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I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years. I love him, he has many good qualities but his anger is destroying both our relationship and my self-esteem. The first 4 years or so of us being together he wasn't like this at all. He was actually rather sensitive and emotional, not mean and angry. In the past year he has gone through some really horrible things with his family and now lives on his own without any family support/contact (their fault not his). This seems to be the marker of his anger outbursts. I never know what will set him off, usually it's something I did, didn't do or the way I did it. When he first started having his "fits" I would get so frustrated and upset by the yelling and name calling that I would yell and name call back. I can't and won't do this anymore. I hate fighting, I hate getting myself so worked up, I don't have the energy for it & I don't want to be an angry person. Now I have started apologizing for things that aren't my fault and pretty much just taking his crap. I don't want to do this either because it makes me feel like a doormat. I will not live my life being blamed, yelled at and disrespected. I don't know what to do.... He had a blow up tonight because he left his cigarettes in my car and not knowing I drove home. He tried to call me to ask me to come back but I had the music blasted and my cell was on vibrate. When I got home and noticed he had called me 10 times I called him back. He immediately jumps into anger mode, "why didn't you answer your phone", "you piss me off", "whats wrong with you" etc. I explain why I didn't answer and tell him I'm sorry but this seems to make things worse. This one particular incident turns into a rant about everything that is wrong with me eg. I am "selfish", "bitchy" I "nag" him... "one time I did this"/"why didn't I do that", he will bring up random things that happened like 2 or 3 years ago. Why does it have to be like this?? A simple "Hey, why didn't you pick up your phone?" would have been more appropriate no? He is just constantly angry, usually at me. Tonight it turned into me getting upset and crying, this fueling the fire for more insults and than I tell him I can't take this anymore, he gets angrier than it's like a light bulb switches on in his head and he is himself again and realizes what a jerk he is being, apologizes and says all the right things. He even offered tonight to go to counseling, admitting that he shouldn't treat me like this and that he hates making me cry/feel bad.It feels like we replay the same thing over and over again. Him yelling, me crying, hanging up on each other, name calling, apology. I don't know what to do. I love him and I would really hate to end things with him. I feel like when I do "threaten" or bring up ending it, that he turns everything around on me, makes me feel like he puts up with my crap rather than the other way around. I asked him once why he does this to me and his answer was "because you let me". However after his "fits" are over he seems genuinely remorseful and upset over having upset me. I really would like him to go to counseling and he offers from time to time but never follows through with it. I have also broken up with him once for a month because of his anger and for the first couple of days he called me non-stop apologizing, promising to change/work on things etc. (the regular). After the first couple days he just became angry with me for having left him and sunk into a depression. I took him back and things were okay for a bit but we have fallen back into the same routine. I really would like things to go to the way they were.... I hate all this fighting and yelling. I would love to marry him and have children with him but not like this.... I don't want to raise children in an angry, unstable household. How can I help him? How can we fix this? Should I demand that he see a doctor? He feels that seeing a "shrink" makes him "crazy" and "weak" ... I really don't want to leave him but I can't keep doing this either. I feel so trapped. Also I want to add that he is never, ever physically abusive, he never threatens to hurt me, doesn't throw things etc. it's all verbal. I honestly believe that he would never escalate it to that point either.
Ozzybug, thank you. I was able to relate to most of what you said about your relationship and the stuff you said about how he started putting his hands on your shoulder to yell in your face triggered something because my boyfriend does this too. He will often back me into a wall to yell at me or hold my wrists so I can't get away. I never really thought of this as physical abuse before but I guess it is a step closer.

What really troubles me though is that for the first 4 years he wasn't like this at all. He grew up with a tyrant of a father who constantly berates, belittles, yells and criticizes the family (my boyfriend in particular). This actually made my boyfriend caring and sensitive, I can't tell you how many times he has told me how he doesn't want to be like his father and that is what's happening. His father is in total control of that household (my boyfriend has moved out & has had no contact with him for over a year). My boyfriends fathers anger and controlling behavior has turned his mother into a depressed, alcoholic, pill popper. I don't want this for myself.

I just don't know what to do. The last break up hurt so bad. I couldn't think about anything but him, I didn't want to eat, it was an effort to pull myself out of bed. I even started taking anxiety meds because I felt like I was constantly having anxiety attacks. I hate the thought of not being with him. I can't help but hope things will get better, like they used to be.....

