Dealing With A Verbal Abuser

by Kate
(California)

My boyfriend is generally very caring and considerate and I have been happy with him, but lately Ive realized that there are some things he says that really bother me. First of all, he's very sarcastic.

He asks me questions such as "Do you know what that means?" in a very demeaning tone... undermining my capability of grasping or understanding something.



Another thing is that he has a temper. I've noticed that if someone thinks differently to him, he gets mad, and it seems that he can't control himself while carrying a conversation. He says, "Well you re just as stupid for thinking that."

I have made it clear when he says these things that they are upsetting and I show him that I am upset and angry and that he can't speak to me like that. He usually apologizes.

But of course, he says that Im very sensitive. Two nights ago I was speaking to him about something, and he seemed to be in a bad mood, and he answered "Enough of this bull Sh*t." When he realized I got mad, he asked what he should do in order to make me feel better.

But I couldn't snap out of it, and so he said a very derogatory sexual comment. Basically implying that I needed a certain thing in order to snap out of it or be happy.

I cried. I told him how hurtful he was. He hugged me and told me that he respects me and loves me, and that he didn't mean it disrespectfully and that I am too sensitive sometimes.

The only hope I have with this guy, is that whenever I have brought up certain issues that bother me (ie. yelling or blaming me), he has worked on them and he has improved tremendously. I know he would be willing to work on it if he knew he would lose me. I just need to have the proper tools to approach him when it comes to the verbal abuse. I will speak with him and tell him that if he doesn't stop, I am leaving him.

Please let me know what I can do to fix the situation given the fact that he might be willing to work on it.




Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Kate, and thanks for telling your story here. I appreciate the clarity of your writing, and the specific request for help. That makes it easier for me to help you.

I'm glad you think your boyfriend might be willing to work with you to heal the relationship. I'm sure you're aware that he may not be, but it's certainly worth a try. I think you know that the apologies and consoling after he's been abusive are worthless, unless change and improvement occur.

I encourage you to read these couples communication skills, and share them with your boyfriend. If he's willing, it would also be good if the two of you read Harville Hendrix' book, Getting The Love You Want, and do all of the exercises in the back of the book. If you do this together, and follow all of the recommendations, you may be able to heal your relationship and find true love together.

You are a good and smart person, Kate. You sound like you're putting yourself first in this relationship, but it also sounds like you may be putting up with more abuse and disrespect than you need to. You are worthy of love and respect, on an ongoing basis. Do not accept anything less.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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