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Author Topic: Seeking help to stop being abuser
randy brown
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Message from orca to other readers: the contents of this post may be triggering to some as the OP talks about abusing his partner.

hi. I'm not sure if this should be posted under Emergencies and Crises or elsewhere, but I searched Google generally for posts relating to domestic abuse, and one post in particular that I found interesting was made on this forum.

I'm not sure if my post is atypical. I haven't browsed the rest of the forum(s) very much, but I'm willing to bet it's slightly more rare than posts from the abused, though probably I'm not the first "abuser" to post.

I've been with my girlfriend for four months this past Wednesday, and I love her very much. This is the first time anything like this has happened. I was very drunk and irresponsible. I would like to add that I've just learned today about the semi-clinical phenomenon of alcoholic blackouts. Not unusually, I'd had experience with blacking out before, and I was aware that other people incurred them, but I never thought of them as some sort of concrete phenomena that occur more particularly to specific individuals. I've learned a lot reading these forums, too.. not because there's been anything all too original said, because I'm an intelligent person who thinks and has thought a lot, but I sincerely lack empathy sometimes, or I chastise myself for being worse at it than I think I ought to be, and it was refreshing getting a different perspective on what has transpired and the way my girlfriend is dealing with has happened to her.

I would like first to say that she and I have consumed alcohol with fair amounts of regularity together. we're more 'sophisticates' than party-goers, though, and this past New Year's eve was the first time we'd attended a party together, and the first time we've so horribly irresponsibly consumed vast quantities of liquor in various combinations.

for some part, I feel not entirely responsible for what has happened: the party was mentioned to me and I was invited, the people hosting it were immature kids who were mostly getting drunk for the first time and purchased too much liquor, the environment and the people involved were irresponsible, and they contributed to my irresponsibility by filling my beer bottle with spiced rum. it was at that point, after some 10-20 shots of various other things and a few beers, and a few sips of obscure liquers, that I completely blacked out.

I'm also very skeptical of what I've been told by everyone attending the party with me (all of 7 people), because they too were drunk and blacking out, and I don't see how they can manage so successfully to piece events together. her friend, whom she's been staying with since, and who hosted the party, happens just as well to be a very frequent liar, and the environment she's now immersed in concerns me with respect to how our relationship will continue, in spite of me knowing that she is an intelligent girl with her own mind. but my girlfriend remembers me hurting her, and I don't think she would ever lie to me, so, whatever happened, I hurt her and her word is good enough for me.

whatever the case, I was also irresponsible, and I placed myself in this environment, and I was in a bad mood before drinking, which I've learned is a serious no-no. and it was me who acted, whether it was only some small part of me that will never be awakened again--it was me, and it was awakened that night. so I take responsibility for what happened, and it hurts me a lot, too, though I know it can't be comparable to what my dear, dear lovely [hopefully] future wife is going through. I got angry that night that they wouldn't let me drive, and so I walked home barefoot with no coat, some five miles. as soon as I got in, my mother who'd been out driving the streets looking for me, came in and told me what I had done, and the emotions that in that moment overcame me were powerful, and comprised of varying amount of: disbelief, shame, and emotional hurt.

from what I have been reading of various accounts of abuse, I don't think I fit the typical profile of a career abuser, and I have vowed not to drink again if that's what it takes to avoid this nasty reality of what I am, or what my biology/psychology compels me to be. I mean it. the girl I love is beautiful to me, and I would never have hurt her if I'd known where I was at or what I was doing, and never will I again, assuming she even allows for the possibility that I might be close enough to her again. it would be like tearing the head off of a small puppy, or a small child, but worse, because it would be my child.

this is a small comfort. it would also seen she has taken wise steps in discontinuing contact with me for a while that she can compose her thoughts and regain her footing in reality.

I have been focused very much on my reaction to things and the way that I feel. I have felt like it wasn't me, so she should be able to forgive me. and then I realized it was me, even if I was provoked and it won't happen again. she doesn't know that, and she has every right to be suspect, especially considering her history (oh, god, you sweet, precious woman, I love you; I'm sorry). she also has told me she'd gotten scared the 2-3 other times I got mad and raised my voice with her, and even feigned any small modicum of violence. I told her she should not be concerned of me, but now I feel really bad for suggesting that she not, and what can I say of it? I wish she didn't have to be scared of anyone.

and I have thought that, yes, it was a terrible thing, but it was a two hour period during one night, and there's this huge divide: four months of amazingness and love and commitment on one side, and the despair and confusion we've both faced since. I don't think it's fair not to allow for some hurt on my part, because it did hurt me to know I did what I did, and it hurt me to know she was hurt. It's hurt me significantly to know that I may have lost her, though. is that comparable to what I did to her, or does that make us equal or even? no, not at all, but I am a human, and I have feelings and concerns, and I'm wondering what I ought to be doing. my primary concern that morning was for her wellbeing. but I feel like she can't remember how great I was to her then, and that this was a terrible accident. I was at first unable to give her time to be alone, because I thought that it meant she didn't want me anymore, and I was scared to death. I am very needy. in fact, I had an interesting realization earlier that I may have latent hatred for my mother, whose visage and demeanor resembles that of my primary subject, because I feel abandoned by her, that may have in those drunken, blacked out moments elicited such horrendous reactions in me.

I am a selfish person, and I realize it, but I am not abusive. I have been so desperately wondering what I can do. I do not want to coerce or manipulate her, and I know that it is up to HER now to make a decision, but I feel like I have been given the short shrift and that she can't see me for the person I feel like I really am now. I violated her trust, but ... it just wasn't me, and I can tell her and anyone that I'm doing everything in my power to ensure it never happens again. I know that I can't say that to her. I want to show her, but I must be given a chance.

I realize that she needs her time, and I have been giving it to her finally, after I was able to calm down and forego my tendencies to console her, or to impart my understanding to her. that's not what she needed, and she told me so. I should have listened to her from the first. I have also compounded things by being impulsive, which humans tend to do when desperate, and sometimes heeding particularly unhelpful advice from friends on how I should be. I have resigned myself to not doing anything. is this correct? is it likely, given what I've said about how great our relationship was before, and how committed we were to one another, that she will forgive me, and that we can work through this? this is our hardest test yet, but I feel like, if there were such a thing as a "soul mate," I had found it, and I know that if her words were true (her actions certainly were, and you can't fake that), that so had she. I just desperately want my love back, and I know that there's nothing I can do to ensure that she comes back, but I'm sincerely hopeful that there may be someone out there who can tell me if it's considerably likely.

I thihk so, when I intellectualize rather than think emotionally. and she has, in all her pain, been trying to comfort ME through this period, and she has said some encouraging, reassuring things, but then sometimes she wants to be left alone (and as I said, I have been leaving her to herself for a couple of days now--far too long for me, considering how inseparable we were over the past four months), or that she's not sure what she wants to do, and, most recently, that she only maybe wants to try.

