Question: My friends say I am in an abusive relationship but I don’t think I am. He only hit me once and promised never to do it again. He’s very passionate about things and sometimes he gets loud to get his point across. My friends say that’s not normal. He reminds me of my dad. He was like that. He would get upset when we didn’t do what he told us and would beat us. At least my boyfriend never does that he just yells. I just have to pay better attention. Do you think this is normal behavior?
Answer: My heart goes out to you for having lived a life that requires you to accept being yelled at as normal behavior. We all get upset from time to time and we will say things that we don’t mean. However, if you are in a situation where you are afraid of being “punished” for not doing something, that is abusive behavior. You mentioned that your boyfriend reminded you of our father when he yells at you. I’m curious to know how that makes you feel. I don’t want to read more into your question than there is but it seems as if you are justifying your boyfriend’s behavior by what you were accustom to as a child. It also seems that you are quick to make sure you “pay better attention” to prevent the yelling from becoming physical. My dear, you do not have to live a life of fear. Fear keeps you stuck. It paralyzes you and you will never be able to move forward.
I don’t want to go any further without addressing the fact that he hit you. Yes, I read it clearly. You said it only happened once. Once is more than enough and you can believe that it will happen again. When you allow misbehavior it is guaranteed to continue. I don’t know what led up to the behavior and it really don’t matter. What matters is the fact that you think it is okay. You were not created to be abused whether it’s through someone hitting you, yelling at you or playing mind games with you. Abuse is abuse and should not be tolerated.
You think your friends are being judgmental and hard on you but they are just concerned about your safety. They want you to not only be safe they want you to be happy. They are bringing these things to your attention because they care about you. It’s good that you have friends that care about you.
It’s hard to think that the person you love could actually be mistreating you. It’s easy to blame yourself for the behavior because (1) it is what you were used to doing (2) blaming him will mean either he don’t love you or you are betraying him, which neither is true. He may love you but he has anger issues that you cannot help him with and you are not betraying him, you are protecting yourself or (3) it may cause worse behavior.
I will be honest with you addressing the issue could cause worse behavior therefore make sure when you address it you are not alone. Before you approach him, call and talk to the counselors at INTERACT or the Domestic Violence Hotline. The main thing is to make sure you are safe and don’t assume that additional abusive behavior will not occur. I pray that you both get the help you need. You are too important to God to live a life in fear.