Hi. I'm 16 and my boyfriend has been harrasing me in different ways this past year, emotionally, physically and even sexually. We didnt see eachother alot during the 2020 covid lockdown, and weve been drifting apart. Hes pissed off at me that i dont give him enough attention, i dont like him anymore because of what an ass hes become, but i sometimes wish he was what he used to be.
He keeps calling me and pushing me around, and i dont know how to please him. Hes never hit me, and he always mentions that as like proof that hes nice to me. But he keeps harrasing me and this recent school year he has been sexually harrasing me. I dont know what to do.
He sometimes does it angrily and sometimes treats me like im some girl hes just met. He touches me, makes rude comments and even kisses me without my permission. I just freeze up. The first time he did this he would come up to me in the hallways and grab my behind, flirt with me like he doesnt even know me, and sometimes kiss me. I'd just freeze up and i couldnt say anything. I couldn't even vocalize i wanted him to stop at first. But sometimes when he would do it id try to say "stop" but i couldnt, he would always do it anyways. I'm not very assertive and i have social anxiety. He knows this. He also knows i have body problems and will make fun of me for my body while also like complimenting me on it. It's like he fucking hates me but also wants to take advantage of me. I dont know wtf happened with him. I still love him but I dont want this anymore.
He always arrogantly says "you know you like it" but i dont. But hes sort of right... When he calls me names, touches me randomly, part of me does enjoy it... im so embarrased of saying that! But it pisses me off more, i dont want to be feeling this. I feel like hes violating me, i dont want to feel these things and i dont WANT him to be touching me without my permission but i just get so scared and freeze up. Im scared to tell anyone. And he tries to convince me that i like it, and it works... I dont know how to say it but hes right... i do like him treating me like that
I'm so sorry for the late response! Though it took a bit longer to produce, I do believe this response, written by Angelica, is one of our more thorough posts. This will help you with everything you are going through. Please, stay strong:
Your boyfriend is completely wrong about the way he treats you and his justifications for it. You’re absolutely right that this is harassment, but this is also very abusive. He’s acting like he’s entitled to your time, attention, body, everything. In other words, he’s objectifying you; this is someone who sees you as a possession, not a person. He thinks you’re his property and he’s allowed to do what he wants with or to you.
This is a person who is not safe to be around at all. Like most abusers, he is shockingly confident in his treatment of you because, in his twisted mind, he believes his behavior is completely justified and he is always right. He’s not, though; no one on this planet deserves any of this. Even if the confidence is a facade, as it comes from an ungodly high level of entitlement and a critically fundamental lack of respect for you.
You deserve more than crumbs; you absolutely deserve more than the bare minimum. He is purposefully keeping the bar an inch off the ground so that you eventually cave and start tolerating worse and worse behavior from him. He is trying to manipulate you into thinking you enjoy being abused because he wants to keep abusing you. That’s where those “you know you like it” comments are coming from; he wants to make you think being objectified and disrespected are okay so he can keep doing it. His next move will probably be some kind of pop-evolutionary-psychology about women loving dominant men, etc. because he will feel the need to justify his awful behavior with “facts.”
The truth is, it’s not up to you to figure out how to please him or to teach him how to be a good partner/person. NONE of that is your responsibility! He’s acting like this on purpose; he wants to keep you feeling unstable so you feel more dependent on him. Ultimately, he won’t be happy unless you’re devoting 100% of your life to him; that is just so enormously unrealistic, unfair, and impractical to expect of you or anyone. Even then, he will look for something to complain about because he doesn’t care about you being happy; he only cares about making himself happy and does not give a hoot if that comes at your expense.
I have some very crucial resources that discuss the psychology of abuse and ways to escape abusers:
http://loveisrespect.org -> this site is hard to track because they want to keep abuse victims safe. This site explains more about abuse and how to get help. While you’re still a minor, the biggest source of safety will likely be your parents or family members. Please talk to them about this guy and please browse this site so you know how to keep yourself safe.
Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. This is a book that I always suggest to anyone dealing with an abusive partner because it explains the psychology of abuse so well. Remember the sense of entitlement I mentioned before? That comes from this book. It applies to abusers of any gender. This I think will be very eye-opening for you.
I remember you mentioned freezing up and feeling unable to stand up for yourself or feeling like you need to please him. I have some articles that discuss the 4 Fs of stress responses:
Most folks typically think of fight or flight; we also have freeze and fawn. In a nutshell, fighting is when you bust through the danger, flight is when you run away from it, freeze is when you tense up and can’t speak or do anything, and fawn is when you placate the dangerous person/being. It sounds like freeze is your default response; this is simply your brain picking the response that will keep you safest. Think about it like this: when your boyfriend does his whole treating you like a stranger and grabbing you, what would happen if you fought with him? Ran away from him? Pretended to like the treatment?
It sounds like your brain thinks freezing/submitting is safest because it won’t prolong the abuse and won’t make him more dangerous. Now, the thing is, you absolutely do not deserve to be subjected to more of his nasty treatment. You can get yourself out of this toxic relationship! You are allowed to leave him.
Another aspect of his abuse that I want to point out is called gaslighting. This is what happens when one person tries to make another person feel mentally unstable (“crazy”). It’s a way of making someone doubt their own feelings, perceptions, everything; it’s very insidious and effective because it makes someone doubt themselves and their own grasp of reality.
I have some articles here that explain the workings and effects of gaslighting:
I also want to point out that, when your boyfriend touches you inappropriately, any excitement you may feel is merely your body responding to stimuli; pay attention to what happens in your brain. Your brain tells you, “Wait, this is wrong. He shouldn’t be doing that.” That is the clue that his behavior is wrong; he absolutely should not be touching you like that without permission. Even if you didn’t want any affection right at that moment, that’s 100% okay; he needs to back off.
You do not need to stay in this relationship; you cannot love someone into a better version of themselves. You don’t have to deal with this; you’re always allowed to leave. Talk to your parents, talk to a guidance counselor, get people on your side to support you; abusers don’t give up easily. If he or anyone tells you some nonsense like “it’s not that bad,” etc. IT IS that bad. You are absolutely justified in leaving this abuser because you do not deserve abuse. Go to the Love is Respect site and talk to anyone who can help you escape him. You can just tell him over text (or though your safest method of communication) that you’re done with his abuse and you’re dumping him and that’s it. Block him on every form of communication and get the school counselor on your side here, too. They can keep him from contacting you and your parents can absolutely go on your behalf to make sure the school keeps you safe. Keep screenshots, texts, any sort of proof you can to shut the doubters up.
Please know that you deserve much more than crumbs; you deserve respect, kindness, and compassion.
Hello, @Halle Lennie! This is Jude. One of our peer counsellors, Angelica, will get back to you shortly. Until then, stay strong!
Hey, Halle Lennie, hello, from New York City. I am not a peer counselor, I am a member, here, at Asking Jude. You are in a terrible predicament, right now, and I feel terrible about that. A peer counselor will give you advice about what you should do. My immediate thinking in response to your 'ask' has to do about things that you do not mention, so I hope you relate more information about your circumstances to the peer counselor. You are right to decide to come to Asking Jude and I wish you luck!