Does it sound like I'm in an abusive relationship? UPDATED Post 162 - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-22-2010, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have been together four years, our son is two. I'm not sure if this matters but I am now 22 and he is 37. I am 5'7, 135 pounds and he is 6 ft 200 pounds...

I don't remember when our fights first got "physical" but once in a while they will. I have slapped him before when I did he pushed me very hard into a wall. We have kicked eachother (hard), he has tried to rip my ring off of my finger in a fight and it really hurt because it wouldn't come off. If I push him or do anything to him, he does it back to me harder... I thought he would hit me in the face before but he never has. Two nights ago I made him mad by not responding to him when we were laying in bed (I wanted to sleep, he wanted to argue) and he hit me hard in the back... But never in the face... Do you think this is abusive? I don't want my son to grow up with a broken family. He has called me b word, w word, c word, etc. I used to call him names back but haven't for like almost a year, I just let him cool off usually now or we could fight for hours.

I think I make him mad lots too, when I don't push his buttons he doesn't touch me... He can be very sweet and loving, I don't know what to do. I'm considering leaving him in April.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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Honestly, it sounds as if you are both abusive. You are both physically harming each other.

Has it always been like this?
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know we are both abusive but I have been trying not to touch him anymore, like I said, I only slapped him once... I know it is wrong. We have been this way for the past three years, it has gotten better but it just pisses me off that I am learning to channel myself and it's like he still wants to argue and fight me.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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I only slapped him once...
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If I push him or do anything to him, he does it back to me harder...
But you have pushed him physically and kicked him, or have in the past?

I agree, it sounds like you're both abusive to some degree, and really need help. Hitting doesn't have to be to the face to be wrong. If at all possible, it would probably be best if you lived separately for the time being while you and he get counseling and anger-management classes. That's assuming you even want to remain in the relationship, it sounds pretty bad right now; but even if you're going to divorce, it can only help both of you to get some help.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I said I know I'm abusive, okay, nevermind, thanks for your help everybody.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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I would probably say that you both have anger management issues. Only you can say whether the relationhsip feels abusive. When I was your age (nigh on 20 years ago) I had similar problems, although my partner never hit back. It took me a long time to gain control over my actions, but with a lot of work I did. I would suggest you both get some anger management counselling.

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Old 02-22-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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I didn't mean to make you feel attacked, and I'm sorry if it came across that way. You did ask in your initial post if we thought it was abusive, so I tried to answer the question.

Please stay safe.
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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Yes, what you are describing is an abusive relationship.

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Old 02-23-2010, 12:42 AM
 
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I agree that you are both displaying signs of abusing each other. I would try not to engage him in arguments or put your hands on him again. Can you get counseling? Can you go somewhere else that is safe? I think it could get much worse if you are both harming each other

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Old 02-23-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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The fact that you are asking the question signals to me that you're probably aware that you really do have an abuse dynamic in this relationship. I totally get how one person can push another person into getting physical by fighting back, and/or it being the only way to cope with the situation. I'd ask you...is this what you want your boys to see? Have you read about the Cycle of Abuse?

Really, it would help both of you to be talking to someone about this--you're not going to be able to find healthy coping patterns in this relationship without outside help. And if you do decide to leave, chances are you will find the same sort of person again unless you get yourself healthy first. I wish you all the best, mama.

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Old 02-23-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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www.drirene.com

I wish you strength in breaking away from this relationship and moving on.
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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www.drirene.com

I wish you strength in breaking away from this relationship and moving on.
Thank you... so you don't think I should stay and try to "fix" the relationship? I have stopped verbally abusing him, if he starts now I just don't say anything but he gets mad if I ignore him. Probably 50 percent of me wants to take our son and move out but it sounds like everyone thinks I should go to counseling first...
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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Read that site. Counseling will rarely work with a true abuser. They can turn on the charm in the couselor's office and make it better for a while but eventually return to their old ways. But it happens so slowly that you don't notice until you are in the middle of it again.

Individual counseling? Just for you? Definitely.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Congratulations on looking at yourself honestly, and starting to get your impulses under control!

In most cases, truly abusive men will not be therapized out of that pattern, but when they can succeed at it, it's in individual/ men's group therapy, and almost never by just getting couple's counseling.

It's not obvious to me from your original post that your partner is a dyed-in-the-wool, will-never-change abuser, but that's something an individual therapist can help you figure out.

We didn't have abuse issues, but each getting individual counseling while also getting couples counseling really saved our relationship. Expensive, yes, but very worth it to get clarity, and ultimately those therapy dollars had to be spent, so why not when everyone needs it the most?

Meanwhile, your first responsibility is to keep yourself and your child safe, and a temporary separation to accomplish that is better than taking the risk of real harm (which can happen even with just a punch to the back.)

Before you say anything to your partner, you must call a domestic violence group in your area, and ask them how to plan a safe move-out. Follow their great wisdom and advice.

