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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Abusive or unhealthy or potentially abusive?

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Author Topic: Abusive or unhealthy or potentially abusive?
techie
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So, I went out with (and broke up with) the guy in these threads:

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/011893/p/1.html#000013
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/37/t/000579/p/1.html#000004
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/37/t/000569/p/1.html#000009

(that last one I'm kicking myself for, because I identified him as a scary person and then just dismissed my own judgement because I was 'upset'. Guess how much I ended up doing that in this relationship? -.-)

I don't know if I could label it as abusive though. Was it potentially abusive? Or just unhealthy?

And we literally do have no contact, now - I don't go to the college anymore where we met, we don't live in the same towns, and he's blocked on all social media, ever.

I'm just really hesitant to label it as abusive, because I really don't want two-thirds of my relationship history to be abusive. Y'know the saying that "if all your exes are crazy, it's probably not them, it's you".

Just, like. Looking at the checklist,
My partner is very jealous, gets jealous easily - yes, definitely. He wouldn't get angry about it, but he'd get very sad. The one time he did get angry about it was actually after we broke up, when we were trying to be friends - I was wearing a short dress, and he got angry about how loads of people were 'staring at me', and put his jacket on me to cover me up.

My partner tries to control how I dress - ish? He would make it very clear if he didn't -like- something I was wearing, but he never explicitly told me not to or that I couldn't?

My partner yells, calls me names, puts me down - he never yelled at me irl, but he did call me a bitch and put me down in arguments

I am afraid to say no to sex - ish? if I said no, he'd get incredibly upset about being rejected, and then I'd end up having a panic attack out of feeling bad, and then he'd feel worse because he'd made me have a panic attack, and then I'd end up offering him sex to prove that he 'wasn't a bad person'. Eventually I ended up afraid and uncomfortable of all sexual initiation because I was afraid it would end up like this.

My partner threatens me, or has threatened me - he threatened to dump me, once. I broke up with him instead. (My general rule of thumb is that if someone can use that as a threat or ultimatum, they obviously don't -want- the relationship)

My partner hits, throws or breaks things when angry - he told me he has, but I've never seen him do it. But he told me, like, "oh, see this dent in my knuckle? it's from when I punched a wall when I was angry"

I am fraid to disagree with my partner - because it would cause these massive arguments

I feel like my partner's anger is my fault - not anger, but general negative feelings

I always wrote this off as I'm-just-an-overly-anxious-person-and-he's-not-doing-anything-wrong. Is it that, or is it that he was abusive, or is it somewhere between the two?

Bahhhhh.

Posts: 160 | From: England | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
techie
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Having said this:
quote:
My partner is very jealous, gets jealous easily - yes, definitely. He wouldn't get angry about it, but he'd get very sad. The one time he did get angry about it was actually after we broke up, when we were trying to be friends - I was wearing a short dress, and he got angry about how loads of people were 'staring at me', and put his jacket on me to cover me up.
He pointed out people 'staring at me' a LOT. Like, almost every time we left the house together. It made me quite uncomfortable. Is that another thing?

(And the part of my brain that is generally not very nice to me: Am I just grave dressing the relationship so that he's the bad guy and this isn't my fault?)

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Heather
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Hey, techie.

You know, in my experience, pretty much the second someone starts saying a partner (or friend, family member, whatever) has "anger issues," I feel like I can know they're about to describe control and some kinds of abuse to me. Or, that it's going to be coming down the pipe soon enough.

And that's pretty much always what happens.

It sounds, for sure, like this wasn't a healthy relationship, like there was a good deal of control in it, and like it could easily have become abusive if it wasn't already. The breakup sounds like it hasn't been healthy, either.

But you get to call things whatever you want to call them: really, that's up to you. But for sure, if you're finding you've a pattern on unhealthy relationships, that's always going to be something you want to be aware of and try and find out more about for yourself so you can break that pattern. This isn't about "fault," so much as it can be about things like missing out on cues someone is abusive before we get serious with them, letting things get serious too fast, not setting hard limits early on things (like the way someone talks to us, when they insult us, for instance), etc.