He had a huge blow up on me last night (as described in my first post) and we ended the conversation with him getting help and him apologizing. Today he calls me like yesterday did not exist, talking about stuff that happened at work etc. I feel like I let him do this. We've done this sooo many times before. Nothing gets better... It just gets worse.

I think I am going to look into counseling for ME! Figure out why I have so much trouble letting him go and why I continue to let him walk all over me. I also plan on having a conversation with him tonight. Show him how the way he is treating me is a path to his parents relationship and let him know that things really have to change. I am at my breaking point here. I am tired of feeling sad. Tired of being yelled at.
I feel for you, TRP, I really do. I feel like your boyfriend is me several years ago, but maybe worse...maybe not.

In brief, I was verbally abusive to my partner. It was only ever to her, never anyone else (with anyone else I'd have been mortified to be seen as acting so horribly), and usually my "fits" were brought on by virtually nothing, though at the time I was really tense prior to my explosions, and then something tiny my partner did would set me off. One time for example she accidentally squirted soy sauce on me. I freaked out, saying thanks sarcastically for ruining my top (it was barely on me anyway), and throwing a chair (not at her. That's the thing different about this - I was never ever physically abusive) and storming off, screaming and swearing, and being terribly hurtful to her.

It's a cycle of abuse...after I calmed down, I'd feel horrible, stupid, embarrassed, exhausted...I'd apologise. In the early days I'd cry too, but then later on I didn't...I didn't feel as bad about it as I used to, which was a bit scary to acknowledge.

95% of the time I was great, normal, loving, giving, etc...normally I could see the funny side to things and this is why it hurt and confused my partner so much when I'd blow up at seemingly nothing.

Luckily for her and for me, I hardly behave this way anymore. I can't even pinpoint exactly what changed for me, but someone on this forum once said that I can control my anger, and I'm choosing not to. At first I really felt it was something I just couldn't control, but this person said I wouldn't show this anger in front of my parents or a work mate or friend...and I had to agree that's right. I wouldn't. So I was able to control it and simply choosing to let it out in that horrible and destructive way to my partner, the person I'm most comfortable with.

I used to find when I felt the pre-explosion tension building, I'd get this feeling that she was against me, didn't really love me, and didn't care what I did or said...this was partly why whenever she did something (like with the soy sauce) I immediately jumped on her verbally as if she did it to hurt me or something...and also this was an excuse for me to say all the hurtful things I said...cause she "didn't care" and so it wouldn't hurt her to hear them. But of course it did. Terribly. Half the time I didn't even know what I was time I was angry cause we'd had to catch a bus (instead of getting a ferry across the harbour) and the bus was standing room only, and this guy offered his seat to my partner. She offered it to me, but I was already angry that we couldn't get the ferry, that it was so crowded, and that he'd offered her the seat and not me. So I just totally ignored the fact she had actually then offered it to me, and ignored her the whole bus ride, and then when we got off the bus and were walking to meet someone, I was yelling and swearing at her, saying she was selfish and didn't care about me so she could "F*** off so I can finally be free of you"...which I SO didn't mean!! I didn't want her to leave me. I was crying inside even as I said those words...I don't know why I said them.

I think for me, after a while, I finally realised that how I felt after behaving like this was just not worth any sort of relief I felt by getting out the tension in that way. I knew also, thanks to this forum, that my actions were showing my partner a lack of respect and I WAS indulging my own anger, which was stupid.

I've not done this for around 2 years now, I'm happy to say.

I wonder if your boyfriend knows exactly how you feel...I'm sure underneath he doesn't want a wilted, downtrodden girlfriend with no self esteem, right?

If he won't get counselling, or fully acknowledge his actions by himself, if you still want to be with him (for the good times, not the bad), you have to get him to discuss it properly. You say if he keeps doing it, that's it. You're not going to take it anymore and if he truly loved you, he wouldn't WANT you to take it. After all, I bet if he saw some random guy in the street holding your shoulders and pushing you up against a wall and yelling hurtful things at you, he'd be FURIOUS and appalled and go and defend you, right? So what the hell is he doing treating you the same exact way?????

Good luck.

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