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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

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Beating Horses is  OK?

Beating Horses is OK?

From: Lisa

Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 1999 10:47 PM

Subject: E-Mail Advice

Dear Dr. Irene
I am in love with a man who can be so wonderful but on the other hand can blow up and go into a verbal rage over a small issue.   My son accidentally let go of his horses that he was trying to hold (they got stirred up by a dog and he wasn't really doing his job of holding them properly) however  they took off and galloped up the paddock.   They are hard to catch.  Did he give out a verbal lashing with all the nasty and hurtful things under the sun.  He did not care that other people were listening and that he was over the top with his abuse.  Later my son apologized to him.   When I confronted him about his bad behavior, he could not admit to his bad behavior but only justify his actions.  Also when anyone gives an opinion on horses, he hails them down and gets loud and has to be right.  I also washed one of his horses late one afternoon when he said do it in the morning.  It was a time management thing, so I did it anyway thinking that I was being helpful and not wasting precious time in the morning.  I was accused of disobeying him and that when he says something that he means it etc etc.  On the horseracing holiday, small things like forgetting to take a plate to the dinner table became mammoth issues and I was branded as incompetent and had left my brains home according to him.  It was dare I do or dare I don't.  If I tried to help I did things wrong according to him and if I did not help etc. I was still not right.

It appears that to him to control an animal like a horse, you have to give it a beating with a lump of pipe or a punch in the neck if it does something wrong.  I do not agree with this.  I feel that he has to overpower or verbally berate in order to gain control over me and others too.

Am I beating my head against a brick wall in trying to stay in this relationship?  I have left a former marriage of 20 years to be with him and now all this controlling and angry behavior is coming up.  I know that he really loves me and when everything is good which is mostly,  it is a wonderful relationship but I am scared that things will only get worse and the anger and controlling will gradually become more and more.  About six months ago he was verbally and physically abusive when he was jealous of me having lunch with a male friend in mixed company. Apparently his former wife suffered at the same kind of behavior and according to her, he would be lovely in-between the blow ups which would happen every six months or so.  He has been to counseling with his ex-wife but seems to discount that he has a problem.

I mean if he can't admit or accept the fact that his behavior was wrong, then what? What do you think that I should do?



Dear Lisa,

Reread your letter...because you say it all. If you read Patricia Evans (and you should if you haven't already), you would know that the abuse pattern gets progressively worse over time. Your man worries me particularly since the physical abuse boundary has already been broached. Look up Lenore Walker's books on that one. Once physical abuse has occurred, it is likely to occur again and again and it is likely to escalate. Most of all, I worry about you: You describe a relationship with significant problems, and you still wonder what to do? Odds are good that one of these days your man will think its OK to control you...the same way he controls his horses. Are the "wonderful" periods in-between worth it?

Dr. Irene