This is about my boyfriend - he used to be the sweetest person and super kind and caring. He still is sometimes, but I’m terrified that if I say anything wrong, he’ll get mad.
When that happens, I shake and beg him to stop and I cry. I’m afraid of him and I don’t know how to leave him. We’ve been together for two years and I’m scared. What do I do?
Afraid of Boyfriend’s Anger
Living in fear of someone is not a relationship. This man isn’t a boyfriend to you... he’s a controller who gets his “power” by threatening and frightening you.
If living together, you must make a private secure plan to leave him before he harms you severely.
Go somewhere (when he’s out) to use a secure computer (e.g., a library, or a very trusted relative or friend’s place) and do a search of abused women’s shelters, or a local Women’s YWCA to ask for help.
If there’s no close person available, work only with an organization whose purpose is solely to protect and help women fearing their partner’s anger and violence.
Do not leave any hint of your intentions on your online history.
If the above approach makes you worry that he’ll find out, alert the police that you’re frightened of him - with some examples of how he treats you when he’s angry, e.g., if there’s ongoing or past physical violence and/or emotional abuse.
Your brief description here speaks loud and clear. He’s dangerous to you.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman whose in-laws were unhelpful and disapproving when she and her husband adopted children from foster care (November 23):
“She had no reason to feel guilty, no reason to apologize. She tried to bow out gracefully and the SIL/MIL were so selfishly caught up in their own agenda that even her husband couldn't assuage them.
“There’s no slow introduction of children into the extended family dynamic. A far more important lesson is taught the children by standing her ground and showing abuse cannot be tolerated even from family.
“I suggest that she focus on the people who want to be part of her life on her terms and timelines. Past behaviours and expectations around holidays change with the birth of a child, never mind an instant family formed from adoption.
“The couple should build new holiday traditions around their instant family. The kids know their new mom and dad are stressed. New traditions build bonds, e.g., trips to cut down a real Christmas tree, baking together, etc.
“These fun activities won’t have the "curse of extended family expectation.”
“IF she ever wants to bridge the divide, she should slowly introduce the extended family one at a time into her new family e.g., through a child's birthday party, or sporting event, so bonds can be developed before any large gatherings are considered.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, early 30s, whose girlfriend’s tired of him not committing to living together (November 25):
“They’re still young, still building careers. Right now, this is her boyfriend’s focus. We no longer live in a world where one job will last a life time. Skills need to be acquired and developed. AND, networks need to be cultivated.
“If she pushes him about his work focus, he’ll walk. If she cannot wait, she should walk. But, possibly, after some years of career-building and maturity and changing values, they could have a great life together. Just not today.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding final reactions to a woman whose attire was deemed to be purposefully sexualized (Nov. 12 and Oct. 22):
“This was actually about why we hold the woman accountable without holding ourselves accountable.
“She should be allowed to dress as she pleases without judgement. But observers/readers need to question why they’re looking at her in a sexualized manner. She’s being viewed as inappropriate because whatever influences in observers’ lives made them feel the need to judge her.
“She’s done no wrong. No law was broken, no action taken that harms others. Yet she faces a public hearing for simply choosing her attire for the day.
“Basically, we see women as sexualized objects - to be picked apart and analyzed for simply existing. This is reinforced in our society.
“Consider why you consider her attire and appearance (or any other woman's) worth comment. Then, challenge yourself for why you see her that way.”
Tip of the day:
Never stay in a frightening/violent relationship. Make a safe plan to leave permanently.