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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Keep your hands to yourself

Dear Distress Signal,
Lately, my boyfriend’s anger problems have been getting worse. We’ve been together for six months, and when he used to get upset, he would talk it out with me or go for a walk. In the past two weeks, he’s started breaking things and yelling at me. Last night he raised his hand to hit me… He didn’t, but I’m still scared. I love him and I don’t want to leave him. What can I do?
-Scared

Dear Scared,
Abuse is like a bacterial infection, it thrives in moist and dark environments. The first thing you need to do is remove the silence. Communicate to your partner that those actions are unacceptable. Tell your mother. Tell his (or her) mother. This isn’t a cure, but a safety precaution.
Unfortunately, we are only in control of our own actions. No amount of loving, nagging or hoping can really change how other people act which is totally unfair, but a universal truth nonetheless.
When we let ourselves fall into the illusion of being able to control our partners, it creates a destructive connection.
Dr. Lisa Firestone, a relationship blogger for Psychology Today, explains that this type of connection creates an illusion of merged identity, a feeling that they [the couple] cannot live without each other.
She also points out that this is often the beginning of an abusive relationship. The article, “Why Domestic Abuse Occurs and How to Stop it,” is available online and worth the read for more information on domestic violence.
I was married to, and desperately in love with, an abusive man for 14 years. That’s the crappy part; we always love them, and that’s why we stay.
There’s actually an amazing TED Talk by Leslie Morgan Steiner called, “Living Through Crazy Love,” which does a good job at explaining the mind warp that happens in abusive relationships.
I’m getting ahead of myself here though, not everyone that loses his or her temper is an abuser. Breaking things, yelling and raising hands in anger are NOT OK, but they are fixable mistakes by the person that made them.
Don’t fall into the trap of co-dependent thinking that grants you responsibility. It’s not your fault and it’s not your problem to fix. What you can do is tell your partner that you are scared. Tell them that there are resources available to help them change their behavior. Tell them that you love them, but that you love yourself enough to leave if the relationship becomes destructive.
There are many helpful resources available to couples for support. Counseling services are available in the Mary Stuart Rogers (MSR) building room 210. Call 209-667-3381 to schedule an appointment.
The Center for Human Services in Modesto has anger management classes available for $15/session on Monday evenings. Call 209-526-1476 to schedule an initial assessment.
Also, Manalive is a non-profit men’s program committed to helping men ages 16 and older stop violence to themselves, their intimate partners, their families and their communities. While I couldn’t find any local classes, much of their curriculum is available at no cost on their website: mavcenter.org
Best wishes,
The Distress Signal
Got a burning question? Submit your relationship issues anonymously at: http://goo.gl/HGAKSL or email the Distress Signal directly at: [email protected]

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Keep your hands to yourself