Q: My boyfriend is very demanding and I feel sometimes that I’m not able to fulfil it. I’m very stressed. I don’t understand what I should do. I don’t want to end this relationship but I can’t fulfil so many demands that make me forget myself and my family even. He wants to be physically committed every time. He always demands my pictures that I’m not comfortable giving him and I always fulfil his demands, simply because I can’t see him like this. If I refuse to do so then he starts saying, “You don’t love me, you always do what you want. You don’t understand what I want.” And so on. Most of the time he just takes out his frustration on me, shouting on me and swearing at me. I’m fed up with such things and I can’t share these things with anyone. I feel so lonely sometimes that I want to die, but I also love him a lot and I know he also loves me, but why he behaves like this
Even if both are poles apart, mutual understanding and effort is essential for any relationship to thrive.
I can’t understand. Please help me and advise me what I should do.
A: It sounds like you are trapped in an abusive relationship. Your boyfriend seems to be using a technique called ‘gaslighting’, where the abuser uses a method of obliquely making it appear as if everything that goes wrong is always your fault and that there is something wrong with YOU. This technique is used so subtly that over a period of time you actually start believing that somehow you provoke his angry outbursts with your ‘stupidity’. And the worst part is that you never see it coming. That’s why it’s called gaslighting because the burn is slowly lit under you and by the time you realise it, your self-image, self-esteem and self-belief are shot to zero. I’m assuming there would also be a cycle of affection-guilt-anger-forgiveness. If you have ever stood up to him or retaliated with anger of your own or threatened to leave, I’m assuming he would turn all affectionate, even beg for forgiveness maybe and then at the end make a statement like “Now look what you made me do, I’m so sorry for hurting you but if you hadn’t done so-and-so it wouldn’t have happened, but I promise it won’t happen again”. Also, after every fight you two have, there might be a ‘honeymoon period’ where you again start believing that he really loves you and maybe it was all just a big misunderstanding.
If what I’m saying resonates with you, girl, get out of this relationship! He doesn’t deserve you and he only wants to control you. You can start by saying no to his demands of pictures that make you uncomfortable. If he says “If you loved me, you’d do that”, I want you to remember that love does not equal blackmail – of any kind. And when one loves someone they don’t make them do uncomfortable stuff. I hope this helps to put things in perspective for you. If there’s more you’d like to share, we’re right here! All the best! Get your power back!
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