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Relationships

Argument with boyfriend

102 replies

sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 14:49

Hi all. Just had an argument with my boyfriend, and wanted to get some other perspectives. Will try not to drip feed, so for context:

  1. We are not very young, so no excuse for the below immaturity.


2. We have been together 6 months, staying around each others' places probably 70% of the time, mainly at his as it's more convenient for work.

3. He is extremely tidy, I am not (although not a terrible slob). As an example, he expects the bed to be made the moment we get up and tries to wash up everything before eating. I do my bit (for example, most of the cooking). Usually this isn't a problem, results in a few semi-serious tuts at most.

4. I grew up in an abusive household with a domineering father, issues still ongoing and my mother is trapped with him. I have sought therapy for this, but acknowlege that I am a very sensitive person still and that may cloud my judgement. BF knows about this.

So: this morning, some cash fell out of a pocket as i was putting laundry away. BF said 'pick that up'. I replied jokingly that he could keep it as payment (doesn't matter, made sense in context). He repeated the request, but spoke to me - as I can best describe - in a tone similar to when you're trying to get a naughty dog to drop something: 'pick that up'.

I ignored him on principle and started drying my hair in another room. BF followed, and came right into my personal space to repeat the same thing in the same tone. Then - I accept that it wasn't correct of me - I said 'stop shouting at me'. He replied 'this isn't shouting'. That's exactly what my Dad used to say, so I lost it and started crying, saying I didn't appreciate being spoken to like that.

Anyway, this ended up with him saying that I was imagining things because of my background/lying because I used the word 'shout', that he was going to start recording himself in case I accused him of punching me next time. He was staring at me without any emotion as I was crying and asking him to stop being mean. I didn't feel physically threatened by him, and made no reference to feeling that way.

I've walked out to have a cry elsewhere as clearly nothing productive is going to be said at the moment, but would welcome thoughts on whether this is a red flag, if I'm the red flag for getting so upset, if we are both being completely ridiculous etc. etc. As I mentioned, don't want to bring IRL friends into this yet in case it blows over and I don't have family to talk to.

Thanks! Also apologies for any typos, am on my mobile.
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EvenMoreFuriousVexation · 14/01/2023 15:06

I just typed an almost complete response to this and then somehow managed to close my browser 🤦

Anyway, this ended up with him saying that I was imagining things because of my background/lying because I used the word 'shout', that he was going to start recording himself in case I accused him of punching me next time. He was staring at me without any emotion as I was crying and asking him to stop being mean.

This is not good, not good at all. I could have got over the "pick it up, good doggy" thing, although I'd have pulled him up on his tone, but this is a whole unwarranted escalation. He's used information about your traumatic background, which you've trusted him with, to invalidate your feelings.

It's not like he's lost his rag and said something he didn't mean in a moment of annoyance, either - the fact that he's just stood staring coldly is quite chilling.

I'd be very concerned that every time you express a negative emotion or question his behaviour, your trauma is going to be thrown in your face to undermine and invalidate your response, "you're over-reacting", etc.

Next thing you know, he's negging you, telling you "most men wouldn't take on someone as damaged as you, you're lucky I stick around."

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InsertSomethingMotivationalHere · 14/01/2023 15:10

This not a nice man and @EvenMoreFuriousVexation has it spot on. I would have bristled too at the commanding tone and would not have "obeyed." His comments about recording himself and you not being trusted not to make up lies are so worrying, as his emotionless response to your distress.
Don't let him gaslight you into believing you history is making you overreact. You are not!

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Annoyingwurringnoise · 14/01/2023 15:18

Well, the argument was probably six of one and half a dozen of the other, but the fact that he got in your face then brought up violence is a red flag.

people say things because it’s in their mind. They accuse you of thinking something because that’s what they’re thinking. The fact that violence was in his mind would have me running for the hills, cos like, non-abusive people don’t ever have violence in their mind, even during a big row.

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Watchkeys · 14/01/2023 15:29

A red flag is a feeling you have, not a thing the other person does, OP. You cannot 'be' a red flag in your own eyes.

There are a list of common things that induce the red flag feeling in most people, i.e. violence, name calling, etc. If you google red flag behaviours you will find these. But the red flag itself is your feeling. It's the feeling that the person has done something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Something that crosses your boundaries, even if you're not sure what boundary has been crossed. So, for example, if you had a conversation with your partner about how you couldn't bear dogs, and how uncomfortable they made you, you might get the red flag feeling if he came home the next day with a puppy as a gift for you. So then you'd be in a position here to write 'My partner bought me a puppy: Is this a red flag?' and the answer would be yes. Buying a puppy for someone is not a red flag behaviour: your response, and the fact that he knows how it will make you feel and does it anyway, is the red flag.

