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I'm Not Sure If The Emotional Abuse Is Intentional

by Elizabeth
(Aztec, NM)



Thank you for taking your time to help me. My name is Elizabeth. I've been in a 2 year relationship that involves two emotionally scarred people already.

I worked many years to heal and was so happy when someone seemed genuinely interested in being with me. We have a lot in common in our spiritual beliefs and other likes/dislikes so it's not completely absurd that we're together. Now we co-manage a property and here's some problems we are having as I see it.

We have arguments on what food I buy, with him telling me I don't contribute enough. When I do hear a thanks, it's usually bitter and includes a statement of what I haven't done, like I don’t help him pay his car bill or buy gas. The thing is, I have, but I'm also careful and ask a lot of questions like why he couldn't cover these expenses, or help out with groceries or pay me back some of the money he's borrowed. I don’t know what he does with his paycheck.

Now he's started hitting and throwing things and saying really hurtful things to me. He said he loved me and wants to try harder. I know I'm a part of the problem, but I know I'm not the only one. And naturally I only see my side clearly.

It seems like when I talk to him about any of the problems, he wants to see things as a one way street. He'll say "I can't do one thing right" or "I'm a complete f-ing jerk." He walks off in a tantrum a lot, or he tries to tactfully blame the entire problem on me. He says I’m not being reasonable, having problems with everything, blaming him for everything.

We have a lot fewer fights when I don't express myself, when I don't have fun, when I don't go out of the house. It seems to me that to avoid his tantrums, the best thing for me is to be inside all the time, not express my opinions except the ones he wants to hear.

I had hoped for a relationship that inspired and enlightened and enchanted, but maybe these are just some things I need to work on. I don't know what to expect in a relationship, and so many people just walk out on them as I have done with so many. I don't want to keep up that pattern.

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Nov 15, 2015
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Response to Elizabeth
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi Elizabeth. It's clear that you're confused about a lot of things. I asked in my response to your story, "Do you treat each other with respect?" That is different from "Do you respect each other."

Clearly, he does not treat you with respect. Everything that bothers you about his behavior falls into the category of disrespectful behavior.

You will not have clarity until you get out of this relationship. You need to get out, now. He is an alcoholic, and abusive to you. There is absolutely no chance of a healthy relationship with this man.

Leave the relationship, get some counseling, and you will start to get some clarity.

All my best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Nov 13, 2015
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How to Define Respect?
by: Elizabeth

Dear Dr DeFoore, it's been over a month since you posted/responded to my concerns and I want to say thank you for being a caring and insightful guide. I've been giving a lot of thought to your insight as well as spending time with your visualization guides and I'm hoping to find some ideas that will help me understand and know what to look for when it comes to giving and receiving respect.

Your first asked if we respected each other and emphasized its importance. And to be honest, I'm not sure how well I truly understand the concept of respect-I mean I understand the basic idea, but after so many relationships of all types ending in hurtful words or attitudes or not even ending but carrying on like that such as with my family, it seems a lot of people have different opinions of respect.

I think respect means being true to yourself while appreciating others opinions with clarity, harmony, as well as boundaries from not being swayed to agree just to please.

The problem here can be trying to please people so much, it's not always clear who I truly am, but as I do get a clearer understanding of who I am, my biggest roadblock seems to be staying strong with my own decisions, ideas, etc because with so many varying opinions it's easy to self doubt. Everyone has room for improvement-how do I trust I'm right?

So does it mean you don't ever say anything that will hurt another person? That you let people say whatever without retaliating? You listen and respond calmly to others' reactions and comments no matter what? Does it mean you go out of your way to please the one including outwardly agreeing because a battle isn't worth it-compromise, right?

The dictionary def is to have deep admiration for someone due to their abilities, achievements, and qualities; but I feel that to many people it has a deeper meaning/a feeling association. Due to that theory, I struggle to say there's a definite line between whether we respect each other.

I respect his abilities, yes; his achievements and his qualities-he's very accomplished in real estate for example and has read hundreds of books on the subject because he cares about it.

His body is amazing and he's done a lot to improve it in the past-he looks like Thor. He seems a bit imposing with an air of, hmmm...lordship I think. He has a great ability to simplify things.

Obviously, as a person always has much more to them, so does he. But the reason I'm even writing here is because some of his actions and words I am repulsed by. Such as he chooses to sit around the house and drink beer (starting at 8am and denies adamantly that he has a problem), watches tv or sleeps instead of playing a game or jumping on the trampoline or reading a book out loud or building a model or anything active-and gets really angry when the phone rings or if he needs to work.

Most of the time if you ask him to do other things he gets hostile, saying can't he ever do what he wants, or "NO! Leave Me Alone!" If I break down and cry, he gets more angry and says various hurtful things-crying obviously makes him uncomfortable-he told me once that if he hugged me or comforted me when I was sad it would condone and encourage that behavior so that's why he doesn't do it.

