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Should I leave him?


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Hey, so I (25F) have been with my bf (29M) for 5 years, and generally speaking we have a good relationship, we get on well with one another, we hold similar values, beliefs and dreams; but we have really bad arguments on a regular basis.

These arguments happen almost daily and it's tearing me apart, I love him so I don't want to throw it all away on a whim, but I am concerned about the severity of the arguments, and how this could continue into our future, especially if we were to have kids.

Some of the behaviours I'm particularly concerned about are as follows:

  • When we’re having an argument, it often gets so heated that I need to ask for space - confrontation makes me feel really panicky, upset and stressed (because I was abused as a kid) and I often start crying which he belittles, calling me pathetic and attention seeking
  • He doesn’t listen when I say I need space and follows me around, continuing to berate me, he physically blocks me from leaving rooms/ the house, or he spams me with messages. Sometimes he’ll follow me, or track my location to come and find me
  • Once when I locked myself in the bathroom to get away, he was pounding his fists on the door so hard to get in that it left bloody marks
  • When I’ve repeatedly said I need space but he’s continuing to follow me and shout at me, I sometimes put headphones on to try to calm myself down, but he often rips them off my head and throws them. The last time he did this they broke 
  • When we’re arguing he quickly escalates to extreme anger, shouting, slamming doors, taking off his clothes, hitting himself, punching and breaking things around our house
  • He sometimes threatens self-harm, and once was punching himself in the face so hard that he gave himself a black eye
  • He has threatened to jump off our balcony, he stormed over to it and got his leg over the rail  
  • In our most recent argument, he said he’d slash his wrists, and was throwing things around the room, he snapped the kitchen drawer in two from slamming it around while looking for a knife to cut himself with. 
  • He gives ultimatums about leaving me, and says I don't love him enough
  • He diminishes my emotions constantly by saying I’m being dramatic, or that I’m making it all about myself, or that it’s not a big deal
  • He has squared up to me in the past and shoved me, but he’s never hit or slapped me
  • During arguments he sometimes holds things, like my phone, above his head so I can’t get to them
  • He accuses me of doing things behind his back that are absolutely untrue and that I’ve never given him any reason to believe for example: cheating on him while I’m having space during an argument  
  • He blames his behaviour on me, saying that he’s not an angry person, he was never an angry person before me, and that I egg him on 
  • He also blames his anger on withdrawing from smoking weed, however the arguments persist while he's not withdrawing
  • He apologises afterwards and says he regrets it and that he loves me - but gets angry again when I want to have a conversation about what’s happened and don’t immediately accept the apology and move on
  • Generally he’s really critical of me, telling me that I start too many sentences with the word "I", and that it comes across as self obsessed and vain
  • He says I’m being ‘cold/ clinical/ unloving’ when I don't shout back at him/ get visibly upset, when really what I'm trying to do is control my emotions so he doesn't call me overly emotional/ dramatic, I feel like I can't win

We've previously received complaints from neighbours about the noise levels of our arguments.

I would like to know what you all think.

Is this normal? We're trying to get into couples therapy, but it will take a while for us to actually attend an appointment

Is this abuse? I'm in contact with domestic abuse agencies to get the facts on this, but this will also take a while

Should I rip off the bandage and break up with him before we're too far along the line to change things?

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9 minutes ago, sad69 said:

We've previously received complaints from neighbours about the noise levels of our arguments. Is this abuse? I'm in contact with domestic abuse agencies to get the facts on this, but this will also take a while

Sorry this is happening. It seems you already know it's abuse. Research abusive relationships. Whose apt is it or do you co-lease? Do Not go to couples therapy.

Go to your physician and discuss the abuse frankly. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist. Do Not tell him. Do you work? Have a car? Do you have trusted friends or family you can confide in?

Without telling him, plan your exit. You know w this will get worse, not better.

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5 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry this is happening. It seems you already know it's abuse. Research abusive relationships. Whose apt is it or do you co-lease? Do Not go to couples therapy.

