My Boyfriend is Abusive

By Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D.

Q: My boyfriend and I have been happy and normal for the most part but during the last couple of months a different side of him has come out. When we fight even over small things he becomes very  angry and breaks everything in his apartment, inclusively he hurts himself by hitting his head on the walls or even worse holds a knife to his wrist and neck. He threatens me by saying that he will take his life if I leave him.

He has a lot of financial problems which make him very stressed, and i understand and try to help him but sometimes it gets out of hand. What scares me the most is that he takes total control over me. For example, a couple of days ago we got into an arguement over me not telling him who i was text messaging. We arrived at his apartment and he became very angry and broke everything in sight. When i became scared I tried to leave but he dragged me back in the house and took my keys and my phone.

He also threatened with hitting me and calling my family as well as the police. He has never hit me but I feel like every arguement he comes a lot closer to doing it. And most importatntly that night he  ended up trying to kill himself and held a knife to his neck leaving marks on his skin with cuts. He did break down crying and i felt terribly bad for him, he’s going through a lot and i just want to know how to help him.

We are currently not together as we suggested he begins working on himself before we can move on any further. Do you think this is the right solution? Where can i find help for him? He has no insurance and is struggling financially so a doctor is not in his reach.

A: Hello and thank you for your question:

You have absolutely made the right decision in giving him time and space to work things out. He is abusive, and it sounds like he can become dangerous very quickly. Abusive men don’t tend to change, they just believe that they can (or promise that they will) until they get you back, then the abuse starts all over again.

Unfortunately, statistics have shown that it takes an abused woman 8 attempts to successfully leave an abuser, and often that is after she ends up being severely injured. He can get free treatment, at either a community center, or a free clinic within a hospital.  He may be abusing drugs or alcohol, he likely grew up in an abusive home and only a professional can help him recover from this, if indeed he wants help.

You may consider getting some counseling to help you figure some things out about the relationship and yourself. You might find it to be a wonderfully helpful thing, and you can find a therapist in your area at Psychology Today.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Diana Walcutt

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 May 2009

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2009). My Boyfriend is Abusive. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/05/20/my-boyfriend-is-abusive/