Abusive Relationships/Verbal abuse, lack of trust
QUESTION: My boyfriend and I have been together for 13 months. He has always been very caring, sweet and loving with me but very jealous and controlling. He is 24 and I am going to be 20 in a few days. I attend college and he is a teacher. My college hosts many events and I usually like to attend them but ever since I have been with my boyfriend, he banned me from going to them and If I happen to attend them, he has to come with me. In addition to this, he does not allow me to have any guy friends and gets upset when I talk to my girl friends.I don't mind this as long as he does the same but every time I see one of my classmates he insults me and says I am a flirt and a whore for saying hi to them and threatens to start talking to women. He also doesn't like it when I go to places without him, he always wants to do everything with me and while I do not mind that, I do not think it is fair that he thinks it is okay for him to go to places with his friends and not bring me along when he always wants to come with me every where. I think that we should each hang out with our friends and our family and give each other space so that our relationship is healthy but he doesn't see it that way. Aside from this, every time we argue he gets very angry and he screams at the top of his lungs and curses me out, he does not him me but he squeezes my arms and sometimes "punches" my legs, stomach or arms "lightly." He says that he plays around and since I want to believe that he is, in fact playing around whenever the black and blue spots appear the next day, I blush off the uncomfortable feeling and convince myself that he was just playing. He might just be playing and probably my skin is just very sensitive (because I am very skinny and i've had the problem of always getting black and blues whenever I hit myself) but I am not sure if a boyfriend should do that to his girlfriend. Also when we argue, he calls me a lot of demeaning names such as slut, bitch, whore, cunt, tramp, and trashbag, he says "fuck you" a lot and during the last few of our argument he has started to tell me that he hates me and that he hopes I die (all this when he is angry). I understand that he gets very angry when we argue but I do not think it is very nice of him to curse and call the person he proclaims to love such mean and demeaning words. I never curse at him when we argue or when we get upset at each other, no matter how mad I am, I love him and respect him so I do not curse at him. I have already told him how his words make me feel and I asked him to promise to stop cursing at me but he said he was not going to promise something that he was not going to be able to stop doing. He said he was going to try to stop doing it but it only has gotten worse. He started with bitch and has advanced to calling me all those other names instead of stopping. I do not know what to do or how to make him stop, I really do love him and I know he loves me too and he is a very sweet person when we don't argue but he is very mean when he gets angry. In other words, he is the perfect boyfriend when we are fine with each other but once angriness knocks his door, he turns into a total different person. I always try to understand him and understand his trust issues because of what he has told me about his past relationships, where he got cheated and mistreated but I tell him that he should trust me because I am not going to cheat on him or hurt him. I am honestly very faithful and committed to him, I do not know where his lack of trust comes from, i have never given him any motive to think that I am unfaithful. At the beginning I did have trouble trusting him, only because I found out that after we started going out he was still using dating sites to try and have "fun but stable" relationships with other women. We resolved this and have not had any problems after this incident, so my trust for him is back but he does not trust me. He also tell me that I cannot leave him because I do not have the courage to do so and that if I leave i will be nothing without him. He boasts around saying that there are women out there that would kill to have such a genuine and perfect person like him as a boyfriend. He says I cannot do anything without him and that If I ever leave him, I will regret it my whole life. He once told me that If I ever cheat on him, he will kill me. He talks about the future with me and about us moving in together, getting married and having a family together. Like I said before, I love him very very much and I have stayed with him hoping that with time things will get better, I just get very upset with his degrading insults. I sometimes think that we should be better off being friends but he says that he cannot be friends with the person that he loves and that once I leave him, I will be out of his life. I do not know what to do, should I stay with him and continue to try and be by his side or should I start getting used to the idea that our relationship will never workout?
ANSWER: Hi Victoria,
Thank you for writing and asking these very good questions. Relationships are challenging under the best of circumstances but when jealousy and control enter into the picture then something needs to change for your happiness. Your question of whether you should stay with him and continue to try and be by his side or should you start getting use to the idea that your relationship will never workout is a question that I believe you know the answer to. The real question you need to be asking is do you want to continue being with someone who treats you as such as you have described below?
