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Struggling with acknowledging I'm in an abusive relationship

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MrThom

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Joined
Nov 20, 2020
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3
Location
Canada
I’m going to try to explain everything as completely as possible, but I know no one will ever know the whole story but I need to get this off my chest anonymously.

I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 11 years. I was 18 when we met, he was 28. He’s the reason I came out. The age gap is not the most important to me, it’s not been a problem since I started working really. I think what might be of note with this is that we were in completely different places in life when we first met. Eventually it was less of an issue, because we both were settled into our own lives. But as an over-thinker and an over-explainer I am getting off track and I don’t want this to be the focus – the main take away is that over 11 years people can change, especially from such a young age.

I don’t remember the first time he got physically aggressive with me. I really don’t, maybe he threw something, maybe he hit me. The earliest time I remember was in 2010 when I was kicked under the chin and my tooth was shattered and had to be taken out. I was asked by the dentist if I was in a safe place, I said yes and that we were just play wrestling. Really I was hiding in the closet from him because he was angry and when he swung the closet door open I went to jump out and he just kicked. I don’t know if he thought about it but he did it. He cried and freaked out and apologized over and over. This kind of reaction was common every time he physically abused me. In these moments I don’t know if he will go further than he does, but he’s never actually left a mark on me – or on my face. I’ve had bruises on my arms and legs, but those are easily hidden. And it’s not like he is beating me relentlessly, it’s spur of the moment things when he gets angry with me, if I give him attitude when we’re fighting, I guess if I say something he doesn’t like. He becomes violent like this every couple of months, but he’s not using a weapon or beating me. I know it’s not ok still. But for so long I just kind of let it go, I knew that same day we’d be fine again, and I’d just forget it happened. I guess partly I felt like it could be worse, but mostly it’d been easy for me to just forget about it and move on because we have a lot of good times.

He doesn’t plan to do these things, I know it, he just can’t control himself when he gets angry and I know that I provoke him sometimes.

He’s always been controlling, we have fights every time someone asks me to go out or go over, doesn’t matter if it’s for a movie night or a little holiday gathering among friends. I have told him he is controlling. He doesn’t even like it when I’m in a different room of the house than him. If he’s watching TV downstairs I cannot be somewhere else or he’s mad and says I don’t want to spend time with him. And if I’m watching TV with him I cannot be on my phone or he will complain about it and get mad.

When he’s mad, usually before he hits me he always says the absolute worst things that he can think of to me. He’ll call me and my friends “real losers” (just to me, not to their face) because we get together for horror film related things, he tells me that if I have a problem with him to “go suck on my mom’s tit” and that I can’t let go of it – the thing is I’ve never told my mom any of this so I don’t even know where this comes from, because my parents care for me I guess. The other day he told me to just go kill myself when I told him I wasn’t happy with him. Sometimes when I’ve had events for things in my own life there is often a group that wants to go out and have a couple of drinks to celebrate and this will ALWAYS lead to a huge fight about how I can’t say no to people, but I never ever allow myself to do these things, so going out with a group like that once every few of months seems like a small thing to ask. But he hates when I leave him alone because he doesn’t want to be alone. But I’ve tried to tell him I’m not responsible for what he does in his spare time. He will text me or call me and if don’t respond while I’m out he gets furious.

He will call me mental, and tell me that the switch went off in my head, that there’s something wrong in my brain. And then sometimes he says when I’m “mental” it makes him mental. This would be when I’m annoyed with him and giving him attitude or we’re fighting.

Over the years I’ve thought off and on that I want to leave. I never felt like I had a reason. I wanted him to cheat on me so I’d have a reason. It’s been years. But in the end I decide I can’t leave because I’m scared to figure things out on my own. I’m not good at making decisions for myself. Instead of making a decision I just become complacent and let whatever happens happen.

I know I’m really focusing on the bad here, but we have had a lot of great times too. No relationship is all bad or all good. But I hit a point recently where I think things have sunk in. That sounds stupid, how could I have gone this long right? I don’t know why. I guess you won’t know unless you’ve been in it. This week is the first time I’ve admitted to myself and out loud that I’m in an abusive relationship. Both physically and emotionally. It’s a lot harder to admit than I thought. Apparently, since it took me so long. I just never thought this would be me. I didn’t think I could be in one because he didn’t leave marks on my face and he wasn’t hurting me every day or even every week. But I know it’s not right.

