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I am being abusive? Or am I being abused?

My_name_is_Jane
Community Member
My partner is suicidal and currently staying in an inpatient mental health clinic. Things have been very difficult leading up to his admission. I had to watch over him for two weeks straight. We has many arguments, which I attributed to the stress of checking in. I have tried not to take it personally, but it gets difficult. I saw him today and he was very quiet and distant. He ended our visit by stating that a lot of his therapy time is “wasted” on our relationship problems and how he doesn’t know how to have conversations with me without me blowing up. He accused me of abusing him and being nasty by screaming at him and slamming doors (which I have never done). This took me my surprise because I always felt it was him that fuels the fire during difficult conversations (i.e., interrupting me, sighing loudly, talking-over me, monologing/not leaving space for me to talk, picking my words). He tends to twist my words and I am often left questioning myself. For example, I have never once screamed at him, nor slammed anything around – but he is so sure I have, and I find this so confusing. I have caught myself raising my voice at him to match his at times. But I have never screamed/slammed things. When he gets like this, I feel like there is nothing I can do but apologise or else he won’t move on. He often recounts events in a way I don’t remember them – usually in a way where I look very bad. Once during an argument leading up to his admission it got too much for me. I didn’t want to say or do anything that might upset him or make things worse. We were arguing on the sofa. I asked him if he could just give me a moment to sit there and think. He kept pushing and not letting me take a breath. I then told him that I need to distance myself - go for a short walk arond the block. I made it clear that I was only going for a 20min walk. The moment I stepped outside he texted me that he was thinking of “making an attempt” on his life and I had to go back. As soon as I got back, he took that chance to jump back into the argument. He told me today I should learn to regulate my emotions/not be so explosive. I feel like there has been times I have tried to take some time to think before I act or get space to gain perspective - but hasn’t allowed it. I feel like I can’t win. I guess I am seeking for advice/validation. Making sure that I am not being abusive, and if so, how to stop that cycle. I just feel like I am questioning myself a lot lately. I hate feeling this way.
4 Replies 4

Sophie_M
Moderator
Moderator

My name is Jane!

Welcome. We are very pleased you have chosen to join the forum community. I have no doubt you will find great support here.

Gaslighting is very possibly the most aggressive of all control behaviour, I know that probably sounds bizarre when it’s compared to physical violence or being restrained, but in the end it leaves the target controlling themselves on behalf of the controller. Honouring completely that your partner is obviously mentally unwell, and no doubt has a lot of background causes for their behaviour, we can only hope there will be genuine support and healing coming into that space. However, the impact on you has been the same – regardless of the reasons or intent. Certainly, it is always good to double check the nature and character of our own behaviour periodically and to check in with our own values – but if absolutely everything feels off, then at least something is off.

It could be really worthwhile to have a catch to our friends at 1800RESPECT – here is some info on them: https://www.1800respect.org.au/

Relationships Australia are another amazing resource – find their materials here: https://relationships.org.au/

Of course, we are more than happy to support you here, give us a call on 1300 22 4636 or if you click ‘Chat Now’ at the top of the page, you can have a webchat with us.

Please always remember to honour your needs and keep yourself well. Never hesitate to reach out!

Kind regards,

Sophie M

geoff
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Jane, to answer your question is not easy because it depends on how you feel you are being treated and like wise as with your partner, taking into account his condition.

If this was happening well before his admission and you were finding it difficult to agree on making a decision, then perhaps spending some time on your own may reevaluate your position.

You need to look after yourself.

Geoff.

Fiatlux
Community Member

Hi Jane,

As a long time victim of DV and Narcissistic abuse, I will say one thing…

A Narcissist never questions their own behaviour.

As a victim, I constantly blamed myself for everything.

I lived 35 years, walking on eggshells.

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion
Dear Jane

No, you are not being abusive - it is that simple. Quite the reverse, you sound a very caring, practical and sensible person and sound very much like you are the one being abused, which I guess you have suspected already.

Sadly, all the things you mention - his saying time is “wasted” on relationship problems, blaming you for blowing up, screaming, slamming doors, his altering the past together with all his other manipulative actions such as not giving you a chance to talk, threatening suicide and all the rest all point towards a certain type of person.

Unfortunately a person you may have got the stage of half-believing due to his constant arguing, insistence and twisting things to be your fault. That combined with your wanting him to be well and in a safe place has left you very much at sea.

Sophie’s suggestion to ring 1800RESPECT is an excellent one. They are very experienced and you may well be surprised at the number of things in your life you have just accepted up until now form a pattern pointing to your being abused.

It is one of the unfortunate ways a person’s mind works that if one is told something often enough one can start to believe it - even if one’s memory says different. In a similar way one can start to blame oneself if told things are always your fault even when the logical half of you knows they are not.

As far as I know getting the abuser to change is not an easy or quick thing, if possible at all.

I’m sorry to paint such a negative image, but see no point in not telling you the facts as I see them.

You are in a very painful and stressed place; may I ask if you have support? A family member or friend you can talk frankly with? They do not have to fix things -unless you need practical support- just listen, discuss and care.

I’d also suggest counselling for yourself - however please do seek 1800’s advice, they’d know better than me.

One other thing, it is important that whoever is treating your partner gets the full picture, not just the twisted version he presents, otherwise his treatment may not be as effective

It may be after seeking advice you may want to re-think a lot of things, please do come back and talk some more, we are here to support you whenever you want

Croix