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techie
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Hey remember that whole I'll-never-see-him-again thing? A friend of mine invited him to a pub gathering that I'd already agreed to go to, so I've just spent an entire evening of him putting me down, making me look irrational, and treating my like a sexual conquest.

There were too few people there to ignore him, but whenever I referenced anything mutual (like having both watched Toy Story together), he just pretended it didn't happen, and looked at me blankly. He did, however, make lots of references to having had sex with me. He also kept insisting that I was drunk, continually, despite only having had two drinks (and at that being JD and Coke, spread over about two hours)

He just spent the entire evening trying to make me look bad, and I'm just really pissed. I'm also pissed at the mutual friend who thought it was a good idea to invite him after assuring me that he wouldn't before I agreed to come.

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Molias
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Wow, not cool for your friend to invite him after specifically saying they wouldn't. =/

Honestly, I think it would be ok to just leave the situation if that happens again. It sucks for you to miss out on social events if you just take off when you see this guy, but if people ask you later you can say "well last time I saw him X happened, I'm sad not to hang out with you but I don't want to put up with him at all, ever, because of how he treats me, and taking care of myself around him is my top priority in situations like this." I think friends who care for you will respect that answer and either invite him out less when they know you'll be around or make an effort to see you in other contexts.

If you don't want to leave and he's around being a jerk, I also think it's 100% fine to put on your best NO voice (like you're talking to a dog that just ate your shoes) and say something to him when he insults you. "Wow, that's not ok." "Why would you say that when it's clearly not true?" "You're being really gross, stop talking to me." If your friends are just sitting around listening to him say horrible stuff to you, that's pretty terrible on their part. Sometimes, though, I think people's reluctance to be confrontational can keep them from speaking up. It really shouldn't be your job, but if you do point out how terrible this guy's being, I can only hope that other people would back you up.

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techie
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It just felt really gaslight-y, I didn't feel like I could call it out without looking 'crazy'. At one point when I was making a sexual reference I just said "Are you REALLY doing this now?" and he was like "Yep I see no problem with it." And given that he went and told all our mutual friends that I was pretty much a harpy, he's put me into a situation where I can't call him out on his shit without fulfilling his prophecy. Our mutual friends aren't taking sides, either, so it's just frustrating.
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Molias
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I think you're spot-on that he's relying on that sort of gaslighting/self-fulfilling prophecy behavior to keep you quiet.

Do you feel like you can talk to any of these people one-on-one about the situation, if you're worried about how they see it? I'm not even saying that you need to try to turn them against him (although it doesn't sound like that would be terrible, this guy seems pretty terrible), but just to say "you know, when [horrible dude] says these things to and about me, it's really not ok - surely you understand why I'm not going to tolerate that." If people are still saying "no dude, I'm not going to take sides here" or think you're unreasonable for not wanting to put up with all the gross things he's saying, then I'd start to question just what kind of friends they are.

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techie
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I don't know. I mean, the vast majority of our mutual friends are kind of more-on-my-side-than-his, but the one friend who doesn't really 'get' that this is shitty behaviour (he thinks that its just mislaid love and I should feel flattered that he's still so passionate about me after being broken up for 2 months) is the one who tends to organise all the friendship group hangouts. Said friend is the one who invited the ex to this hangout even after he told me he wouldn't. So it's kind of... difficult.
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Molias
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It just sounds like an unpleasant situation all around. I don't know how comfortable you are in doing any planning/initiating on your own, but if you feel like you need a break from some of the larger group activities and the stress that comes from not knowing if your ex will show up, that may be a thought.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this at all. =(

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techie
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*exceptionally late reply*

I think I'm just taking a step back from this all for a bit. I'll try to arrange smaller meetups at a later point, but right now I'm just focusing on the friendships that have nothing to do with him, it's a lot less hassle.

Thanks for your support and advice, it means a lot

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Molias
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I can absolutely understand stepping back right now! I'm glad you're taking time to take care of yourself and stick with friends who don't have that extra worry associated with them. =)
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