He asked me to stay with him over a year ago offering a job to me to co-manage a property. He said a lot of stuff would be maintenance and whatever I was unable to do, he would do. I gladly did what I could, but after a few months I noticed he would just sleep a lot or do non-work related stuff on his computer (including buying websites-he once over drafted so much he didn't have a paycheck for nearly 2 months and I even lent him money to keep the overdrafts from continuing and he hasn't repaid me because he insists he did).


With work, when I needed his help, he would say it didn't need to be done or it could be handled later or I should do it alone (which often I did things that should have been done as a team because it really needed to be done and nothing I said would bring his help).

Sometimes he just ignored me. He hardly ever paid attention to what I did do, but he did say I did a good job sometimes, mostly he either said nothing or found faults. Any compliments or encouragement became more rare as time passed, though.

When summer arrived, I was constantly busy pulling weeds, chopping trees, digging ditches, keeping up with requests from tenants, answering phones (if he was around when I answered he would actually yell at me at almost anything I said because in his opinion it was wrong even though I was saying the same thing in different words-so I told him I was no longer comfortable answering the phones after he refused to stop) and other office stuff.

I was proud of my work, and really looked forward to a camping trip one weekend. I had planned and saved up, not expecting him to pay for anything-I was just happy to finally have someone to share these types of experiences with! He rarely pays for vacations because he always says he doesn't have money and it's a big argument between us because I only see that he buys a lot of alcohol, tobacco, fast food and rarely stuff for the whole family.

Anyway, the camping trip was intended to be in the mountains and no camping fee. We got to the trail a bit late so he wanted to camp below, which required a fee in cash which I didn't have. Long story short it turned into a volcano of his anger with me for "not contributing." After pointing out what I have done, he would say "It would be nice if you would just do stuff to help out just because you wanted to, but you always make it so awkward when I don't have money."

As we were in the car during this eruption, he started driving way too fast for the dirt roads, he was shouting and cursing a lot, punching the steering wheel and the roof. At one point he pulled over angrily and told me to drive which I did, and got us back to our house safely which made him more angry with me for not going back and paying for the campsite or a cabin.

You are probably asking why I stayed...I thought he was right and I wanted to fix things; also leaving really opened a lot of problems-where to go? If I went to a shelter, would he get some sort of record? Since then, these episodes have happened more. I do think I respect him though, because I am very careful about saying "I feel..." and I try to understand his opinion and know he's entitled to it. I don't intentionally hurt or get physically aggressive.

About 2 months ago, he stopped allowing weekends off and was being critical of what hadn't been done. After both of us planning another camping trip about a month in advance he postponed it 3 or 4 different times. By about the 4th time, I responded by locking myself in a bedroom. I was very melancholy and strongly contemplating suicide.

I didn't have a working vehicle at the time and really don't have much to call my own but I felt trapped, stupid for choosing to stay or even be there in the first place.

I know my reactions were unhealthy and passive aggressive, so I felt really guilty and embarrassed-in other ways I just needed a safe-ish place to reflect and cope quietly. My behavior encouraged more anger toward me from him and this entire experience has definitely brought out some rough emotions and well:

Fear 1: Do I have anything good to offer?
2: Where will I go?
3: Love is-working thru anything?
4: Leave right away? Or make provisions?
5: Cut all ties with him?
6: Alone at night? what's the point?
7: Am I creating all these things?
8: Give up on relationships?

In essence, the relationship is unhealthy-he refuses counseling and can't seem to carry a mature conversation on it; knowing I'll have to start all over again-it all sounds so scary, lonely, painful, unsettling, and the list goes on.

The 7 Habits book talks about how important it is to be interdependent and value driven; it doesn't say never to leave a relationship, but I feel like in a way it indicates it's wrong. Like if I leave, I wasn't truly committed.

I cooked, cleaned, worked in love but in the beginning whenever an uncomfortable situation arose, I brought up that maybe I should leave-in a lot of ways though it made sense for me to stay I thought.

It's rent-free, outside work with the benefit of serving others, it encompassed almost every type of job I've ever liked and it paid well. I feel guilty for not trying hard enough.

But enough ranting. Thank you so much for being a sounding board, for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this, and if you have time to, respond also.

Mostly, I just needed a place to get some of these feelings bottled up, out and know I'm not an island. I read if you want to make positive changes you should do something physical to make it real. So this to me is one step in that direction.

Thank you again.

Oct 06, 2015
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How To Evaluate Your Relationship
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi Elizabeth

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your relationship:

1) Do you feel respected? Do you both treat each other with respect? Respect is the foundation of love, and without respect there ultimately will be no love.

2) Are things balanced financially? Do you both pull your own weight, where things are balanced in terms of your mutual contributions, financial and otherwise?

3) Are the two of you compatible intellectually, sexually, and in terms of how you handle social and family relationships?

4) Are you compatible spiritually? Can you have relaxed, open minded conversations in this area?


These are just a few filters through which to view your relationship. From what you've written here, it appears that you are definitely not being treated with respect.

Think about these things carefully, and ask yourself what you really want in life. Make up your mind to create a fabulous life for yourself, and build relationships only with people who treat you with the utmost kindness and respect.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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