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Raging Boyfriend

by Catie

Hello, my name is Catie. I am 20 years old and I have been with my boyfriend Eddie for 3 years. For about the first year we were very happy, until I started to see his anger come out and it has just gotten worse every time since then.

Eddie has a very very hard time expressing his feelings, so therefore he bottles up all his emotions including anger, and I think they just build up until he, well, explodes! Eddie yells, screams, breaks things and has gotten physical with me.

I know everyone's advice is to leave, but it is extremely hard since for some reason deep down inside I still love him despite all of that. But I am at the bottom of the rope with all this, and he HAS TO get help or I will leave.

Eddie can get upset over the littlest thing and then he just goes into a rage, and lately he has been breaking things. He has broken a fan, a lamp, threw all of my belongings from the bathroom counter on the floor, and broken a Christmas tree. This is all very intensified when he drinks which he has told me he will stop, but that is just another issue.

I know deep down he has some serious issues inside of him. I know that his father physically abused him mother when he was a child, and I know he witnessed it. It is very hard to get him to talk about his feelings and he likes to dodge any turmoil or disagreement most of the time. One phrase he says a lot is "I just wanna get along, or "lets just be happy." He thinks every argument can just end with that and we can just forget about all of our problems.

I know its not that easy. Whenever there is a disagreement I feel the best thing to do would be to talk about the issue and try to solve it like mature adults. I would like us both to express how we feel about the issue and try to come to a compromise for the problem, but this is impossible with him, since he cant express how he feels very well.

Most of the time things just get escalated and he just explodes. I know Eddie is a good person inside, but he really needs help. He is a hard working man, a great provider, and a loving father. By the way he has a daughter who is not mine...the mother of his child left him for the same reasons, and he got physical with her too.

I know its not my job to help him but I want to find someway to make things better and make it work instead of just giving up on him. I really hope you don't think I sound stupid but I do love him. I just can't handle the anger anymore and I want him to find a way to deal with it better instead of going into his rages anytime he gets angry.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Catie, and thanks for telling your story here. You are not stupid. You're just a woman in love with a guy who has a lot of problems--and you're not alone. If you read some of the other stories on this site, you'll see what I mean.

You say that you want to help him--and you're smart enough to know that there isn't much you can do. He has to be the one to get help, as you said above. You will find a standard response to folks in your shoes in #2 on our FAQ page. You will find that information to be all about taking care of yourself, putting yourself first, and letting go of the relationship. I suggest you read it, even though you're not completely ready to let go.

It is clear from what you've written here that Eddie is an alcoholic. Read this page on alcohol abuse, and you'll see that he definitely meets the criteria. If he doesn't get sober, your relationship has no chance at all. Period. Go to an ALANON meeting and ask the folks there.

In addition to that, I suggest that you try this:

1) While doing all of the things recommended above, focus on the best in Eddie. Every time you think of him, pay attention to his strongest and healthiest qualities.

2) Make it very clear to him that if he doesn't quit drinking get help with his anger, you will leave.

3) Picture him doing the right thing for himself in your imagination. Believe the best of him, while making yourself #1, and keeping yourself safe.

If you allow the physical abuse to continue and stay with him, you're in essence telling him that it's okay to abuse you. There is no gray area here, Catie.

I have a feeling that you're going to do the right thing for yourself here.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore
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