So, in your current situation, he has knowingly crossed your boundaries. You feel like shit because of the way he treated you. That's a red flag.

I have sought therapy for this, but acknowledge that I am a very sensitive person still and that may cloud my judgement

You were abused as a child. That doesn't cloud your judgment, that informs your judgment. That means that if you're going to have a partner, they need to be an especially gentle type of person. It doesn't mean that your partner can behave roughly and you need to shut up about your feelings because 'it's just because of how my dad used to treat me'.

This is about you looking after you. This is about you making sure that you are treated gently because you have a history of being hurt and you have sensitivities that need to be taken care of. Currently you are thinking that your sensitivities, and your feelings in general need to be dismissed, but that's exactly what your father did, wasn't it? He has simply trained you into thinking that your feelings are something to be pushed to one side and ignored, as best you can.

The part of you that cried was the little girl who was never heard. She has been dismissed, once again, as unimportant. It's time to listen to her. She is your boundaries. She is your heart, and your soul. She is who you really are, and she's been pushed to one side all her life. She is the part of you that does 'happiness' and 'contentment'. Stop putting her in horrible company, and choose people who make her happy.

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Bananalanacake · 14/01/2023 15:37

Don't move in with him. Keep your own space, maybe see him less,

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sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 15:37

Thanks all, especially @Watchkeys . You made me cry, but I feel better knowing that other people don't think I'm nutty. I'm glad I didn't just back down and follow his order now.

Re my father - one thing I didn't mention in my OP was that I brought him up to explain why I was upset: 'you sounded like my father speaking to my mother when you said that, and I wont accept it' or something along those lines. Which I think, though accurate, maybe explains some of his reaction. It isn't nice to be compared to an abuser.

It's so confusing as he was so nice and loving to me this morning, it has come from nowhere.

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Watchkeys · 14/01/2023 15:50

It isn't nice to be compared to an abuse

The only thing a loving, respectful partner can do, if they accidentally do something that reminds their partner of childhood abuse, is to STOP. Any number of things could explain his behaviour, but nothing excuses it. You are who you are because of your life experiences. Part of you is the sensitive, hurt part, from your father's behaviour, and because you have that part, you need to be treated softly. Who you are, and what you say, are not reasons for someone to treat you poorly. He made a decision to speak to you in that way, and that decision had nothing to do with your history or your father. It was his choice, in that moment. Don't absolve him of that responsibility, just because your dad was crap. The two things are not related.

And the reason you cried when you read my post was because it indicated to that little girl inside you that someone could finally hear her. They were relief tears, right? You could live the whole rest of your life in that feeling of relief. You have to listen to her, instead of thinking she's 'nutty'. How awful must she feel, that even you think of her as the 'mad' part of you? Poor child.

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Motherofalittledragon · 14/01/2023 15:54

Well he's not a nice man, you've only been together 6 months and he thinks that is an acceptable way to behave. Bin him off and block him.

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Butwhytho · 14/01/2023 15:56

He sounded like a rude twat from the off. Dump him, he’s not the only man in the world… and he’s certainly not the nicest.

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Dodecaheidyin · 14/01/2023 16:01

He's angry that you ignored his command.

It's so confusing as he was so nice and loving to me this morning, it has come from nowhere.

This is a pattern that will be repeated if the relationship continues.

Be careful what you share with him, your feelings and upbringing, he will use it against you, as he's already doing.

he was going to start recording himself in case I accused him of punching me next time - he's telling you there's going to be a next time and hinting at (threatening) violence. Please listen to what he's saying.

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Stressybetty · 14/01/2023 16:05

Yeah I went out with someone like this for a few weeks. Started fine then gradually started picking me up on everything. Obsessed with keeping everything tidy, didn't like me watching TV and relaxing, I had to be making the most of every minute. Just suffocating

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sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 16:19

I've left my ID, laptop, makeup bag, clothes at his... not sure if I should try to have a conversation with him today or just pick up my stuff and run.

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Tinkerbyebye · 14/01/2023 16:22

Pick up your stuff, go home. Dump him

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sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 16:30

I've texted and asked if I can pick up my essentials, offered to talk if he's amenable.

