Losing Yourself in a Relationship: Abuse and Co-dependence

Dear Liz,

I am struggling with understanding that my relationship is toxic. I continuously let the small amount of good overpower the immense amount of bad, and while I am aware of this, I still cannot let go. My partner continuously criticizes me for almost every aspect of my well-being. My messiness, my aspirations, whether I do nothing, or do too much, how I eat, dress, talk to others/act around others. They call me out on everything I do multiple times a day and if I even dare try to reason with them or give an example on how we do the same thing and it works both ways, they say all I do is critique them whenever they mention something because I “can’t take criticism.”

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Why Do I Still Miss My Abuser?

Dear Liz,

After a year, why do I still miss my abuser? I have been on my own for about a year, after a very traumatic evening where my abuser held me captive in her home and repeatedly hit me. This
left me with diagnosed PTSD on top of my other anxiety and depression issues, but sometimes I still find myself missing my abuser. Even though I am in pain and struggle every day with what happened that night, I often find myself thinking about how I miss her, and I wonder what is wrong with me.
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Afraid for Roommate who is Pregnant and Being Abused

Dear Liz,

My roommate is dating a guy my other roommate and I can’t stand. He’s rude, immature and treats her like crap! Not only that, he verbally abuses her, and she has told me that he has hit her before. When I asked her about it she pushed it aside and told me that it has only happened once while he was drunk. He’s high on numerous occasions when he sees her.  He is controlling and bosses her around; she does everything for him and he cannot seem to do anything on his own.  He’s 25 and acts like child. He is rude and degrading to both me and my other roommate. He has made sexual comments towards us and about us…in front of her! and she says nothing. She has had a hard year—her mother recently passed and she is dealing with the stress of school and graduating and above all, her boyfriend. I want to convince her into leaving him, but she does not see how bad he is for her like I do. She is now pregnant with his child and leaving him is not an option in her mind. I am scared he is going to hurt her or the baby as time goes on. What do I do? I want to help her, but if I say anything I risk our friendship—she’s stubborn and does not want to hear what I have to say. If I try to say anything she gets mad at me and ignores everything I try to tell her. Help Liz, I am scared for my best friend. Continue reading

Boyfriend Wants a Backwards Relationship…

Dear Liz,

One of my best friends is in a relationship that is not normal. The boyfriend does not want to talk through the troubles that both of them go through. He puts her down sometimes and ignores her when she brings up things that they need to talk together about. She has to do the driving all the time, plan all the dates, because the boy wants to have a “backwards relationship” and I want to help, it’s just I don’t really know how besides possibly giving some advice. Please let me know how I can help. Continue reading

My Best Friend’s Boyfriend Treats Her Horribly…What Can I Do?

Dear Liz,

My best friend is dating a boy who doesn’t treat her right. He has cheated on her multiple times, and recently she even walked in on him cheating.  From the start, I have warned her multiple times that he is not a nice guy and that I do not like him and that he is not good for her. He’s also extremely mean to me and her other friends and has no respect for anyone.  He is always getting “belligerent drunk” and is very disrespectful and hurtful to many people. She continues to stay with him even when I am constantly warning her about him. She says ‘you just don’t know him like I do’ and she also says that the awful things a person does, does not define them. It is becoming an issue in our friendship in the way that I am the “bad guy” because I will not accept  him. What do you think I should do? What do you think she should do? Continue reading

Desperate to Help Friend Being Abused By Boyfriend

 

One of my closest friends has been in an incredibly emotionally and mentally abusive relationship for over three years. This person essentially controls every single aspect of her life–from how she spends her time, to who her friends are, to the way in which she views her own self-worth.

It’s heartbreaking to see someone I care about go through this, and I feel as though our other friends and I have done everything we can to help her, but nothing is working. I know that the want to leave has to come from her, but my greatest fear at this point is that before she finds the strength to leave, they’ll move in together and eventually get married. I can see her hurting and suffering, but I just don’t know what to do. How can I help her???  Continue reading

Sexual Abuse

Dear Readers:  The person who submitted this question is a young woman—as such, I’ve decided to engage the topic of sexual abuse as it pertains to girls/women.  I am very aware that boys/young men are also victims, and I in no way intend to marginalize their experience by speaking solely about girls/women—I am simply tailoring my response to the circumstances presented to me by this questioner.  

Dear Liz,

I had a horrible relationship with my mother in high school because she was dealing with her newly diagnosed bi-polar disorder.  We would always clash because I didn’t know what she was going through, but now I fear I am turning into her. I see myself lashing out sometimes and getting upset over things that seem to have no substance, and when I do calm down I realize that I shouldn’t have gotten angry. Most of the time I take it out on my boyfriend, and that’s what I fear the most.  I don’t want to upset him over tiny fights and push him away. It’s like I have in my head this “self-fulfilling prophecy” that of course I’m going to turn into my mother—I feel like I’m making that fear come true.  My boyfriend is very supportive of me trying to deal with this situation. He never gets mad at me in return—when I am angry he tries to solve where it is coming from and why.  My worst fear is pushing him away while trying to figure this out. 

I don’t know if this aggression I have is stemming from me thinking I am turning into my mother, or from the sexual abuse I suffered in high school from my first boyfriend at the age of 14. My boyfriend would hit me, cheat on me, and sexually assault me—this was all very frequent for 9 months.  I was so young and sensitive and he was 17 and I didn’t know what to do, so I put up with it.  When I’d tell him I wanted to end it, he would threaten to kill himself.  He finally hit me in public once, and my best friend and her boyfriend saw, which gave me a way out because he got scared that I wasn’t the only one to know anymore. 

While all this was going on with my boyfriend, my mother was dealing with her anger over being raped by her cousin.  When she returned home for a wedding, she saw him and he hugged her as if nothing happened.  It brought up so many emotions for her and she ended up taking it out on me—she would lash out and hit me—it got so bad that my dad and I had to move out for a few months.  I went to a therapist for a while and I thought I had dealt with my pain, but with all these emotions now I’m not sure what to think. I get so angry at little things, like my personal short comings and when things don’t go as planned—it’s starting to affect my life.  I just want to get my anger or whatever seems to be happening to me under control before I turn into my ex or my mom.  I’m lashing out like I did before I went to my counselor in high school.  I’m not sure where to go from here. I don’t know if you have any insight for me, but I’ll wait to hear back.         Continue reading

Struggling to Heal After an Abusive Relationship

Dear Liz,

I was wondering about the steps I need to take in order to get over a breakup, especially one that involved abuse.  I am still working with my ex-boyfriend because I love my job, and I feel like if I leave, that will show weakness.  Work is tense and awkward, and I am wondering if it is an unhealthy situation for me.  
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