Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.It is very difficult to cope when you are caught in an abusive relationship. You want to hang on because you want it to be better between you. And you hold out hope because you still love him and believe he can be a better person. All of those feelings are understandable. And it is very easy to get caught in an abusive relationship and feel you cannot leave. Your self esteem is low and you feel there is nothing else out there for you because you have lost hope. But with the right support, it can get better.The only way people do change is if they want to. And at this point, your boyfriend is not seeing what he is doing is wrong. And if he doesn't see how he is treating is wrong, he is not going to change. Not with where he is now. And it sounds like you have made as much effort as you can to make the relationship work. Yet he keeps hurting you and won't stop. And until he sees what he is doing is wrong, he won't stop.The first step is to realize that if he is hurting you like he is, then you are in an abusive relationship. You do not deserve to be treated like he is treating you. You deserve better. Anytime you are feeling fearful and anxious about a relationship, it is a sign that you are in an abusive relationship. You should instead feel taken care of, loved and safe. But that is not what you feel with this man. And with the lack of respect and quickly changing moods, you have no idea where you stand most of the time. Not good. You may want to consider taking time off the relationship. Taking time to get away from the situation and think through what you want can help you decide how to proceed. The second step in dealing with how you feel is to see a therapist. You can try to ask if he will go (even though that would really help him) but most abusers do not see that they are the problem, so most refuse help. Talking to someone about what you feel can not only provide much needed support, but it can help you sort out your emotions so you are more clear on what you want and what you need. To find a therapist, talk with your doctor for a referral. Or you can search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_search.php. Also, consider learning more about abusive relationships and how they affect you. Here are some resources to help:http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/09/28/5-ways-to-escape-an-abusive-relationship/ Should I Stay or Should I Go- Lundy BancroftI hope this has helped you,Kate
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Can I add something? I hesitated putting "abusive" at the end because I don't want to frame this as a clearly abusive situation. He says that he is cold and distant when he feels that I am being aggressive, and it seems as though it takes very little for him to feel like I am being aggressive towards him. Examples: when he arrived I said he seemed to be in a bad mood (which he was), asking him about the weekend and why he hadn't called all week, that kind of thing. I'm no angel but it doesn't seem to me that these questions merit coldness and distance in response. Do you think he feels guilty when I say or ask these things, and feels bad about himself, and so he pulls away or instead is aggressive by storming out? He says it is always me who makes him pull away, and that if he has been cold for 2.5 years (minus the first honeymoon kind of months of lots of affection) it's because of me. It seems like a chicken and egg situation: he pulls away and it makes me feel anxious, but then if I try to talk to him about my needs and desires (which seem reasonable: some -- I'm not asking for a ton -- physical and verbal affection, phone calls, making plans, looking to the future together, bringing the other into each other's lives in all kinds of ways) and he finds everything aggressive. Is he just a control freak? Or am I never supposed to say anything and am just supposed to go along with whatever he initiates? I should note that he admits to being a terrible organizer, so I have always organized every single trip we've taken or concert or resto or anything other than dinners with his parents. I don't mind that, but still it seems we should be able to talk about weekends without him feeling like I am being aggressive. I wonder if this changes what you think, as I'd like to remove that mention of abusive earlier because I wonder if I planted that seed in your mind. Maybe he's just passive aggressive, but he insists he has the right to just leave if he feels I am being aggressive. Maybe I am a completely incompetent communicator, but I feel like at last I am trying. I should also note that everything took a nose dive after he announced last Valentine's Day while I was taking Clomid to get pregnant that he had changed his mind and didn't want another child and in fact didn't want anything more than what he has already. (He separated from his children's mother about a year before we met.) I wonder if he is just overwhelmed and can't deal with the demands of a relationship, didn't know what he was getting into, and doesn't care enough to stay and fight for our relationship. It's easier to just insist it's all my fault. It makes me feel horrible and believe me I'm not a pushover. Thanks.
Even if he feels bad about himself, he should not be cold and distant with you. That is abusive behavior because it makes you feel bad, like you did something wrong. No one needs to storm out. Instead, he could talk to you about how he feels and have a fair discussion about it. If you feel you need to go along with him and ignore your own needs, that is also abusive. Anytime your needs are ignored and you are made to feel you are at fault, you are in an abusive relationship. It is understandable that you don't want to have to leave this relationship behind, but staying in it without things improving is only going to subject you to a lifetime of hurt and pain.
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I don't know how to talk to him about things without him feeling put-upon. I really could use some concrete advice about how to do that. He has in his head that it's all my fault and that if he's cold I am the reason, not him. It feels like we are at an impasse. Obviously he is upset about this too because he doesn't feel listened to and neither do I. But I don't storm out. When things are good with us they're fabulous and we do share an incredible amount and mean a lot to each other. He just says he can't stay when he feels I am being aggressive. But he finds everything aggressive! I really don't know what to do. I don't have low self-esteem, that's not the issue, and I also don't believe in walking out rather than trying to work things out. If you have any concrete suggestions for how to deal with him and understand each other better I'd be grateful. Thanks.
I would be more than happy to continue working with you on any new questions you have. All I ask is that you remember to rate my answers for each new/different question you ask. Thanks!
Sorry, I thought rating was for the end. I can do that now. I didn't mean to ask new or different questions, this everything I have written is still on the same question. I felt like the first response to my initial inquiry was rather cookie cutter concerning abusive relationships in general, and I was hoping for something more personalized to this situation. Believe me, I have already scoured the internet for people with similar problems, as I suppose we all do these days. I just wanted some advice as to how to deal specifically with this situation and how to try to work through this situation because we seem stuck in a rut with his response being to just check out. Thanks.
If he is willing to listen, you can suggest the two of you talk about this. Try "I" statements with him such as "I feel hurt when you say....". But if he feels that anytime you talk about your needs you are being aggressive, then it is unlikely he will listen. You may also want to try counseling together. That often works in these situations because there is someone neutral there to help you both see how you are missing each other in communicating.
I'm sorry you felt the answers were not helpful. I can opt out to let other experts help you.
Thanks for reminding me of the "I" questions. I have tried to use that strategy in expressing myself to him, but I have not tried to encourage him to use that strategy in talking to me about what is bothering him. Maybe doing so will help. That is, if we talk again. I can't be the one who calls anymore after he hangs up or walks out or whatever rudeness he pulls; it is completely demoralizing. If he is ever willing to talk calmly without screaming at me, which seems to be his preferred volume these past few months, I'll try to suggest this way of talking. He'll probably tell me it's American psycho-babble (that's already what he calls my attempts to talk about feelings; he's not American). But I'll try. Thanks for your help. I tried to give a higher rating to your second response but then learned I was giving feedback wrong and it wanted to charge me double, so I'm sorry that the rating wasn't higher. This is my first time on the system and I'll know for another time. Thank you.
It is worth trying with him if he does call you. My best to you. I hope things work out and he is better able to communicate with you.