Dear Dr Schwartz, I’ve met my partner about three and a half years ago on one of those internet dating sites. When I met him I thought I’d met my soulmate. Everything was just amazing. Or so it seemed. One day he took me to a function were after a lot of alcohol consumption he kissed another girl while I happened to walk passed. I was very upset, the next day he told me he just wasn’t attracted to me. He later apologised and this is were the cycle started. Over the next year he had a lot of issues with me. After he got upset after each one of them he would give me the "silent" treatment. Which I found very hard to deal with. And made me almost beg him to see the good side of our relationship and not end it. When I first met him I was very open with him and told him everything about my life, the good and the bad. He has used and thrown everything back in my face. Made double edged compliments. Has attacked everything about whom I am, from the way I look to how I raise my three children. After a year we decided that he would move into my house. Shortly before that I found out that he’d still been on the internet chatting with women, I know for sure he’d met one of them. I was devestated, but still after that didn’t want to loose him. And he convinced me as usual and he moved into my house and started working with me in my bussiness. What a mistake. He told me how to run my bussiness, deal with my kids, wanted to control my finances etc, etc. I was walking on eggshells to keep everybody happy. Because of the early incident, when he kissed that girl, I was very jealous. One night something happened, a women came onto him and I was calm but asked her what she was doing and then wanted to leave. I think I had every right to ask. When we came home, he got very abusive and threw me around the room, verbally abused me, destroyed furniture and I ended up with a bruises on my face and had a sore hip for a year. I should’ve called the police. The next day it was like I tried to make things right instead of him. Like I had to apologize. just reading this back is like reading someone elses story. So much has happened, I’ve been spit on three times, have had beer and wine thrown in my face, pushed up against the fence, hit in the face,Thrown out of his car three times, once in the middle of the night on a country road and once were I got picked up by two guys who were so discusted they wanted to take me to the police to report it. He has taken money from me, left me stranded without a car or money while I had to take care of my children. He has sabotaged my work by keeping me up late so I was to tired to go to work, constantly texting and phoning to keep my from doing my work. Has threatened to tell my children things I’ve told him in trust, has made my "issues" bigger then what they are to make me insecure. Has made me doubt myself in every area of my life. I’m a shim of my usual self, I’ve aged and lost my zest for life. I know that I’m not perfect and know my shortcomings all too well, if I didn’t before I sure do know! And am not saying that I haven’t done anything wrong. But I do always mean well and never set out to hurt anyone. I kicked him out a year and a half ago, I just couldn’t do it anymore and I had to make a stand if not for myself surely for my children who I love very much. Since then the physical abuse has stopped but the verbal and emotional abuse although more subtle is still there. And still, I can’t let go of him. He has gone to church about a year ago to make me a promise in front of the priest that he’d never abuse me physically again. And now says he’d do the same for the verbal abuse. Which continued. But at the time I thought how sad that someone you love has to do that. And actions speak louder then words. I immigrated to Australia 21 years ago and besides my brother who I don’t see very often, my family is all overseas. I feel like I can’t burden my friends with it anymore because it has gone on for that long and they are sick of it and can’t understand it anymore. I can’t blame them. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I’m scared of being alone and starting again. I love his family and friends. I feel like my life is a lie, I’m emberassed to tell friends that he is still in my life. I am not as affactionate as I should be to him because of the resentment I have towards him. I still love him but maybe its because something is better then nothing? I’m confused, depressed and this relationhip is all I think about. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the net regarding these kind of relationships. It all applys. But then that little voice inside me starts doubting my judgement, was it me that caused this? Did I just see it wrong? Am I overreacting? I wish I could just click this switch in my head. I can’t even really get angry. I feel like I let myself down. He has a beautifull side to him that I adore, and this is the side he shows to the outside world. Most of his friends and family think that way. My friends think differently they’ve seen the bruises and don’t want to be around him. Which he resents because he wants a "full" relationship. I’ve kept him away from my kids since he moved out, thank god I’ve done one thing right. I want my life back and the strenght to make it better. Its 4.30 in the morning, I wish I could talk to someone and who could make it all ok again. My life hasn’t been really easy, normally I can handle it pretty good and am strong. I’m scared that I’m losing it, I’ve had enough of all these things happening and am having horrible thoughts in my head. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, just feel so horrible all the time and feel like I’m sinking. And I can’t I have three beautifull children. So I’m trying to find a way out. Why when I’m convinced that its over and I tell him so, do I started thinking of the lovely times and get back with him again? Will this ever end? Its like an addiction Thanks for everyone who has put an effort into these sides. I can’t tell you enough how much I’ve learned from them and how comforting it is to know I’m not alone in this and have gone completely crazy or imagining things.
- Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
What you are experiencing is not "like an addiction," it really is an addiction. Now, you need to begin the process of ending your addiction and, as with all addictions, you cannot do it alone. You are going to need a lot of help and support in freeing your self and your children from this abusive man.
I want to urge you to seek help for yourself by going to one of the many agencies that exist to help battered women. You can look them up on the Internet for your area or call Information. You can also speak to your family doctor, your priest or even go to the police department to be referred to people who can help you with this. In addition, there are many support groups around that you could attend in order to get further advice and help.
You say you "love this man" but I wonder what there is to love? Actually, the only things you have are those memories and those few times when he treats you well. In psychological terms, you have been conditioned to be with him because, when you want to leave him, you remember the positive times. It’s like getting paid on commission, you may not get paid all the time, but when the commission check arrives it’s large and feels great. It’s the same thing in abusive relationships. It feels so good when it is good that you do not want to leave. However, the bad times are terrible and no one should live in an abusive relationship. Stop deluding your self that you love him and cannot live without him. You can live without him and do a lot better than you are now.
It is really time to put space and distance between yourself and him. The sooner you do it the better. When you start to relent, just remember that you have been conditioned, like a car sales person, to remain with him in hope of the next good time. Really, the good times with him cannot out weigh the abuse and humiliation you have been forced to endure with this man.
Get help now in order that you can begin to heal and begin a healthier and happy life for your self and for your children.
Best of Luck