If your relationship is meant to survive and thrive, it will do so BECAUSE you put your safety first now, and fix the issues that can be fixed while everyone gets help. Things are rarely truly black and white - you don't have to make yourself unhappy right now thinking that it's all over, nor do you have to stay in danger. You can show hope and faith in your relationship by first making sure you are 100% safe, and then by doing the hard work you've already started. GOOD LUCK and much bravery to you.

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Old 02-23-2010, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your thoughtful responses...

I kind of do want to seperate because things go great and then... we fight. Like I said, it's rarely physical anymore but... I don't know. Sometimes I think we bring out the worst in each other. Then again, when we're happy, we're sooo loving.

Anyway, thanks again for your suggestions.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Before you say anything to your partner, you must call a domestic violence group in your area, and ask them how to plan a safe move-out. Follow their great wisdom and advice.
I will be honest with you, for two years I lived with an abusive man and neighbours phoned the police so I had to go to a woman's shelter. I just know it wouldn't be unsafe if I left my current partner, I don't think it's really violent violent, we just fight once in a while and sometimes it gets sort of physical. All I'd have to do is pack my things and go.
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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Once this line has been crossed, it is really hard to go back. If I were you I would tell dh that I will never hit, slap, push or do anthing physically aggressive ever again (and mean it.) I would also tell him that I will never try to hurt him on purpose- physically *or* verbally- even when I'm feeling hurt. If he made the same promise to me from the heart, I'd give it a real try. And if it happened again I'd be out. No do-overs just done. (I say this as someone who has been in a really similar relationship to what you are describing.)

It is true that abusive (and, yes what you are describing is clearly abuse) relationships rarely succeed. They usually get worse. But the way you are describing it gives me an inkling that it's not a lost cause and that if you are both willing to draw a new line and stick with it for the rest of your lives, you might be able to get to a much better place.

I strongly recommend that you both read Marshall Rosenberg's _Non Violent Communication_ and John Gottman's _Making Marriage Work_. The first give a great guideline for how to talk when a situation is emotionally charged. (And it would help you even if just you read it. It is a beautiful and liberating book.) The second is a great resource for understanding what a healthy marriage looks like and when divorce is imminent.

Keep us posted!
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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I am sorry you are dealing with this. I just wanted to give you a hug and I hope things get better for you.

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Old 02-23-2010, 11:15 PM
 
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Yes, you are in an abusive relationship.
The size difference here is significant. When you hit him, he sees it as an annoyance. When he hits you, your life is in danger.
Find the resources, use them, and get out now.

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Old 02-23-2010, 11:27 PM
 
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I agree with the other posters. This is an abusive relationship. I am proud of you for having the personal strength to stop your behavior. I highly recommend counseling for yourself. Your DH should also, but I don't think couples counseling would be ideal given that you need to be vulnerable in a counseling session, and it's really hard to do that with your abuser right there. And if you are in danger of being hurt physically, then it's not a place that you should be, nor should you allow your child to be there and witness the physical/verbal fights. You aren't describing your average fight between parents, this sounds truly dangerous to everyone involved. No criticism, I'm just coming from a BTDT perspective.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:43 AM
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Yes, you are in an abusive relationship.
The size difference here is significant. When you hit him, he sees it as an annoyance. When he hits you, your life is in danger.
Find the resources, use them, and get out now.
No one should be hitting anyone.

The idea that a smaller woman hitting a bigger man is equivalent to a mosquito bite to him is sexist and wrong! Hitting hurts. Slapping a man across the face hurts him the same as it does a women when done with identical intensity and frankly, the idea that men shouldn't hit women is archaic.

No one should hit anyone but here's the thing.

If you choose to hit someone you better make sure they're smaller or weaker otherwise they have the right to defend themselves and they might just put you through the wall!

"Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity."
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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No one should be hitting anyone.

The idea that a smaller woman hitting a bigger man is equivalent to a mosquito bite to him is sexist and wrong! Hitting hurts. Slapping a man across the face hurts him the same as it does a women when done with identical intensity and frankly, the idea that men shouldn't hit women is archaic.

No one should hit anyone but here's the thing.

If you choose to hit someone you better make sure they're smaller or weaker otherwise they have the right to defend themselves and they might just put you through the wall!
You really sound like you're defending being violent, so I hope I'm reading your post wrong.

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Old 02-24-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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No one should be hitting anyone.

The idea that a smaller woman hitting a bigger man is equivalent to a mosquito bite to him is sexist and wrong! Hitting hurts. Slapping a man across the face hurts him the same as it does a women when done with identical intensity and frankly, the idea that men shouldn't hit women is archaic.

No one should hit anyone but here's the thing.

If you choose to hit someone you better make sure they're smaller or weaker otherwise they have the right to defend themselves and they might just put you through the wall!
Huh?
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Old 02-24-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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No one should be hitting anyone.

