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Partner breaks things when angry


confuseddude1

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I have been with my girlfriend for over 2 years now, and whilst most of the time things are amazing and we love each other dearly, it hasn't always been an easy ride. We are very different personalities. I am pretty laid back, and probably lead toward rational vs. emotional. She is the opposite and is a very emotional person, which has its pro's and con's. She often struggles to control her emotions, crying often, and quick to temper. She's had a difficult upbringing, with her father dying very young and brought up by a single mother who didn't have much money. She has been diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and had a course of CBT, but she didn't like it. She recently switched her contraception and things have been a bit better since coming off the pill, but definitely from perfect.

There have been countless incidents of disproportionate emotional and uncontrolled behaviour over these two years, and there have been at least three times where I have been left to seriously question what I should do, out of concern for her wellbeing and our relationship. In the past she has smashed objects in her room and damaged her wall pretty badly. Just tonight (hence this post), we had a minor row over music (!) and later I heard smashed glass come from her bedroom. When she eventually let me in and I asked her about it, she said "I'd rather have done that than something else" - and by that I know she meant self-harm. She has harmed herself once, to my knowledge, when she argued with her Mum over the phone and hit herself in the face, causing visible bruising.

I am now at the point where I am wondering if I need to, delicately, offer a bit of an ultimatum on this. I don't want my future kids to be exposed to violent anger. We have been living together on and off since Covid but not permanently yet, but we are planned to do very soon - do I want to live with someone who might break things, damage the walls, or even worse hurt herself?

Any advice on how to approach this would be really appreciated. I'm not ready to give up on the relationship but I have to do something.

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She's honest with you about her episodes or outbreaks so she's vulnerable with you. What would bother me most is whether those moments become addictive or patterns of coping for her. Over time they develop into habits and habits are hard to break. It's most concerning because they're violent and destructive.

The longer this goes untreated the worse it could get. Is she open to seeing her doctor and explaining this or receiving treatment? 

 

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6 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

She's honest with you about her episodes or outbreaks so she's vulnerable with you. What would bother me most is whether those moments become addictive or patterns of coping for her. Over time they develop into habits and habits are hard to break. It's most concerning because they're violent and destructive.

The longer this goes untreated the worse it could get. Is she open to seeing her doctor and explaining this or receiving treatment? 

 

Thank you. Yes she is quite open with me about her anxiety and her emotions. After dating for a while she eventually did open up to me about her challenging childhood, but I suspect there are traumas there that haven't ever been properly addressed. 

Regarding treatment, I will broach that topic once things have cooled down a little. I'm not sure how it will go.

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I have GAD and I don't break things.  I also don't have uncontrolled behavior and I don't treat others poorly.  Her issues are in addition to the GAD, not caused by it.

What treatment is she currently receiving for her mental health issues?  Has she said she wants to stop this behavior?

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2 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

I have GAD and I don't break things.  I also don't have uncontrolled behavior and I don't treat others poorly.  Her issues are in addition to the GAD, not caused by it.

What treatment is she currently receiving for her mental health issues?  Has she said she wants to stop this behavior?

Thank you, that is interesting to know. She isn't currently receiving any treatment for GAD - she has been prescribed anti-anxiety meds for it, but hasn't taken the big step of taking them yet. Up until quite recently I haven't felt the need to think about whether she ought to give that a go.

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3 minutes ago, confuseddude1 said:

Thank you, that is interesting to know. She isn't currently receiving any treatment for GAD - she has been prescribed anti-anxiety meds for it, but hasn't taken the big step of taking them yet. Up until quite recently I haven't felt the need to think about whether she ought to give that a go.

Has she said she wants to stop these harmful and destructive behaviors?  Or does she blame you for how she reacts?

She will not get better unless she receives treatment.  And she won't receive treatment unless she wants it.  No one's mental health gets better because someone else wants it to.

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1 minute ago, gamon said:

You're thinking about bringing children into this mess?

 

Edited original post - not immediately, we're not ready. But yes potentially in the future... if she can get better. I wouldn't describe our relationship as a mess, it's actually very loving and fulfilling most of the time, save for incidents like the ones I mentioned above.

