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Doc@DrIrene.com

Love Isn't Everything

Love Isn't Everything

 
From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 3:04 PM
Subject: confused

Hi, I just stumbled across this website and think it could help me on what to do.  I love my boyfriend tremendously and I know he loves and cares for me but he has been verbally abusive for a year and I think I've had enough. 
Dear Amy,
Sorry about what I have to say...
 
If he cared so much, he would not be abusive. 
 
We have a great relationship when things are good but we also go through a roller coaster with bad times.  Our fights are horrible.  When I try to discuss issues that are bothering me he gets very upset and has the attitude of "you hurt me so I am going to hurt you." 
 
Not acceptable.
 
He says horrible things and call me names. He knows this affects my self-esteem because I have told him how much this hurts me.  Check out why you let his acting out affect your self-esteem. Don't take him so seriously. He literally turns into another person and acts as if he is 12 years old.
 
Sounds more like 7. What do you see in him? The chase? That he won't really give himself to you? That if you show him just how very much you love him, he will magically change and reciprocate? Don't count on it.

His parents were divorced when he was 8 and I think that has had a great effect on him.  He hasn't ever really gotten over it and his father has a problem with communication and temper control also. 
 
So what? Does that give him the right to make your life miserable?
 
So, to get to my question:  I told him the other night that I've had enough and I wanted to break up because I wanted to look out for my well-being and I didn't want my future to be like this unless he could change.  We had already been to couple's counseling for 2 months but he couldn't take any responsibility for anything he's done, so we really didn't make any progress.  He seemed to take things okay at first but he then turned cold  and said the mean things again.  I told him he just doesn't get it.  He later thought about things and says he realizes that he has a problem.  He wants me back and he says he really wants to change. 
 
Actions speak louder than words. Don't consider a person's actions during a period of remorse. Look at what they do in the heat of the moment.
 
 I  love this man so much and I would be willing to take him back if things were different. 
 
But things are not different. Always love yourself more.
 
 But.. what is the likelihood that things can change?
 
Slim. He is not taking responsibility for his life. Wanting to change and changing are two different things. Changing is hard work. He has to want it desperately. He has to feel as though life is not worth living the way things are now. He clearly doesn't. (Except perhaps when you are about to leave.)

What are his options on what to do and where to go? 
 
He may ask the couples counselor you saw to see him, or to give him a referral. But, where to get help is his problem. Why are you making it yours? If he really, really means business, he will find what he needs.
 
I guess I am just confused and wondering if I am a fool to think that he can get better.
 
He can get better, but you are being foolish because he is showing no indication at all that he means business. He wants to change only when threatened with losing you. He is not in pain otherwise. Why should he want to change? Right now, he gets his cake and gets to eat it too. He needs the roller coaster. You don't. Or do you?

I do have a lot of faith in counseling.  I spent 5 years in counseling for an eating disorder and have went through a lot of hard work to get to where I am at today. 
 
You had a reason to go to counseling; you hurt. Your boyfriend doesn't. Don't blow all your hard work by staying in a relationship that will hurt you more and more. You know, the general pattern is that untreated abuse gets worse over time.
 
 I am strong enough right now to handle some of his verbal abuse but I don't think I can take much more. 
 
Then don't. You sound so young, with your whole life ahead of you. You have no kids together and little history. You are better off getting out. The odds are against him.
 

What should I do?

 
Take care of yourself. Find a partner who can give as much as you do. Stop being so understanding at your own expense. Stop making excuses for him. Stop caretaking - unless you have a partner who can caretake back, who is less self-centered, and who understands and respects your feelings. If you insist on being codependent (which, by itself, is not the worst thing in the world), at least find another codependent to fall in love with!
Good luck to you, -Dr. Irene