My Boyfriend Is So Angry
I have reached the end of my tether with my boyfriend. 80% of the time he is lovely and kind. He tells me that I mean everything to him. Throughout our relationship he has had a tendency to "blow up" during rows.
An argument about something relatively small will escalate into a full scale screaming match with him being extremely verbally abusive, calling me names, saying things he knows will hurt me the most, telling me he doesn't trust me and that I'm obviously cheating on him. He says he will leave me, and tries to throw me out.
He often carries arguments on for ages. Even if I walk upstairs or go to bed to avoid it, he continues to come and start screaming or being threatening again. The last couple of episodes have been worse, with him grabbing me in a headlock, and once I actually thought he would hit me.
He often packs all his bags & then storms out of the house, returning later, full of apologies. Sometimes he admits he was out of order, but a lot of the time he just continues to insist it's my fault. He says I should just ignore him when he's like that & that he doesn't mean the things he says. It's like he just gets into a "zone" where he won't listen to any reason at all. He just turns everything around.
He says when he is calm again that he does know I love him and that when he's like that I shouldn't listen to what he says. He says he can't help it, but his behaviour is becoming increasingly threatening, and I don't think that him not being able to help himself is a valid excuse. Can you help? Or shall I just walk away?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
You are smart to try to get some help with this. This kind of situation can be very dangerous, especially now that it is becoming physical. I know you care about your boyfriend, but you have to put yourself first. If you don't take care of yourself, no one else will.
I'm sure your boyfriend is a good person inside, but his behavior has become very destructive and dangerous. You won't be doing him any favors by allowing him to keep hurting and frightening you. If your relationship has any chance of being good, he is going to need to get some help. For now, you have to help yourself.
Your physical safety has to come first. Then, when you're safe, and if he really starts to get some help and improve, you might be able to improve the relationship. If you can't be physically safe living with him, then you may need to consider moving out or asking him to. Talk to some friends or a trusted confidant about this.
Relationships are all about love. You are having a hard time loving him right now, because of his blowups. Find a distance from which you can love him. Find a distance from which you can feel safe. Then, if things really and truly get better with him and you, the chance of a stronger, healthier love can grow. Or you may go your separate ways.
You might want to talk to someone at a battered women's shelter about this as well. They are very familiar with this type of situation, and will have some good advice for you.
I wish you the best with this. Feel free to write again if you want to.
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