Go to your physician and discuss the abuse frankly. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist. Do Not tell him. Do you work? Have a car? Do you have trusted friends or family you can confide in?

Without telling him, plan your exit. You know w this will get worse, not better.

Thank you for replying. It's our apartment, we co-lease it. I work, so have my own income, but no car. I could try confiding in my parents but I don't know if they'd agree that any of this is abuse, especially as they were the abusers when I was a child and my bf has never actually punched/ hit me. 

I'd be interested to hear why you think couples therapy is a bad idea? I am hoping it would make him see the error in his ways and make some changes, shouldn't I give him a chance after being together for so long? Sorry, I'm just so confused about all of this 

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Hi @sad69

I am sorry you continue to be abused by the people around you.  This is absolutely abuse.

I only read half your list because it's so bad I couldn't take it. 

Who else do you have in your life? other family? friends? someone you trust?

I would not go to your parents.  Asb you said they don't consider this abuse- which is manipulative bs. but that's another problem.

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4 minutes ago, Lambert said:

Hi @sad69

I am sorry you continue to be abused by the people around you.  This is absolutely abuse.

I only read half your list because it's so bad I couldn't take it. 

Who else do you have in your life? other family? friends? someone you trust?

I would not go to your parents.  Asb you said they don't consider this abuse- which is manipulative bs. but that's another problem.

Thank you so much. I think I have a friend that I could talk to, but she's going through a lot of her own stuff at the moment and I don't want to burden her with more stress. We've also grown distant, my bf and I moved away from the city where most of my friends live about a year ago and I've lost touch with a lot of friends 😞

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Sorry about this. So very sorry. 

What you've outlined, to my eyes, is a very clear and concerning index of highly abusive behavior. On one level, it seems you know this. On another—and big hugs here—it seems that your upbringing has made you prone to normalize and excuse a lot of it. 

I also don't think couple's therapy is a good idea in this case. That's just more normalizing, rather than facing the very hard facts that this is not what love or a healthy relationship looks like. A single instance of the sort you described would be very alarming. That this is a near daily occurrence, for over five years, is not the sort of thing you try to fix but seek shelter from. 

Can you afford to live on your own? Have you ever spoken to a therapist? I understand that you feel distant from your friends, but speaking for myself: if a friend I hadn't talked to in a good long while called me and shared what you shared here, my door would be wide open. I think you'll thank yourself if you reach out and reconnect. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I get frustrated too easily, sometimes have a short fuse especially when I am hangry.  I am a married adult with a teenager.  Arguing is fine - arguing can be positive too because it shows you when you both communicate reasonably that you can resolve an argument without escalating, going below the belt so to speak. 

His job is to calm himself down when he feels frustrated or angry -his job -whatever this means to him (I have my rituals, practices, breathing exercises I do -had to do that this morning with my teenager pushing my buttons so badly).  Or to go to therapy on his own and/or get medicated. That's his job.  He is out of control and abusive.  That is not ok at all.  I write because I know what it feels like to feel like you're very angry, to feel stressed, frustrated- it's very very hard to calm yourself down sometimes but it's my job as a wife and mother and human.  He's not doing his job and he's acting like an abusive jerk.  If he wants to get therapy or help let him -not couples -his own. 

And if apart from you he finds anger management tools that work then you two might reconcile down the road and perhaps do couples therapy.  

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Abusers who VOLUNTARILY attend abuser specific therapy have a one percent success rate. One percent.

Couples therapy is contraindicated in cases of abuse because it's not the correct type of therapy. Plus, the result is often more severe abuse because the abuser gets angry with their victim over things they said during the therapy sessions.

Individual therapy FOR YOU is the best answer after you arrange to get your own housing. 

I understand you grew up with abuse and therefore think it's normal but abuse is NOT a sign of love. Quite the opposite.

I hope you choose to leave this relationship and get help.

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32 minutes ago, bluecastle said:

Sorry about this. So very sorry. 

What you've outlined, to my eyes, is a very clear and concerning index of highly abusive behavior. On one level, it seems you know this. On another—and big hugs here—it seems that your upbringing has made you prone to normalize and excuse a lot of it. 

