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Doc@DrIrene.com

My Boyfriend's Anger

My Boyfriend's Anger

From: Karen

Sent: Friday, June 11, 1999 1:31 PM

Subject: E-Mail Advice

I have not spoken with my live-in boyfriend for three days.  We had a stupid argument on Monday about a piece of adhesive stuck on our new vinyl floor. It's a long story, but the nutshell: He was in one of his "moods" in the morning, so I was being careful not to say anything that might upset him. I said that I would scrape the offending goo off last week; I did, unsuccessfully, scrubbing for a half-hour. He called me a liar because I  could not have worked on it for that long, and continued in an irrational rage, hurling several insults at me, and then began to tirade on all other sorts of things that I do WRONG.  In our past disagreements, he would usually yell, intimidate and belittle me until I was reduced to tears, then he would tenderly embrace me, say he's sorry and that he loves me, and all would be better until our next fight.  This cycle always signaled abuse to me, and though I am fairly confident that he won't ever hit me, I do wish with all my heart that he  would change his ways.

I think his tragic flaw is that he always insists that he is RIGHT.  He
doesn't listen to anyone else's side because he is too busy defending
himself, and he gets uglier and uglier the more he argues.  Once someone decides to drop it, he does not let them off -- leaving both parties in a state of rage.  He also has a strange compulsion to always prove his intelligence to others: most definitely the root of his bickering.

The sad thing is that during our last disagreement, for a moment I stopped caring about him completely.  I now know that I can live without him.  I have been spending the past three days processing my feelings: Should I get out now before things advance into more serious forms of abuse, or is this relationship worth saving?  I guess my main reason for hesitation is fear: I have nowhere else to go, no friends to put me up, and a cat that will be homeless if I were to pack up now.

Understanding that it takes two to cause a problem, I'm sure there are
things that I am doing to set him off (especially my poor cleaning skills). So since I am cc'ing him on this, I am sure that he has a retort for every word.

Karen

PS: This morning, rather than extend the olive branch, he got up, picked up a scrub brush, and started working on the goop.  He removed it, and then victoriously and violently threw it in the sink.

Dear Karen,
 
It is not OK to be on the receiving end of your boyfriend's anger, but you don't need me to tell you that. I can tell you that the relationship is likely to get worse as time goes on. I can also tell you that the more you put up with it, the more you will get.

 

So, don't take it...and you won't have to.
 
Dr. Irene