Is This Healthy?
I don't know if I'm doing the right thing by writing this on here, but I really need the help. And maybe with your advice and to know that I may not be the only one going through this I might get a sigh of relief.
I really don't know where to start or where to go to get help because I really can't take it any more.
I am a 24 year old woman dating a 30 year old man for the past year and some odd months. After more or less one year is where our relationship started getting really bad. We are to the point where we fight almost every day, not only in person but over the phone. We do not live together nor are we married.
I have always had a self esteem issue ever since I was little and I have not been able to get rid of it. I have a few failing relationships and this one has topped the charts. Never in my life have I been called so many things.
Starting our relationship, I would enjoy telling him things about my past, thinking that I was doing good, but boy was I wrong. He judged me for taking pictures in a semi-inappropriate way (not completely nude). I thought that by this I would have this great career in modeling and again I was wrong. He brings it up every chance he gets. When he gets angry he tends to say things and later change them or simply apologize or act like nothing happened.
I have been called stupid and ridiculous, and told that I "never will amount to anything." He says that I don't have an education, I don't have morals, and that I am a disrespectful person because I hang up the phone on him when he starts talking this way. He has pretty much insinuated that I have been a slut because of the way men have treated me in my past relationships, and that he never made that mistake in his life. And the best one of all is, he tells me I "don't value the type of man that I have next to me." I am not very romantic (and he wonders why). I have explained to him that I do not like him talking to me this way and all he says is that he is telling me the truth to my face and I need to listen to it.
Simply put, this is not the way that I was brought up in life. I do not feel the need to insult or call the person that you love or care about stupid or any other obscene things just because you are telling them the truth. We have sometimes played around in a rough manner and then things end up not in the best way. There has been an instant where we pushed each other around and literally almost ate each other alive.
There was a time where I had a male friend that I had known before send me a text with a smiling face. My boyfriend asked me where I met him, how long I knew him, if I ever went out with him, and if he would kiss me on the cheek. All of those things made the conversation get heated and he called me a slut and m-f and I slapped him in the face. We were in my car at the time. He was going to take me home or actually leave me to drive my car and him walk or take a cab home. I couldn't let him go. I don't know why but I simply couldn't.
On another occasion, we were leaving to go on a road trip and an argument started and all of a sudden for some reason he didn't like what I had to say, and he spit in my face.
So many stories and so little time to mention all of them. I have been to a psychologist once and a therapist a few times, taken medication for drinking numerous amounts of pills at a time. I was considered to be in a deep depression stage at that time, and I'm falling back into it now.
But I am constantly fighting back, fighting to defend myself and speak. He just tells me that if what I had to say made any sense he would hear me out, but he simply doesn't want to listen.
I have always been this fun person surrounded by friends and family. I would go out to clubs, house parties with friends, dinner and movies, bowling, pool, so on and so forth. Now I don't have friends, I barely go out and whenever I have something to do I don't do it because it bothers him. I feel like he has taken me from the things that I love to do but he just says that he does not control me at all and would never control me. I don't know what else to do.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Congratulations for telling your story here, and for speaking out for yourself. And congratulations for not living with him or marrying him. It is clear to me, from reading what you have written, that you are a good person, a smart person, and you want to have a good life with healthy, loving relationships. You express yourself very well in what you've written here. It is clear that you have a good mind, and a strong will to stand up for yourself and do the right thing. The answer to the question in your title is, No--it is not healthy.
You are in a classic battered person situation. What that means is, you have love mixed up with some self-destructive patterns. I guarantee you that this situation is not going to get better--they never do. It will just get worse and worse until something breaks, and it sounds like it might be you. We don't want that. You have to take care of yourself. You are a good person and you are worthy of a good life. You will never, ever have a good life with this man.
He is a classic abuser, and you are a full and willing participant. You are just as responsible as he is, even though you feel like a victim. The good news is, if you're willing to accept responsibility then you are free to act differently. What you have with this man is not love. It is a kind of relationship sickness.
Here are some things for you to consider:
1) You have to get out of this relationship, if you expect to have any kind of decent life. This is totally clear, because of what you've written here about what he has done and how he treats you.
2) You are in a "battered person syndrome," because you love someone who is abusive to you and you have a hard time leaving him.
3) I know you said you have low self-esteem. That is why you put up with his abuse. So, what you absolutely must do is act as if you loved yourself more than you love him. If that was true, what would you do? The answer is easy--you'd stay as far away from him as possible.
5) Look for someone in your world who believes in you, and recognizes that you are being abused. Get that person (or those people) to help you find a way to stay safe. You can also find a battered women's shelter at your local court clerk's office, or you can look in the yellow pages for a "crisis hotline," and they will help you find one if you can't get yourself to stay away from him--or if he won't leave you alone when you try to break up.
6) Read this page on how to deal with abusive relationships. Follow all of the recommendations.
7) From what you have told me, there is absolutely no reason for you to think he will change or the situation will get better. People don't do what he is doing to you unless they are very, very sick. To begin getting well, he would need to seek treatment for himself, and it would take a very long time, if the treatment were good enough and if he stuck with it. You haven't said anything to lead me to believe that he is even aware that he has a problem.
And consider this about yourself:
1) You are worthy of love, kindness and gentle caring treatment from others. Learn about loving yourself and your inner child here.
2) You deserve to be respected and treated well, regardless of your past or how you may feel about yourself.
3) You are a good person, and you want to love and be loved. That is who you are.
4) Believe in yourself. Put yourself first.
5) Never, ever give up on yourself.
Keep writing on this site if you like. There are people here who will help you.
By the way, who is the artist who painted the picture you submitted with your story? If you don't mind telling me, just write it in a comment on this story once it has been published.
My best to you in your journey to greater self-respect and self love,
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