I also don't think couple's therapy is a good idea in this case. That's just more normalizing, rather than facing the very hard facts that this is not what love or a healthy relationship looks like. A single instance of the sort you described would be very alarming. That this is a near daily occurrence, for over five years, is not the sort of thing you try to fix but seek shelter from. 

Can you afford to live on your own? Have you ever spoken to a therapist? I understand that you feel distant from your friends, but speaking for myself: if a friend I hadn't talked to in a good long while called me and shared what you shared here, my door would be wide open. I think you'll thank yourself if you reach out and reconnect. 

Thank you for coming back to me, I think you're right that I feel two opposing ways about the situation - I'm really not sure what to do.  

Unfortunately we've already reached out to a few couples therapists and are waiting to hear back from them, I'm hoping that at the beginning of the sessions we'll be interviewed separately which will hopefully give me a chance to explain the behaviours I've outlined above without him present. 

I could afford to live on my own if needed. I haven't spoken to a therapist about the relationship issues, however I was in therapy for over 10 years to deal with the physical abuse from my parents and now feel that I'm in a much better place mentally about it all.

I'll try to arrange to meet up with some friends next time I'm in the city so I can explain what's been going on and get some support - this idea really frightens me but I'll try

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35 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I get frustrated too easily, sometimes have a short fuse especially when I am hangry.  I am a married adult with a teenager.  Arguing is fine - arguing can be positive too because it shows you when you both communicate reasonably that you can resolve an argument without escalating, going below the belt so to speak. 

His job is to calm himself down when he feels frustrated or angry -his job -whatever this means to him (I have my rituals, practices, breathing exercises I do -had to do that this morning with my teenager pushing my buttons so badly).  Or to go to therapy on his own and/or get medicated. That's his job.  He is out of control and abusive.  That is not ok at all.  I write because I know what it feels like to feel like you're very angry, to feel stressed, frustrated- it's very very hard to calm yourself down sometimes but it's my job as a wife and mother and human.  He's not doing his job and he's acting like an abusive jerk.  If he wants to get therapy or help let him -not couples -his own. 

And if apart from you he finds anger management tools that work then you two might reconcile down the road and perhaps do couples therapy.  

Thank you for your reply and for sharing your experience. I've tried to communicate (from learning about it in therapy) that his emotions are his responsibility, and that he needs to have ownership over them. I can be there to support and comfort, but not when rage is directed at me for really minor problems. For example, there was a massive blow out the other day because I 'wasn't holding his hand right' 

He's tried going to therapy before, but stopped going after just two sessions because 'he didn't have anything to talk about', he doesn't feel like he has any issues, so they ended up talking about global politics and the environment etc instead - I feel like there will be another massive argument if I suggest he goes to therapy and I just can't cope with it at the moment, I'm losing sleep and my work is beginning to become affected by all of the arguing 

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10 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Abusers who VOLUNTARILY attend abuser specific therapy have a one percent success rate. One percent.

Couples therapy is contraindicated in cases of abuse because it's not the correct type of therapy. Plus, the result is often more severe abuse because the abuser gets angry with their victim over things they said during the therapy sessions.

Individual therapy FOR YOU is the best answer after you arrange to get your own housing. 

I understand you grew up with abuse and therefore think it's normal but abuse is NOT a sign of love. Quite the opposite.

I hope you choose to leave this relationship and get help.

Thank you for your reply, that's an eye-opening statistic. We've unfortunately set the wheels in motion to start couples therapy - I'm hoping that before we begin, we'll be interviewed separately and the therapist will notice the signs of abuse and direct him towards some kind of anger management... whether he listens to that is another question.

