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Abusive relationship and coping mechanisms

Community Member

My partner has issues. And I mean ISSUES. And these issues can come out as abusive towards me - name calling, anger, childishness, temper tantrums, jealously etc. I know he has had a difficult past but the way he acts and reacts to things is worrying and very upsetting for me.

I guess my question is - how (or can) I support someone with mental health issues like this (trauma, bipolar, possible BPD)?

11 Replies 11

Dear Enoughsalt,
Firstly, welcome to the forums we are so glad that you found your way to this supportive and welcoming community. We hope that you find ideas, options and support from the shared experiences and knowledge of all our members. This is a safe space to share and express your own feelings, struggles and experiences without judgement.

We hope that you know, no one deserves to be abused verbally or otherwise and you should prioritize your own safety and mental wellbeing in this regard. We would strongly urge that you contact 1800RESPECT. They offer 24/7 confidential information, counselling and support for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. The lovely supportive counsellors have a lot of experience offering advice and support to anyone who has been through trauma like this. You can contact them on 1800 737 732 or visit  https://www.1800respect.org.au/ .


Sophie M

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Enoughsalt~

I'd like to join Sophie_M in welcoming you here. Actually I'm glad you have met her already as Sophie gives good advice.

It is a heart-breaking thing when the one you think of as your partner is so abusive, and really when you come down to it the reasons why he is that way are secondary to your welfare. It is vital to have someone you can live with in confidence and feel loved.

All the things you mention may well be the result of trauma and bipolar, however they are not things that I beleive can be 'fixed' in a short time, no matter the support you personally offer.

It may be that with the correct professional help he can reach a stage where this abuse does not happen, however in the meantime things may well go on as they are now.

So to give you the best answer I can to your question -the best support you can give is to try to get him to willingly cooperate with medical professionals who are experienced in trauma and bipolar (and possibly borderline personality disorder )

This is a very hard course of action for a partner, in fact nobody that understood the situation properly would feel anything but sympathy if you judged there should be a parting -temporary or permanent.

Even with a loved one a person is never an endless well of support. You are constantly subject ot abuse, worried and upset that is no way to live

I too would strongly suggest 1800RESPECT, they give good advice, let you know what's likely to happen and can give you a sense of perspective it is very hard to get by oneself.

Please do come back and talk some more


Community Champion
Community Champion

Enough salt

welcome to forum,

I can relate to living with a partner with those issues. Form half the time it is ok and the other half difficult.
Croix and Sophie have given helpful suggestions. Have a look at Respects website as it has helpful ideas and ways to contact.

Is there a time when partner is calm and rational where you can talk about how his behaviour affects you. Is he getting help for his issues, ie has he seen a doctor or a counsellor.
Do look after yourself as I know it can be exhausting,


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello enoughsalt, thanks for your post and I agree it's not something that can be fixed straight away, unfortunately.

There is so much you have to try and cope with and depends on how long you can stand this type of treatment because it's affecting your own health, and when this does happen then you must also seek help from your own doctor.

You could start by doing this and asking them what solutions they do have that will help you as well as advice as to what you can suggest to your partner, however, if he is behaving like this, then you need to be careful how you approach this topic.

The difficult question is how do you get him to realise or recognise that what he says is being harmful towards you, and possibly suggest that he goes with you to your doctor regarding another issue, whatever that may be.

Best wishes.


Community Member

Dear Geoff,

Thank you for your reply here.

I totally agree with your last paragraph as it relates back at home in my situation.



Community Member

Thanks for your reply - and to everyone else too.

He thinks he is in the right, every time he abuses me. He is convinced he is justified when he, for instance, calls me a slut or a b*tch etc. And the thing is, I actually believe it and think that yes I AM those things and I AM a bad person etc. for saying he is abusive and not treating me well. I do nothing but help him and take care of him (get his medications, cook, clean etc) but he will constantly give me the silent treatment, threaten me with leaving, call me names that hurt, throw things, shout, demand sex, become extremely jealous etc. I can't seem to convince him that he is abusive and that it hurts me. He thinks he's a great partner and there's no problem.

I will check out all the advice you have all suggested, because this is too much to handle. In my mind, I feel terrible and think that I'm overreacting and that I'm to blame for his behavior.

Enough salt,

I was blamed for partners heart attack and that hurt. Rationally I knew I wasn’t but I felt if I just agreed when he calls me names and says I am wrong, he would have become Ill.

I think we need to believe that we are not responsible For our partners behaviour. I am moved by your words as I can relate to it all.

i do have times that are ok , do you have calm times or is he always angry with you.

i know it has been mentioned before but if yiu can contact 1800 resoect or look at the website you will find you are not alone and your partners behaviour is not acceptable .

you are not alone and we are listening.

Hi enoughsalt,

My ex partner was abusive for many years and refused to admit it too. Like yours, he thought deep down that he was justified in calling me these names and treating me this way, which is why he did it. Behind the scenes I researched couples counsellors specializing in domestic violence and he agreed to see a couples counsellor. He agreed because he thought he would get there and say all the annoying habits I have and they would agree with him that he was justified in abusing me as a response. He could never comprehend that he was just unable to cope with the normal couple disagreements. Instead they very quickly identified that he was abusive. That didn’t go so well and he was incredibly volatile and angry after sessions. He also tried to use what the counsellor had said during sessions and would become the pseudo counsellor when we got home, telling me everything that was wrong with me. I don’t believe they can ever stop, at best I think they can “keep a lid on it” but whenever stressed (something which seems to happen easily with them) they will revert to what they know. The problem is in their mind, with their thoughts and beliefs. My ex tried to “keep a lid on it” and by that I mean that he stopped being physically abusive but he was still very verbally and emotionally abusive, and over time I came to realise that he’d never be “normal” and so I made the decision to leave. Of course it’s up to you but the trajectory of abuse is most often one of escalating behaviour over time rather than improvement in symptoms.


Thanks for your moving insight into what you experienced.

My partner would never ever go to a counsellor as it is me and my condition that is wrong.

when you see this person who can can be kind to everyone but you it does sometimes es make me wonder what am I doing. Also when so robe is ok for about half the time you think things are getting better but no they are not.