Stuck In A Cycle Of Blaming, Guilt, And Anger
Break The Cycle Of Anger Addiction
I have to admit, I'm feeling pretty lost. At this point, I am uncertain if I have always been this angry/petty/immature, or if it developed out of defense in my relationship. I remember being able to comfort myself that, at minimum on the surface, I was a good person. Now I can only say that with limitations and qualifiers like, "When I'm in a good mood..."
My partner is 6 years older than I am. I feel that this is important because they have a lot more life experience than I do. Supposedly, they had their anger problem under control until a little way into our relationship (over 3 years long now). They also have more relationship experience, specifically, and have been abused by one of their exes, so there's some trauma/PTSD there.
They said they fell in love with my "spark," which is now, allegedly, gone most of the time and only appears in spurts. When I point out that it has something to do with our explosive arguments, I am told that they would not be so bad if my partner weren't already in such an elevated state from my own actions (they feel that I am neglectful).
Our arguments now start from almost anything, but they always go the same way. I sit silently because I have no idea what to say other than apologize and appeal to pathos.
My partner, meanwhile, will go on ranting at me and "challenging" me for literally hours on end. The "challenge" is supposedly to get me to "fight for our relationship" or "show a sign of life," but I cannot "fight fire with fire" or it makes the argument worse.
Partner will insult, degrade, chastise, and pick at deepest insecurities to "shake me awake," but hardly anything "works." Well, perhaps if I didn't feel that the argument starting from something completely innocent (i.e. a misunderstanding, most often), then I wouldn't shut down from shock (that isn't always the case, the shock, but it is, sometimes).
Anyway, I do know that, if I did not have an anger problem before this relationship, I do now. I tested "moderate" on the anger test on this site. I have a feeling my partner would test on the highest level. We have both shoved each other. I have an almost-attempt at suicide earlier in the relationship, which is held over my head at "who has done worse to the other" (typically brought up when I address the insulting, degradation, etc.).
Partner has physically/psychologically intimidated me to the point where I feel cowed. But apparently I am the "worse" perpetrator? Perhaps I suck at self-reflection, but at the bare minimum, we are on the same level of assholery.
Anyway, Dr. DeFoore, I'm just hoping you can provide some insight. We both want to try to make this relationship work if we can. I just can't keep dealing with the extreme anger response of my partner to almost any situation (think forgetting to run an errand vs. the shoving), regardless of the severity of the situation.
I am having difficulty accepting my responsibility when I feel so much hurt and betrayal for my partner speaking to me the way they do in anger, and it seems my partner feels the same way, but because I have been neglectful of certain needs.
Please help, if you can.