I do want to care for her and give her what she needs, very desperately, but I too have concerns, and I suppose I would like it if anyone knowledgeable or experienced in this area could provide some new insight or perspective, for both of our sakes. I will be here when she's ready. please take me back, kelly.

if I had to have a way to summarize this, and, rather than making it sound like a statement, to pose it in a way that I can have something answered, I suppose I would do so like this:

being that I did beat my girlfriend and I recognize the terrible reality of it and want to change anything I can, and know that I'm responsible and made a big mistake, but assuming that I AM just someone caught up in a horrible set of circumstances and not an abusive personality, what can I do that, while being sensitive toward my future wife's emotions and needs, I may be able to cope with the reality of feeling unwanted or abandoned? additional: my girlfriend already deals with her problems much differently from me, needing time to think to herself, and that way of managing is often in heavy conflict with my own need to appeal to greater understanding through communication, so I feel particularly confused about this issue.

[ 01-08-2010, 09:12 PM: Message edited by: orca ]

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orca
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quote:
for some part, I feel not entirely responsible for what has happened: the party was mentioned to me and I was invited, the people hosting it were immature kids who were mostly getting drunk for the first time and purchased too much liquor, the environment and the people involved were irresponsible, and they contributed to my irresponsibility by filling my beer bottle with spiced rum. it was at that point, after some 10-20 shots of various other things and a few beers, and a few sips of obscure liquers, that I completely blacked out.
Here's the thing: YOU chose to go to the party and YOU chose to drink. No one forced you to do either of those things. Okay? So if you earnestly want to change, the first step is to realize what is your own doing and stop blaming others for YOUR actions.

I see that you want to change, and I see that you feel very bad about what you did. But words and feelings aren't enough here. If you really want to change, to prove yourself, you can turn yourself in to the police for domestic abuse and you can seek out counseling to ensure that you work through this and never hurt someone again.

You say you aren't the "typical abuser" but there are many kinds of abuse, and even in what you've written here I can see some signs of an abusive personality. In order to really get through this and change yourself to be a good partner, you are going to have to see these things about yourself, to see that there are many things about your personality that are not healthy. I know that's difficult and no one likes to admit they are not as perfect or as healthy as they seem, but if you want to have a good relationship, not just with Kelly but with anyone, you're going to have to admit these things to yourself.

At this point, it's imperative that you do maintain distance from your girlfriend and that you respect her wishes not to communicate with you. If you decide to go into counseling to stop yourself from abusing anyone in the future, your counselor may also suggest that you not be in a relationship for a period of time, and certainly not with the person you abused. This is for both the person you have abused and for yourself.

No one here can tell you what your girlfriend will decide to do. To be perfectly honest, though, if she had come to us and told us that her boyfriend beat her, we would encourage her to leave you. When abuse has escalated to physical violence, it's pretty rare that an abuser will change and it's very likely that the abuse will only get worse over time until the abused person ends up dead or comatose. Don't believe me? From the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which collected their date from the CDC:
quote:
Each year, intimate partner violence (IPV) results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men.
Seventy-four percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96 percent were females killed by their intimate partners.
On the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.

Physical abuse is not something we take lightly here because it does have the potential to be very lethal for everyone involved. As for how to deal with feeling unwanted or abandoned, I think it's important that you remember this was something YOU did to her. Once you violate the very basic rules of a relationship, and abuse is such a violation, you have no right to expect that relationship to continue. Right now, though, you can reach out and get some counseling for yourself. If you want, we'd be glad to help you find some counseling in your area. If money is an issue, understand that many places do offer counseling on a sliding scale so you pay what you can.

Edited to add: I changed the title of your post because it could be triggering to survivors of abuse and many survivors do use this site as a resource. In fact, I am a survivor myself and felt uncomfortable with such a title.

[ 01-08-2010, 08:56 PM: Message edited by: orca ]

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nixieGurl
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Hi Randy Brown,

Before I start, I just want to let you know that from what I can understand of your post, you probably are looking for a lot more sympathy than you are going to get from me, I don't mean this in a disrespectful or hurtful way, I just want to point out a few things that are important to understand, coming from a person who has been abused by boyfriends in her past, okay?

Circumstances don't make someone beat someone else, other people from that party did not open your throat and pour drink down it, that argument is about the same as putting the blame on a woman who was attacked because she was drunk. I don't believe you are taking responsibility or even really feeling what you did was anything you did wrong. It sound's to me like if you really would like to protect your girlfriend in the future (if there is any future) you need to learn to take responsibility for your own actions, not blame alcohol, or other people.

Also, please understand that your views on what happened, what you did to your girlfriend, are pretty typical lines used by abusers, it's very easy to say "I'm sorry, even though it was not really my own fault". Please also understand why your girlfriend may need some time away from you and does not feel like fulfilling your need to have any communication with you about it in order to make you feel better. Right now, she can pretty much ask of you whatever she wants, if that is space, then please give her that.

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randy brown
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I'm not sure what either of you are talking about. have you read what I posted? I do take responsibility for putting myself in that situation and imbibing alcohol, and I've said that I plan never to drink again, if that's what it takes. I'm not an alcoholic; I've only ever been drunk about ten times outside of drinking with my girlfriend, and while we were doing it regularly, it was not every day. I've not had a single drink since then, though it's only been just over a week now.

I'm not turning myself into the police. I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous. I do feel remorse and responsibility, but give me a break. I don't say I'm not the typical abuser. I've been concerned that I am, which is why I'm reading these forums. just because you've had bad experiences doesn't mean you're justified in assuming things about everyone who acts a certain way. I was only saying that it seems like I don't meed the signs of such a personality, and for that I was relieved.

my assertion near the end was only a hypothetical qualification: I don't know what I am or am not, and neither does anyone else. I'm sorry if any of you were abused, but that has nothing to do with me or my situation insofar as the events that transpired are concerned. I admitted fully that I'm making this an issue about me to some extent, and what's wrong with that? I didn't say I'm only thinking of myself, and certainly I'm not. I'm having a hard time understanding what's happened, too, and you can't take my word that I won't do anything like it again and shouldn't, but if you could entertain the idea of that potential reality, that would be great and helpful.

I'm also very incredibly aware that abusive partners sometimes say things similar to what I have. but what on earth do you expect from me? do you want me to start speaking in german? I can only express myself in so many ways, and I haven't been telling my girlfriend "oh, darling, I didn't mean it and I'll never do it again."

I'm only trying to get different perspectives, to try to understand how she's feeling, but also to try to get someone to understand how I am.

additionally, as much as you found my original title offensive, I find yours equally so. what of it? you seem pretty influenced by your experiences and biases. I don't mean to evoke any sort of imagery or memories.

additionally x2: I don't expect sympathy or anything from anyone. if you don't want to post anything, then don't. I'm not forcing you. if you want to rail on me, go ahead, but I'm not sure what you're trying to get out of it. I'm sorry you were hurt by someone, but I'm not him or her.

