Friday, November 8, 2019

The Case of the Abusive Girlfriend

Clear concise and to the point. Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax gives a young man some very wise counsel. He is involved with a woman who is still playing out her last bad relationship. At 23 he is young. And yet, he has fallen in love. But, the girlfriend is still suffering from her last relationship, where her boyfriend cheated and lied. And she is taking it out on her new boyfriend.

It's so rare that we are allowed to see an abusive relationship where the abuser is a woman,that it's worth a post.

Herewith the letter:

So my girlfriend and I started dating five months ago, and fell head-over-heels for each other very quickly. However, after about two months she started getting really jealous for no reason, and comparing me to her ex-boyfriend. He cheated on and lied to her a bunch of times. She worries all the time that I will cheat on her. I hear about him constantly now, and the stuff they used to do together.

She has gone from a super-loving and fun girlfriend to someone who honestly isn't at all a joy to be around. For a while she was jealous, but now it's like talking to a rock. She's withdrawn and not caring like she used to be, which she explains as "loving me so much she is just so scared something is going to ruin it."

How do I help her get over what this guy did to her, and get her back into being just as in love with me as she was when we started dating? I know she loves me still and always says she's feeling bad about how she's acting, but this is an every-weekend ordeal. It goes from being amazing one week to almost breaking up the next. Any advice? I'm 23, and this is the first time I can say I'm truly in love, so this is something I really don't want to lose, but every day I'm becoming more and more bitter due to losing what we had in the beginning. Any help would be appreciated!

Obviously, the man needs some tough love. Hax offers it. She says what you already know, that he should quickly head for the exits. True love will not solve this problem. It is merely setting him up to pay for the other man’s sins. 

The woman is punishing this man for what her previous boyfriend did to her. It is nice that she is sorry for her behavior, but being sorry is worthless if she continues to misbehave. Time to head for the exit.

Hax writes:

Your girlfriend is not healthy enough to be in a relationship with anyone right now, and you can’t fix that.

Even if that’s not her “fault” — meaning, even if we stipulate the ex is to blame for everything (when it’s rarely so simple) — it’s still not healthy for either of you to stay with the other under these conditions.

She needs to untangle her feelings without new strings getting caught in the snarl, and she needs to work on this solo until she stops seeing her ex in everything her new boyfriends do. It’s a matter of simple fairness, both to herself and to the people she dates, because a fear-jealousy-withdrawal cycle is a torment no one deserves.

You, meanwhile, need to stop giving your consent to this mistreatment, which at least verges on emotional abuse. She’s punishing you for her ex’s sins! How is that okay? 

Her apologies beat defending her behavior, of course, but she’s also not doing anything to stop it, get help, get better, protect you.

Q. E. D. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, many women do 'carry over' their anger onto other men. In some cases, it starts with their father, who abused them in various ways.

Their minds project all the garbage they experienced in their childhood on to male partners. They rationalize their behavior and acting out due to being victimized in childhood.

Of course the male is not blameless in this relationship. Through his own 'excitement seeking' attraction he compliments her behavior. Add children into the mix and running from the relationship becomes a non-starter.

At least in my case, time, perspective, and maturity have helped.... both of us.