ADHD bf verbally and emotionally abuses long distance gf. Will this change?

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    • #142124

      My [34F] bf [35M] and I have been together for almost 4 years now. We are in a long-distance relationship and have been since the beginning (2 continents). We meet once every 3-4 months and regularly keep in touch via Skype, phone calls or messages.

      A few months ago [June 2019], he was diagnosed with ADHD (primarily inattentive type). We have discussed his possibility of being on the spectrum and he wanted to get the testing done which I supported, and he got his diagnosis soon enough. He revealed this to his parents who were belittling and demeaning of not just the diagnosis, but also him (they’ve always been the Negative Nancys in his life) and he had a breakdown. This also coincided with a medication that he was taking for his symptoms as prescribed by the doctor. Every time later that the took it, it caused him more anxiety and fogginess. It took him a while to get back to his own self as he was very depressed and it lead to a fight between us [August 2019], where he was essentially venting his frustration at his parents on me. It was essentially two hours of scream-raging at me over the phone, and blaming me and his parents and everyone else around him for all the mess in his life. That we were taking advantage of him and that everyone has always done that and he has been a doormat for far too long. And that I owe it to him to be silent at his mistreatment of me (he remained in his current city so that our distance wouldn’t be too much. I moved from my home country to the place I now live in, for work, and have been here for 2 years). There were many more things, including violent name-calling and screaming at me over the phone (and just in general about how he’s always taken for granted by everyone around him and some other vulnerability points; it’s too long to go into detail here).

      We had 2 more major blowouts due to his mental health issues in the next 2 months after this. We almost broke up after the 3rd fight and it was the most depressing few days that I have ever had. My own mental health was suffering because he wanted me to be his therapist while being allowed to hate on me for several different things. I walk on eggshells around him now, because I don’t know what will trigger him anymore. It really also felt like he was consciously or subconsciously baiting me into breaking up with him. He claims I am prolonging the fights by standing up for myself and not agreeing to his claims of me being a manipulative, gaslighting bitch (his words). After he calms down, he has better control over what he says but stands by his previously said words, and refuses to apologize for the verbal and emotional abuse.

      Suffice to say I was a mess for a few months at the end of last year and couldn’t think or work in any decent form. I called him out on the verbal abuse back then, and his response was a textbook “you’re making me do this.” I had a not so great childhood where my father physically abused my mum (he never touched me) and this was his rationale too. So these words are a trigger for all the pain and humiliation I felt for my mother as a child. The bf knows this and when I said he reminds me of my father, his response was to never compare them, because he has never physically abused me. And I thought to myself, “not yet”. I see the pattern, I can see it escalate, and I know where this leads. At one point, even though I was far away from him, I was scared he would physically hurt me. The storm died down, but after he blew up my phone with long, numerous texts debasing me, questioning everything I have ever done for us, and in general, my love and care towards him.

      We have met after these issues, in December 2019, but for a day, so I did not want to bring it up and ruin what could be the last time I saw him for the next few months. We were planning to close the distance by the end of this year and move in together. I suppose that’s why it weighs on me so much right now. I will be making a major personal and career move by shifting to another country on the other side of the world but those months had me questioning everything I knew about him, and my future life with someone who behaves this way. He needs to go to therapy, but I’ve been reading articles where they say that the person who has it should come to this conclusion themselves rather than someone else suggesting it, as it may cause the ADHD person to resist getting help. He went off his medication after the first trigger episode in June of last year and has not gone back to the clinician for any follow-up or to see if any other medication might help him. It has been a calm 3 months since the last blowout but this issue simmers at the back of my head and I cannot seem to really put it to rest.

      Has anyone had a similar situation? Thanks in advance to anyone who can volunteer some insight.

    • #142127

      It took me 10 years to get out of my abusive marriage. It didn’t get better with the passing of time. I was in my late forties when we divorced. We have two children together. I wasted some of the best years of my life on that man. The only thing good that came out of our relationship was our children.
      Bottom line here, Is that he will change when he wants to change. I definitely understand your fears about moving to another country and uprooting your life. You have no idea whether he is going to change. He needs to own his behavior instead of blaming other people.