I guess you can be angry at me for what I did, but I never said I wasn't guilty for it or that I didn't regret it. I would never want to hurt my girlfriend--she has been amazingly good to me. those are words, yes, but if I say it once, you claim I'm not accepting responsibility (and you wouldn't even read it, anyway). if I say it a thousand times, you claim I'm being manipulative. whatever.

you both seem very wont to assault me, which doesn't gel very well in my current understanding with a healthy outlook on handling life problems. there's no need to make assumptions about what I am just because of statistics, however reasonable or scientifically accurate. that's not fair. also, I "abused" my girlfriend once, and it was a horrendous mistake I will never repeat. I don't appreciate being called an abuser, as angry as it must make you to read what I wrote.. I guess? (that bit is probably going to incense someone. I don't know.)

additionally x3: I'm going to guess that most of you who've had to experience the truama of abuse were repeatedly abused, verbally and emotionally. I've never verbally abused my girlfriend to that point. I've never physically abused her to that point. I've never threatened to. I've never had any DESIRE to. I'm not excusing my behavior because I'm drunk. I'm only appealing to the idea that it simply wasn't the person that I am in waking life. Is that so bad? Who would I be trying to manipulate here? She isn't reading my post. I don't need to convince myself.. or, well, maybe I do, but not here.

[ 01-08-2010, 09:59 PM: Message edited by: randy brown ]

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Heather
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Randy: I'm just home from a day working out of the home office, so I'm not going to get into too much depth.

But I do just want to try and address this as clearly and concisely as I can, though I'd strongly suggest that you also give weight to the other two in-depth responses the volunteers have given you.

I hear you saying this incident of physical abuse was, so far, something one-time for you, something you feel quite certain you will not do again. However, you also say some things that show me flags of what may well have been/be someone who was leading up to this kind of incident. By all means alcohol impairs judgment, so it can heighten these things, but at the same time, you said:

you have problems being empathetic, you express you are often impuslive and you state you are selfish
your girlfriend has expressed feeling scared of you before
you refer to her as both "your small child" and your "wife-to-be." I get the child thing was an analogy, however, it's an odd one when talking about a partner, and a wife-to-be is an odd thing to call someone who wants, right now, to be away from you
you have said she has wound up trying to console you in this

As well, while I understand the volunteers were saying things I've no doubt were not pleasant to hear, and were likely challenging, your response is also highly combative. You even go so far as accusing the volunteers of assaulting you, which is very strange, since you are here asking for help about YOUR assaulting someone, and their responses, while likely rough to hear, are only honest. If someone abuses someone, they have been an abuser, just like if someone has eaten meat, they have been a carnivore, or if someone has sewn a dress, they have been a seamstress.

And see, these kinds of things are all signals of some typical abusive/abuser dynamics. In other words, these kinds of things are pretty typical with someone who is being abusive, who is engaging in those dynamics.

Ultimately, we're not going to be able to help you much here, simply because counseling abusive people isn't really within our scope, and the same groups and orgs who counsel victims tend to be poor choices for people who victimize to choose.

What I would suggest, instead, and I think would be the best thing regardless, is that you seek out a therapist or support group which does specialize in counseling abusers/those who have perpetrated abuse. All the study we have when it comes to this stuff strongly supports that to break cycles of abuse, and not repeat abuse, counseling tends to be the golden ticket. That doesn't always work, but when a person really commits to it and sticks with it, it's the one things that has been found (that and jail time, actually) to stop the cycle and to help someone from abusing (physically, emotionally, sexually, what have you) again.

I would also advise, as a counselor for someone who has perpetrated abuse likely will, too, that in seeking out help, you recognize that to he helped -- and also for your girlfriend to take care of her own healing -- you're likely going to need to maintain a distance from her for some time. This isn't something or you to work through as a couple, now, because this isn't an issue of your being a couple, as she didn't do this. This is YOUR issue to deal with first. Once you take the time to deal with your part of it, which is often a good deal of time, then you can talk to whomever is helping you about the possibility of this relationship and talk to your girlfriend and see what she wants then.

Okay? If you need help finding these support services, I would be glad to help you get connected with them in your area.

[ 01-08-2010, 10:06 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Ecofem
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quote:
I'm not sure what either of you are talking about. have you read what I posted? I do take responsibility for putting myself in that situation and imbibing alcohol, and I've said that I plan never to drink again, if that's what it takes. I'm not an alcoholic; I've only ever been drunk about ten times outside of drinking with my girlfriend, and while we were doing it regularly, it was not every day. I've not had a single drink since then, though it's only been just over a week now.

I'm not turning myself into the police. I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous. I do feel remorse and responsibility, but give me a break. I don't say I'm not the typical abuser. I've been concerned that I am, which is why I'm reading these forums. just because you've had bad experiences doesn't mean you're justified in assuming things about everyone who acts a certain way. I was only saying that it seems like I don't meed the signs of such a personality, and for that I was relieved.

my assertion near the end was only a hypothetical qualification: I don't know what I am or am not, and neither does anyone else. I'm sorry if any of you were abused, but that has nothing to do with me or my situation insofar as the events that transpired are concerned. I admitted fully that I'm making this an issue about me to some extent, and what's wrong with that? I didn't say I'm only thinking of myself, and certainly I'm not. I'm having a hard time understanding what's happened, too, and you can't take my word that I won't do anything like it again and shouldn't, but if you could entertain the idea of that potential reality, that would be great and helpful.

I'm also very incredibly aware that abusive partners sometimes say things similar to what I have. but what on earth do you expect from me? do you want me to start speaking in german? I can only express myself in so many ways, and I haven't been telling my girlfriend "oh, darling, I didn't mean it and I'll never do it again."

I'm only trying to get different perspectives, to try to understand how she's feeling, but also to try to get someone to understand how I am.

Hi Randy,

First, I want to remind you of our statement of purpose and the guidelines you agreed to when you signed up. Right now you are breaking them. We do not allow survivor bashing or victim blaming. We exist mainly to assist survivors; we are glad to help self-identified abusers to help get resources to change but we also need that to occur in a safe environment. I hear you saying you want to change your behavior and open up the possibly of your girlfriend coming back in the first response but I'm getting a very negative vibe from what you wrote here. We sincerely do want to assist you in obtaining resources but, for that, we ask that you remain openminded and respectful. If you feel you cannot abide by these guidelines or disagree with what you're saying, you are welcome to seek support from other sources.