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48 minutes ago, confuseddude1 said:

Thank you, that is interesting to know. She isn't currently receiving any treatment for GAD - she has been prescribed anti-anxiety meds for it, but hasn't taken the big step of taking them yet. Up until quite recently I haven't felt the need to think about whether she ought to give that a go.

 

I highly suggest she get going on therapy- to work on all of this and fps, get going on these meds, and then some! As it can take time for doctors to figure out what does or does not work for her.. everyone is wired differently... (not sure if YOU are familiar with mental health issues?  May want to read up on such... and I know some ppl who are on stuff for anxiety, depression and one good thing for 'moods' is Lamotrigine..).

I'd give her an ultimatum... either look seriously into getting herself some help- and see improvement or nothing will progress... Her anger outbursts are not acceptable.

IF she wants to get all of this under control, is on HER to get going on it all.

46 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Has she said she wants to stop these harmful and destructive behaviors?  Or does she blame you for how she reacts?

She will not get better unless she receives treatment.  And she won't receive treatment unless she wants it.  No one's mental health gets better because someone else wants it to.

As mentioned, you cannot 'make' someone act on getting help/taking meds... so is up to HER to take responsibility for her behaviour.

Eventually, this will affect you.. can instill fear, regression, anxiety as well.. on it goes.

Think hard on all of this... and see IF things can or will improve with her, BEFORE you move ahead.

Always take care of YOU as well.. Is your life.

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You've answered your own question.  I highly doubt you will endure in this relationship.  Sooner or later you will dissolve and exit this aggressive and violent relationship.  Hopefully sooner than later!  You need to protect yourself and stay far away from psychos.  They're nothing but bad news and will destroy and endanger your life and well being.  Never have kids with her otherwise you'll regret it forever.  Run for the hills!

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2 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

You've answered your own question.  I highly doubt you will endure in this relationship.  Sooner or later you will dissolve and exit this aggressive and violent relationship.  Hopefully sooner than later!  You need to protect yourself and stay far away from psychos.  They're nothing but bad news and will destroy and endanger your life and well being.  Never have kids with her otherwise you'll regret it forever.  Run for the hills!

I agree.   

She is not seeking treatment, not taking her meds.  Does she blame you for these episodes? 

Please do not bring kids into this mess, as it would be very selfish and toxic.  

You also need to stop excusing her behavior.  It sounds like you may be enabling her.

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7 hours ago, confuseddude1 said:

  I am wondering if I need to, delicately, offer a bit of an ultimatum on this

 We have been living together on and off since Covid  

You need to end it. You're condescending and treating her not as a partner but a project.

At the same time you're positioning yourself as this calm collected altruistic guy, but in fact you're quite controlling.

No one has a gun to your head. Let go if her issues bother you. It's not your place to "give her ultimatums".

It's your place to leave her alone. You're very incompatible and bring out the worst in each other. That means you're at least half the problem.

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1 hour ago, MissCanuck said:

If she does not seek consistent treatment, I would end it.

No one can implore anyone to seek treatment, that's fixing and changing behavior, perhaps almost as unhealthy as throwing stuff and definitely as unhealthy as staying in this.

Therefore, just end it 

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11 hours ago, confuseddude1 said:

we had a minor row over music (!)

Confuseddude, can you please recount the events of your music row? 

you describe the relationship as "loving and fulfilling most of the time":

11 hours ago, confuseddude1 said:

I wouldn't describe our relationship as a mess, it's actually very loving and fulfilling most of the time

Therefore I cannot believe that you simply said "I really like Bon Jovi's songs" and this triggered your girlfriend to go smash glass in her room. No, I am not buying that, there is more to the story, that you left out and you only focused the attention on how crazy your girlfriend is. Probably you diminished her in some way, criticised, or mocked her opinion, perhaps you called her crazy, or stupid. This would not be a raw over music, but much more serious: you disrespecting your girlfriend and riling her up to get a reaction. So, please tell us what happen and what was your contribution in the disagreement. Because you know it takes two people to have a fight, not just one.

I also sense a strong undercurrent of condescending behavior, you speak like you are your gf's guardian:

11 hours ago, confuseddude1 said:

Up until quite recently I haven't felt the need to think about whether she ought to give that a go.

Who are you to think about what she ought to give a go, or not?