I finally confronted him about wanting to leave and that I’m not happy – that lead to the most recent outburst the other night. He texted me after that I don’t love him and the next day we talked on the phone (he was at work) and actually TALKED to me for the first time about things. This has never happened. Any serious conversation about us gets shut down or makes him angry – unless it’s completely positive. He told me about his traumatic childhood and terrible relationship with his dad (a lot of this I knew – his dad is kind of grumpy man who doesn’t really speak to me anyway). I know that he needs to get help. He needs real therapy because he won’t just change but like he has done before he promises he will change. He’s of course been on his best behavior the last few days. But I don’t know how to react. I told him I don’t care if he changes because it’s been too long now like this. He says he understands it’s all his fault (I’m not saying it is) but that he doesn’t know why he does the things he does. He doesn’t want to hurt me. He cried while we talked and I just kept trying to reiterate that I don’t want to leave the him that I love, the one who likes to do all the same things, who makes me dinner and knows the stupid little things that I like, but that I need to leave the him that hurts me and scares me.

But I also can’t stop crying. I don’t want to leave everything I’ve known my whole adult life. I don’t want to start all over again. But I’m also crying for him, I know he’s a broken person, but I cannot fix him. I hate to think that he will be alone, he doesn’t open up to anyone. He doesn’t even hug his family. He is only affectionate with me. I know I’m not responsible for his happiness, but I know that I am a lot of it, and he even said it the other day. It’s so hard to say things to him like that I can’t be his happiness, that is too much pressure for me and that he needs to be happy himself.

I don’t know if I want to leave. I want to, I haven’t been happy for a long time, but a lot of the time I am also just fine, I’m content and yes sometimes I am happy! But I also don’t want to stay in a place where I can get hurt. The problem is the longer it goes without being hurt the more comfortable I get again.

I tried to reiterate during our talk that what has been going on can never ever happen again, but that he needs to change to make himself better, not for me, because I don’t even know if I’m staying. He seemed to understand but he’s still saying I love you to me and trying to hold my hand. A huge problem is obviously that I’m still living here after basically having what was supposed to be a break up talk, but leaving is more complicated than going. It’s finding the time and a place to stay and packing up all of my things.

I’m sorry I have a lot of thoughts and I can’t make a decision. I can’t even decide what to eat most nights.

I don’t think I want to stay, but at the same time I hate the thought of leaving. I don’t know what to do. I want to make sure I’m leaving for me. But I hate to think about all the good times too. I hate thinking about the all the memories I won’t make with him anymore. All the great things that we did do, I feel like I’m betraying that part of him. It feels like I’m saying goodbye too all of that and not to the worst parts. And I hate it, it torments me. I feel like maybe he will change this time, maybe he will get real help, but then I tell myself I don’t care if he does that I should get out. But I can’t and I don’t want to at the same time. And then I do. And that’s basically my head all day all the time.

I feel exhausted, I want to go to bed early every night, I don’t know how to act around him because right now he’s on his best behaviour, but that can only last so long. I know he wants to keep me around because he has no one else here, and he does love me, but then why did he hurt me so many times all this time? Why did he not realize it was a problem until I told him it was and really made him think about it? Because every time he abused me, we would move on like nothing happened. I ignored it I guess.

I want to go, but I can’t muster the courage to leave. I feel like I don’t love him anymore, when I think about what he did, when I really consider it I hate him. But then I think about the good things and I love that part of him. And I feel like I’m abandoning him. I can’t bring myself to do it to him. I feel like leaving and staying are both mistakes. Neither choice feels like the right one, neither feels like the one I want and I’m just tired. I know I’ll just be here, thinking about things, he will keep trying until he doesn’t.

I don’t know what to do. What do I do?
 
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Nukelavee

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Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
2,863
Location
London, ON
Leave him. He's an abuser, and it will never change.

you're having issues with leaving because he has conditioned you to accept his abuse, you've been trained to tolerate teh bad, because he might be nice later.

I know it's hard, bud, but you need to get clear of him.
 
NWiddi

NWiddi

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Reading through I think you've acknowledged you're in an abusive relationship quite well.