OK, I hear you are not interested in going to the police. However, what about seeking out professional help in the form of therapy like orca mentioned? This really isn't about being any type of abuser; instead, you identified yourself as having exhibited abusive behavior and feeling remorse for it. It's a very hard thing to recognize in yourself and doing so is a big, important, and good step; from there, it is recommended -- in fact, many people consider it essential -- to seek professional help in changing this behavior. There are a number of ways to do this but calling that number is a first step.

As orca and NixieGirl have said, you must respect your girlfriend's wishes to be left alone now. What was done was done and, both legally and interpersonally, one cannot be given a "break" for it. However, you can recognize it was bad (as you did) and then move on to work on yourself and hope for better things in future relationship once you have worked on your own behavior.

As for hearing various perspectives, we are unified in our approach and beliefs. Therefore, if you're looking to hear differently than what has been said, that's not something that is going to happen on these forums.

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randy brown
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thank you for your response, Heather. I found it much more objective and fair-handed than the two preceding it. I'm aware that I have my flaws, and I have been concerned about what kind of person I might be. I don't know if I actually do have problems being empathetic, but I'm paranoid that I might; how would I know, though, since I'm not anyone else and I can't gauge the power with which they experience it? I didn't say that I'm often impulsive, though maybe I am. I said that in this moment, when I am so scared and alone and don't know what to do, I'm impulsive. who wouldn't be? even if I am an abusive *******, I'm still a person with learned behaviors and experiences. that doesn't objectively and concretely "excuse" anything, but that's not what I mean. I just mean that I have things that I think about concerning myself, because I am myself, and, whatever I did, I'm still going to feel something. my girlfriend expressed a feeling of being scared of me before because of her history. I raised my voice to her to vent my frustration, but that was the extent of anything I'd done in the past to her. the 'small child' thing was an analogy, and it was meant to be ridiculous, not serious; I'm sorry you didn't pick up on that, but I'm used to conversing online with certain people in a certain manner. I refer to her as my wife to be with the qualification of "hopefully." she was, only a week ago, and I won't deny that I hope she someday still is. she wants, right now, to be alone and in her own thoughts. she hasn't said outright she wants to be away from me, and many times of her own volition she's said that she thinks she wants to try to work things out. I didn't coerce her into that.

I did say she's been trying to console me in this. does that make me abusive? it makes me someone who is needy and incredibly obsessive, certainly. I thought I could appeal to her on some level and try to make her understand where I'm coming from. it has been hard, but I have been leaving her alone for a few days now. she was simply trying to give me what I needed, because she loves me and cares for me a great deal. I didn't ask her for it, nor did I manipulate her into doing it. I don't threaten to leave her, hurt her, hurt myself, or anyone else. she just knows how pitifully attached I am, because I have no friends and my past with my mother, and wants me to feel secure. in a way, I guess, I feel vaguely guilty for that. but I'm giving her what she needs now, as far as I know, because I want her to have her wishes respected, and for her to be happy (bad choice of words given the sequence of events, but I'm making a reference to some of my failings earlier in the relationship--I won't say everything was always peachy, because it wasn't, but we had a lot, and nothing like this remotely occured), too.

my responses to posts online are almost inherently always combative, because people try to combat me. I feel that the other two posters were acting somewhat impulsively out of a desire for retribution at some faceless hypothetical person that I may or not be. that doesn't seem fair to me, and I didn't exactly resort to insults or anything. assaulting is a metaphorical term in the context it was placed. what do you want me to say about that? I use words in interesting ways sometimes. I'm sorry if that hits too close to home for anyone who may be reading this or whatever. just to mention an irrelevancy, I'm not exactly a psychopath. I was assaulted just two months prior by her father, with no resistance on my part because I wanted not to harm him, and I wanted not to harm her by proxy. he wasn't drunk, and he's been mean to her before. I made a mistake, but I want to show her that the world can be good and people can be different. am I sure of myself? no. and who knows, maybe there's some superdevil brewing in my stomach that will be unleashed, and if she gives me another chance, that one next time could be the last. I don't know. I don't want sympathy, though. I don't want anything. I'm not sure too much why I bothered whatever it is I was bothering for. I just can't stop thinking about this, and I have no one to talk to, especially not her right now.

as much as you seem to think I've taken liberty with words, though, you're hardly taking into account tonality or context. I'm well aware of the technical definition of "abuser," but I'm seriously doubting you can't see it was structured by the moderator, or whatever he is, who edited it in a state of heightened emotionality, and not with the sincerity of being totally objective. you seem smart enough to see that, at least. I'm not saying it's fair or unfair, and I really don't care, but it seemed ironic?

I'm not seeking counsel for being abusive. I don't want to rationalize or justify my behavior. I'm not sure what I'm looking for, but I wish you could see that, while often times I'm sure many men are that kind of person and will do it again and again, not everyone is. you can tell that I'm a very peculiar person, and that's because I'm not very conventional. I have lived a sheltered life, and as far as I'm aware I was never abused. I don't think I have any learned response toward women, men, or anyone that involves excessive violence. I just made a mistake.

I'm also aware that it's my issue to deal with, in terms of what happened and it being prevented from reoccuring. I am working on that. I'm not big on clinical help or whatever, but I have been to a psychologist before (only in recent times, in fact), and I'm not adverse to going back. I was thinking about it before I ever came to this site.

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Heather
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I can make bigger comments tomorrow, I need to be done with work today, as I have been working with only a 2-hour break since 6 this morning. However, I also need to be sure you hear me when I say that providing counsel and care for people who have abused is outside of our scope. So, my doing what I can to help you get help from someone from whom it IS in their scope. You say you want help, and that's what I know helps: to ask any of us to think differently on that is to ask us to deny what sound study on the matter has shown.

But just a couple things. First, I have the utmost respect for our volunteers and while they may have said things differently, there's a reason I suggested giving their words weight: I don't think they were unobjective or unfair.

That said...

quote:
I did say she's been trying to console me in this. does that make me abusive?
What that suggests is a potentially abusive dynamic. In other words, in a relationship which is or may be emotionally abusive, dynamics often develop which are pretty backwards like this: where the person who was hurt is trying to make the person who HURT them feel better.

In other words, I think you can recognize that if a friend punched you in the face, and you turned around and made sure THEY were okay, that'd be really off, right?

As well, not everyone is impulsive. You ask who wouldn't be: am I missing something, or do you understand that not everyone is impulsive?

It might help to understand that when someone is looking to assess if something is abusive -- rather than a one-shot deal, or an accident or mistake -- what they/we look for are more than one marker of abuse/abusive dynamics in context. We also look to see how everyone is feeling: I'd say your girlfriend saying she has felt afraid of you in the past is something to pay a LOT of attention to. That is very meaningful, vital information. So is her having an abusive parent: often, if we grow up in abuse, it's our "normal" so we don't see other abusive relationships we form clearly or know how to even have relationships without abusive dynamics, because, after all, where would we learn?

