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Thursday, 14 September 2000

Advice From Your Best Friend's Mom

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LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY


Handling an Explosive Boyfriend

QI have a problem with my boyfriend. I care about him a lot, and we've been going together for 4 months. He's a senior, I'm a junior. We have our good times, but lately all we've been doing is fighting. And mostly it's about stupid things. He'll get mad at himself for not doing something right and he'll start screaming madly about how stupid he is, and how he can't do anything right. I tell him to stop talking like that and that it's not true, it was just a mistake, and we all make mistakes. But he ignores me and yells more. Sometimes he get violent, not with me, but towards things and throws things. And if I get upset because of his yelling, he gets more mad at himself for making me upset and threatens that he's going to go kill himself because he can't do anything right. He's got terribly low self-esteem, but it only seems to come up when we fight. I just don't know how to deal with it when he does get mad. Another problem we have is that if I want to go hang out with my girlfriends, or just spend some time to myself to reflect on things, he takes it personally and yells that I'm don't want to be with him and that I'm trying to push him away. I try to explain to him that that's not true, but he never listens. I just don't know what to do anymore.

Please help!!!

AFirst of all, I want to congratulate you for writing. Just the fact that you've written tells me that you are aware that you are in a problematic relationship.

You describe your boyfriend as a person who often reacts to insignificant events with extreme anger.

When I was in high school, I also had a boyfriend who reacted in an extreme way. He used to cry and beat his head against the wall if I disappointed him. He also threatened that if I broke up with him, he would kill himself. These actions seemed like love to me. I stayed with him. Guess what? He ended up breaking up with me.

I loved my boyfriend's sense of humor, his creativity and, yes, his excessive emotions-love as well as anger.

But there is a price for being involved with such a volatile person.

Do you want to pay it?

You say that you really care about your boyfriend. But caring is not the same as "taking care of." If you are tiptoeing around his "emotional outbursts," then you are "taking care of him."

You worry about his low self- esteem. It's not his self-esteem that concerns me. I'm worried about you.

My boyfriend got into drugs and never graduated college. Last I heard he was cleaning houses.

If I had stayed with him, I'm sure I would now be a divorced single mom.

I'm not going to tell you to dump this guy. But I do want you to ask yourself a question: Why do you stay with someone who screams at you, throws things, and threatens to kill himself?

You sound like a good friend and a kind person. Do you want to be with someone who treats you without kindness?

I think you know the answer to that... I hope so.

Your challenge now is that if you do decide to end the relationship, your boyfriend may behave in a way that makes you uncomfortable, or that scares you - sounds like his style to do something drastic. I suggest that you get some support before you take this step - let a counselor or parent know what's going on. You may need their help!

Also see: Crisis Center

Good Luck!!

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LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY


I Was Sexually Abused - Help!

QI was sexually abused by my cousin. He is now eighteen and when he did it to me I was like 8 and then he did it to me when I was about ten. Every time I look at him he makes me cry. I just want to slap him across his face and call him a pervert. He made me start to cut myself. I can't trust any guy. Can you give me some advice?

AI'm so sorry all this has happened to you. Life is not supposed to be this hard. When these sorts of things happen to us at such a young age, we can lose a lot of self-esteem. I know this was not your fault, and I'm wondering if in your heart you know that too.

If you know that you were not at fault, it is a really good first step. But we usually cannot help still feeling bad about ourselves after abuse. The good news is that there are ways of repairing your self-esteem.

You didn't say if you have told anyone about this. If you haven't, maybe talking here will give you the courage to tell someone else. I hope so, because this really is too much to carry around all alone.

The cutting worries me and it makes sense also. There are so many reasons why people cut and it is very common for those of us who have been sexually abused. Cutting is such a painful way to deal with your life problems. It is also addictive and the more you do it, the more you want to do it, and before you know it you are in serious trouble with it.

Cutting is a way of coping with all the pain. It is not the only way, but for some people it is the only way they know. That is the benefit of telling someone what has happened to you. You hear other ways of coping.

So who could you talk to? Your parents, a school counselor, a best friend, a minister, a therapist? I'm sure that there is someone out there who will listen and give you the support and help you need to feel better about you.

So until you are able to ask for help, perhaps you could write out your feelings in a journal. You could cry, or go for a run, or phone a friend and talk about school. The idea is to get your mind off things for a while.

Please keep talking and writing. You do have the strength to get your Self back - only you do, but it will take time, hard work, and help from other people.

Good Luck!

See Crisis Center - Rape and Sexual Abuse for more resources.

- Susan Lewis, Family Counselor

Last modified on Monday, 04 July 2011 07:59
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