The idea that a smaller woman hitting a bigger man is equivalent to a mosquito bite to him is sexist and wrong! Hitting hurts. Slapping a man across the face hurts him the same as it does a women when done with identical intensity and frankly, the idea that men shouldn't hit women is archaic.

No one should hit anyone but here's the thing.

If you choose to hit someone you better make sure they're smaller or weaker otherwise they have the right to defend themselves and they might just put you through the wall!
I have to firmly disagree with this. Being in an abusive relationship myself I know that sometimes acting out in frustration and/or self defense is common. Please don't ever tell a woman that it is okay to have a man hit her. It is not okay.

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Old 02-24-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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The point is that it is not o.k. for a spouse to hit another spouse. No one on here is saying that his actions are justified: they are absolutely not. But the OP must hold herself to the same standard. I agree that it is a sexist notion that it is o.k. for a woman to hit, but not a man. No one should be hitting anyone.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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The point is that it is not o.k. for a spouse to hit another spouse. No one on here is saying that his actions are justified: they are absolutely not. But the OP must hold herself to the same standard. I agree that it is a sexist notion that it is o.k. for a woman to hit, but not a man. No one should be hitting anyone.
True. However, I'm guessing you are coming from the perspective of never having been hit by a man? That happens and sometimes the ol' self defense instinct kicks in. Pretty hard to stand there and be hit and not fight back.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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As I said above, I was in a relationship that sounds a great deal like the OP's. I'm coming at this as someone who has been hit and has hit and who understands the cycle of abuse really well. The trouble with not understanding that it is not o.k. to hit whoever you are, is that the abusive behavior will just be carried into future relationships. If the OP would like to make an attempt to salvage her relationship (and I would totally support her if she said she simply wanted out,) she needs to fully own behavior. It doesn't excuse his, of course not and she gets to decide whether his is forgivable.

I think the idea that it is trivial when a woman hits a man is just plain sad. (And OP, I don't think you have expressed this! I am referring to these recent posts.)
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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Gosh I am on the fence on this one.

I am a survivor of an abusive relationship. I am only an inch shorter than him and I outweighed him. I never put my hands on him, shoved him or threw anything at him. I would verbally lash out occasionally after taking his abuse for a certain amount of time, then I would usually get hit.

I think for me that I could not have hit him back. I have never hit a fellow human or an animal before in my life. I don't think it will be okay to hit my future hypothetical children either. I feel like hitting him, even in defense, would have been very, very stupid for me. Maybe it is not that way for everyone. But the one and only time I started towards him in defense, he hurt me so badly. I learned from that and was never tempted to do it again.

But I can understand why someone might be driven to want to do that. I guess, for me, that I just can not condone hitting at all. I hope that isn't offensive to anyone else who is in an abusive relationship I am not saying that it is bad or wrong of the OP to hit him back. I just think it is ineffective and could get her hurt even worse in the long run.

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Old 02-25-2010, 01:17 AM
 
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I also wanted to add that when I worked at the shelter, there are a lot of men who are in abusive relationships who never laid a hand on their partners, and were hurt physically. I think that a man can suffer just as a woman or a child can, in that respect. It isn't talked about as much because I think most of the male clients we had were embarassed by it. But it happens so much more than we might think.

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Old 02-25-2010, 03:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post
When you hit him, he sees it as an annoyance. When he hits you, your life is in danger.
Excuse me?

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Originally Posted by Bea View Post
No one should be hitting anyone.

The idea that a smaller woman hitting a bigger man is equivalent to a mosquito bite to him is sexist and wrong! Hitting hurts. Slapping a man across the face hurts him the same as it does a women when done with identical intensity and frankly, the idea that men shouldn't hit women is archaic.
I agree, although people tend to misinterpret that so they think I'm okay with men knocking their wives around. (Oddly enough, the saying that "men shouldn't hit women" or "boys shouldn't hit girls" marched hand in hand with a culture that turned a completely blind eye to vicious, violent spousal abuse on a regular basis.) Nobody should hit anybody, and I completely agree with what I think is the underlying sentiment of "boys/men shouldn't hit girls/women" - that it's messed up deliberately use one's advantage in physical strength to victimize someone. I just don't agree that gender is the key.

FWIW, I know a man who never laid hands on his ex-wife, except to occasionally peel her off of him. On one occasion, she drop-kicked a six-pack of beer into his face. He outweighed her by a good bit, and also worked long, hard days in a very physsicaly demanding profession. I grew up around furniture movers, and he is/was one of the strongest guys I've ever known. Her abuse was not an "annoyance".

This has gone way OT, though. It sounds, as far as I can tell from the OP, as if the OP has stopped being physical, but her husband hasn't. So, the issue of how her perceives being hit isn't relevant anymore. (For those talking about the OP hitting, etc. in self-defense, I'll point out that she mentions doing stuff to him, and him doing it back, as well as the other.)

OP: Personally, I'd get out. Maybe counseling could work. I don't know. I have no interest in having a relationship with someone who hits me or with someone who I want to hit.

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