(FYI, if someone has been abused before, then their partners will need to be even better than your average joe AT being highly empathetic, avoiding things that may trigger that person -- like yelling, for instance -- and be very willing to look at those dynamics to assure they are setting up a healthy relationship. Partners that can't do those things aren't likely to be safe or sound partners for survivors of abuse.)

You say something about your past with your mother: want to fill me in on that?

And so are a couple other things you mention here, like having no friends, having big attachment/insecurity issues. I also think seeing other people as out to get you, and attaching the volunteers responses for a "need for retribution" (how would they get such a thing via their responses to you, really? Look at them again, and try to see them clearly. I very much think you're projecting).

I don't think the volunteers were, again, being unobjective or saying what they did to you in a "state of heightened emotionality." Were they being 100% objective? I doubt it, simply because complete objectivity when someone is stating they have physically assaulted a partner is pretty much impossible. But in looking at their responses, I think they were being as objective, and honest, as possible. I also think some of the issue is that you just do not like what was said. I get that, but when someone has been abusive, especially if they want to not do that again, it's vital we call a spade a spade. Shying away from the words that describe what you did and have been is more likely to get you stuck than help you change. Catch my drift?

Here's the thing: you came asking for help and seeking counsel. We're trying to give it to you. But if you're making clear that you will not seek out counseling or help for this, I have to tell you that it's very likely this -- or other kinds of abuse -- will happen again, in this relationship or others. I am a big fan of doing all I can to present people with as many options as possible when they want help, but in this case, especially when from what I can gather, while this may have been the first incident of physical abuse, there may be other abusive or dysfunctional dynamics in place, counseling of some kind is the only thing that I know of, and have seen data to support, that WILL really help and assure it doesn't continue.

If you want something to look at between tonight and tomorrow, I'd suggest checking this out: http://www.jacksonkatz.com/wmcd.html Jackson Katz is a highly respected, and really fantastic, man who works with men around abuse, and that list is a good place to start.

In case you haven't seen this piece, it's another that might out some good foundation out there for you: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/relationships/blinders_off_getting_a_good_look_at_abuse_and_assault

[ 01-08-2010, 11:48 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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randy brown
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alright, you've given the indication multiple times that it's not really your forte to "assist" people with the problems I'm facing, in whatever capacity. that's fine.I'm aware that it may suggest a possibly abusive dynamic if my partner makes an effort to comfort me in the event she's been hurt. but it's not an obviously causal relationship. I've told you as best I can that I don't manipulate her to react in any certain way when she's been wronged. or, if I do, I'm not aware of it. I have been manipulative with other women or girls in the past, and I'm not afraid to admit that. I've made a valiant effort not to be with my current girlfriend, because I've been tired of playing emotional games and had no desire to continue them, and I saw what we had as something free from the absurdity of such things. we've always been very honest and sincere with one another. I don't belittle or demean her, or call her names. we have healthy, reasoned arguments whenever we get into fights. that said, I won't deny that I make it clear how incredibly insecure I am, and sometimes she makes an effort to reassure me a lot. but I never made a threat or coercion toward achieving that "end," if it even is an end. she does it because she loves me. after I'd hurt her, I was apparently trying to leave in my car, and her friends took her into another room to console her while others watched me. she apparently cried for hours how she loves me, and to them not to let me get hurt. is that healthy? well, maybe or maybe not, but I think it shows a depth of caring for me that, standing alone, could easily account for what I've described. just as well, if you don't look at it by itself, it could show an unhealthy attachment borne out of less-than-savory influences. who knows?

I can recognize that if a friend punched me in the face and I asked them if they were okay, that would be off. however, that's not even a remotely fair analogy. I was the one to hurt her, but I've discussed it some amount with her since, until recent days when I've been giving her the space to work out her thoughts, and it's not gone unsaid that I was scared she was leaving me, and that I also was hurt because I hurt her and because she was hurt. does that sound unfair or selfish? It maybe sounds selfish, but that doesn't automatically translate to abusiveness. in a sense, it could be indirectly manipulative, if it could be understood that her response to such a perceived harm to myself would result in an emotional reaction that afforded her undue sympathy. but I'm a blunt person, and I never worded my pain in such a way as to indicate that hers is less important, or that she should focus on satiating me. I'm only really scared. whether you "believe" me or not, I really love and care for her, and I want to be here for her, to take care of her, for her to be okay, and happy, and to have a good, fulfilling life. is it selfish, also, that I might necessarily include myself in what it requires (or what is ideal) for her to be happy and fulfilled? possibly. but I'm a human with desires, and that's inherently selfish. at some point I may be able to distance myself from such chemical attachments, and to allow her whatever she needs in spite of my relationship to her. you must admit that's difficult, whomever you are or whatever your psychological makeup. I want it to work. if I didn't, why would I have been with her for the past four months? why would I be leaving her alone now, in spite of the pain and confusion it affords me to do so, whether comparable to her pain or immediately relevant to the problem as viewed objectively?

I'm not implying that everyone is impulsive. I think that was a failure on your part to read clearly what I was saying. I'm only saying that in a moment of despair, of loneliness, many or most people, especially those unexperienced and insecure, will do things seen as irrational in hindsight, but which in that moment seem alluring because there's no ground reference by which to judge the validity of any action, when you've never been faced with a situation like it before, and really you have no control over it.

yes, sure, I'm well aware that any reasonable person is going to try to look for "abusive dynamics," but there's a lot of inherent speculation involved in such an undertaking. you can't know the content of anyone's mind. I'm an advocate of science, for the overwhelming majority of my being, and I understand the utility of properly conducted studies. with that said, sociology is an area where things get very muddy. it's only reasonable to make probability statements. you must realize that science in general, even with such established understandings as the basics of physics or chemistry, every statement made as fact is merely a statement with a probably assigned which, when viewed by humans, is significant enough that we can treat it as a fact. and it must be readily noted that sociology is much more tenuously founded, with respect to the rigor of more readily comprehended physical realities.
you must also understood that it would be virtually impossible for me not to exhibit ANY signs of abusive dynamics, especially in such a short session of writing and attempts to communicate the situation I'm now immersed in. I appreciate a suggestion of the possibility, but not any unfounded assumption of the truth. I have myself been concerned about such a possibility. I'm only saying that it seems rather unlikely judging by what I know of myself (which isn't always very much), and what I've read from other posts on this site and other resources.

