My boyfriend has abused me a few times over the last 2 and a half years we have been together. For the most part it has stopped- a couple times now When he steals my blanket from me and I try and get it back he’s yelled and called me names, and once elbowed me 3 times and called me a C U N T
tonight when he did that he woke up and looked at me and I asked him not to hurt me and he slapped me, and then said something mean that I can’t even remember anymore. It didn't hurt, and it didn’t scare me because I had gotten used to this behaviour from before. I can’t help but wonder if this is him starting the abuse again or if I’m just overreacting. I don’t know what to do.
If I told you my reaction to reading this was “Oh absolutely NOT,” how would you feel? This reaction comes from knowing that your boyfriend is behaving horribly and seriously over-reacting to normal things. You are not crazy or over-reacting here. When my boyfriend unintentionally hogs the covers, what do I do? I gently pull them out from under him or gently move the covers back so we are both comfy. I don’t yell at him or hit him because that is not how partners should behave. I tease him about it the next morning because it’s funny to both of us. (I always joke and say that he could sleep through the apocalypse while a moth could fart in Mexico and it would wake me up). The point is, you are right that the abuse is starting again. The thing is, abuse never really stops, but you may have pauses or breaks in between. While every couple can encounter conflicts, problems, or even have arguments, HE is the one who is overreacting, not you. It honestly sounds like he does not have healthy techniques for dealing with his own emotions. That being said, it is entirely on him to learn how to do that and not use you as his verbal or emotional punching bag. I have an article here that explains some common models of abusive relationships. This should help explain the dynamics and motivations of abuse: https://www.healthline.com/health/relationships/cycle-of-abuse What he is doing right now is showing you his true colors. He is going to keep acting like this because he thinks it’s okay to do so and he doesn’t care that you don’t like it. He is going to keep wearing you down and blaming you for the abuse because he needs you more than you need him. He takes your blanket and then hits you and calls you foul names when you try to take it back? That’s just wrong, no matter how you look at it. That’s worse than a toddler. He will shame you for and intimidate you over standing up for yourself because he thinks you shouldn’t do that. If he tries using “I wAs AsLeEp” as an excuse, know that he behaved identically while he was both asleep and awake; he is the same person in both states of consciousness. People can certainly do weird things in their sleep, but it is never an excuse. I honestly question if he was really asleep during the blanket fight, but it doesn’t matter because he kept up the abuse. If you’re curious about the science of sleep and the weird things people do in their sleep, RadioLab has an episode on their podcast about it: https://radiolab.org/podcast/91528-sleep That being said, again, this does not justify his behavior. In fact, his behavior is only going to get worse. Abuse always escalates in some way, and he’s got the verbal and physical abuse down already. Don’t wait until he decides to introduce a new flavor of abuse to your relationship or he turns up the current abuse to escape. The reason why I say this is because he has to be the one to change, and it looks like he doesn’t want to do that. This is not your problem to solve, and you are more than allowed to exit this relationship. You can leave a relationship at any time for any reason (or no reason); you just have very compelling reasons to leave this one. I do want to share some more resources about abusive and toxic relationships because knowing more about the dynamics and the people involved will ultimately make it easier for you to realize that you deserve better and for you to create an escape plan. Of course, try not to spend a ton of time and energy trying to understand your partner with the goal of changing them or staying because that is not something you can do. You can only look after yourself and you can’t change other people. One of the best resources I have is a book called Why Does He Do that? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. Here is a free PDF: https://ia600108.us.archive.org/30/items/LundyWhyDoesHeDoThat/Lundy_Why-does-he-do-that.pdf He is a therapist who spent a lot of time counseling and learning about abusers, their victims, and abusive relationships. He points out that, while most of his research and work focused on relationships between men and women, he did try to include non-hetero relationships in his work. If you want to learn more about what healthy relationships look like and how to put together a plan to escape, please see this site: https://www.loveisrespect.org/ I understand that escaping may look like a daunting task right now, but it is possible to do so. Take your time getting ready. Get all your ducks in a row before you go, and when you do, he gets blocked in every way possible. Write down incidents so he can’t rug-sweep or gaslight you into thinking they didn’t happen. If he hits you, and he does not have access to your phone, take photos of the resultant bruises/marks. Keep logs of abusive messages/voicemails or excessive call logs. If applicable, keep your birth control/family planning on lockdown so he cannot tamper with it and try to baby trap you. Gather all your important documents (birth certificate, Social Security card, license/ID, tax forms etc.) and keep them safe elsewhere. Do you have family members or friends you can store said documents with or stay with for some time? If not, see if there are DV shelters in your area or some sort of social services who can help you find safe housing. If you feel like you need a protective order, restraining order, or any official documentation like that, keeping the proof of incidents handy will help. Gather all your things and leave on a day that he is not home with the help of family members/friends so that he cannot stop you. Ultimately, he is the problem here, not you. Socially-distanced hugs, Angelica Barile
Hi there! Thank you for reaching out to Asking Jude, @Iammeandyouareyou ! One of our peer counsellors, Angelica, will be answering you in the next few days. Until then, stay strong!