Before the relationship issues worsen something needs to change with your behavior. Your boyfriend may also be contributing to this problem but it’s unclear what role he may play. You don’t become slightly perturbed when your boyfriend does something you don’t like, you seem to lose total control. Not only do you holler but you physically harm him. It’s important that you recognize that your behavior needs to change. It’s not always easy to admit mistakes. This realization is a very good first step. The next step involves changing your behavior or getting help if you can’t do it on your own.
Part of your anger may stem from the fact that you essentially believe that all of your boyfriend’s thoughts, feelings and actions should be devoted to you. That’s how you treat him and expect him to reciprocate. When he doesn’t reciprocate this upsets you. When he hangs out with friends you feel as though he’s choosing his friends over you. You take his actions personally, as though he is rejecting you. Following your logic, of course you’d be angry in this situation because you’ve been rejected.
This line of thinking may be a part of the problem. It’s “all or nothing” type of thinking. If he does not devote all of his time to you and the relationship then he doesn’t want you and this makes you angry. In truth, you’re not angry per se you’re probably feeling hurt because you’re experiencing what feels to you like a rejection by your boyfriend. It is this type of thinking that most likely is damaging the relationship. It’s unrealistic to impose such strict standards for his behavior (or anyone for that matter).
If you cannot change on your own then therapy might be helpful. Therapy could teach you new ways to behave when you’re angry or upset by your boyfriend. You could learn a new set of communication skills. A therapist can also help you examine why his hanging out with friends equates to a rejection of you. He or she can also assist you in examining other logical fallacies as well as help you find new ways to express yourself and your feelings. It is not acceptable to scream and holler when something doesn’t go your way or to physically harm him when you’re upset. There are more appropriate ways to get your point across that do not include screaming, shouting matches, or physical abuse. It might also be helpful if your boyfriend also considered therapy either on his own or as part of couples counseling. Arguing may be common in some relationships but it is never healthy for the relationship. Every fight further erodes the relationship. It’s advisable to get help sooner than later.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on May 11, 2009.