QOTW: How to Deal With Abusive Relationships
How do you deal with someone who hurls insults at you then when you complain about it they say they were joking and that you are overreacting?
Our question this week comes from a black girl who has been dating this white man who does that to her. She comes from a home where the father abuses the mother, and the mother also abuses her. Now she finds herself in a relationship where similar abuse has began. She wonders if she is overreacting as the man says. How does she deal?
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My name is Rose (not my real name) and I would appreciate your advice on a relationship I'm currently in. I'm a fairly new subscriber, only finding your channel in January, and you seem to be more of a mother figure than I currently have right now. The life advice you give is very inspirational, empowering, and helps me in finding who I am as I become a young black women. Actually, I just purchased your book, Swirling, and am waiting for summer break to begin reading it. With all this said, I hope you understand that your videos important to a lot of people, and that I appreciate your will to uplift black women.
So you will have some background about me, I'll describe the relationship between me and my family. The relationship with my family is rocky, mostly because my father is the abusive and degrading black father that you mostly describe in your videos. He is the hateful Black man that disdains BWWM and is unbothered by BMWW. Furthermore, he openly verbally abuses his wife, my black mother, and is very uninvolved with my family. Because of this, my parents are on the verge of a divorce. Really, my mother is trapped in the relationship because of her children, and will not leave until we're independent. For this, I truly love my mom despite her flaws. I know that she loves me because she sacrifices her sanity and stays with an abuser to ensure her children's future. However, my parents, specifically my mom, is toxic. She is often extremely verbally abusive towards me in spite of my father. She calls me names that no one should hear, compares me to my father, and even threatens me at times. I always feel like I am walking on eggshells when I talk to her. I can never predict her moods or if she will verbally start attacking me. Going back to how my dad is uninvolved, when or if he is, it's usually to benefit his appearance or to seem as if he is an involved father. A small example is that I graduated high-school at 16, and he refused to attend my graduation. Yet, he attended my brother's graduation. I am telling you all of this because I do not want to repeat my parents unhealthy relationship. I do not want to be a victim to an abusive relationship because I know it will not only affect me, but my future family as well.
With that being said, I'm afraid I might be in a verbally abusive relationship right now. The signs weren't obvious at first, but as time passes, I become more aware. I met this guy, I'll call Tyler, online when I was 11, which is 6 years ago: I'm 17 right now. We met online on an interactive game, which we used to log on everyday at a specific time just to talk to each other. Eventually, when we got older and started to outgrow the game, we started texting. I am not concerned with his identity because we've established a close relationship and we've verified each other through social media and talking on the phone, etc.. However, we have never met because of complicated issues, such as us living across the country and knowing our parents would be unsupportive of us communicating. He is a white guy, and I am a black girl, and both of our families are uncomfortable with interracial dating. However, my main concern is how he has changed in the years that I've known him.
His attitude and the way he treats me has changed drastically. Until a couple of years ago, we considered ourselves dating. However, now we've both expressed that we should be able to see other people, so we're just good friends. In the meantime, He's been dating girls, while I have been looking, but am never lucky enough to find anyone to relate to. Since I'm single, Tyler has continued to pursue me sexually, even though I've told him I don't believe in pursuing sex if we're not committed at least romantically. He says he understands this, stops for a period of time, then starts over again. Furthermore, the more time passes, the less he seems to care about our friendship.
For example, I went through a major surgery a year ago, and a week before my surgery, he stopped talking to me. He never checked to see if the surgery went well or even if I was still alive due to any complications. Months later, I contacted him again, and he never gave me a solid reason why he stopped communication. In addition, after I contacted him, he had moved to a neighboring state, and did not tell me until I saw an update on Facebook. Eventually, we got over this and became close friends again. In the past year, I have found out recently, that he has been dating other girls while still pursuing me sexually. When I turn down his sexual advances, we return to just Platonic friends. In addition to this, he started to develop a "sarcasm". He has always been a joking person, but in the past couple of months, his jokes have become more offensive. Tyler started calling me dump, not so sharp, and worse terms while claiming "he's just joking". However, Whenever I confront him and say his jokes cross the line or make me uncomfortable, he says it's just his sarcasm and that I'm taking it too seriously.
Now, I do have a slight delay when I talk compared to most people because I believe it's important to think about what I say before I actually articulate my words. Because of this, people will sometimes mistake my speech for a stutter and I have been bullied and called "slow". However, I know I am not stupid , retarded, slow, nor any of the crude terms because I've studied at Ivy League universities, and I will have my associates in business administration in several months, and I'm only 17. So for him to call me such things, I know, has to be a joke because I am unapologetically confident in my intelligence. However, I am still bothered by the names he calls me because it reminds me how my father treats my mother, and how my mother treats me. Also, if he's a true friend, why would he even think to call me those names, let alone joke about it? So finally, about a week ago, I told him that I do not want him to call me dumb, stupid, asshole, bitch, etc., and claim it's just joking. I further expressed that I understand he's joking, but I'm offended by this and I don't understand why he finds it necessary to mock me for the sake of a joke. Chrystelyn, his response shocked, and truly hurt me.
First, he accused me of being overly angry. Then, he said I'm really a good person and defended himself by asking why I would even think that he would try to hurt me. He went on to describe that he's offended by me not trusting him. Finally, He said that this is the nature of his personality: that he is sarcastic, and if I'm being so strongly offended by his jokes, then I need to look at why I'm offended. He further described that maybe I am those things that he calls me, and maybe that's why I'm offended. He went on to say "oh I'm not saying that you are those things, but you need to look at why you're offended".
So Chrystelyn, my question is, am I being too easily offended? Is this something I should be worried about? I am mostly concerned about how I should address him. I have no idea if I should cut ties with him, or if I should apologize for being overly aggressive. I thought I was being calm and simply expressing something that makes me uncomfortable. I would really appreciate any advice on this, because I am beyond lost and confused. Even though this matter doesn't specifically concern race, I hope you will be willing to give me feedback on this.
From your dark chocolate sista,
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