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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Trouble with boyfriend

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Author Topic: Trouble with boyfriend
OracleofDreams
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Member # 30102

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So I am not going to be speaking to my boyfriend for a while...I just want to know what you all think about this situation.

Everything was fine until my boyfriend and I got into a fight recently. He started reading my texts and found that I was talking to some guy I used to see. It was nothing bad, just casual conversation with the guy. He got pretty angry. I started to get a little mad as well because he was making a big deal out of this, saying that he doesn't want me to talk to other people (guys) about what goes on in our relationship (which I really wasn't) and that apparently I had lied to him about being happy or in love with him. But I really had been happy overall with my boyfriend.

Well I got a little mad so I brought up something from the past that I had gotten upset about, which I probably shouldn't have done. I mentioned how he had talked to/flirted with another girl, however he was basically basking in her feelings, because apparently she started to like him, and they would tell each other they loved each other in a 'friendly' way, he would hang out with her alone, etc.

He got mad about it..and came over to where I was sitting in his room and sort of put his hands around my face so that I would 'look him in the eye' apparently. We continued arguing and then suddenly he got up and grabbed a razor and started cutting his wrist. I got up and tried to stop him, but then he shoved me and I fell back on to the chair/bed. He sat down and started crying. He then started to apologize and said that there was no reason for him to do that.

I was surprised that he shoved me. He has never done this before and everything had been fine. I have a history with this guy (we dated before, and he was emotionally abusive towards me, but never physical). I don't understand why this happened; why he exploded over this.

I wanted to tell this situation because I'm not sure what to think of it. I wasn't hurt when he shoved me but he has never done it before. I decided that I did not want to speak/see him for a while.

Can someone give me some perspective on this issue? Should I be worried or am I making a bid deal out of nothing?

Posts: 30 | From: United States | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Jill
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I think taking a break is an excellent idea here. Any sort of physical violence, whether it's shoving you or physically forcing you to make eye contact, is wrong. Self-injuring during a fight is highly manipulative and is certainly not a healthy way to have an argument.

If (and I think you should give that if some careful thought) you get back together you'll need to talk about what monogamy means in your relationship. It sounds like both of you are talking to or flirting with other people and both of you are unhappy about it. You'll also need to discuss this incident and figure out how to prevent anything like if from happening in the future.

Is there anything we can do to help you set those limits?

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“I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.” --Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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orca
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In addition to Jill's excellent advice, it might be good for you to take a look at these two threads you started about this guy, one of them not so long ago and the other from the last time you broke up with him about two and a half years ago. I think it might be good to remember what's happened in the past, and how his abusive behavior seems to be a pattern that's continuing. It worries me that what he's doing isn't something new at all but something that's been going on for quite some time now.

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/007519/p/1.html#000000
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/009260/p/1.html#000000

[ 01-15-2009, 12:45 AM: Message edited by: orca ]

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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OracleofDreams
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Thanks for responding. I'm not sure how long I should stop seeing him. Apparently he felt really bad about the whole thing though, but even though I wasn't hurt I was stunned that he did that. I'm thinking that maybe we could talk about it and maybe work it out, but I don't know. It's hard. I don't know how to talk about it with him. I don't know weither I should stay with him or not.I'm not afriad of him, but I'm worried that he'll lose it again and might do something worse.

I realize that he has been emotionally abusive in the past. The self mutilation crap doesn't phase me because he has pulled that stuff in the past. I'm just surprised because after we got back together nothing happened for a year until now. Maybe I'm not seeing something here or maybe I need some sense knocked into me, or maybe I'm just numb to all that has happened. What do you suggest? Should I just give up this relationship?

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JamsessionVT
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As a victim of emotional abuse (or any other abuse) it can be hard to judge when it is the right time to leave a relationship, especially when that abuse becomes cyclical, which is appears to be starting to do again now.

I agree with Jill and orca; right now sounds like a very good time to get away from this. How long is up to you, but I would suggest, at the very least, a good, lengthy amount of time. It may take that long for you to realize or see that pattern that is starting up again here.

