Sasha Answers: Can a shove be harmless?
Hi Sasha! I've been with my boyfriend for seven years, and we have a beautiful two year old daughter together. He also has two older kids from a previous relationship as well. Our relationship has been an extremely rocky one. Our relationship has never been normal due to the step children and infidelity and he is also 16 years older than me (I am 28). We have been able to overcome mostly everything and are very much in love but the main problem is his temper. He has always had a bad temper and we can never have a "normal" argument. He always gets extremely loud no matter what the subject matter is and will end up throwing something or punch a wall etc. He had never come close to physically harming me but just recently we were in a heated argument over something really stupid and he blew up. I tried to leave the room but he shoved me, hard, against the wall. It left a couple of small bruises on my arms but that's as far as it went. I walked away and that was it. He pretended like it didn't happen, didn't apologize or anything. That night he slept on the couch but I was so scared I slept with a baseball bat under the bed. I have never felt like this before and I don't know if I am overreacting or if I need to get the hell out. I don't want to sound like an idiot but it really was this one time and it was just a shove (no hitting). The thing that bothers me the most is that he didn't even apologize. He is a great father so I'm not worried about the same thing happening to my daughter but what happens if she grows up to be a bitchy teenager that talks back and gets into trouble? Same with his other kids for that matter. Will he be able to handle that? Is it worth throwing away our relationship and breaking up our family for a shove? I don't know...
I am very concerned about your partner’s behavior and you should be too. Let me be clear: when you feel threatened, enough to sleep with a baseball bat, you are not safe. There’s nothing simple or harmless about a shove, so please do not try to convince yourself of anything else.
I know right now you’re probably really confused, but the first thing I ask is that you DO NOT internalize this or keep it a secret. Instead I want you to talk to someone: a trusted friend, a family member, or better yet a therapist. You need to hear those words come of your own mouth so that you can acknowledge the truth…..which is that your boyfriend has a major problem.
Once you really recognize that, you can start to figure out a plan. Maybe it calls for couples counseling, maybe he needs anger management or maybe it’s time to end it. Whatever it is, you need to explore your options and you need to do it right away.
Now, while I am of course concerned for your safety, my worry goes out to your daughter as well. It’s not that I think she’ll turn out to be a “bitchy teenager”, my worry is that she’ll see her first female role model get hurt by another man and then think that it’s okay. It’s NOT okay and I need you to make sure she never thinks that.
Please keep me posted and if you need any help with counseling in your city, let me know and I’ll help you however I can.