Target Of Partner’s Verbal Abuse

June 15, 2011
Female (Age 44)

Q: My partner and I have been together just shy of 14 years. We have a small horse farm together and other property. She has many endearing qualities, but one just kills me and is related to an episode we had this weekend. When she is stressed and then we she misplaces something, it is always my fault. She becomes verbally abusive which wounds me, but for her, she doesn’t see an issue. IT is related to her core personality and also to abuse she suffered as a child. She is 53. We are trying to sell our small horse farm and move to another we have been building. We both have corporate jobs so our lives are pretty stressful.

We have been in and out of this issue for years and just when I think things are getting better, something happens. I just don’t know how much more of this I can take. I believe that couples who make it long term go through many trying times. I am not quite ready to give up yet, but want to be happier. Any thoughts?

A: Dear Any Thoughts,

First thing, if you feel like you are being abused then you are!! It’s impossible to make another person change and it sounds like you have been trying to do that for a very long time.  Since you are not ready to give up, then it is you that has to change.  Start creating boundaries and limits to what you are willing to tolerate.  If you can explain that you are not going to belly up to being attacked and set some limits that you accurately carry out, then maybe your partner will start to see your word means something.   Get out of the house, go for a walk, spend the night at a friend’s place.  You are responsible for your happiness.  We teach people how to treat us by how we allow them to treat us, good or bad.  Stand up for yourself by taking action.  You don’t necessarily have to end the relationship to send the message that you are serious and this treatment has to stop.  Pack a bag and put it in your car so when this happens you can just leave. It doesn’t sound like talking has worked and that’s because you keep allowing yourself to be abused.  Your partner has no incentive to treat you better.  Try this.  The other option is couples therapy.  That will open doors for communication.  If you change, the people around you will change.  If this continues, then you can expect your heart to be chipped away until there is nothing left.  Be strong, don’t be afraid and know you are doing the right thing.  It is your right to be happy. Good luck.