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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Thinking a lot...abuse?

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Author Topic: Thinking a lot...abuse?
luvmeforme22
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My boyfriend have been going out for over two years now. Like any other relationship, it's been full of ups and downs. But I'm worried I'm in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Before we started dating, I used to have close male friends. Once we started dating however, he started getting more and more jealous. It didn't matter whether it was his friends or my friends I was talking to, he always assumed I liked them. It eventually got to the point where I would only talk to guys in class, and I quit talking to them through texts and calls. He's gotten jealous before because I've talked to someone on Facebook, publicly, and he insisted that it was too flirty, when it wasn't at all. Just recently, we fought because I befriended a male on Facebook.

When we fight, he calls me names. He'd tell me I'm worthless, annoying, a slut, whore, piece of sh*t, a bi*ch, that he hates me, to shut the fu** up, and that he never wants to talk to me again, although never all in the same fight. A couple times when we've fought face to face, he would forcefully grab my wrist, but he has never hit me and I know he would never hit me.

It seems as though every event important to me has to be ruined. For example, we fought badly the day before my 16th birthday, which didn't lead to a perfect day. The we fought in the middle of this year's Homecoming dance because I was dancing with my friends (all female) while he was supposed to be with his friends. This ended up being resolved later that night, but still led to me crying in the middle of the dance.

I'm in our high school's marching band, but we aren't considered band geeks in our town. However, my boyfriend continually insults the band and refers to my friends from there as my "band friends" or "band geeks." In reality, they're my friends regardless of whether or not band is involved. He'll promise me he'll come to a practice or a game when I know he's off work, but he usually never does.

We've had a couple short breaks, usually ending up being a couple days. I love him, I really do. I just don't know what is that got me to thinking like this. I guess I'm just wondering whether I should be worried. I don't know if I care too much, or he cares too little, or what it is. Is this emotional, or any type, of abuse? Help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance [Smile]

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Heather
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You are absolutely describing abuse.

Name-calling like that is verbal and physical abuse. Gabbing you in anger is physical abuse. isolating you from friend is emotional abuse. So is putting down the things he knows you value (like band), and sabotaging events important to you.

So yes, I very much not only think you should be worried, I think you need to try very hard to recognize and accept that this is abuse, and most likely -- as it almost always does -- will likely keep escalating and becoming more severe. Because you are already being abused and will likely continue to be, I think you also need to understand that staying in this relationship is a danger to you, is you keeping yourself in danger.

I know that is all hard to hear and rough to face, big time. But it's rougher to stay in and rougher to have get worse, and it's certainly rougher to wind up seriously harmed or injured, which will VERY likely happen in time. I don't know what got you thinking like this either, but it's VERY GOOD you did.

Does anyone else in your life know about any or all of this? Have you asked anyone you can trust for help?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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luvmeforme22
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My family and friends know bits and pieces, like what we fight over and when we fight. But no one knows what he says or does while we fight. My family has told me in the past that it was emotional abuse, isolating from my male friends, but I never listened. I always used to think that every good aspect of our relationship always outweighed the bad, regardless of how bad it actually got. I haven't really asked for help because I didn't want to be wrong about anything. I'm not really the type of person to vent to people about everything, or anything in fact. If I need to tell someone something I will, but I don't tell someone everything.
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Heather
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No one is going to go through a whole life without being wrong. Most of us will also be wrong far more than once, sometimes about really important things. Sometimes being wrong will even result in someone getting hurt or in hurting ourselves.

But we also can avoid the worst outcomes of being wrong if a) we allow ourselves the humanity to BE wrong, and b) when we know we were, or made a bad call, we own up to it pronto, and then do what we can to make it right.

I'm not sure where you're feeling wrong here, but I do know that staying in a relationship you and others know or sense is abusive isn't healthy. For some people, it's eventually downright fatal. Maybe you also need to outgrow not letting other people in and telling them about your life. Either way, these are things you can right.

It sounds like your family knows this is abusive and has tried to tel you to help. Do you feel supported and loved by them? If so, how about telling one or all of them EXACTLY what has been going on and ask for their help in getting out of this?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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luvmeforme22
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I do feel loved and supported by them, most of the time. Whenever my boyfriend would do something nice, or we'd be okay for a while, they would downplay and just ask me how much longer until the next fight happened. My mom said she thinks my boyfriend is a good person, he just goes about things the wrong way, and she doens't like the way he treats me. I guess I knew deep down that I was wrong, and it is an abusive relationship; I just didn't want to admit it to myself or others. Is there any way telling my boyfriend that this is an abusive relationship will help anything?
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Heather
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Telling someone being abusive they are being abusive rarely does anything. Do you think your boyfriend would, if you told him this, then go seek out help from a counselor or an organization providing group counseling/classes for abusive people?

If not, you can be very sure telling him is not going to change anything. As well, even if he did that, the FIRST thing anyone counseling him in this would tell him is that he cannot be in a relationship in which he has been abusing anymore while he is getting that counseling, which often takes years.

I'd strongly encourage you to start by telling your mother. It sounds like she knows, sounds like she's tried very hard to be supportive of you, and it sounds like you can have a sound expectation she'll do what she can to help you. I suspect that she would have been saying very different things to you about your boyfriend if you had been honest with her about what was really happening. I'd encourage you to be that honest now, okay?

[ 10-26-2010, 02:34 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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luvmeforme22
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No, I don't think he will get help. I will talk to my mom and tell her everything. I know she just wants the best for me. Thank you so much for helping me figure out what is going on! [Smile]
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Heather
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You are so very welcome, and I'm really glad you're going to fill your Mom in. Not everyone has supportive parents, so it's so important not to take that for granted!

I know it's scary to tell, but it's a HUGE step in taking care of yourself and making sure you can get and stay safe in your life and your heart. Good for you, in the biggest way.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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luvmeforme22
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Okay. So I broke up with him, insisting that I needed to do this for myself. But he says he didn't realize he was being abusive and insists on changing it. He doesn't want a break or a break up, and keeps saying how sorry he is and that he truly didn't know. I believe he didn't know, but I'm so torn. I don't want to break up becuase I really love him and I'll miss our relationship, but then I do want a break up because I can't handle the fights. He said he'll make sure we don't fight and that we'll change, and I want to believe it. But I'm so torn. I guess I need advice on what to do, or whether I should be believing him or not?
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Heather
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Big kudos to you for taking that big step in taking care of yourself!

If he's serious about changing it, his first step would be to start counseling to do that, and what they'd almost always make clear is that he can't make headway on that still actively in any relationships in which he was being abusive.

So, has he even looked into taking that step? Him learning to behave very differently all by himself is not at all likely to be effective: we have loads of studies on this, and they pretty much all show that while even counseling doesn't work for many abusive people, when people do really change their behaviour like this, the minimum they usually need to do that is long-term counseling.

Many abusive people will say they'll change: but them saying that doesn't mean they will, and most don't ever make the effort. So, again, has he taken any real steps TO change, like finding counseling to even just get started with? If not, then there's no reason at all to believe him. And if he has, then his counselor will usually have made clear that he needs to be OUT of this relationship and needs to start working on himself rather than continuing to try and be with you when he's not yet able to do so in ways that are not abusive or controlling.

As well, you continuing to talk to him right now is not the best idea. It basically keeps you in the relationship instead of separating from it.

How did it go taking to your Mom? Are you keeping her filled in on all of this?

[ 11-07-2010, 12:24 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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