Again, feel like I'm dripfeeding sorry, but I don't think he's a horrible person. He also went through some really awful childhood trauma, which maybe explains some of the emotionlessness. But ofc I know that doesn't mean I can put up with this long term. If I made him cry I'd be beside myself trying to make it better.

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dontleaveitthere · 14/01/2023 16:35

I'll be honest he sounds like an ex. Completely emotionless. And zero empathy.

He also used the fact he knew about past experiences against me.

This is not a good man. And especially not good for your given your past.

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MrsTerryPratchett · 14/01/2023 16:36

sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 16:19

I've left my ID, laptop, makeup bag, clothes at his... not sure if I should try to have a conversation with him today or just pick up my stuff and run.

The second one. I wouldn't have liked, "pick it up" at all. That's without the veiled threat.

Sounds like his trauma and your trauma are in a relationship. Not a great idea.

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Dodecaheidyin · 14/01/2023 16:38

sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 16:30

I've texted and asked if I can pick up my essentials, offered to talk if he's amenable.

Again, feel like I'm dripfeeding sorry, but I don't think he's a horrible person. He also went through some really awful childhood trauma, which maybe explains some of the emotionlessness. But ofc I know that doesn't mean I can put up with this long term. If I made him cry I'd be beside myself trying to make it better.

I would be wary about getting into anymore conversation. It will give him an opportunity to manipulate you into doing what he wants. He may well use tears to that end, don't be fooled. They can be very believable.

Many people have had bad childhoods, only some choose to carry on the theme.

I hope you are able to get your stuff back safely. Do you have someone who can go with you?

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sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 16:44

Thanos all. If there's a problem I could always call my brother, or a close friend. They're on the other side of the city though so I don't want to bother them or create unnecessary drama.

I'm not sure if I feel comforted or more sad knowing this is such a common pattern. Urgh.

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sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 16:46

Thanks* 🙄

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Ponderingwindow · 14/01/2023 16:46

I have a very similar background. My wonderful DH sometimes does very innocent things that trigger me into upset. There are two huge differences here. First, he isn’t directing those things at me. Second, he respects when I tell him I am having a personal reaction that I know is not his fault and need to go take some space.

being with someone who is going to police your behavior for hyper-tidiness isn’t a good match for you. It’s also something he needs to recognize about himself and in the future should not start relationships with people with similar backgrounds.

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Ponderingwindow · 14/01/2023 16:47

Sorry about my post not necessarily helping. I took forever to write and cross posted

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ghjklo · 14/01/2023 16:47

OP it sounds as though you might be in a relationship with someone like your father, possibly unconsciously. We tend to repeat patterns from our families, even though we consciously know they are bad we can get into them without even realising. I would leave him!

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Scienceadvisory · 14/01/2023 16:49

Dodecaheidyin · 14/01/2023 16:01

He's angry that you ignored his command.

It's so confusing as he was so nice and loving to me this morning, it has come from nowhere.

This is a pattern that will be repeated if the relationship continues.

Be careful what you share with him, your feelings and upbringing, he will use it against you, as he's already doing.

he was going to start recording himself in case I accused him of punching me next time - he's telling you there's going to be a next time and hinting at (threatening) violence. Please listen to what he's saying.

See I would view his comment about recording differently. He wasn't hinting at violence. He was saying that he's worried about the OP lying. She accused him of shouting when she herself says that he didn't. And he's worried about what else she might lie about.

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dontleaveitthere · 14/01/2023 16:52

sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 16:44

Thanos all. If there's a problem I could always call my brother, or a close friend. They're on the other side of the city though so I don't want to bother them or create unnecessary drama.

I'm not sure if I feel comforted or more sad knowing this is such a common pattern. Urgh.

I always think it's helpful to be able to recognise behaviours. At least you now know what's happening. And you can work so that you'll be able to recognise this next time. Or simply walk away the next time you recognise similar traits.

I know it seems an over reaction but I would ask if your brother or someone could come with you.

My experience of men like this is they can be very manipulative. You said yourself if he cried you'd do anything to help him. He knows your buttons. With someone else there you can keep it neutral. Get your stuff. Get out and sort your head space out a bit.

If you were anywhere near me I'd come along. Just to get your stuff. Take care

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sadcorbeau · 14/01/2023 16:52

@Ponderingwindow not at all, it's really helpful to hear. You deserve someone who is capable of empathy and I do too, I suppose.

Tidiness is such a ridiculous thing to lose one's shit over. It's not like I'm a disgusting slob, I just don't leap up to tidy everything immediately. Maybe he'll find someone even more anal than him and learn how it feels not to be able to relax.

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