I think I'm on the road to leaving the relationship, I just want to make sure I'm making the right decision because I do love him, and we do have fun together sometimes, he can be really loving and caring

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6 minutes ago, sad69 said:

Thank you for your reply and for sharing your experience. I've tried to communicate (from learning about it in therapy) that his emotions are his responsibility, and that he needs to have ownership over them. I can be there to support and comfort, but not when rage is directed at me for really minor problems. For example, there was a massive blow out the other day because I 'wasn't holding his hand right' 

He's tried going to therapy before, but stopped going after just two sessions because 'he didn't have anything to talk about', he doesn't feel like he has any issues, so they ended up talking about global politics and the environment etc instead - I feel like there will be another massive argument if I suggest he goes to therapy and I just can't cope with it at the moment, I'm losing sleep and my work is beginning to become affected by all of the arguing 

But you are not his momma or this therapist.  You can phrase it as "I feel disrespected when you ____" or "I feel hurt when you take your frustration out on me by ____"  and a person who loves and cares might respond with "I'm really sorry.  I'll do better" or "I was cursing at the ridiculous news commentator on TV not you!!!" and then you can have a good laugh.  But telling him how he has to do control himself is not going to work. 

Certainly if he asks you for tips give them - "when I feel the frustration building I press my hands down on a hard surface and then press each finger one by one and notice how it feels" "this is why I work out every day -it helps me to release the negative energy" "I sip my water bottle and it calms me."  People who want to do better (pick me pick me) are open books when it comes to tips from those who care about them -and ask for tips or share what they are doing to help things - and moreover are either getting therapy and/or reading books or asking trusted friends. 

I realize now for example that the parenting books I've read likely have common sense a lot of the time but since it is in writing, since it is not my mom telling me what to do lol, and since I really really want to do my best at raising my son - I take from those books the gems I can find and apply them in my daily life. 

But the motivation has to come from within.  Your boyfriend thinks his reactions are justified.  He doesn't care that they hurt you.  You telling him what to do will likely escalate it rather than resonate with him.  

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12 minutes ago, sad69 said:

Thank you for your reply, that's an eye-opening statistic. We've unfortunately set the wheels in motion to start couples therapy - I'm hoping that before we begin, we'll be interviewed separately and the therapist will notice the signs of abuse and direct him towards some kind of anger management... whether he listens to that is another question.

I think I'm on the road to leaving the relationship, I just want to make sure I'm making the right decision because I do love him, and we do have fun together sometimes, he can be really loving and caring

Loving someone does not trump being abused by that person. You need to leave as fast as possible. Please get therapy for yourself once you are gone . 

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9 minutes ago, sad69 said:

I haven't spoken to a therapist about the relationship issues, however I was in therapy for over 10 years to deal with the physical abuse from my parents and now feel that I'm in a much better place mentally about it all.

The place you are in today, now, is also an abusive one, however. This is very common, not something to be ashamed of but rather open to better understanding.

Our understanding of love—what it feels like to be loved, what it takes to be loved, what we define as love—tends to come from our childhoods, our families. In ways it seems like you've recreated your childhood dynamic in an adult romance, where you are bending in many (too many) directions in order to avoid pain and savor small moments of pleasure.

Generally speaking, a loving and healthy relationship is the opposite of that, where the baseline is comfort and pleasure with the occasional moments of tension, instances where one or both people lose the plot. No one is perfect, plenty of excellent people are prone to behave in unacceptable ways, but, again: those moments are the outliers, not the norm. You, and everyone, deserves that from any relationship they invest in. 

What is his reasoning for attending couple's therapy? Has he ever acknowledged to you, in any way, that he behaves in an unacceptable way? Has he ever apologized for hurting you after you tell him you are hurt? From what you've outlined, it seems he firmly believes that the problem is you and is immune to taking ownership of his actions. 

28 minutes ago, sad69 said:

I'll try to arrange to meet up with some friends next time I'm in the city so I can explain what's been going on and get some support - this idea really frightens me but I'll try

Why does this idea frighten you? Do you worry your friends won't care, or do you worry about how they will perceive your boyfriend? 

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50 minutes ago, sad69 said:

Thank you for your reply, that's an eye-opening statistic. We've unfortunately set the wheels in motion to start couples therapy - I'm hoping that before we begin, we'll be interviewed separately and the therapist will notice the signs of abuse and direct him towards some kind of anger management... whether he listens to that is another question.

