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My girlfriend and I (I am female, too) have been together for about 3 years, and our relationship has been very tumultuous at times. A running theme throughout our relationship has been a cat and mouse game between her refusal to listen to me/take me seriously and my inability to control my temper when I feel I'm not being heard.
A fight will often go like this: I have a legitimate concern to bring up, and I start talking calmly. She will either turn it around on me and blame my behavior for hers (well, I'm pissed off because you didn't do "x"!) or she will continue as though she hasn't heard me; joking, smiling, singing, "I wanna cuddle!" kind of stuff. I will feel hurt.
Then I will try to broach the subject again and will be met with the same attitude. Eventually, I lose my temper, and it is bad. I scream, I pick up things and throw them (usually soft, sometimes not, never at her), and our fights have gotten physical three times. I once was so consumed by anger over her refusing to listen to me, that I dumped a cup of water on her head, to "get her attention," and she physically attacked me, leaving me with bleeding scratches and bruised up legs.
Another time, she claims she thought I was going to physically hurt her (despite my never having done so) and left me with similar bleeding scratches and bruised up legs. The last time, I pushed her onto our bed in order to get her out of my face. I am deeply, deeply ashamed to share this information.
I grew up with divorced parents that had abusive partners, and my mother was abusive towards her partner, as well. I always vowed that I would never be in a relationship like either of theirs, and yet, here I am. I understand why it's hard, now, especially in a case where both parties have been abusive. You don't think of yourself as a monster, so they're obviously not a monster.
This is something that can be fixed. I love her. I know the conventional advice would be to tell me to leave, that we can't work together like this, but I'm not ready to do that, and she isn't either. We both really want to make it work without these kinds of arguments, but we're coming up short. What can we do to stay together and break the cycle?
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