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My Stomach Is In A Knot & I Don't Really Know What To Believe

by Alice
(St. Louis, MO)

I have been with the same man for 6 years. There are really fun parts to our relationship - gardening together, having a dog, owning a house, going on vacations, and hosting a foreign exchange student.

However, there are parts of our relationship that feel like my heart is getting ripped out. I get angry for days, and he is closed off and blames me. He especially blames my PMS for ruining things. I am sensitive and have days that I beg for emotional support. He says that I am not grateful and complain all the time.

He sees me hurting and upset and tries to get away from me as much as he can rather than trying to comfort me. He gets so defensive that yelling, name-calling, and threats happen. Then a few days later, he tells me he loves me & he will always love me. This messes with my head because he just called me "stupid," "retarded," etc.

I understand that he had abuse in his past, but it feels like his reactions to my requests are way out of proportion to what I am saying. I also sometimes feel like I am getting sucked into the messed up emotional life from his childhood. I get sucked in and yell back & fight for being "right" even though no one ever wins.

Several months ago, I called the police because an argument got so escalated that he broke my cell phone. I broke a remote control against the wall after he pushed me away from him, and I slapped him after he continued to berate me and say he was going to punch out my teeth.

That was rock bottom. And then the police showed up. But we still didn't seek professional help after that.

He told me I needed help. He never helped me pay to replace my phone either. There is no "working through issues" and these messy situations get swept under the rug. I am not perfect & I hold onto A LOT of resentment and don't know how to work through these issues with someone who is emotionally unavailable (due to working nights, alcohol use, and messed up sleep patterns).

My emotions are pouring out, contorting, and tying in a knot in my stomach and my brain. The most confusing part is that I crave love from this messed up relationship. When he finally says he loves me again and wants to have sex or touch me, I feel like I have to take advantage of it because it doesn't happen a lot.

However, my brain is screaming to not give in to his "lies" and to demand respect and repair. Today, I said "no" to having sex initially because my brain and body had not recovered from the verbal abuse from the previous week. He wanted it bad and I eventually gave in to just getting through it.

Now, I feel disgusted by what I did and don't know why I am putting his needs before my own emotional needs. What am I doing? Why don't I demand better?

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Mar 14, 2016
Your Feelings Make Sense
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi Alice - It makes perfect sense that you don't feel right being intimate with your partner after feeling abused by him. It also makes sense that you're asking the question, "What am I doing?" I encourage you to keep asking that question until your answer starts to become clear.

Some things to consider are as follows:

1) As long as your partner is in a pattern of excessive drinking, your chances of healing and having a healthy relationship are pretty much non-existent. You didn't go into a lot of detail about this, but you did mention his alcohol use.

2) The verbal abuse by him and the physical aggression by you are setting up a pattern that will be hard for you to break. Even with professional counseling, you may have damaged your trust so much that you can never regain it together.

Consider the possibility that you need to get out of this relationship in order to get healthy yourself. Then you can decide whether to get back together with him, or make some healthier choices.

One thing is for sure...if you don't take care of yourself, no one else can or will.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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