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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Can someone be the 'type' without being abusive?

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Author Topic: Can someone be the 'type' without being abusive?
techie
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My partner:
-Has a history of abuse (receptive)
-Used to have anger issues (but is very controlled now)
-Is very insecure and prone to jealousy (but never acts negatively on it, it just makes him feel sad)
-Is sexually dominant (but has never gone against my nonconsent or pushed me into anything I didn't want to do, and is very careful after anything sexual to find out how I feel/felt about it)

He has never, ever raised any red flags. We've had arguments, but they've never been worse than any arguments I've had with any other person, and they've always been resolved in a healthy manner. He's never hurt me, physically or otherwise, and he's incredibly supportive and patient with my low self esteem and I feel I can confide in him about anything - and he'll confide in me in return. I don't feel 'dependent' on him, when he's not around or unavailable, I have no problem with finding other people to talk to or socialise with, and I have other close friends that I can talk to if I was in trouble.

He isn't abusive, but he is rather the archetype. I trust him, but people who just know his background but not him are worried for me. Can someone be the 'type' without being bad?

Posts: 144 | From: England | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Alice
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For starters, some of the things you listed could potentially be red flags. For instance, jealousy causing sadness could be a sign of emotional manipulation, which is abuse. Just something to keep in mind.

Something else - I believe there can definitely be degrees of abuse or of potentially abusive people. It's not always super simple and black or white, unfortunately. When it comes down to it, you're the judge of what's okay and not okay. I'll link you to some articles which may help (even if you'd read them in the past, rereading with the mindset of your relationship could be helpful).

It's good to be aware of these things, regardless. It's also good you're keeping people in your life with whom you could talk candidly about this. When someone does display abusive red flags, they tend to get worse and not better. Escalation can happen over any period of time - hours, days, weeks, years. The subtle cycle is how people sometimes find themselves trapped, then look back and wonder how the heck it got to that point.

I'm not saying your boyfriend is abusive or not - just want to give you some things to think about it.

Check this out:
Does Your Relationship Need a Checkup?
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Blinders Off:Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault

[ 05-19-2012, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: Alice ]

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

Posts: 1180 | From: WA | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
techie
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"For starters, some of the things you listed could potentially be red flags."

What else would you pick out about what I said? And about the jealousy - he's not overt about the sadness or displays it or makes me feel guilty for it. He's just said once, when he was talking about being insecure, that that was the way he felt. He knows I have lots of male friends and he's never acted or spoke negatively about them.

I've read those articles before but I'll have a look again.

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Alice
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In addition to the sadness about jealousy thing - I was also curious about the anger issues part. To be sure, "anger issues" doesn't automatically/necessarily mean an abusive person or situation... but it can be a red flag sometimes. In general, too, sometimes abusive behavior can be brushed off as an anger problem - and I've learned in various classes I've taken about this (I majored in social work and counseling for the first part of my college career) - anger management tends to not do a whole lot for actual abusive people (except make them trickier because they learn how to outwardly act to hide the abusive behavior).

And like I said - I'm obviously only speculating and reflecting back to you what I'm hearing.

As far as your original question - can there be "types" of people who are abusive? That's an interesting question. I would say - our standard answer here [Smile] - that it varies by individual. For instance, abuse is about power and control. So could an abusive person have a personality which is powerful and controlling? Yes. Could an abusive person not have a personality like that, and in fact act completely the opposite a lot of the time? Certainly. Could a non-abusive person have a personality which verges on powerful in a respectful, non-abusive way? Absolutely.

Does that make sense?

These are not easy questions and I definitely don't mean to sound like I'm attacking your relationship at all - just wanting to give you a few more ways to look at it.

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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techie
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Makes sense!

With his anger issues - they were when he was a lot younger, when he was dealing with a sudden and rather unpleasant family bereavement. Its not an issue anymore.

Honestly, I don't think he's abusive? I just wanted assurance really that someone can have that sort of personality without being a bad person. If the jealousy and the anger issues were in conjunction with anything else - if he'd ever yelled at me, or been possessive, or anything, I'd pull them up as big red flags, but as is, him being a little sad, and him being troublesome before I met him, doesn't concern me?

Posts: 144 | From: England | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Alice
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Oh yes, bereavement can certainly create an outpouring of all sorts of funky emotion. In addition, there's safe anger and there's unsafe anger. Anger in and of itself can be a healthy emotion - it's what you do with it (and if you hurt anyone with it) that matters, in this context.

...and that's kind of what I'm hearing from you, I think. Like I keep saying, nothing is purely black or white. I hesitate to deem your relationship/partner as "healthy" because, well, that's not my place - I don't have the authority (but you do). I agree people can have powerful personalities in a safe way. I also think educating yourself (which you seem to be doing, of course) about the signs and red flags is also very key, so you can be super-aware if something began to not feel right in the near or far future. FWIW, your process of working this stuff out is sounding very healthy and sound to me.

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

Posts: 1180 | From: WA | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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