||[Jan. 7th, 2014|02:18 pm]
The Question Club
What would you consider to be an emotionally abusive romantic relationship? Does it have to involve yelling and screaming and threats of violence, or could it be more subtle?|
An old friend of yours is murdered and you find out via Facebook. You're too numb to cry and later, when your partner asks why you're acting so "out of it", you say it's because your friend died. He says, sarcastically, "Yeah, you seem really broken up by it." A week later, when it finally hits you, you start crying sometimes and keeping to yourself. He doesn't comfort you and starts sleeping in the basement.
You're going to a party and you know an ex of his will be there. You ask (obviously kidding) "Will you hold hands with me in front of her?" He replies, "No, but I'll hit you in front of her."
He makes fun of your clothing and hairstyle in front of your friends.
He asks you to go on a diet with him even though you're underweight and recovering from an eating disorder.
You're mostly recovered from borderline personality disorder after years of therapy, having been abused as a child. Occasionally something will trigger you and you will start talking like a child and dissociate. Your partner ridicules you for talking in a childlike voice. When you ask him to just sit with you for a minute he says "this happened a long time ago. You need to get the fuck over it, dude."
He offers to loan you a keyboard because you want to learn how to play. You start plunking away on a toy piano, excited by the prospect of learning on a real keyboard, and run downstairs to say "I'm really excited about learning to play! I can still use the keyboard, right?" He says "Jesus, I already told you you could use it. Don't ask me again."
You work up the courage to tell him that sometimes he hurts your feelings, and he says, "Well, I'm not going to cater to your sensitivity so just grow a thicker skin."
And a couple of weeks ago, you tell a friend that you're not sure the relationship is working and your friend tells your boyfriend that maybe he could be a little less... harsh sometimes. He responds by making you and your friend drive his band equipment home alone (even though neither of you have licenses) and sleeping somewhere else. You overhear him the next day on the phone. "It made me feel like a fucking abusive boyfriend. Do you know how shitty that feels?!" And you are baffled that instead of talking to you about the night before, he complains that feeling like an abusive boyfriend makes HIM feel bad.
And you're afraid to bring any of this up with him because he will tell you you're being ridiculous. Again.
But he always says he loves you, and he always cuddles you at night (unless he thinks you're being stupid.) So it's not like he's being cruel, and there's no reason to ever break up with him because you love him so much that you'd do anything for him.
***EDIT*** I'm at work right now and trying not to cry. Thank you all so much for the amazing comments so far. I felt so alone with this. Thank you.