Anon asks: Hi Isaac, my boyfriend and I have been dating for nine months. We’ve been getting into a lot of arguments recently over what should be small things. Usually I do something small he disagrees with and then he lashes out at me. I don’t mean to upset him I just don’t know what he wants. We had a long discussion about it and came to the conclusion that we need to communicate better. Honestly, it’s so exhausting it came to the point where I needed a weekend to myself and he got mad about that. I asked him what to do now and he said to not make him upset, but it’s hard when there’s no way of knowing what that is. I said he should try to not let his emotions cloud his judgment. When he gets upset he gets very very aggressive. He said that’s hard because his ability to control his emotions is low. Seems like he can’t have productive conversations about disagreements without aggression. Is this a fatal flaw?
Hey, gidday mate! Oy vey you’re in a tough spot.
Let’s look at what you’re telling me:
1. You’ve been together a fairly short amount of time, and you fight a lot.
2. It’s always your fault.
3. You don’t actually realize what it is you’re doing wrong, but according to him you’re constantly doing something wrong.
4. When you ask him what you guys could do differently, his response is, “Don’t upset me.” Just to reiterate, you never know what is going to upset him.
5. When he gets upset he gets aggressive.
6. He has openly admitted that he cannot control his emotions, and doesn’t seem willing to put in any work to change that.
Basically you’re dealing with someone who loses his sh*t all the goddamn time and refuses to take responsibility for his share of the issues. In his eyes, you’re a walking, talking problem waiting to trigger one of his many insecurities/fears/resentments/rage buttons; and when you do trigger one of those things, he gets aggressive. But of course you can’t ask him to control himself, because he can’t do that.
I don’t know if I’d describe it as a fatal flaw, but it doesn’t sound like a workable or happy relationship. As we all know, we can only control ourselves, but he doesn’t want to try to control himself, he just wants to control you.
But he didn’t ask the question, you did. And your part in the equation is that you stick around even though he mistreats you. That is not conducive to a workable or happy relationship any more than his behavior.
Unless he seeks professional help, I can’t imagine he’s going to change. So with that in mind, my advice to you would be to get out of the relationship immediately if you’re in any way unsafe, and get out of the relationship anyway even if you’re not unsafe. Obviously it’s much easier said than done, but relationships are supposed to add value to our lives, not take it away.
You also might want to consider trying out a program like Alanon, which is a support group for people in relationships with alcoholics/addicts/rage-oholics etc.
Best of luck.
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