12 hours ago, confuseddude1 said:

I am now at the point where I am wondering if I need to, delicately, offer a bit of an ultimatum on this. I don't want my future kids to be exposed to violent anger.

   The above sounds like the words of a superior in regards to a subordinate. Also, in one sentence, you have put together words that are mutually exclusive (oxymoron): ultimatums are never "delicate", neither it exists "a bit of" ultimatum. Ultimatums are all in, either/or forceful statements that corner the recipient of such an ultimatum. I guess you want to use an ultimatum on your girlfriend as a means of control. As others said, if you are so unhappy, then just leave the relationship.  

And last, but not least, you outright contradict yourself through your posts: in two subsequent posts you said that there were "countless" temper outbursts during the 2 years you have been together, and the next post is how the relationship is "loving and peaceful most of the time". 

12 hours ago, confuseddude1 said:

There have been countless incidents of disproportionate emotional and uncontrolled behaviour over these two years,

 

12 hours ago, confuseddude1 said:

 I wouldn't describe our relationship as a mess, it's actually very loving and fulfilling most of the time,

My hunch is that you know you contributed in the "music" argument to rile up your gf's emotional state. Then you come here for validation that you are a great guy and she is the crazy one. You are not the first one, it has happened before in the forum. I wouldn't be surprised if you showed the forum posts to your gf to drive the point that she is the crazy one with the problem.

This is why I would like to know more about this "music" fight.

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1 hour ago, East4 said:

Confuseddude, can you please recount the events of your music row? 

you describe the relationship as "loving and fulfilling most of the time":

Therefore I cannot believe that you simply said "I really like Bon Jovi's songs" and this triggered your girlfriend to go smash glass in her room. No, I am not buying that, there is more to the story, that you left out and you only focused the attention on how crazy your girlfriend is. Probably you diminished her in some way, criticised, or mocked her opinion, perhaps you called her crazy, or stupid. This would not be a raw over music, but much more serious: you disrespecting your girlfriend and riling her up to get a reaction. So, please tell us what happen and what was your contribution in the disagreement. Because you know it takes two people to have a fight, not just one.

I also sense a strong undercurrent of condescending behavior, you speak like you are your gf's guardian:

Who are you to think about what she ought to give a go, or not?

   The above sounds like the words of a superior in regards to a subordinate. Also, in one sentence, you have put together words that are mutually exclusive (oxymoron): ultimatums are never "delicate", neither it exists "a bit of" ultimatum. Ultimatums are all in, either/or forceful statements that corner the recipient of such an ultimatum. I guess you want to use an ultimatum on your girlfriend as a means of control. As others said, if you are so unhappy, then just leave the relationship.  

And last, but not least, you outright contradict yourself through your posts: in two subsequent posts you said that there were "countless" temper outbursts during the 2 years you have been together, and the next post is how the relationship is "loving and peaceful most of the time". 

 

My hunch is that you know you contributed in the "music" argument to rile up your gf's emotional state. Then you come here for validation that you are a great guy and she is the crazy one. You are not the first one, it has happened before in the forum. I wouldn't be surprised if you showed the forum posts to your gf to drive the point that she is the crazy one with the problem.

This is why I would like to know more about this "music" fight.

Thanks for taking the time to write this, your questions are fair although I think you have jumped to a few conclusions about me. Let me try and answer one at a time:

The argument:

It was Friday evening, we'd both finished work for the week, had a little weed gummy each, and we were talking about all sorts and listening to some music in the background. She picked a nice album, we listened to it, and when it finished she offered me the phone and asked me to put some music on. We were having a great time. I'd been thinking about a cool instrumental Beastie Boys album that day and said "OK I'm going to put on some Beastie Boys" to which she instantly said "no". (I don't think I've ever told her not to play the music she wanted to hear - I love her showing me her music, I trust her taste, and I think I was annoyed because her reaction shows an implicit lack of trust in my taste. It has also happened a few times before, and yes, I find it quite rude and it did annoy me). I explained why I thought it was rude without raising my voice, shouting, or swearing, she didn't accept my view and her counter was that she always asks me if she can play the music she plays and that this was no different. I retorted that I am perfectly happy to listen to whatever she wants to listen to and she doesn't require my permission. We didn't see eye to eye on it, she didn't accept my view and I didn't accept hers. She left the room and I stayed in the living room. Perhaps I should have gone to speak to her to smooth things over, but I didn't really feel like I should since I wasn't the one who walked off before resolving it. About 30 minutes later she came back in tears and said I'd ruined Friday night, by this time I wasn't annoyed at all and I calmly explained I didn't think I had. I think she was expecting an apology, and when it didn't arrive she walked off once more. A few minutes later I heard the smashed glass and I immediately checked on her to find her sat on the floor surrounded by broken glass. I helped her clean it up after she locked me out for a short while.

