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Abusive Relationships/is my boyfriend verbally or emotionally abusing me?


Hi. My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year now. We've currently moved in together, he's attending school in a new city and we've both moved from our hometown into a small bachelor apartment together. I'd firstly like to note that my boyfriend is extremely nice and respectful towards me when we're not fighting. But when we are fighting or an arguement starts to heat up, he becomes a lot different. It's almost as if he becomes another person. He becomes incredibly stubborn, does not use reason and is very, very angry. We fight often, and it has been this way since the beginning of us dating. Usually the fighting lasts for a few hours at a time, and we rarely go to bed mad at eachother. Althought, last night we did. My boyfriend is 18 and I am 20. It's clear to me and my boyfriend has even pointed out that he does not know how to deal with his anger. I'd also like to note that both his mother and father were abusive to him. And his father was abusive to his mother.
What i would like to know, is if you think my boyfriend is becoming or is being abusive towards me. In the beginning of our relationship when we would fight, he would be sympathetic towards my emotions and wouldn't really get angry with me much at all. As time went by, he would become more and more angry when we would fight. A few months ago, he started kicking and throwing things. Breaking things. At first, if he was going to throw something or hit something (a wall, throw a desk, kick a table) e would go into a room where I was not present to do it. Then he started doing it infront of me. Then he started doing it to my belongings. (There is now multiple dents in my car from him kicking or punching it) now it has escalated to him throwing things right beside me (but not at me, although in close proximity to me) kicking things that I am on ( I was sitting on my bed during an arguement and he kicked the bed i was sitting on multiple times before walking out on me) he has yelled at me, cussed at me, called me names; selfish, annoying, childish. He has yelled fuck you to me. Today was what really made me question his behavior. Since he is attending school and we both have no jobs, we are of course have very little money. My bf has been looking for a job with no luck and I have not been looking. I graduated high school a year ago and I planned to take a couple years off from school and work before going back to college to pursue a health care career. Today, we started fighting about money. A common thing we fight about. I told him "I wish we could get along and not fight when we don't have any money" because it seems we don't fight when we have money then when we have none, we quickly become irritated and fight eventually. This was a sensitive topic for me because it has really been bothering me how we fight because we have no money, I feel like partners should be a team at times like that not fight eachother. He then told me "well maybe we should get some money then". I felt like he was saying the fact that we fight when we have no money is inevetable and then I started to cry. He then got annoyed that I was crying like he always does when I cry, and left. He always leaves when I am crying, even if I ask him to hold me and stay,he either leaves anyway or acts annoyed about it.
He left and I followed him pleading for him to come back and talk, and that's when he told me I was being rediculous, childish for crying; when I was crying because of something he said to me! I continued to follow him to my car which he got into and I did too. There, he basically yelled at me for expecting him to work and go to school at the same time while I do nothing. I was crying the entire time he had his voice raised at me. I asked him to stop, that he was hurting me and he continued anyway.
He tried to leave again and I asked him to stop and please calm down and he came closer to me and kicked my car, said loudly "fuck you" and walked away. Then later on I told him not to get in my face and he said "what if I get in your face?" I ignored him and he left. He came back and I told him how much the statement bothered me and he said "it's not even a big deal".
Was that statement a big deal? Is he being verbally abusive to me or abusive by throwing things and such? Please give me your point of view and advise.

Hi Laura,
Thank you for writing and asking such a good question.  You asked me if I thought throwing things and saying these things to you is abuse.  Yes, it is.  No one has the right to call you names and certainly no one has the right to throw things at you.  Physical violence, whether it is in your sight, around you or directed at you is intimidating.  Whether or not he is attacking you, he is intimidating you because it places in your mind that there is the potential for physical harm.

At 18, a male's higher brain functions have not even begun to take shape and will not be finished maturing until he is between 25 and 30.  So what he is left with is what was modeled for him by his parents as a conflict resolution skill.  That is why you are seeing what you are seeing and why the anger is explosive.  He needs to get help in order to channel his aggression in another way or get rid of it all together.

You are not safe with him until he does that and completes the process. That is the bottom line.  It is never a healthy trade off to stay with an abusive person because they treat you nice part of the time.  His behavior will eventually wear down what is left of your self esteem and cause the relationship to become detached and by that time he may have hurt you physically as well as having hurt you emotionally in the process.  

In answer to your other question, yes...the statement was a big deal.  It was an intimidation tactic and those kinds of things are never appropriate when we are dealing with someone we care about.

Laura, your boyfriend needs help and if he won't get it and do what it takes to modify his violent behavior, you need to leave the relationship.  It's as simple as that.

Thank you again for writing.  I wish you all the best in this situation and if I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me again.

Abusive Relationships

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Kriss Mitchell, M.Ed, CRC, CNHP


I can answer questions regarding emotional and physical abuse in dating and marriage situations, however I am unable to give legal advice. Having had firsthand experience in an abusive relationship, I understand the feelings, the questions and the doubts we have as we try to make decisions about how to improve our situations. I am also able to address spiritual concerns regarding staying in or leaving these types of situations.


Having been a victim of emotional abuse for many years and having family members who were in violent abuse situations, I have personal experience on many levels. I have since gone on to become a professional counselor and work with abused women.

American Mental Health Counselors Assn., American Association of Christian Counselors, International Association of Prayer Counselors

I currently maintain a blog at I also have links and currently written articles on my website at You can also follow me on TWITTER @livingwellcc, or on facebook at Living Well Counseling and Consulting. My writings have appeared in The Good News Northwest and the North Idaho Business Journal

Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Natural Health Professional

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Board Certified Christian Counselor

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