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i left my unintentionally emtionally abusive partner

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i left my unintentionally emtionally abusive partner

Postby leaveyourmark » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:08 pm

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum and am writing because i really need some words of advice. This seems like a very supportive community. I'm sorry this is so long, but hopefully some of you will have time to read and give me some advice.

I recently ended things with my emotionally abusive partner after one year of dating. It was very hard for me to accept that it was abusive, because when I read things online about emotional abuse, they often talk about the abuser being narcissistic, or ill-willed. This was not my ex. I think he was just a very troubled, sad guy. He is full of insecurities, distrust (because of people in the past lying and cheating on him), and need to reassurance from others. A big part of why i stayed for so long was because i knew that he genuinely wanted to be a good person. He made a lot of effort to change, and he did in many ways, but I just couldn't handle it anymore.

Nothing from our relationship followed the 'typical' abusive relationship all the articles are written about, and this is, problematically, giving me inklings of hope and regret for leaving him.. and i need help.

Our relationship was rocky from the very beginning. There were red flags from the very beginning. I never had a 'love bombing' phase. His insecurities and problems surfaced immediately. On the second date, i almost walked out because he found out i didn't want to have kids, and questioned what type of woman i am. Then when i was about to leave, he said, oh i was just having a conversation and asking questions because this is very different. This happened a lot. He would get very upset and hurt and say things that made me feel guilty, and then tell me that it wasn't a big deal and ask why i made a big deal out of things.

So many times i do a lot for him, and if one tiny thing i did wasn't what he expected, he gets mad. For example, i offered to cook him vegetables because he always ate the same thing, and one day, after a long day at work, i went home, cooked his vegetables, and brought it over to his place and put it in the fridge. I then went to keep him company while he showered (because he had gotten upset at me in the past when i didn't, saying that when we first started dating i loved keeping him company when he showered and he thinks that me not doing it means i'm losing interest). When he got out of the shower, he was upset. He went to portion out the veggies i brought into his pre-portioned meals, and when i offered to help, he snapped "no, i don't need your help. if you wanted to help you should have done it while i was in the shower. You would/should have been proactive to help me." And i just couldn't understand -- how can he get mad at me for missing that? I'm already helping him? I was so sad I almost broke up with him that day.

In fact, i tried to break up with him so many times, but he always apologized, and said he was sorry, and that he isn't perfect, but he's trying. And he really is trying. He has improved in a lot of things and i really know that he makes an effort. But things like this keep happening, and i can't bring anything up to him that i'm upset about because then he gets very defensive or he turns things around and puts me on the defense. like... "i'm already stressed at work, my grandfather is sick, are you seriously doing this right now?". The thing is, i don't think he does things to purposefully control me (i know i'm rationalizing), but i genuinely think he feels lonely, and scared, and insecure. He really does love me and makes an effort to make me happy but i think he is too troubled and self-centered that sometimes he acts irrationally.

The final breakup ended terribly. He got extremely angry and accused that I never loved him, or cared about him, and threw the copy of my keys he had down the hall and kicked me out (we lived separately, thankfully).

I'm trying to find resources to help me get over it because i do love him, and there are good moments (although i never felt happy -- just anxious, but there are moments where i really felt loved and we had fun).. and everything i'm reading doesn't sound like him. And yes, it's true and i know that whether or not the abuse is intentional doesn't matter at the end.. but i just need some words of wisdom about it.. The relationship is so complicated and i don't want to make this post too long... but any thoughts/comments could really help.

Thank you guys so much in advance.
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Re: i left my unintentionally emtionally abusive partner

Postby Terry E. » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:52 pm

Every one has the right to be happy. It seems like you are a very genuine caring loving person, who went out of her way to be considerate and try to make him happy by your behaviour and actions. It appears he did not. I am not sure if you are wondering whether you could have tried harder ? The answer to that is relationships should be a two way street. If it is left to one person it can work and sometimes does but it can often lead to a rot setting in with the "givers" self esteem being slowly undermined because it is never just quite enough.

The next step is up to him and if he cannot make it, and it is a huge step then you should realise it was never to be.
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Re: i left my unintentionally emtionally abusive partner

Postby avatar123 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:51 am

Terry has given excellent advice above. ^^^

Some people (like him) are not able to give at the level needed to sustain a relationship, they instead rely on the other person to sustain it and do the giving for both. And one way to keep the other person giving is to make them feel they haven't done enough, so they are always trying harder.