I think I'm on the road to leaving the relationship, I just want to make sure I'm making the right decision because I do love him, and we do have fun together sometimes, he can be really loving and caring

Anger management is not abuser therapy. Neither is couples therapy. He would need to VOLUNTARILY choose to attend abuse specific therapy with a specialist. And even then, he would have a one percent chance of never abusing again.

Love isn't meant to be a prison sentence. You can give yourself permission to love him without being required to be in a relationship with him.

Let me ask you, where is your line? What would he have to do for you to say "OK, that's enough, I'm leaving"? 

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Posted (edited)

Damn, guy is one line away from Viserys Targaryen and "You dont want to wake the Dragon" and you wonder should you leave him. Even if he doesnt use physical force and actions(which he does, he just doesnt hit you directly), he uses deragatory language. That alone by itself is under "abuse". Not to mention all the threats and emotional blackmail he does with you. Its a textbook example of abuse in a relationship. You dont need domestic abuse agency to tell you that, you could have just read one article how to recognize signs to see that yourself

https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-mental-abuse

I recommend you read it

Also, you are already far too along the line. Not only you should leave him(and quite possibly get a restraining order against him if he continues to do what he does) but you should enlist yourself onto therapy. Because abuse like that leaves damaging consequences. 

Edited by Kwothe28
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5 hours ago, Seraphim said:

We've unfortunately set the wheels in motion to start couples therapy

(quoted by Seraphim and now, me).  It's not unfortunate.  Wheels can be de-motioned and you can stop spinning your wheels -says the woman who canceled her wedding 6-7 weeks before the big day and big reception because I knew it was not right.  

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Yes, it’s abuse, and yes, you should leave him before he starts physically hurting you, which he’s very close to doing now and it won’t be long before he does. It’s definitely not worth putting yourself in harms way any further. Leave now and don’t look back. 

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Yes, you need to end this. It is abuse, full-stop. 

Do not waste your time or money on couple's therapy. I guarantee you it won't help. Just get out and get into individual therapy for yourself, so you can learn to break the cycle and avoid abusive men in the future. 

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You don't have to be black and blue before it's called abuse. Emotional abuse can be worse. I've seen days in a past relationship that I'd have gladly traded for the bruises. 

I'm telling you get out. We both know you'll stay until you've had absolutely enough. IF you decide to go to couples therapy, lay it on the table just like it is. Actually print this list and read it to the counselor in front of the boyfriend. Get therapy for yourself even if it's not in couples therapy. 

 

 

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Just because the wheels are in motion doesn’t mean you have to see it through. 
 

I need more than two hands to list the behaviours you detailed that really ought to be deal breakers. Bulldozing your boundary for space when conflict arises and you get stressed is more than enough reason to get far far far far far away from that person. 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, dd7 said:

 

 

On 7/6/2022 at 12:58 PM, sad69 said:

 because I do love him, and we do have fun together sometimes, he can be really loving and caring

Google "cycle of violence". What you describe is textbook. The mean/sweet cycle. Abuse is not all the time. Why? Because when he's nice after being terrifying it encourages you to stay.

Abuse is not about anger. Its about power and control. He enjoys hurting you. It makes him feel good.  Like a master whipping a slave to keep them in line. You do not have a relationship. You are a prisoner.

Couples therapy is contraindicated in abuse cases.

Anything you say in couples therapy will be used against you as a weapon once you get home, even if he plays Mr nice guy in front of everyone else.

Do you really want to spend your life locked in the bathroom terrified? What kind of life is that? Do you feel good having the landlord complain about his rages? Do you like cleaning blood off the door from him pounding on it?

Is that how you envision your life? Do not have this sociopaths children. He will destroy and torment them like he's doing to you now.

Edited by Wiseman2
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10 hours ago, dd7 said:

 Actually print this list and read it to the counselor in front of the boyfriend. 

Do not under any circumstances do this. If he hasn't beaten you up yet, doing this will put you at risk.

Escaping from abuse needs to be done stealthily. Cancel the couples therapy.

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