As Jill asked before, what can we help you do to create these boundaries?

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Abbie
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I want to mention something else, which is that when someone has a history of being abusive, controling or manipulative, it is something which very, very rarely is going to change unless that person gets qualified help doing so, and spends a good deal of time and energy working with that helper to change their patterns of behavior.

(Even then, sometimes that doesn't "take.")

Since the last time you were together, has your boyfriend had any kind of counseling or therapy? If not, I simply would not expect different outcomes with him than you have experienced in the past. I also think it's very important to recognize that for someone abusive, usually the very last person they are going to be able to work on their patterns of behavior with is a person they have abused or are abusing. Not only are you not likely qualified and trained to help an abuser learn to be otherwise, the relationship you have with him creates a real barrier to that.

[ 01-16-2009, 12:23 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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lintil
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That sounds like pretty “classic” abusive behaviour to me – freaking out that you were talking to other guys, not believing you or trusting you, and being really manipulative and controlling. I’m fazed that you’re not fazed when he starting cutting himself – you say that he’s done that before, so I’m wondering if you’ve become desensitized to it... to the point where you can’t distinguish between seriously messed up behaviour and acceptable behaviour. I believe you that you have been happy with him, and that it seems to have come out of nowhere. But I also believe that if you stay with him, these incidents are going to come up again if they aren’t properly dealt with. Maybe it won’t come up again in a year or two, but something as serious as that incident does not just go away by itself, as much as we want to believe that. I read your previous posts as well, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this current behaviour was predictable – sad, but predictable.* Just look at what you talked about in your previous posts – it’s possible that nothing happened for a year or so, but still, it came back. It will always be there at or near the surface (unless dealt with, even then, there’s no guarantee), as history has already shown. I think you would be risking being exposed to that kind of abuse again if you get back together with him.

Why did this particular incident happen? Who knows – maybe it’s related to some abuse in his past, or messed up beliefs that he has about women and relationships. But violence is like that – it’s very irrational. I would highly recommend reading “Why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft. It’s about how men are abusive and how to watch out for the signs, and what to do when you are in an abusive relationship. It is an excellent book and helped me understand a ton of things. Scarleteen has recommended it before too!

I think it’s really smart that you won’t be speaking to him for awhile. In the meantime, I think it would be good to figure out what you want for yourself. If you want to be with him, why? How can you ensure that something like this won’t happen again (of course his behaviour is not your responsibility, but how would you talk to him about this)? How would you deal with the fact that you tried your hardest to work through something like this and something still happened? Would you be able to handle that? What supports can you put in place for yourself, in terms of having supportive friends, knowing where to access other outside supports? In the past he was emotionally abusive to you (and <b>quite</b> so) – is that acceptable to you? If you knew he was going to be like that with you again, would you go back to him? How can you be sure that he wouldn’t be if you did?

In terms of how to talk it out, work it out, how about talking to a therapist to help you figure those things out? This is a pretty confusing situation, and you’ve been with him for a really long time. I don’t think you should make a decision around getting back together or not getting back together until you figure out how you feel and what you want. There’s no rush to make a decision (at least I hope not, on your end). At this point, I think you need to focus on taking care of yourself and doing what’s best for you. In your August post you said that you were tired of this relationship – so you already know what’s best for you, and maybe this relationship isn’t.

*By no means am I trying to say you were stupid to continue seeing him – you just need to know and understand how abuse works to be able to see the patterns. And it’s hard to do that when you’re IN the pattern (it’s like the Matrix ).

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OracleofDreams
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I realize now that I have become desensitized to that kind of messed up behavior, and I need help distinguishing what's right and wrong in this relationship. I'm not sure what boundaries I have to set though. He has not recieved any counseling or dealt with his behavior in anyway so I can see how this incident came up, even if it was after a year. I am also starting to see that there is a pattern in this relationship. Thank you all for putting it in perspective for me. I'm going to take my time and figure out what I really want from this.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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(lintil, that was really excellent information and advice, thanks so much for adding it.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet 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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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