My 19 Year Old Boyfriend's Anger Problems
I have been with my boyfriend for 2 and a half years already. He has drunk and done drugs and lied to me behind my back several times. He had a marijuana problem in the past.
He was abused throughout his entire childhood and he and his siblings were taken from the custody of his parents but then returned as long as they completed classes through the whole court system. His parents still treat him bad though. He is still struggling to complete high school.
Recently, like within the past 6 months, his anger has been getting worse and worse. He yells at me, he curses at me and calls me terrible names, and he physically hurts himself. He also threatens me by telling me he is going to go do something if I continue to ignore his calls when he's angry. He even sometimes threatens to kill himself. When he's angry, he also blames me for things I am not responsible for.
I have been telling him that I am completely tired of the attitude and cannot take much more. I am so done with this relationship and being emotionally abused. I love him so much which is the reason why I always get back with him even after the continuous lying and doing things behind my back, but I just cannot take it anymore. I don't even talk to my best friend or anyone about these things anymore because I'm embarrassed and afraid they will think I'm stupid for still wanting to get back with him.
I am afraid it will start to rub off on me. I notice that I began getting more angry easily also. I even slapped him in the face when he was yelling and cussing at me, but I noticed my change in behavior also so I now stop myself. I don't even curse back anymore. I know I am the one who holds him together and encourages him and I want to still do that for him, but I just cannot continue in this relationship because I have so much emotional pain from it.
I'm only 17 and I shouldn't have to feel this way. I am about to graduate high school in 2 weeks and have things going for me, but I don't know where our relationship is going to take us. I still love him so much and wish I could be happy with him, but that hasn't been happening. He is a wonderful person when he's not mad, he's one of the most loving, caring, and forgiving people I know and I always want to be there for him.
I just don't know if I should stay with him and try to help. He knows that he needs help. Or should I just be done and try to be there for him as a best friend? I'm just afraid that if we do break up, he won't want my help or friendship so I really don't know what to do.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. You are smart and healthy to feel the way you do about this relationship being over. I know you want to help your boyfriend, but you can't help him at all until and unless he helps himself. And it sounds like he needs serious professional help for substance abuse and anger management. This is bigger than you can handle.
You need to focus on yourself--and love yourself more than you love him. From what you've said here, it sounds like the only healthy choice for you is to end the relationship--and that probably means you can't be friends either.
I know this is hard, but you can do it. Read about how to deal with abusive relationships and letting go of a relationship.
It is up to you. You have to decide that you want a good life for yourself more than you want to help him--especially considering the fact that you absolutely cannot help him. It is time to let go and focus on your own life.
My very best to you,
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