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Abusive Relationship
May 4, 2001
8:59 am
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calico
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My boyfriend and I both have problems controlling our behavior. For the most part, it manifests as verbal abuse but occasionally it escalates. I hate to say it but usually, I am the one who gets so angry about his need to control that I loose control and resort to hitting, pushing and kicking. However, as soon as I do this, he of course retaliates physically. This is scarry because he is much stronger than I am. I am unsure of what to do because I although I'm highly educated and strong willed, I am very much in love with him. He has many wonderful qualities. He's very smart, often very caring and on a dayly basis, we are INCREDIBLY happy together. The last time that things got a little violent, we were arguing over an issue of mental health that is very sensitive to me and for some reason his controlling nature came out. In response, I became very unreasonable and refused to let him go to sleep because I wanted to continue discussing the issue. He got very angry and threw me on the bed. Then, I pushed and kicked at him and he pinned me down putting his hands on the back of my head to hold me down on the bed so I wouldn't get up. At this, I just lay still and finally he let go and got in bed next to me to go to sleep. He began holding me and after a while said he didn't like our fighting and he wanted to work through this with me. A couple of days passed and we discussed it. First he denied that his behavior is abusive and then he said he would not change his need to control because that is just who he is. But then, after about 40 minutes, he said he would go to a counselor with me if it would save the relationship. So, at times he is very reluctant to get help with me and at other times he is more willing. I'm so confused because every bit of info I've seen on the subject tells me to get out of the relationship. But, what can people do if they are at least somewhat willing to work on their problems. Where do we go from here?

May 4, 2001
11:08 am
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concernedsista
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People do change but you must be prepared if he does not. I was in an abusive relationship for about 3 yrs. But the best thing that came out of the relationship was my daughter. I loved him very much. I took alot of verbal abuse. There were times I couldn't look nor speak to another man, if I did he would call me a whore. i couldn't hav any friends to later find out they knew him better than I did. My self-esteem was very low. He made me feel like no one wanted me but him. But after the birth of my daugheter, I refused to let him harm her. I felt if he was mean to me, he could be mean to her. I moved away from home at 19 with my baby and enrolled back into college. I met a lovely man and we married. He accepted my daughter as his. Two years later, I received my bachelor's in Criminal Justice. And to top that off, I gradutaed top of my class. I now have to children and I am being treated like a queen. I thank God everyday. It is hard to change once you are accustomed to acting and living a certain way. Take the time to think about how you want to be treated, what you want and if he is the right one to do it for you. You are worth it. Sometimes I think we settle for anything just to feel wanted but don't settle for anything less but the best. Good luck.

May 4, 2001
12:08 pm
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Molly
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domestic abuse has a definate cycle, the honeymoon, the stable,the fight,the honeymoon. there are many factors that go into domestic fighting, controll, trust, dependency, pent up anger, the past, and behavior. people learn, but don't really change. Verbal abuse, usually if allowed to fly out of controll most often ends up in physical violence. I hear you own your behavior. Do you feel like you are not heard, and push the point? he sounds like he has defended him self? Check Dr Irenes web site. Figure what the real issues are, I bet communication, structure, and active listening are part of the problem. Give time limits on discussions, it just can't go on all night, you just detour the issues, stay in the present, use I statements, do not, you,you,you. Repeat what you hear, to be clear, and when it gets heated go for a walk. Drop the subject, and you might try writing to each other. Again, I recommend Dr.Phil McGraws book relational rescue. Now make nice

May 4, 2001
3:18 pm
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calico
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Thank you for your book and web site references. I'll check them out. I also appreciate the advice. I feel a little better now and I also spoke with my counselor this morning and she seemed more positive than I expected. She knows him and thinks highly of him so that gives me faith. He is certainly reluctant to change which is consistent with the first response. I don't even really want him to change, I just want him to at least recognize that if our relationship continues this way, it will become very toxic and may end. Because, when he thinks something will hurt us, he is much more considerate. Although he's initially very stubborn on things we disagree on, often he is willing to compromise a little. But, he's made it clear that he has a strong need to control me, he has trouble trusting me because I told him about a previous boyfriend I had where I was unfaithful. Although I've been at his becon call since we began seriously dating and have been faithful in every way possible (and even some ways I never knew existed)he is hung up on my behavior with a man I dated many years ago. So, in some ways I understand his mistrust, but in others, I think its absurd. Am I wrong?

