You have described a troublesome pattern that is common in emotionally abusive relationships. His behavior is noteworthy and you should take action. Consider it a “red flag.”
Some of the most common forms of emotional abuse include putdowns and name-calling. Surveys have shown that putdowns and name-calling are strong predictors of intimate partner violence. Though he has not been physically violent, you may be at risk. Studies have shown that emotional abuse and controlling behaviors are often precursors to physical violence.
Your next step should be asking if he would be willing to participate in couples therapy. His willingness to participate in therapy would show that he is serious about wanting to change his behavior. If he is truly sorry, then he should be willing to do what is necessary to improve his behavior.
You could also benefit from individual therapy. A therapist could help you to understand the impact of abusive relationships, advise you about how to proceed with the relationship, provide emotional support, and assist you in determining the appropriate safety precautions.
If he is unwilling to change his behavior, then you must decide whether you want to stay in this relationship. If he is not willing to change, or make any attempts to change, then I would advise against staying in the relationship. You should never be willing to tolerate abuse.
In the meantime, you may want to consider a temporary separation. This may involve you moving to a new location. A temporary separation may be an inconvenience but it may be necessary. Your safety is paramount. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog