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Emotional abuse or maybe I’m just loosing the plot

Community Member

I’m new here so please forgive me if I say anything out of place.

I’ve been with my partner for over a decade and I notice it’s wearing me down. I look back at old photos and I’m not the person I used to be. I’ve lost the genuine laughter and twinkle in my eye. Maybe part of that’s to do with maturing and going through life experiences, making one more wary but I keep wondering if a large part of that is to do with my relationship with my partner.

We can’t seem to communicate. Most communications end up with him being angry, rolling his eyes, sighing or just plain ignoring (like not saying a word or making eye contact so that I have to repeat myself and ask if he heard). In arguments, we just go round in circles and I end up having to apologise and then nothing changes. On the rare occasion when he seems to make changes, it’ll only last a week. When I do confront him, the usual responses are “I didn’t hear you”, “ you should make yourself clearer”, “I don’t remember having that discussion”, “I didn’t realise it was important”.

When things go wrong, I’ll often get the blame. From small things - like the kitchen towel being soaking wet (it was draped over the sink which was wet) to bigger things like why the household financial situation is not as expected.

When I gathered enough courage together and listed out key areas for us to work on, his response was “ it is who I am, I can’t change”.

He told me I am the problem, and wishes there is someone who can “fix” me and tell me how to behave. When I try to put in my side of the story, he either says it’s not important or I’m being nasty to him and he is the real victim.

I can see that some problems are related to my low self esteem during my upbringing and perhaps I should have been more vocal about issues earlier on in the relationship. I can also see he had issues too during his childhood which also play a role.

Some days I cry because I feel so sorry for the little boy that I can see in his eyes and wish I could make this relationship better for him so he won’t feel so upset. Other days I cry because I’m just confused and don’t know what’s up or down anymore as the saying goes.

So I’m just seeing if the community can shed some thoughts on what feels like a confusing situation to me. I feel I should leave because the relationship is harming me (regardless of whether it classifies as emotional abuse or not) but I also feel guilty that I’m abandoning a person who needs love.

Thank you.

32 Replies 32

Community Champion
Community Champion

Koala mum

welcome to the forum and thanks for your post.

You write clearly and I can understand how frustratung and confused you feel.

I can relate to what you wrote as my partner is controlling and has similar behaviors to your partner but not all the times. At times he can be considerate but he has never apologized, I do a lot to dave having a conflict, or I used to stand up more for myself.

If he wont see a counsellor you can go alone if you want to.

Are there any times when his behaviour is ok?

How long ago did this behaviour start, from beginnin gof a relationship or in last few years.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi KoalaMum,

Welcome to the forum. The BB forums are a safe and secure environment where you can share your thoughts and feelings without any judgement.

The main purpose of the forums are based on the foundation of listening and providing support and guidance when required.

I do feel for you, as your current situation is both challenging and complex in regards to how you are feeling and what you should do next?

To assist maybe the key question you need to ask is (remove all other external factors, including your partner)

What is the best for KoalaMum in regards to her happiness and mental health?

The current situation is unsustainable which you have recognised and you know that it cannot continue and something has to change.

Have you considered counselling either on your own or as a couple, this could be an opportunity for both of you to open up and share your feelings, and this might be the middle ground.

Finally, remember the focus is you and what is the most important thing for KoalaMums current and future happiness and well-being?

Wishing you all the best.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Thank you for your post and welcome

Im sorry to hear what your going through I have had some friends experience a similar thing
From what I have read/heard it is a common thing that can happen after time and when you become more comfortable you lose boundaries
I also suffered from low self esteem from childhood trauma however I have since addressed this as I was hypersensitve about things

It sounds like you guys arent communicating anymore and you are in a tough situation...
If you want to stay you need to communicate

In my experience talking to a professional for their perspective gave me all the information I need to make a decision
Have you thought about seeing someone?

If you want to talk this through with a Beyond Blue counsellor, we’re on 1300 22 4636 or you can reach us on webchat here.

I hope this helps and all the best

Thank you for replying so quickly and for your understanding. I try to explain to other people but most just say “he’s just got a strong personality” or say it’s just different relationship styles.

To answer your question, I’m like the frog in hot water that slowly warmed up and woke up one day and realised it’s too hot. Looking back I would say it was there from day one but it ramped up significantly in the last 2 years which was when it woke me up and made me realise it’s getting “too hot”.

There used to be good and okay times interspersed with the negative times. Now the negative ones are more frequent and intense, so much so it made me question my worth as a person.

Thanks koalaMum for your feedback.

i can relate to questioning your self worth.
does your partner behave well with others but controlling with you.

My partner is charming with others so many would not believe me if I told them. I have a close loved one who can see how manipulative he can be so I am able to talk to them.

Do you have someone who understands how your partner treats you.?

I suppose for me the positive and negative are equal.

what do you want to do ..?

would you feel ok to contact respect australia 1800737732 or look at the website.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello KoalaMum, what happens in the early days of a relationship change over time and your situation will change, it has for all of us and the true personality is exposed.

This is not so much about staying with someone 'who needs love', it's you who needs the care and love, and from what you have told us this certainly isn't happening, simply because you are apologising when you don't need to.

He doesn't want to listen to what you say and yes, it can be called emotional abuse, because all he wants is to have his way and not have any part in you.

In a relationship, if you have to build up enough courage to say something and then get a response that says 'that's just who I am', then he's stonewalling you and doesn't care what you have to say.

No, you aren't losing the plot at all, you're in a r/lationship you need to strongly consider leaving, I can't tell you what to do, but I can suggest to you that aren't happy, achieving anything you want and definitely not being loved, and that's all you want, to share accomplishments, do things together and mostly enjoy your life, that's love and not emotional abuse.

Please remember it's all about you and how you feel.

Please take care.


Community Member

Hi Baljit,

Thank you for your reply and understanding. I came to the BB forum as a safe place to voice my thoughts and feelings and I'm grateful for this community.

You have highlighted an important question for me and it'll help me to evaluate my options.

I have thought of going to relationship counselling as a couple but fear I will get derailed in my thoughts when I have to talk in front of my partner which pretty much happens most times when we talk about the serious issues. But I will definitely consider it.

Thank you HappyHelper88 for your thoughts. Communication breakdown is an important issue for us and I agree this needs to be worked on if I was to stay. I'll keep the number handy.

Thank you QuirkyWords. My partner is much better with other people and when I bring this up with him, he says it's different because he doesn't have issues with them.

I know the situation can't continue on like this so I really need to decide if the relationship is salvageable. If he was being honest when he said he can't change, then I guess the chances of rescuing it would be slim.

I still need to do more thinking and soul searching on my part before I even think of bringing it up. Once it's out, I can't take it back because he has said before he would never take back an ex.