"Who am I to decide what she does?" - I'm not. I am however in love with her, in a relationship with her, and I want her to get better and support her doing so. The point of this post was to get advice from people who might have more experience than me with things like this and most of the posts have been really useful.

Yes, believe it or not our relationship is very loving and mostly peaceful. This is the first "violent" incident in many months (when she threw something at her wall). Temper outbursts like this aren't very frequent but she does get very upset and cries a lot at pretty minor set backs, for example.

I see your point about "delicate ultimatum" being oxymoronic. I guess I was trying the right words to describe how to approach this situation without anger or confrontation. 

And no, I haven't shown her this post and would not dream of doing so, she is still in a pretty fragile emotional state and I can't think of anything that would trigger her anxiety more.

Let me know if you have any more questions and thanks again for your thoughts.

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She's got issues for sure but your response to her not wanting you to play your choice of music is just... weird.

It has nothing to do with trust, she simply doesn't like that particular music.

I get a sense of the dynamic between the two of you from that excellent example provided above which probably repeats itself regularly. You respond poorly to a simple difference of opinion, and she triggers and over reacts and breaks things.

You need to work on yourself. At least that would be a good start.

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I agree there is no such thing as “ trusting someone’s taste “ in something. You either like it or you don’t. Apparently she didn’t . Just as you have the opportunity to like it she has the opportunity to not like it. 
She doesn’t need to like or listen to your music choice as you don’t for hers. That is not a major catastrophe. My husband and I both hate our choice of TV watching habits. There is stuff we will agree on but our hard-core watching habits are completely different. We just go to a different space. 

Her behaviour issues though are still monumental. 

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30 minutes ago, gamon said:

She's got issues for sure but your response to her not wanting you to play your choice of music is just... weird.

It has nothing to do with trust, she simply doesn't like that particular music.

I get a sense of the dynamic between the two of you from that excellent example provided above which probably repeats itself regularly. You respond poorly to a simple difference of opinion, and she triggers and over reacts and breaks things.

You need to work on yourself. At least that would be a good start.

You're not far off with the dynamic. I'm not claiming to be perfect. I know for example I can be condescending and stubborn when I think I'm in the right. I have been reading books about GAD and specifically being in a relationship with someone who has GAD which has been really helpful for us, but yes I can be a *** sometimes, and maybe the situation I described above was an example of that.

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Confuseddude, thanks for your time to write back. 

Apology, my conclusions were far-fetched, now reading your account of events. It seems though that you two do trigger each other, with her reactions being really extreme. To me it is understandable that it is annoying for you she would ask you to pick up the music and when you do, then say it is not a good choice. You might have just suggested something else. The issue is not a "hill to die on". There was no need to tell her that she was rude. 

It does seem to me that she wants to have the last word and make you feel guilty.

When these type of scenes happen, how do you patch up things together later on? Do you sweep the incident under the rug, or you try to discuss the dynamic? 

To me if there is a chance for this relationship, it will take for you two to know each others' triggers and respect them. And she definitely needs to address the extreme reactivity in therapy. As for you: do not try to fix her, this is on her. But you need to take distance from the relationship.

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10 minutes ago, confuseddude1 said:

yes I can be a *** sometimes, and maybe the situation I described above was an example of that.

Being an A-hole is often voluntary especially when the person being an A-hole knows they're being an A-hole. Stop being an A-hole especially when you're in a relationship with an emotionally disturbed individual who breaks things and watch your situation improve dramatically.

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Why on earth are you two consuming "weed gummies" when she has mental health issues? Does she think they will help with her GAD?

And why are you surprised that she behaves irrationally after consuming drugs?

Has she said she wants to stop the angry, destructive outbursts?

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