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I think I'm emotionally abusing my partner

(27 Posts)
ashamedandlost Mon 17-Nov-14 10:29:41

I can't believe I'm having to write this. I've been a long-term lurker and read so many threads in Relationships and been horrified by the abusive behaviour that goes on. And now I'm posting that I'm in an emotionally abusive relationship (or was until two days ago) and that I'm the abuser.

When I'm sober, I'm charming and lovely, and we had a great relationship. But when I'm drunk, I'm horrible. I can be unbelievably cruel to DP, very aggressive and threatening. When I'm sober, I would do anything to make her happy. When I'm drunk, I do whatever I can to make her cry.

After another argument two days ago, she left because she couldn't deal with it anymore, and texted me in the morning to end our relationship. She told me that she finally felt able to tell me that I'm abusive, manipulative and that she's been constantly saddened by our relationship for the last two months. I was oblivious to this - I know that I upset her when drunk but, as I never remember any of it, I always minimised it). Now she's said it, I can see that I was.

She's cut all contact (quite rightly). I don't quite know what I'm asking here, but I suppose I just want to know that I can change, and to be reminded that there's nothing salvageable in this relationship.

I've already taken steps to stop drinking entirely but I know that it'll only solve part of the problem. I want to reverse some of the damage I've done to her self-esteem (she said I make her feel worthless and that she doesn't think that she deserves a good relationship), but will I end up only making it worse?

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 17-Nov-14 10:45:32

Why do you think you do it? You actually liked seeing her cry? Is it a power thing? Did it turn you on?

May as well be honest about it.

Vivacia Mon 17-Nov-14 11:01:00

Do you think she ever posts on Mums Net?

GoatsDoRoam Mon 17-Nov-14 11:03:18

You continued drinking, even though you knew what you behave like when drunk, and how it hurts another person.

Why do you think that is? Why did her well-being not matter to you?

There is specialist counselling for abusers out there, if you are motivated to follow it. It has poor results and recidivism is high, though, as abusers tend to minimise their actions and fail to take responsibility for it (as you did regarding your drunken abuse and continued drinking).

As for your wanting to help her, the best and only thing you should do right now is respect her wishes for no contact.

MajesticWhine Mon 17-Nov-14 11:04:02

Yes, you will probably end up making it worse. I suggest you leave her alone.

Zazzles007 Mon 17-Nov-14 11:04:58

Let's start with the title of your thread - I think I'm emotionally abusing my partner. The first thing you need to do is own it. Not 'I think...' but "I am..." If you are unable to take proper ownership of the issue, you will never fully and completely be able to change who you are, because who you are is the problem - you are an emotionally abusive (dick, or insert your word of choice).

When I'm sober, I'm charming and lovely

Yeah, nuh, don't buy it. Alcohol often brings out what is already inside people, it is more likely that you are emotionally abusive when sober as well, and even far, far worse when you are drunk.

When I'm sober, I would do anything to make her happy. When I'm drunk, I do whatever I can to make her cry.

Why is there such a huge change in your behaviour when you are sober compared to when you are drunk? This is why I don't buy the idea that you treat her well when you are sober - people don't change that dramatically. It is far more likely that you are just a worse, more abusive version of you when you are drunk.

she finally felt able to tell me that I'm abusive, manipulative and that she's been constantly saddened by our relationship for the last two months. I was oblivious to this...

The question you have to ask yourself is "Why am I making myself oblivious to the fact that I am emotionally abusing the one person I am supposed to love above all others?" You are emotionally abusing your girlfriend and you claim not to remember? You really need to examine and get to the root cause of this.

I just want to know that I can change...

Yep highly doubt it. The books on men who abuse women say that it is highly unlikely that the abuser changes, even if he goes on a program that is supposed to help abusive men change. So your chances are slim to none.

I've already taken steps to stop drinking entirely...

If you really are serious about change, you also need to do a program which deals with men who abuse women. You really need to get to your core beliefs about women, and why you are horrible to them. So its alcohol rehad program for you, as well as a program for abusive men. Bear in mind what I said about the success rates of such programs.


makeitabetterplace Mon 17-Nov-14 11:06:04

Please don't try to resolve things with her. Let her go. She is damaged by what you've done to her and deserves to heal and find someone else. You can go to therapy and help yourself for maybe a future relationship but do the decent thing and let this woman leave.

Vivacia Mon 17-Nov-14 11:06:44

The OP might be female.

Lweji Mon 17-Nov-14 11:08:32

In addition to what Goats said:

You know that being drunk only lowers your self imposed boundaries, you become your true self. So, why do you think you became horrible to her? Are you sure you never remembered any of it? And why didn't you believe her? How often did you get drunk?

It sounds too little too late. And it must really have been horrible for her to cut all contact.
Respect that. This is how you contribute to her restoring her self esteem. Respect her and let her be in control.

gamerchick Mon 17-Nov-14 11:08:37

Let her go.. respect her wishes and let her repair herself.

Work on yourself so the pattern doesn't repeat itself in your next relationship.

And perhaps recognise that you and alcohol don't get on and think about stopping completely.