• very jealous and controlling
• he banned me from going
• he has to come with me
• he does not allow me to have any guy friends
• gets upset when I talk to my girl friends
• he insults me and says I am a flirt and a whore for saying hi to them
• threatens to start talking to women
• He also doesn't like it when I go to places without him
• he always wants to do everything with me
• he gets very angry and he screams at the top of his lungs and curses me out
• he squeezes my arms and sometimes "punches" my legs,
• he calls me a lot of demeaning names such as slut, bitch, whore, cunt, tramp, and trashbag, he says "fuck you"
• he has started to tell me that he hates me and that he hopes I die
• he said he was not going to promise something that he was not going to be able to stop doing
• he does not trust me
• that if I leave i will be nothing without him
• He says I cannot do anything without him and that If I ever leave him, I will regret it my whole life
• He once told me that If I ever cheat on him, he will kill me
This person may be nice and sweet when you are not arguing but looking at the whole package is important to do to see who and what he is all about. Anger and jealousy as such usually does NOT stop or go away and may INCREASE over time. Bruises on your body shows that he is being rough even though he claims he is just “playing around.” This is NOT your fault that he behaves in this manner and he will most likely NEVER change because he doesn’t see his behavior as being harmful and hurtful to you even when you tell him so. Also, “playing around” causing bruises is NEVER ok.
Your feelings are very accurate as you have described below and listening to them is a good place to start:
• I do not think it is fair
• I think that we should each hang out with our friends and our family and give each other space so that our relationship is healthy
• I blush off the uncomfortable feeling and convince myself that he was just playing
• I do not think it is very nice of him to curse and call the person he proclaims to love such mean and demeaning words
• I just get very upset with his degrading insults
Learning about healthy relationships will help you understand that jealousy and control does NOT mean love and he cares about you. Jealousy and control are just that—controlling your actions and behavior to meet his needs.
I would recommend that you contact your counselor’s office on campus and talk to them about these issues. There may be a women’s organization as well to learn about “controlling” relationships. Here are a couple of websites that may be of interest as well:
Please keep asking questions as you move forward and understand that if you decide to break up, he will try other tactics to get you back. These will also be just tactics to get you back without him changing his behavior. Working with others who understand this pattern of behavior will help you through this.
Just remember, you deserve the very best in life and have the power to do so. The goal is to have a happy and healthy relationship filled with love, peace and joy.
Much peace to you,
Life Coach, Specializing in Abusive Relationships and Domestic Violence Education
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Cathy,
Thank you for your prompt response. I think that the way you bulleted everything he does to me finally made me realize that he will never change. I am still in shock after finding out that he may be a sociopath. I will see if there any type of group at my school for this or anything related. In the meanwhile, is it normal for people like this to still be caring and loving towards others?
ANSWER: Hi Victoria,
Yes, to answer your question about people as such who seem to be caring and loving towards you and others with displaying harmful behavior behind closed doors. That is why these type of relationships become so confusing because they are wonderful on one hand and pretty ugly on the other.
Understanding their motivation for being nice and caring will tell you a lot about these folks. Are they acting this way to get something from you or others or are they truly nice and caring? Truly nice and caring people do NOT display the type of behavior you described in your first email. That is how you tell them apart--getting to know them to see if they behave at home as they do in public--if they don't, then most likely they are after control and their public behavior is just a show!!
Here is chatroom that may of interest for you too:
Reaching out and finding local organizations will help keep yourself safe. Locating a local domestic violence organization will also provide you with more information such as "safety plans" if your campus doesn't have any such groups. As I mentioned before, these type of guys do NOT let go easily when they find someone who they can control. Getting support from these groups will help you stay strong and help you move on in safe ways when you are ready to do so!
Much peace to you,
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: I tried talking to him and talking our problems out. When I tried to tell him that it is all about equality and commitment he refused to accept it. He continues saying that everything is my fault. I have even come to the conclusion that he really believes it is all my fault, he sees that all of our problems are because of me and because of what I do, he doesn't see that he refuses to accept that we should both come to a mutual agreement.
The reason why he doesn't accept it because he doesn't want to. There are only two types of people in this world, those who accept responsibility for their behavior and those who don't. People who accept responsibility for hurting others, learn and change their ways. The people who don't continue to harm others and blame.
There is nothing you can do to change him--he has to take the proper steps to change himself. Feel good about talking with him and giving it your best then ask yourself what is best for you and your health and well-being for today and the future. Let the answer to that question lead you to where you want to go.
Much peace to you,