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Emotionally abusive relationship? (3 years)

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru

I'm a 24 year old male who has been in a relationship with a girl I met of the same age during my final year at university.
During my second year of Uni I had a psychosis and was admitted to mental health in patients services and consequently took a year out and returned to University.

When I returned all my friends graduated and I had to get out there and make new friends and I eventually came across my current gf. She had just come out of a rocky patch in terms of a relationship and it seemed to work quite seemlessly. Things happened quite quickly and the honeymoon period was great as per.

The first red flag came during a night out where we got very drunk and dug her nails into my arm during an argument. The second red flag came at our graduation ball when she physically attacked me because I had made an insensitive joke when she was in a bad mood during the night. This time I took a stand and was ready to leave. But reconsidered because I thought again this is essentially down to alcohol.

Thing were good for a while following university and she was very supportive of me when I struggled to find a job. I ended up moving in with her and her mum and her brother when I found a job in london, but this was a stressful situation mainly due to factors outside the relationship. I had another psychosis and moved back home and decided to commute.

Fast forward she convinced me to go travelling with her for 10 weeks in SE Asia. I was apprehensive at first as I had never backpacked before however she had. But she was adamant that this was the only time she could as she was going to med school soon. I eventually agreed as I disliked my job anyway. During this time although we had some very good times it was marred by arguments and one in particular in which we had a physical exchange. Again drink was heavily involved and I ended up hurting her after pushing her away. In my mind after this I thought it was over, I had mentally prepared myself to leave. But this was approximately 4 weeks into the trip. We made repair and continued on and made the most of what was left.

During travelling I had applied for a two year postgraduate course in central London and was accepted whilst she was accepted to medical school in Dublin to start this september. I started last September and my aim was to right the wrongs of my previous degree as I felt I underachieved largely down to my hospital admission. It was an intense course and I decided to commute from home to save money. I also found myself a part time job and played football for the university. In between all of this at time I would spend a week on and off at her house.

Because of my busy schedule there would be times were I would cancel plans with her or be too tired or simply not have the money to do what she wanted. I understand that a relationship is a commitment but I feel that I was made to feel guilty for my situation. Things were rocky for a good few months during my course. Arguments would go on forever, I was frustrated that she wouldn't come and visit me at my house because she felt uncomfortable around my parents and would sometimes talk negatively about them and other times it would be petty things that would spiral. Again she would physically attack me or my belonging when she got frustrated and I would be nasty with my words or wind her up when I felt I was being treated unfairly as a defence mechanism.

At the beginning of this year we had another drunk argument which ended up in her hitting me in an underground station in front of people in order to try and get me to react and therefore have bystanders intervene by physically hitting me . I reached breaking point at this point and felt more betrayed than ever. Again I wasn't blameless but I was shocked at the lengths she went to. But again, probably stupidly we worked things out and moved on. In February she lost a close family member, her place at med school in Dublin was I'm jeopardy and she was diagnosed with an polycystic ovary. This all happened quite quickly and regardless of what had had previously I wasn't there for her as much as I should have and as much as she had been for me when things were good. So we made a conscious effort to find a couples therapy book to read and try and iron things out once and for all once my course had finished for a year. I began to read the book and things got better for a while. But as things got better I slowed down with the reading. She is a very fast reader and I am not which is no excuse.

Anyway yesterday we had an argument again on the phone over something small and it spiralled out if control. It ended up with her saying some really hurtful things and as a defence me trying to say equally as hurtful things and I think this time I have had enough.

Although it doesnt sound like it we have some very good times. When we are good we are very good. But its just the conflicts and conflict resolution which is virtually zero. It gets to a point where I am ambivalent to disagree with her or bring up something she does which I don't like. She can get quite controlling and can be a meticulous organiser and I feel like she has an incessant need for power. I don't feel I am like this but when I feel like I'm being suffocated or back into a corner I adopt tactics she uses to fight her and it doesn't help.