TheNewWitchOfSWL Mon 17-Nov-14 11:08:48

I have just ended my relationship and my exH had pretty much the same issues as yours. I am sorry but I bet that even when you are sober your behaviour is not as nice as you paint. I agree that stop drinking isn't enough and you need a program to recover, you obviously have some deep emotional problems that you aren't aware of. Do it for your now sake and next relationship's sake.
Sound if it sounds harsh.
And what 'steps' have you taken to stop drinking?

Joysmum Mon 17-Nov-14 11:09:58

Tbh, I can't help wondering if this isn't just something that happens when you are drunk, you might well be unpleasant when sober too but far worse when drunk.

Quitelikely Mon 17-Nov-14 11:10:14

Well done for realising and admitting that you are abusive. Unlike other posters I will not say there is no hope for you to change the pattern of abuse. I do believe that at some point in your childhood you were a victim yourself and you are playing it out on your gf.

There are plenty women on here in abusive relationships yet they refuse to believe that their children will turn out as abusive adults, you are just one of many.

If you want help please search for it on google in your area. Undesirable behaviour is reversible via therapy. I'm not saying all of it is but in your case it just might be.

Zazzles007 Mon 17-Nov-14 11:13:40

I hope this doesn't end up a 'reverse' thread hmm. All my work for frigging nothing!

MistletoeBUTNOwine Mon 17-Nov-14 11:18:53

This could have been written by my exDp... Is it you?

Anyway, he seems to be sorting himself out. Counselling, AA and the 12 step program.
Aa may be your salvation, many people who've lost everything manage to resovl their issues and make peace with themselves.
Good luck, it won't be easy.

ashamedandlost Mon 17-Nov-14 11:36:13

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I know I've been awful and don't deserve any sympathy.

She drinks more than I do, but she isn't an abusive drunk. She never asked me not to drink, although she has begged me not to be so horrible when I am drunk. Since that seems to be impossible, my only option left is to stop completely.

I don't mean to drip-feed, but I have recognised on a number of occasions that I have an alcohol problem - since we've been together, I started and dropped out of a recovery programme (a decision she fully supported because she agreed that it wasn't helping me at all). It's never been so bad though, and I'm really hoping that this will be the final wake up call to stop drinking for good.

We had a perfect relationship up until a few months ago - when we drinking, we'd have fun and I wouldn't get angry at her for no reason. When we were sober, we'd have fun and I wouldn't get angry at her for no reason. She agreed with that statement, but said that for the last few months, she's been sad and feeling worthless.

I don't know what's made me like this. Just this summer, we were so endlessly happy and had been discussing our life-long future together.

Zazzles, it's definitely not a reverse thread. I am female by the way, not that it makes much difference.

Pastmyduedate0208 Mon 17-Nov-14 13:18:22

Leave her alone untill u sort yourself out.

rb32 Mon 17-Nov-14 13:24:20

A drunk going out with a partner who drinks more than them is not a sustainable situation anyway. Leave it and get yourself help.

cestlavielife Mon 17-Nov-14 13:34:14

so what you doing about your alcohol problem?
forget this relationship...sort yourself out first.
take ownership of your problem. do something about it.

dadwood Mon 17-Nov-14 13:49:14

Hi ashamedandlost

I believe that in being abusive towards another, you also sustain damage to your own self-esteem.
I think that you might do well to practice being extra nice and supportive and tolerant to the remaining people in your life until it's habitual, then the bad habits and their destructive effects might be replaced and your improved self esteem might allow you to have healthier relationships in the future.

The drinking has to go IMO.

ashamedandlost Mon 17-Nov-14 15:16:20

I have given up drinking for months on end in the past - so short-term that shouldn't be a problem. But then I start again and it slowly escalates.

I'm aware that I must sound like such a possessive arsehole, but I am genuinely worried about her. She drifted apart from many friends while we were together (not because of me, but because they were very intolerant of our relationship - it was her first same-sex relationship) and the only people she'd be able to turn to are the friends that I'm currently living with. I know her well enough to know that she will step back from them and try to deal with this totally alone.

I suppose I know what you'll all tell me, but I do really have to leave her to deal with this alone, don't I? My instinct is to sort something out on her behalf, but is that me being controlling, not considerate?

ashamedandlost Mon 17-Nov-14 15:22:11

God, I must sound like such an idiot, most people manage to not abuse their partners without thinking about it, and I have to ask if I'm being controlling and manipulative

dadwood Mon 17-Nov-14 15:37:18

ashamedandlost I do really have to leave her to deal with this alone

I think that this is the kindest and least destructive thing to do. It's up to her if she contacts you. It would not be a good idea IMO to get back into a relationship with her (even if she changes her mind and wants to) lest you fall back into bad habits.

Coyoacan Mon 17-Nov-14 15:48:43

I disagree with the people saying that abusive people cannot change. I think any change in oneself is very, very hard to make, even the relatively simple of one of giving up drinking, but it can be done.

I've always felt that the abuse comes from insecurity, at least in some cases.

Have you tried AA? The AA program, when properly implemented, covers much more than the drinking.

dadwood Mon 17-Nov-14 16:03:36


I've always felt that the abuse comes from insecurity, at least in some cases. I feel this way as well, and I think if there is repair possible for a person who exhibits abusive behaviour, it will include addressing the insecurity and self-esteem of that person as well as them learning more constructive behaviour.

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