I don’t know where else to go for advice, so I’m hoping this isn’t too out of the ordinary for this website. I just feel so low.
I’ve been with my partner for 5 years. The way things are between us, I believe we were fated for each other, so I’m trying all I can before cutting him loose.
Basically, every few months or so we’ll have a big fight. Maybe someone is in a bad mood. Today, instead of saying “oh I sure could use your help with this laundry” I said “Why’d you shove the clean laundry onto the floor? You really need to pull some weight around here.” And he was under a lot of stress today, so he took the bait.
When he was young and even now, his parents fought constantly and explosively and his mother would always threaten to leave him and his dad over it. His mother was and is emotionally abusive to both his dad and him. He has this thing where he freaks out if the fight isn’t resolved soon and pins me down. He sits on me without resting his weight on me and holds my arms down on either side of my head. I imagine he’s trying to control the situation before it explodes, as that’s the sort of outcome of a fight he’s used to. The look on his face is that of absolute fear.
I was raped and have PTSD from it. I have this thing where if he sits on me and pins me down, I start screaming for him to get off me. My whole body tenses up as the fight or flight instinct kicks in, but flight isn’t an option. I get angry. Irrationally angry. I get mean, I demand he gets off me and out of my personal space and when he doesn’t, I lash out. Sometimes out of fear and sometimes out of pure anger, like a “how dare you think you can be in my space if I don’t give permission” anger. I’ll wrestle my arm free and pinch him. I’ll shove him. He stays on and is, at this point, also angry. I’ve hurt him. He pins me down harder. He might squeeze my wrists a little or grab my neck and that’s all I need, I feel like I’m in an all out brawl. I’ll scratch him or kick at him if I can get my leg free. At this point, a moment of clarity would be helpful to remind me that this man is my love and not my enemy and not a danger to me. After that, he’s irrationally angry and given up on avoiding an explosion because it is happening. He’ll get up and throw things around and start shouting. He’ll leave me alone and then all the adrenaline is gone. What have I done, he doesn’t deserve this treatment. I’m an awful abusive person etc etc etc.
And neither of us can figure out how to stop it. He doesn’t believe that he needs to get out of my space since he’s just trying to control the situation. I insist that I can’t be held responsible for what happens when he’s made it clear that he won’t listen to words. I sometimes believe that I’ve become abusive, and I don’t know what to do with myself if that’s the case.
I have to say that this doesn’t sound healthy at all. The way he is forcing you to be in that situation sounds absolutely horrible. I’m not saying that you are without blame for the arguments and fights, but that kind of treatment really isn’t okay. I would be furious if someone invaded my space like that, because space is extremely important sometimes, especially for people who have had it violated in a traumatic way in the past. And he is not respecting your autonomy whatsoever. It also concerns me that he lays all the blame on you afterwards. I hate to say it but this sounds like an abusive relationship to me.