Other people (like you) are able to give at the level required to sustain things for both. But you described it well, you are never really happy because the relationship is unbalanced, and as you found, you can never really make the other person happy either.

I'm sure this was a hard lesson, and I'm sure you did everything you could, for a long time. The fault is not with you, you couldn't have compensated for the things he lacks. But with another person who is equally giving, no reason to believe you couldn't be happy and fulfilled. So that's what to keep in mind now.
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Re: i left my unintentionally emtionally abusive partner

Postby quietgirl2538 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:17 am

I have the opinion that he is manipulative. Ask yourself this question. If you saw and heard a very good friend tell your story, what would you really think? Upon reading your post, I thought he blamed you for his own personal issues. HE needs the help to get him to get over his insecurities, he needs to be nicer and treat you better and until or if he even knows he needs to be better to you, he won't change, he'll always go back to his old ways. You did right to leave him in order to protect yourself. It's verbal and emotional abuse. Would a person who was the opposite of him be considered emotionally or verbally abusive? No. But he is. It's like you're brainwashed, but you're not, of course. I just think you've lived with such a life long enough that you question whether you did the right thing and you are not at a point to understand how good you truly are and also how hurtful he has always been. Sorry isn't enough when he keeps doing it over and over again and again. It's an unkind person who maybe isn't happy with himself, but that is not your fault, nor is it your problem, nor can you fix it. Only he can do the work to better himself through therapy or however he can do it. You are a good person. And you did right.

I tried to make my mom happy with giving her gifts, trying to see her side only. Feeling bad and feeling guilt all the time. She was never happy. I left her and now we don't speak. She has recently done something that has me not speaking to her in order to protect me. I deserve to be happy.
And so do you. Sending hugs if wanted.
“There’s an Asian expression that ‘a burden shared is halved.’"

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Re: i left my unintentionally emtionally abusive partner

Postby leaveyourmark » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:09 am

Thank you all so much for responding and offering so much support. These last 2 weeks have been so hard flip-flopping between feeling extremely angry and sad. You are all right, and i need to repeat this to myself -- that i did really try. I went above and beyond to try to please him. As Terry asked, a part of me was wondering if i should have done more or done things differently.. but the reality is that I really did try. I did so much more for him than he ever did for me -- even though he made it seem like the little things he did for me outweighs all the things i did for him on a daily basis, and even my bigger gestures of spoiling him (taking him on trips because he always complained about wanting to get out of the city -- he earns almost double what i earn) which he never returned. He's never even taken me out on a real date -- but i have, and when i went out to dinner with friends one night, he got upset because "oh, so you have the money to go with them to a nice restaurant, but not me".

I read Lundy Bancroft's "Why does he do that" and it gave me so much clarity and understanding. I realized that he felt entitled to have a certain type of woman (who honestly is more of a servant than a partner, but only serves him because she loves him and would never complain) and when i failed to be that, he punished me by comparing me to his exes, saying they did everything for him, or made passive aggressive comments saying that it's fine, because i'm just not 'that type of woman' who likes to spoil her man. He didn't respect my boundaries at all and saw me as an extension of himself and not as my own person. He got upset at me any time i spent time with friends, and even with family, if it interfered with me giving him the attention he wants. Yes, he has insecurities, fears, and pains from the past, but it is not my job to fix it by allowing him to control where i go, who i see, and what i do. I wasn't allowed to say this was his issue because we're 'we' now, so it's 'our' issue and I was supposed to help him fix it. When he gets upset, it's always my fault. Even when there is no rationale for his anger, he will turn it back to the way i said it, or my facial expression, or some unrelated thing he felt I did him wrong on, or even just that he loves me so much so it huts him to see me upset. This was all so wrong.

All along, i had questioned him why he loved me, because he was always upset at me and it seemed i could do nothing right by him.. and now I realize that he doesn't love me. He loved the idea of me devoting my life to him and being his possession (as Bancroft explains and is completely accurate). How can you ever really love something you felt like you owned? And how could he question my love and commitment for him when i went back to him over and over after the way he treated me.

His moments of trying and becoming better was all just a part of a larger pattern where when he was in a good mood and could rationalize to himself that he is a good partner and gives equally and is understanding, he does it.. but eventually he reverts to who he REALLY is. If i had stayed with him i could have only hoped and waited for the temporary oasis. I can't live like that. Nobody should live like that.

Again, thank you all so much for your reassurance and support. It is so comforting to hear from others that this wasn't all just in my head and due to the lack of effort on my part. Really, thank you <3
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