneging on your ultimatum. You have given him plenty of chances to change the way he relates to you so its obvious that he'll never be able to change that up without at the very least taking a good course on the art of effective communication and some couples council so that you both learn about boundary setting and how that will improve your own self-worth, op.

 

Start scouting for a new place to live so you'll be prepared if he refuses to get the help you both need to make this a happy and healthy union.

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Wow... Question is why do you keep letting him treat you this way? You should work on yourself by first dumping him and going NC.

 

You can't force someone to get counseling if they don't want to or if they see nothing wrong with their behavior/action.

She hasn't said she's trying to force him to go, she's given him a choice... Now, it's up to him and how much he does or doesn't value her whether he goes or not.
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Yet you stay.

 

Staying tells them that what they do really doesn't bother you enough to uproot your life and put tangible distance between the direct, constant source of your pain and your person.

 

I'm curious: how long did you stay in your previous relationships and take the abuse off of them?

 

Good make up sex doesn't mend a broken spirit.

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I know my staying thus far has only served to enable him, which is why I'm wondering if putting my foot down and attempting to remedy the situation is worthwhile.

 

Kendahke - Previous relationships have lasted from six months (first two abusive relationships I mentioned) and three years (high school and college relationships). I used to pride myself of being capable of being in a long-term relationship, but I've come to realize the reason behind this is actually because I am too afraid to stand up for myself and leave. It hasn't been two years yet and I'm putting my foot down here, so I consider this an improvement. Given my new found spine, if he is unreceptive to changing, I am gone. End of story. I have given him the day to mull it over and will find out his decision this evening.

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Well you have stood up for yourself this time, and instead of taking what you say seriously he has decided to "punish you" with the typical good old abusive silent treatment. Staying silent until you cave in and apologise is exactly his plan, and I've had a feeling he's had to do this with you before.

In my opinion, waiting until the end of March is way too late in the day if he immediately shuns your feelings like this. Is there anyone you can stay with for a couple of weeks while he sorts himself out, or at least comes to terms with the fact that you are serious? I'd say give it a week without caving in, and you will see yourself that this is a lost cause. Abuse is abuse - don't put yourself through this again.

You are brilliant at long term relationships, clearly - it is the men you choose to be with that seem to take this for granted, however. I think you need to get out of there and work on yourself for a while. Learn from your relationships, write about them if you need to. Try and pinpoint the first red flag you ignored, and then the ones that followed. Because honestly, it should have never gotten to this point where he can call you stupid and belittle you, and make you feel guilty for standing up for what you believe.

When it is good, it is really really good. But when it is bad, it is really bad - and this isn't good enough for you.

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Cee - Yes, this is what he has done before. I can recognize it now, and I refuse to apologize. He can do what he wants to me and I won't fall for it anymore. He can pout and hide all he wants, but if he won't come out of his tantrum with the willingness to change, I'm out. I won't wait until the end of March to decide, that is just when I will be sure to be moved out by if he refuses to accept the situation. Unfortunately, I moved several hours from home and I have a full-time job here, so there isn't anywhere I can temporarily stay. I have scoped out apartments and have found that I can afford it if need be. I like your idea of giving him a week... I hope he can see his actions for himself, but at this point my hopes aren't very high.

 

Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it.

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I think it can be very confusing for someone who has moved miles away from friends and family to realise when things aren't right. When you have no second opinion, and all you have is him getting to you all the time and convincing you that you're wrong then it's very easy to lose your gut instinct and believe you are in the wrong instead. Hopefully with the advice on here you can reinforce this intuition you have of things not being right and find the strength to move on and be happy without him if need be. I think after it being only 10 months of the relationship, and it's already becoming emotionally abusive, things can only get worse from here. You deserve to be appreciated and this guy certainly does not appreciate you, or at least isn't willing to open up and change the way he deals with things. He's a grown man - blaming things on his upraising can only get him so far - he has the capacity to learn from you and the relationship and become a better man from it all. Instead, he shrugs his shoulders and blames everything on his mother. If anything, he knew how that behaviour affected him - he shouldn't be forcing someone else to feel the same way

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I have found that the "packing your stuff and leaving" method has worked. You saying you are going to leave end of March gives him time to guilt trip you into forgiving him and staying. My best advise, you dont get a response from him, a positive response regarding your ultimatium in the next couple of days, contact someone close to you who wouldnt mind you staying with them for a few days, then once you have a living arrangement set up - while he is not home, otherwise he could stand next you and unpack your things while you are trying to pack them - pack up all of your things and leave. When he gets home and sees the emptiness of your place, it may actually make him realize that you were serious and that things needs to change because he's lost you and he isnt going to be able to con you into staying and putting up with it anymore.

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What you did was absolutely correct. Now comes the other hard part - you have to stand firm by your words and not cave no matter what he pitches at you. If you don't stand firm, then your words have no meaning and he can continue to abuse you as much as he wants.

 

As for his upbringing....it's a nice excuse to use on you that you are naively accepting. He is a grown man. He knows exactly what he is doing to you. He knows right from wrong. He is not a five year old kid. Repeat this to yourself until it sinks in. It will make things easier for you going forward. Never ever ever excuse inexcusable behavior.

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