    • #142146

      Dear Sunshine,
      I think you already know the answer. No, he will not change. Moving in with him will not improve your relationship. I beg you, do not proceed with this course of action. It’s not just because you would be the one giving up the most, (actually, everything)… Changing every single aspect of your life in order to let him stay comfortable.
      This is not just a phase he’s going through, while he adjusts to his medication, or even to his diagnosis. Receiving a diagnosis of adhd is like grieving a death, we go through similar stages of anger, denial, blaming. But we *cannot* linger there in the anger. We must move forward and take responsibility for finding ways to work around the adhd challenges. It’s not easy. But no one can do it for us. This person you’ve described has no intention to do the required work to live with adhd, instead he blames you, his family, the world at large, for his troubles. *But it’s no one’s fault! It simply is.* Until this person realizes that, becomes a grownup, and accepts it, he will continue to abuse you.

      This person you’ve described has a lot more going on than just adhd. He tells you not to compare him to your father because he hasn’t struck you. Except emotional abuse also terrorizes, hurts, with scars that last a lifetime. You already know this. And it’s hard to say, but perhaps the reason he’s not struck you is because he and you live in different countries. He can’t reach you, his arms aren’t long enough… If you are walking on eggshells when you’re actually together, and he’s trying to be on his best behavior then, then, no, he wouldn’t have struck you during those brief periods.

      Imagine your life, if you go forward. You move to a new country, a new culture, a new way of living, a new language, a new set of rules and laws, a new life. You give up *every* single aspect of your life, and what you know, your security. He gives up nothing. And he’s got no reason to get better, and he even may expect you to rescue him. What’s in it for you? Your children someday? Lots of heartbreak and pain. Nothing that is healthy and good.

      Maybe this is more than what you wanted when you wrote. But I think that you already knew all this. Yes, I went through a similar situation 20 years ago, and I got out of it. Thank goodness.

    • #142629


      I’m sorry for everything you’re going through. I found myself on here as I’m going through something similar. And reading forums and posting my own has truly helped me to see reality and feel less alone.
      I have been in a similar situation – except my partner is undiagnosed and flip flops between wanting help and going into denial and blaming me. We were mostly long distance up until October, where we moved in together. It has only got worse – and mental, verbal abuse has also turned into physical. He has always been apologetic, although never changing – and in the last year or so he has refused to apologise and remains sure that it is me who is the problem. I found a long forum where many people were advising behaviour like this is actually NPD – narcissism. Those with ADHD and those without have all said, on here, that this behaviour isn’t normally triggered by ADHD. It is worth looking at, although it is not your job to research someone else’s mental health, as you mention, it’s their responsibility. I’ve had to move out of our home and I’m immensely struggling… I have since seen more and more narcissism from him – especially the need for attention and stopping at none to get it – since I have left. Put yourself first. Your health and safety is what’s important, regardless of how you choose to handle things. Sending love.

    • #142644

      The biggest apology is changed Behavior.

    • #143380
      The Cat Lady

      What he said… “You’re making me do this”… reminded me of an incident that occurred during an abusive relationship, about ten years ago. He had thrown a large beer glass at me. It hit me in the head and shattered. The glass had cut my scalp, and I felt the warmth of the blood that poured down my face, dripping onto my hands. Naturally, I screamed in sheer panic and terror.

      He then said, “Look at what you’ve made me do.”

      He called for his mother (conveniently, a nurse) to come fix up my forehead, so that I didn’t have to go to the hospital, and risk getting him in trouble.

      You don’t need to try and save him. Save yourself, before it is too late. The more invested you become, the more control he gets, and the harder it is to leave.

    • #143403

      Read “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft.

      Narcissistic and abusive men don’t change. Why should they, when things are going their way.

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