You know this isn't normal for relationships. I'm no expert on relationships so I can't say leave him or stay and try to help him but I was told some years ago now that "there's no excuse for bad behaviour" and I fully believe that. I don't care what his dad was like, there's no excuse for what he does to you.

Whatever you decide I wish you all the best.
 
Intareseid

Intareseid

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Nov 7, 2020
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68
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Somewhere I don't belong.
Just one single incident of the type you're describing would be more than enough reason to leave.

This is just one blatant and classic case of abuse made worse by the young age at which the relationship started. From what you describe essentially all of your adult life has been punctuated if not defined by an abusive relationship and that is massively clouding your judgment, because this is what you've known for so long you've come to normalize it to a certain degree when there's absolutely nothing normal at all about what you describe.

You need to leave him immediately and if you can't make that choice right now, then you need to find some sort of psychological counseling that will help you properly contextualize what's happening so you can make that choice sooner rather than later.
 
M

MrThom

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Nov 20, 2020
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3
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Canada
I fear that you all are right. I'm so scared to leave, not because I'm afraid of him, but I'm scared about what my future will be like. It has to be better, but I'm worried I won't find someone who will stick around the way he has. I've never been worried about him leaving me. That is a poor excuse to stay I guess in the grand scheme of things. Right now we're sleeping in separate rooms, but I just wish he would be fine with me leaving. It would make it so much easier for me and that's not the way the world works. I was looking for an excuse to leave for so long and it was always there and I never acknowledged it.
 
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Nukelavee

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I'm scared about what my future will be like.
Well, you've been with him your entire adult life - that makes it a huge change, it makes sense to be scared.

but I think your life will be better is you get free of him. Bit by bit, you'll get to learn who you really are. And then, when you realize how valuable you are to other people, you'll have a chance to find somebody who respects you.
 
Rex Smith

Rex Smith

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Aug 30, 2020
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478
Location
San Diego
I was in an abusive and controlling relationship when I was 16 and she was 17. Halle Berry could have passed as her mother, Christina had a cute pixie cut and a dark cuban tan. It was the first time I was really physically attracted to someone also. I had a couple boyfriends and dated 1 girl before meeting her.

I am 99% sure she was a narcissist. It wasn't that bad in the beginning but months later my bruises had bruises and I never wore anything less than jeans, longseleves, and jackets. She was a volcano of emotions 24/7. I hated going to parties with her because when people get drunk they say what's on their mind. Her jealousy turned dangerously hostile. If someone said I'm cute or gave me any compliments then I was absolutely fucked when we left.

It was a relief she didn't go to the same high school. She never went to my marching band performances either. Our school got selected to play with the UCLA marching band during a football halftime show. It's a local university in Los Angeles, CA USA. A few of us wasn't going to stay in the lame uniform after the halftime show. We went back to the bus to change out and my friends saw my bruises. I quickly put my jacket away and grabbed my shirt from my bag and put it on. My friends at school knew me as a 1st chair band nerd that acted happy all the time.

I was embarrassed and angry that people found out. One of the girls thought I was being abused at home. She started to cry then like babies in daycare my other friend joined in. I didn't want to cry but it was just the 3 of us on the bus so fuck it might as well join in. The next day social services was at my house and I got a weekly in home check and weekly therapy sessions. Our relationship ended immediately. The social worker took pictures of my bruises during the in home checks to make sure I wasn't receiving new ones.

Being in a domestic violence relationship is not only physically and mentally abusive but you're at high risk of a permanent disabling injury. If you become paralyzed he will go to prison for several years. Leaving you wheelchair bound forever. Look up catheter and colostomy bag. If he breaks your neck at the C4 mark then you'll be dead, no wheelchair necessary. You're gambling with your life by staying with him.
 
R

Rosie2729

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Joined
Nov 21, 2020
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4
Location
England
Hi MrThom,

I was in a very similar situation and have only just split up with my abusive ex a few months ago, i know the feeling of not being able to make the decision, in the end my boss recognised what was going on befriended me and basically told me i had to get away, i had no choice. My ex made every decision for me including meals, what i wore my friends everything, the decision seems suffocating and impossible. But you always come first, you have the excuse to end things already, you deserve to be with someone you feel completely safe with. I wont lie its not easy but i can promise it'll be one of the best decisions you make. I hope your safe and happy soon i send hugs. :hug:
 
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