my girlfriend does have some history of past abuse, and that concerns me. I don't think it's really a sign of anything if she has been scared of me when I've raised my voice to her. she has told me her most private secrets, and she's told me that really she's scared of quite a lot, and I can understand that. it really saddens me. but, again, I am a human, and the two or three times I've been frustrated with her, what did you expect me to do? I didn't know until she'd later told me about it that I had scared her so much. that hurt me to know. I was really worried about it past that point. I'll make a valiant effort to keep my calm in the future. do you know how much effort it took to remain as calm as I did? always, except when being a drunken moron, the reasons I've been frustrated are as follows: she commits some action that makes me feel in that moment I'm unwanted, and I ask her why she is doing that, or why she's being different. she doesn't tell me, says she's not being different. we have since discussed it, and I've learned why she feels the way she does and why she acts that way sometimes, and I've been working on understanding it and fixing my reaction to it. however, I can't read minds, and it takes a lot of work to learn the true nature of anyone's way of thinking. relationships are a lot of work, but I have been trying. when she makes me feel unwanted, I don't get angry at her. I get very scared and upset, and I usually end up crying. you could see that as a form of manipulation, I guess, if I made it an active effort on my part to persistently bring myself to tears. but it's nothing like that. it's an automatic response, borne out of sincere hurt. and you wouldn't be able to know just by me saying it happens which it was. when I get upset and scared, and then, on top of that, I try to discuss it with her to find out what's wrong and she can't communicate with me, eventually I get frustrated with what's happening, and I don't see how you could have blamed me for that. I have to vent my frustration at some point; I'm not a robot. I said some mean things once or twice, sure, but they were not demeaning or belittling, and they were not numerous. I raised my voice for about thirty seconds, because I simply didn't know what else to do to get her to comprehend how I was feeling, or that I wanted to discuss it. and then I calmed myself down, with a mighty effort because I care about her sincerely and didn't want to harm her [emotionally, that is--don't get any ideas, please] or put myself in a terrible situation where she might think I really despise her, and I told her I'm sorry and I didn't mean it. I didn't, but that doesn't mean I'm never right to be frustrated. I've told you I'll make as good an effort as it's in my power to do not to get angry with her, but you may be asking too much, because I am only human. I don't think you can fault me for that. when I was drunk and angry, so you know, it would have nothing to do with me being mad. she can't seem to draw a difference right now, which pains me and I wish that I could show her there is a difference, but being drunk has made me irrationally crazy, with no real provocation. being angry in a sober state is a different affair--it is an easily rationalized action out of a need to express my frustration at the lack of communication. being drunk, there was nothing to communicate in the first--she was always good to me, and I simply went off because I wasn't in my right mind.

I feel abandoned by my mother because, when I was young, she sent me to some sort of behavioral corrections center for some time, and I was confused and alone, and I feel entirely violated. I must have lost all trust in her, and a lot of love and respect. I don't want to make it about me. I'm sorry I can't give you fuller details, but my childhood is muddy sometimes, and my family hasn't managed really to tell me all that much about what really happened. my girlfriend has in the past reminded me of my mother a good deal, taking care of me, providing for me sometimes, making me food, comforting me when I was sick or having a bad reaction to some drug we were using, and... I don't know. obviously reassuring me when I feel insecure is included in that. she's also vaguely, uh, anatomically representative of my mother. it is for that reason that I have suspected some of my actions committed while blacked out may be an expression of this latent hatred or feeling of abandonment, my subconscious self having meant to direct them toward my mother, where in this instance it was only an immediate physical "effigy" of her. the people attending that party are liars, and my girlfriend has nowhere to stay right now because her family shits on her, and her dad kicked her out of her house after he asasulted me.. it's a long and irrelevant story. but she's been since staying with the people who hosted the party until she can get on her feet, or regain her emotional and mental bearings. that she has somewhere to stay I am grateful, but I all the same wish for a better environment, especially in this time. that was a tangent, though. her friend and the main host of the party, whom I irresponsibly tried to discuss my feelings with in recent days (a huge mistake being what a liar she is, and how bad the situation is already; I sincerely didn't realize), has told me some things I apparently did or said under the influence that night. I don't put ANY stock into what this woman says, because she's also told me that my girlfriend lied to me (this woman lies to her husband, mind you, in the worst way), and I know that my girlfriend would not do that, and I won't take it with anything more than a grain of salt until I hear it said from her mouth. but if there's any modicum of truth to what she said, or if I did anything resembling what she said, then the words I uttered and the actions I committed could easily be construed as a desire to lash out at the figure my girlfriend in that moment resembled, who wasn't her. I cannot see myself saying those things to her ever, for I do not think them. at all.

I don't like what was said? well, do I have to? I don't think that makes me any more or less objective than the other posters. I didn't say anyone was out to get me. you sincerely don't seem to be, and you're saying some of the same things they had. it's all about the approach. I'm also more than aware what you are or have been saying about me being an "abuser," but, honestly, it just doesn't fit into who I am at all, and while it's something I want to ensure never happens again, I'm not going to go around being self-deprecating and self-hating, because that doesn't help me to improve myself in the slightest. I can recognize what I did without debasing myself for it, though I think I maybe ought to condescend to such things at times as a form of punishment.

[ 01-09-2010, 02:02 PM: Message edited by: randy brown ]

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Heather
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Randy: this is a lot for me to take in, and I obviously don't want to shortcut with you, even though I will only be able to give so much input on this because of the limitations of our scope and service that I already expressed to you.

But I am going to sit and read it all through, and offer what I can. In the meantime, though, might you at least be willing to post a zip code here so that I can see if I can't find you some resources you can at least call and consider?

Doesn't mean you have to (obviously) go through with getting services from them, but I want to see if we can't at least give you some support services you can research to think about using. Okay?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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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randy brown
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if you would like. 37312.
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Heather
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Just FYI, I did just read this all through.

My core feeling and thought on this is that what it most sounds like to me is that as much as you want to be with this person and get serious, that you two simply may be a really poor fit for each other. In the first few months, relationships really shouldn't be much "work" for one thing, in that phase of a relationship, things should actually be very effortless when it's a good fit. And in only four months, going to thoughts of lifelong partnership is WAY fast, and tends to suggest that folks aren't really thinking clearly or conducting a relationship at a healthy pace. No one is going to be able to suss out who is likely to be a sound and good life partner for them in that kind of time period: when people think they know this so quickly, it's usually more about people both very desperately wanting that kind of connection/relationship at the same time than it is about seeing real compatibility. Again, really great compatibility -- or people really both being ready for an intimate relationship -- would not be such hard work so early on.

As well, I think both of your histories, per what I know about them at this point -- both of which sound very challenging -- and your separate emotional wounds, as well as how you both manage them (or both don't, really, from the sounds of things) sound very much at odds.

In other words, I think you both probably each need to get sound help working through them with a helping professional or SOME kind of assistance before either of you may be up to having and handling a serious intimate relationship, and most certainly one where both partners need things which it's a big challenge for the other to provide.

Like I said, for someone who has been abused, they will need a partner who is MORE empathetic than most. For someone, like you, who it seems has dealt with some neglect, you'll need a partner who is capable of processing issues you two may have together more than separately. Can you see how, with these two incompatibilities alone -- and these are just the way both of you are, right now, as people, these are character issues -- you two having a relationship that's really a good fit for both of you is likely to be difficult, and perhaps even ask things of both of you which you either just aren't capable of providing at this point in your lives, or which may even be antithetical to both of your natures?