May 5, 2001
7:47 pm
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sek
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i clearly understand your problem ,pleasetry to detach from each other when or at the onsetof a heated argument.it might feel awkward at first but your off to a healthy start.give it a try ,best wishes .

May 7, 2001
9:52 pm
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luelue
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I think you are a very strong person for dealing with this situation. I admire you're strong will very much. If you truly care about this person and he cares about you then things will work out as long as you both try for it. I wish you the best of luck and don't ever believe you aren't worth anything. Don't stop believing!!!

With Love,
Lue Lue

May 9, 2001
2:05 pm
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lonestar
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Dear calicao,
Hi i am new to this site but feel like i know you. Your situation is very much the same as mine. My fiance tells me all the time that he does not love me and he is only with me because of ouyr daughter of one year. and i am also 7 months pregnant. Then after he tells me he does not love me he then tells me he said it because he was mad and that he did not mean it. but ut makes me feel like i am an inch high. Like you i am very abusive-verbally toward him not my child(she is spoiled)haha. But i get an attitude with friends my fiance, family memebers and others at the drop of a hat. No reason i just do.so i can relate to you. Take care calico

May 9, 2001
4:29 pm
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malaikau
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Dear Calico,

I'm impressed by your willingness to take responsibility for your own behavior and your desire to work hard to change the way things are happening in your relationship. Domestic violence can happen in any relationship where one or both partners believes that violence is an acceptable solution to a problem or conflict. You and you partner will have to change your minds about this in order to leave the violence in the past. As long as you continue to see violence as acceptable, it will not go away.

The desire to control stems directly from feelings of insecurity and lack of trust. If you don't believe that you are worthy of unconditional love, you will constantly put your partner in the position to prove that he or she feels this way. A lot of your answers lie within yourself. How do you feel about yourself? What do you believe you deserve in a relationship? What is your value in this world? How precious are you? These are questions that only you can answer because no matter how anyone else feels about you, your perception of yourself will outshine everyone else's perceptions.

Continue to take responsibility for what's happening in your relationship, and be willing to begin on a path of growth and learning to love yourself. If your partner is willing to do the same, you may be able to continue in your relationship. But if it doesn't work out, the good thing is that once you are feeling good about who you are, it won't really matter that much!!!

You might be able to find help at a local domestic violence shelter, but many shelters have rules and guidelines about having contact with ones "abuser". There are other programs out there that emphasize keeping families together, and learning healthier ways for couples to interact, but these programs are fairly new and innovative. There is a program here in New Mexico called "The Robin Institute". I don't know if they have a website, but it might be worth your time to look into it.

Hang in there! Sincerely,

Mal

May 9, 2001
6:08 pm
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Molly
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Often what people react to is not the present but the past. it is important for you to develop your own identity, your own social circle, and your boundry lines. My husband and I went through several counselors, ultimately when I left he got real. many will go through the process, and bs , them as much as you. When the pain hit of my absence, he did some real work. it has been one year and 4 months since my return, and most of the behavior is back, the most signifigant thing is that I do not react, I do not play into the game, but is it good, is it worth waiting to see the what if's is it worth the risk? I say no. Go be alone for a while, learn about you, learn not to be by a mans side 24/7, we give so much and they want more, just like all humans. Don't play into his paranoia, its controll through guilt, it will never end. Say good bye, and move on.

May 9, 2001
11:08 pm
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malaikau
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Calico,

I have said before and I will continue to say that no one can decide whether you should stay or go except you. Only you are able to decide what you are willing to tolerate in a relationship, and how long or hard you need to try before you move on. No matter what decision you come to, you will find the support you need here. Do what feels right for you.

Respectfully,

Mal

May 15, 2001
4:35 pm
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fendi
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Hi Calico, I was looking for help, and I read your problem. I was surprise that what you wrote its excatly the same problem that I'm having with my husband. Please let me know How you are doing and What I should do to help myself and my marriage. Thanks Fendi

May 15, 2001
4:36 pm
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fendi
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Hi Calico, I was looking for help, and I read your problem. I was surprise that what you wrote its excatly the same problem that I'm having with my husband. Please let me know How you are doing and What I should do to help myself and my marriage. Thanks Fendi

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