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Abusive Boyfriend And Potential Mental Illness

by Anonymous

Abuse Victim Cycle

Abuse Victim Cycle


I am a 20 year old in college, and my boyfriend and I have known each other for eight years, been together seriously for nearly five years now.

Since the beginning he has always had issues with insecurities and jealousy; however, for the first seven years of knowing him, he was nothing but sweet and loving.

In the past year, since we have gone to college together, he has become mentally and emotionally abusive, starting to call me names and using other forms of verbal abuse in February of this year (It is November now), to showing signs of aggression within the past two months, and to ultimately choking me for some amount of seconds two nights ago.

Not only did he do this, but he has refused to accept that what he did was completely wrong. I truly do believe that in his mind he did not mean to hurt me, but placing his hands on my neck whilst pinning me down onto the bed and clearly choking me (yes, while angry and while telling me to get the f*ck out of his house) is absolutely unacceptable.

In the past, we have discussed the possibilities of him having bipolar disorder, and he went to a therapist who once told him that she believed he did have it and an official screening would be necessary to diagnose him. However, once it became real, he stopped going.

I know this behavior is absolutely unacceptable, and the relationship has become dangerous. Yet, I am still so hopeful that we can find a way to fix this if he gets the help he needs, because he clearly has anger management and a potential mental illness. However, his desire to join the military prevents him from wanting to seek treatment.

We are not together right now but are still in communication, and he wants to fix the relationship. He’s already tried to start acting like everything is normal even only after just 24 hours, although I am working on setting my boundaries and have told him multiple times what he did was awful and that in order for us to ever work again it would take a lot of work and a lot of healing.

I have more conversations I want to have with him, and there are boundaries that I need to set that I have not been able to bring myself to do yet. But these conversations are more for my peace of mind that I didn’t just give up when I know he needs help.




I have this picture in my mind of us remaining loyal to each other while working on ourselves and starting over slowly as we are able to relearn to love each other, but without ever taking a true period of absolute separation (no communication whatsoever, no ties to each other or the relationship whatsoever). And this is merely because I feel as though I am not ready to miss him. He has become like this so abruptly (and during a very difficult time in his life) that I have a hard time believing that this is truly who he is and not the result of anger issues or something that can be managed.

Would striving to make this a reality if he realizes that he needs help and truly does work on himself and get the help that he needs be completely irresponsible?

Feeling stupid and confused.

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Nov 10, 2019
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Help In Answering Your Quetions
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for reaching out.

You sound like a bright young person, and I highly encourage you to try to think very clearly about your situation.

The situation you describe with your boyfriend is beyond alarming. The fact that you don't fully see that points to some issues that you have personally.

For example, if you truly loved and respected yourself, you would never consider reuniting with someone who had held you down and choked you for several seconds, as you described.

Your hope for reconciliation after he gets help seems to border on fantasy. He does not seem to want help, and as you've pointed out, is not fully remorseful for what he did.

A mentally and emotionally healthy man 1) would never have done that to you, and 2) if he did do something like that, he would be so shocked by his behavior that he would end your relationship and commit himself to intensive therapy for a few years before even considering dating anyone.

So, my recommendation is that you cut off communications with him. As long as you continue to communicate, you are at a high probability of getting back together, and putting yourself further at risk.

Get some help for yourself. Find a counselor who can help you identify the patterns in yourself that would cause you to consider being with someone who is this disturbed, abusive and irresponsible.

Believe in yourself. Help yourself. Let him go.

Then, when you're healthy and clear as to how you got yourself into this, consider slowly moving back into a new relationship...with a mentally and emotionally healthy man.

You are worthy of that.

My best,

Dr. DeFoore

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