I'm not going to get into an intellectual discussion here about the difference between social science and other kinds of science. That strikes me as a diversion, and it's also just something else that's far afield of what we do here and how I need to be spending my time and our limited resources.

In terms of language, if you feel like "abuser" is too loaded for you (understandable) and would not help your process, how about trying on simply seeing the way this relationship (at least in some ways) has been dysfunctional and unhealthy, and how you have been unhealthy in it? Maybe starting from a standpoint of thinking of yourself as interpersonally unhealthy right now is language that would better support you trying to reach a goal of becoming healthy.

I also want to be clear that as far as I am concerned, "punishing" oneself isn't useful. What's useful, and can actually help lead to positive outcomes, is simply holding oneself fully responsible for our actions. You thinking you have been "bad" or whatever doesn't get anyone anywhere. On the other hand, recognizing -- as it sounds like you do, you just need to really hold to that and commit, such as by not blaming alcohol even if it was one factor -- you did your girlfriend harm, you assaulted your girlfriend, and you may have participated in, enabled or drove some dynamics which have been unhealthy CAN get you somewhere and help protect others and yourself.

[ 01-09-2010, 02:35 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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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Heather
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(Thanks for the zip, and I'll start researching for you on that.)

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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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Heather
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Randy: I have a few emails out to services in your area requesting referral information. If and when I hear back from any of them directly, I will let you know.

However, this -- 423-652-9092 -- is the number for an organization called Abuse Alternatives that serves Tennessee and other areas. They provide support services for survivors, but also group counseling/intervention services and programs for those who batter/abuse or have battered/abused.

So, you could start by calling them and finding out more about what that entails.

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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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randy brown
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I think that the issue of the validity of sociology or whatever we're calling it is mildly important, though it was mostly an aside. All I'm doing is calling out the utility of making any degree of concrete statement about the situation based on your experiences or perhaps questionably applicable studies.

And, honestly, I think a lot. I think too much, and I'm tired of trying to hypothesize about the innumerable potentialities of the situation. It's only hurting me to keep intellectualizing so much. But at least I'm not rationalizing. For all that I feel intellectualization of such an issue is absurd and right now not what is needed, I think you're doing it too much. I simply don't think there is a handbook on what makes a relationship, or what is good and not good. Not everyone's relationship is remotely the same thing, not even necessarily in any small, inherent capacity. Our four months are different from your four months, or his four months, or their four months. You seem to be sort of patronizing, indirectly, about how show of a duration that is to really get to understand someone. In a way, it may be. I don't know. What I do know is that we're both intelligent people who're a lot more mature than many or most others, as many problems as we may still have. Maybe, ideally, or maybe even objectively, a relationship of four months should not take so very much work. I never said that it had, though, but only that not everything had been roses and oranges or whatever that silly euphemism is. I wanted to admit that, because it seems a lot of abusive personalities try to make it seem like everything was fine before. It wasn't. But this is our biggest test by far to date, and it had nothing to do with the duration we'd been together, but the circumstances we both placed ourselves in. What do you want me to say of that? We haven't had so very many problems as you seem to be suspecting. For the first two months, we had nothing resembling a "fight." It was after her father assaulted me that things started getting a little hairy, but we'd been happy since, and we'd worked those things out. They didn't even approach the insanity of what's happened since, and, as much as I know the possibility of what happened New Year's loomed over us always and could just as well happened sometime later, if it hadn't happened then I would say with fair confidence we could keep going for a very long time with minimal friction.

I'm an idealist (not philosophically, but romantically) in a lot of ways, and I'll be the first to admit that. However, my girlfriend and I have made a commitment to each other, understanding the reality, the fragility of most relationships, that however tough things became, we would work through them. Relationships don't exist in a vacuum. And nothing ever is going to be as perfect as an unflawed diamond. I don't know what you expect. You don't know the situation, and it could be we have more or less problems than some hypothetical ideal couple might have. But I think we've done pretty darn well, and I'm only hoping that she can forgive me, and I can work on myself to make sure this never happens again, starting by avoiding such environments, substances, and influences, and working things out with my family and mother. She knows I have mother issues, and once we start talking again, I plan on not broaching the subject so very soon, but trying to enjoy each other and easing our way back into being moderately content, until I have earned her trust, and at that point I would like to discuss my problems with her, and what I'm doing to solve them. I've already told her I haven't used any substance since, and don't plan on it. I know that she trusts me enough to take me seriously, given what she knows about my stance on drug use and our history of it together. You have told me you're not going to change your mind on the way you see this issue, and that's fine. But I'm going to be a bit obstinate, too, because I know that we had something together, and that we both still really care for one another. I think it can work out. It will be very hard for us, and, sure, maybe we're not as prepared emotionally as some people yet. But we can try, and if I don't ever hurt her again, and I make the greatest effort to treat her the way she deserves and I want to treat her, then who are you to suggest it might not work out, or that the situation is hopeless for us both?

I don't mean to be "combative" with that, nor defensive, but I'm merely being, I guess, hopeful of what we had, and who both of us really are.

edit: I'm also wondering if I might have bottled up inside a sort of resentment against her for somewhat supporting her father after he assaulted me. (it did bother me at the time, and I was apparently screaming at her in my drunken stupor to bring her father there so I could harm him, or whatever.)
this would make him the abuser, though that doesn't excuse what I did. he certainly is one, though, and it sucks. I realized just now there are a lot of things I may have just tried to "get over" without discussing them to a sufficient solution with her, because they upset one or both of us. I wish I could tell her that now.

[ 01-09-2010, 03:06 PM: Message edited by: randy brown ]

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Heather
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I have to be frank if you're going to keep engaging me: I don't think that it sounds like this has worked out well.

I think feeling like it's been really hard for both of you THIS early on in a relationship is not an indicator of a relationship that's a good fit. And I think something escalating to physical abuse, period, isn't, especially only a few months in. Two physical abuses, really, when we factor in whatever happened with her father assaulting you.

You also have to recognize that you came here asking for help. No, there is no one handbook on what makes a relationship good or not. There is, however, a great deal of near-unanimous consensus among those of us who work in the realm of interpersonal relationships about the basics of what is or is not healthy.

You say that if and when you two do reconnect, you're going to discuss some of your problems with her and what you're doing to solve them. So, this is one more reason why you will need to actually look into what you WILL do to address all of these issues and start working on them.

And lastly, I'm the person to suggest what I did about this relationship because you cam here and asked my organization to give you this kind of input. I presume you did because these are things we address and have for over ten years, and so, I presume, you felt this was a sound place for you to ask about this at because you felt we had at least some level of expertise. Thus, that's what we're doing.