She has used my psychosis against me in arguments and I have asked her numerous times not to but with this last argument although she said it with vitroil I think she is right to say I haven't recovered from my issues which led me to be admitted to psychiatric. I feel quite lonely at times even though on the surface I am usually quite jovial. I tend to try and not get emotionally attached to people and if and when that happens I think I get co-dependent and drain their energy.

Anyway after that lenghty brain dump does anyone have any thoughts or similar experiences/advice.

Would be good to hear from people.



  • Options
    JustVJustV Community Manager Posts: 5,337 Part of The Furniture
    Hey Jafooli,

    Welcome to the community. :wave:

    Just to let you know, I entered in some paragraph breaks into your post just to help make things a little easier to read. :thumb:

    It sounds like you got a lot off you chest, and I hope you got some relief in getting all that out and down on paper (screen?). Looks like you've had a tremendously difficult journey between you and I commend you for both getting through so much and reaching out for support here. It can take a huge amount of courage.

    Kudos for admitting that you, yourself, are not blameless in all this and have also become regrettably aggressive at times. I get the impression you both tend to get violent (in whatever ways) when emotions are running high. You mention conflict resolution towards the end of your post and talk about it being virtually non-existent, and there maybe something to work on there.

    Have you come across the reacting vs responding concept before? There is a thin difference, but in essence, reacting to something means we're at a disadvantage and the situation is controlling us (I remember you mentioning it was a defense mechanism); when we let our emotions and instincts lead the way. Responding, on the other hand, lets us take a minute to look at the situation, think about our feelings and decide what we say or do with all these things taken into account. This leaves us in control of the situation, rather than the situation controlling us.

    With that in mind, can I ask if you've had a chance to talk through everything as a couple in a calm, civil way? For example, you could arrange a time convenient for you both and really try and focus on giving each other time to speak and working through things in a constructive way. Again, focusing on responding rather than reacting and letting emotions take over. It may be a good opportunity to really communicate to her how much all this is affecting you, as well as for her to potentially shed some light on her behavior.

    We also have an e-learning course around conflict resolution, accessible to the public, which might be helpful. :)

    As a final thing, I know you mentioned that you do also have good times and that they are indeed very good. I'm wondering if it would be worth thinking about what makes them so good? How are they different from the bad times? :chin:
    The truth resists simplicity.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey Jafool!

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us and reaching out! :) From what you have written, it sounds like you are in an abusive relationship. The fact you have spotted these red flags during your relationship is really important, as it shows you are aware of what is happening in your relationship, and that something is not right. To start with, I feel that once respect is lost in a relationship, it's difficult to get it back. Nothing justifies your girlfriend's actions by being physical with you, and taking advantage of your vulnerability. I have been in an abusive relationship before, and I felt mentally ready to leave him every time something bad happened, but I would repeatedly forgive him. My feelings and hope was that every time he apologised, things would have changed. But they never did.

    It looks like she isn't mature enough to be in a relationship. I believe the stress and tension you are having is having a big impact in your life, to the extent that you feel that you can't ignore it any longer. Physically attacking someone is not okay and she needs to be ready to face the consequences of her actions. How much more can you take from her?

    I would suggest that you weigh up the positives and the negatives of this relationship, and then decide whether it is worth spending your time and energy (that you may well channel in recovering) leaving her or not. She has not been supportive during your times at university. Do you really want to be with someone who physically attacks you in a tube station, taking advantage of your vulnerability, knowing that you won't react back? Your health is way more important than a girl who does not deserve you!! I think you gave her too many chances, that she has thrown away.

    It might feel really hard at first, but, if you can, text her your true feelings about your whole relationship, what impact her behaviour has had on you, and what you want to do about it. For your safety, I would strongly avoid meeting up with her, or talking to her on the phone. Texting would be more appropriate as you would be able to speak freely without any interruptions or her trying to overpower you.

    How low of her to use your psychosis as a weapon against you. Where is the love and empathy she should show towards you?

    Have you thought about why you haven't recovered from your problems? It is not your fault, I am sure that if you had a peaceful and stable relationship you would have recovered by now.

    I wish you all the best,

    Take care xxx
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