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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Is this an emotionally abusive relationship?

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Author Topic: Is this an emotionally abusive relationship?
Kadkitty
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I've been dating this guy for a while and we sometimes argue...during which he tends to make criticizing arguments. He always apologizes but tends to end up saying stupid, criticizing things again in the future. He never belittles me, calls me names or anything like that its just other criticism that he has of me...I know that saying how he feels is important but is the way he is doing it emotionally abusive or just badly constructed? Is this normal at all in relationships?
I've asked this on another forum (not scarleteen) and someone thinks that there are red flags for the early stages abusive and warns me to get out while I can. But...I'm really not convinced if its abuse (like intentional) or if he has legitimate opinions and the relationship and doesn't know any better way of getting his point across and keeps upsetting me in his process to communicate...I don't want him to stop communicating and telling me how he feels but I wish I could take it less personally too.
Any advice, help or ideas are appreciated. Thanks for reading and replying!

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Heather
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Can you be more specific about these criticisms?

As in, toss out some examples?

And what's the relationship like otherwise? What are the arguments usually about?

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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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Kadkitty
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well...
neither of us smoke but I live with people who do and he doesn't like to smell smoke on me, so he told me that which made me feel bad...he said it made him sick and stuff and I took it personally
he also did not like a story I told, and told me that it would not be a good story to use on a first date
he doesn't like my decisions of not going to college for what I initially had wanted to go for...
and just things like that
Otherwise the relationship is great, he is very caring and loving. He likes communicating/talking to me and he is better at communicating and showing his feelings than I am (as in being warm, telling you he loves you kind of things)

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Heather
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Okay.

I'm not really hearing anything here which sets off any warning lights for me when it comes to abusive dynamics.

People get to voice things they dislike: saying you don't like the smell of smoke and that it makes you feel sick isn't abusive. Saying a given story isn't a good one for X situation isn't, either. Having the idea it might be better for someone to go to college, same thing.

To give you a better idea, let's go with the smoke issue.

His saying YOU smell awful, all the time -- "You stink! Ugh, I hate how you smell. You smell so bad. Take a shower, you filthy slob," -- without specifying why, with that kind of blaming language, and/or routinely would tip off my radar, or telling you, perhaps knowing your finances are limited and you like your living situation, that your roomies are crap, smell like hell, and you'd better move or else, etc: that's more abusive than just a complaint. Because someone does or does not take something personally doesn't influence if a person is being abusive.

Partners/dates are allowed to be critical now and then, and to voice things they don't like or are troubled by. With abuse, we're also looking for patterns that continue and escalate over time, and which don't really need arguments or points of contention to happen. But if you feel like he's just kind of constantly complaining about things, or that there are criticisms he voices again and again about things you either can't change or don't want to, then it's your volley to tell him that and just ask him to chill.

Did you read this: Blinders Off:Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault? This is also a good explanation: http://www.narcissisticabuse.com/verbalabuse.html

Also, have you been in other relationships which lasted a decent period of time before this? Are the dynamics in this one similar or different?

[ 06-12-2008, 08:16 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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

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Kadkitty
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Thanks Heather. I asked this on another forum and someone who helps abused women thought I was being emotionally abused...but I wasn't quite sure if it was just me taking it personally at comments and criticisms that he has a right to share or what. I really like him and know he is a great guy and I don't think he'd hurt me in any way...but I just wanted to know
Yeah I've read the first page (Blinders off) and I'll check out the second one
Unfortunately this is my first relationship ever...so I really don't know what is normal and what is not...
Ok so according the the second site, it doesn't seem that he is verbally abusive. He never calls me names, manipulates me or tries to ruin my self esteem (he tries to boost my self esteem I think:))
With the complaints what started to bother me was that he does have quite a few every so often and they really bothered me because I tend to take things personally/ or maybe even negatively. He knows I take it hard and he does try to hold back things but I wasn't sure if complaining about things like that are a necessary part of the relationship or if it was the sign of a problem

[ 06-12-2008, 09:16 AM: Message edited by: Kadkitty ]

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