I DON’T know how my girlfriend puts up with me. She takes all the verbal abuse I dish out.
We’ve been together for three years and I don’t deserve her.
Things started out well but in recent months I’ve been taking her for granted and treating her really badly.
I’ve never hit her but I do call her horrible names and swear at her. I have trouble dealing with my jealousy. I hate her being with other people.
She’s constantly telling me she loves me but it never seems enough. I’ve figured out for myself I have a huge anger-management problem and I don’t know how to control my temper.
I’m sick of mistreating her and want to give her the respect she deserves. Should I end the relationship for her sake? I don’t want to go on giving her grief.
WHEN you’re angry and abusive, all your girlfriend feels is hostility from having been screamed at. All you feel is shame and guilt.
The first step in changing is recognising you have a problem, so well done on that score.
It’s obvious you love her or you wouldn’t look for a way to improve your relationship and make her happy. She’s probably stuck by you because you also have good, positive qualities that compensate for your bad behaviour. So what can you do?
As children, we’re taught to count from one to 10 when we’re very angry. This can work for adults too. In those 10 seconds before you react, remind yourself how awful you’ve felt in the past after you’ve shown your bad temper.
Start a diary. When you feel angry or jealous, take time to write down your feelings. Let yourself calm down, read what you wrote, then analyse all the emotions and where they come from.
You can’t go on blaming her for your insecurities. How you feel about yourself should never be in someone else’s hands. Try making yourself feel good about who you are.
If you do lose control, acknowledge your mistake right away. Being apologetic and respectful will undo some of the damage if it doesn’t happen too often.
An anger-management course will help you make permanent changes. Get in touch with the British Association Of Anger Management on 0345 1300 286.
Good luck… but if you can’t change, you should walk away from the relationship.