But if you do not feel we are in the position to make these kinds of evaluations, by all means, I would wholeheartedly support you in seeking out other organizations or professionals to consult with.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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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randy brown
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no... just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm not considering what you've said or that I resent your attempts to help me. by the way, I just added and addendum to my last post before I saw your response, so I would appreciate it if you might read that.

I came here for differing perspectives, because I don't want to be consumed by my own thoughts and biases about what happened. I care for her very much, and I think this is indicative of me being at least moderately serious about ensuring this never happens again. I'm well aware that I need to look at myself and what has happened, and to really see what I'm going to do to fix it. that's why I'm here, and that's what I've been saying. I'll take your advice to seek "help" into consideration. seriously. I'm not being unreceptive. but just because I came here for help doesn't mean I place faith in you unconditionally. I don't do that with anyone. I've been talking to my father, my mother, a few friends, my sister, and god knows who else--anyone who might be able to help me in the slightest (and I'm aware my family will see the positive side of me, even if I am a bad person, so I've instructed them to be as impartial as possible, but I needed someone to discuss with, you know?).

my only objection is the heavy insistence on ending this and moving on. I'm not saying it can work. I really don't know. but some part of me that knows this woman, myself, and our relationship, knows that it can and, while I'm not sure at all, that with some likelihood it will. and when we do reunite, if we do, then I do hope to be prepared.

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Heather
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I think it might be most productive, right now, not to think about a need to ultimately terminate this relationship, actually. Whether or not that's the best thing to do in time, I think right now you'll both be best off simply having space and time to work on immediate interventions/support and the core of these issues, and also seeing what support services/pro helpers you can each see in person have to say and suggest.

Rather, I think you two need space, to each process this on your own with sound help for each of you, to be away from the relationship so you both can best do that, and also to give her space to get her own feelings of earnest safety back and be in the best place to decide if this is a relationship she should continue. In other words, for right now, I'd frame it to yourself as a sabbatical, and time for you to work on things you clearly need to, relationship or no relationship, but certainly before you can have a healthy one that's safe for everyone.

I see your addendum, and that certainly could be some of what went on here. However, that still doesn't address you reacting the way you did -- assaulting rather than discussing -- understand?

I'm glad you're talking to a range of supportive people. Like I said, I'd call that number, but if and when I hear back for the emails I sent out looking for direct referrals for you, I'll fill you in.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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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Heather
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In the meantime, would you like me to suggest some books you might be able to get a hold of? If so, I can do that.

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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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randy brown
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quote:
I see your addendum, and that certainly could be some of what went on here. However, that still doesn't address you reacting the way you did -- assaulting rather than discussing -- understand?
of course I understand that. I said that I bottled it up instead of discussing it with her sufficiently, maybe, because it made both of us feel bad. I've said that I want to be able to discuss it with her in the future, if we work through this.

I also stated explicitly it doesn't excuse anything. but if I had bottled up resentment and in that moment I became a crazy person, then I can sort of start to UNDERSTAND the situation, you know? it has been entirely confusing for me what happened or how.

I thank you for your recommendation on seeing this as a vacation from things. that's really difficult for me to do, though, and I've no idea how long it might take. I'm willing to wait for her, to wait for myself, and to do what's necessary to work through this, but I'm a human and it's really hard to do. I hope you can understand that.

one of my more intelligent friends has told me similar things. this is a time for both of us to flesh out our thoughts and ideas, and to gain new understanding. I can appreciate that, as a pursuer of information, but.. as rational as I am in normal routine, I am very emotionally invested and resultingly irrational when it comes to my relationships. I'm trying hard, but I just want to be sure that I haven't lost the person I thought I would never lose (barring something like this happening.. and it did).

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Heather
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I hear you about bottling up, and agree with you. But knowing we did something, and knowing how to do things differently aren't one and the same. For example, an alcoholic may know exactly why they drink. That knowledge is certainly one good step to recovery, but the knowledge by itself doesn't equip that person with the tools and skills they need to change that behaviour. Capisce?

I get that taking the space is hard, totally, especially if you have issues with abandonment and attachment. And I'm very glad you are trying. I also think it might be helpful to think of this not as losing or keeping someone, but as about being in healthy relationship to other people. Whether or not you "keep" someone isn't what's important, and if that feels like the most important thing, you can know (as it seems you do), you've got some work to do on yourself. What's important is that any relationship we do have is one that's healthy and safe for everyone, of benefit to everyone. Keeping a relationship that's not isn't of value or help to anyone.

I know you're probably not there yet, and I know how heady being in love can be, but when you can get there, it might also help to recognize that thinking you will never be able to lose someone SO early in a relationship, when in any relationship of this length, it'll just barely be starting on getting it's footing, really is premature.

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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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Heather
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Here are some of books I think might be helpful for you, btw:

The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and and How All Men Can Help by Jackson Katz

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft

The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing by Beverly Engel

Men's Work: How to Stop the Violence That Tears Our Lives Apart by Paul Kivel

Learning to Live Without Violence: A Handbook for Men by Daniel Jay Sonkin

--------------------
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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alv
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Hi all,
I am sorry to bring this post up after such a long time of inactivity. As standing from the abusers point of view, I do think that there are several types of abusers.
I am also an unconscious abuser myself. I will not tempt or try to run from the fact that I am an abuser NEVER.
This is how it all started. My Ex and I decided to start after a week of knowing each other. Things were sweet in the first few months of the relationship. However, nightmare began a few months back. It was March 8th, womens day when I forced her to quit smoking...
Until recently, when we had a talk a few hours ago. I abused her again last night when she decided to to go out with friends to a party. I expected her to text me, but I got overly jealous and texted her to offend her, which was again abusive.
This morning, we woke up next to each other and had a serious fight... Then we had a serious talk on what is wrong with me, that I am mentally unstable and have to get professional help. I agree with it fully.
HOWEVER... this is the worst part... when she wanted space from me because she was terrified, I offended her again... by saying stuff like... I dont know how I feel and you should get out. and then I started cursing at her... even after she left... I gave her the finger by the window... I dont know why I did it... I thought it was because I dont want my ex to care anymore for me but I am wrong..
Even broken up... she stil cared so much for me.... I dont want to focus on getting her back or mending her heart... But to fix things and keep my promise to her once and for all... that I to consult a professional. I admit that I am mentally ill... and that I really need her....
I want to know if that... am I doing the right actions right now? I sent her a text message to apologize... but I really doubt that she read them.

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atm1
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alv, in the future, start your own thread, okay? This area is for staff/volunteer replies only.

Now, you absolutely should seek out professional help immediately. You should also completely stop contacting your girlfriend. You can send her one last letter saying that you won't contact her anymore, are getting treatment, and would welcome contact from her at a later date, but you should NOT be sending text messages to apologize or try to engage her in a conversation. That's not healthy for you or her, okay?

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