We have been married for 2 years, however we've dated since high school. About 3 years ago, his attitude towards me began to change with him becoming demanding, he started making degrogatory sexual comments/comments about women, and negative and hurtful comments about how I normally dress and act. I've tried to tell him how these comments hurt, but he just shrugs me off or it turns into an arguement when he becomes defensive or passive-agressive. He becomes frustrated easily, but he's slow to anger, but when he does, he tends to act out (driving recklessly or throwing things around at home) and he often doesn't take responsibility for his feelings and actions, it's almost always someone else's fault. He has even gone so far as to punch a hole in our bedroom wall one time when he became angry, has "jokingly" put me in a choke hold, making the comment that he was going to put me in my place, and at a friend's graduation, we had an argument in the parking lot and he grabbed my wrist really hard, hard enough to hurt. Sadly, the verbal abuse goes both ways and I've found myself lashing out at him as a means of trying to stop the behaviors and regain control. I've tried marriage counseling to save our marriage (and sanity) with two different counselors, but he didn't seem really interested and the efforts on his part were short-lived. I've left him twice in the last year, but both times went back to him. I finally left him in November, when I couldn't take the verbal abuse anymore and we'd gotten into an altercation where he'd pulled my hair (for the second time), so I left and went and stayed with relatives. I put a 3 week notice into work and stayed with relatives until the end of my job. During that time, he harassed me with everyday calls, attempting to guilt-trip me and begging and pleading for me to come home and threatening to hurt himself if I didn't. One time he went so far as to get really drunk and send me a video of it via text message, all of it which tore me up, but I reminded myself that it's manipulation. At that point, I then began moving my things out of the house while he was at work and moved back to my hometown and moved in with my parents. Afte a couple of weeks or so, he calmed down and has admitted that he has a problem and also has been seeing a counselor, seperately back home, with hopes for eventual reunification. I've also entered counseling with a psychologist, but am still unable to find work and my car was recently totaled in a weather-related accident. He has since aplogized for what he's said and done and has been making a sincere effort to treat me better, but if's as if he's trying too hard. He practically spoils me...opening doors, carrying things for me, showering me with affection, all things he did rarely while we were married. I'm hesitant to trust him because both times when I've left him before, he's promised to change and we entered a honeymoon period where things went well for a few weeks or a month, but then went back to how it was before, why should I trust that this time is different? How can I know that he's acutally changed and he's not just trying to win me back and that this isn't just another honeymoon phase in the cycle of abuse? Should I trust him that he's changed and move back in with him or should I leave him for good?
[ 01-15-2010, 12:43 AM: Message edited by: Lahela ]
Posts: 1 | From: Midwestern United States | Registered: Jan 2010
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Let me address your last question first: How can you know that this change is for real? The thing is that abusers rarely change. And those who do change, do not do so over-night. Understanding that you are an abuser, understanding where that comes from and how you can change it, and earnestly working on yourself - that takes years. And also, when someone does go into counseling to work on abusive behaviors, it'll often be suggested to them that they discontinue the relationship with the person they have been abusing, at least for a while.
So, if I understand correctly, he has been in therapy for a few weeks, at most. At that point, it really isn't possible for him to have undergone such a fundamental change. Have you spoken to him about what he's learned in therapy? Have you two been able to have an open, honest conversation about what's been going wrong between you? Have you been in to speak to his therapist at all, to get an idea of where his therapy is heading?
Even if he really is in therapy, and he really is determined to work on himself - I would still suggest that you get out of this relationship for the time being.
Because, yes, this guy is an abuser: He has called you names, he has been violent towards you, he has threatened you, and he has tried to manipulate you into staying in the relationship. All of those are serious red flags, and point towards him being an abuser, and towards this relationship being a really unhealthy one.
-------------------- Johanna Scarleteen Volunteer
"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005
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