By Alma Gill
My girlfriend is absolutely beautiful, gentle and kind, loving and respectful. Ninety-five percent of the time everything is perfect. But every now and again she goes off. She curses, screams, and throws things and just follows me around arguing. She has never hit me, but it is intimidating. I don’t know what to do to calm her down. I talked to her sister about it, but she said, “Yea, that’s how she is,” and suggested that I should leave and take a walk. We are talking about marriage, but I don’t want to consider children in this situation. It’s not like I’m scared of my lady. I just don’t know when she’s gonna flip out sometimes.
Hmmm, I can’t quite tell if you’re fishing for catfish or shark. Either way, you’d better bait this bad behavior quickly, because there’s no room for slack on this line.
Determine if you’re experiencing a partner who’s a hothead or a mate who hurls verbal abuse. If you’re not sure, check the verbal abuse websites. They lay out the descriptions clearly.
I see room for improvement if she’s just spoiled and ranting for the sake of attention. You’ll need to lay down some ground rules. Discuss self-control techniques and how both of you are held accountable for your words and actions.
If she’s a verbal abuser, then you’re dealing with someone who needs professional help. Both need to be recognized, and she needs to accept responsibility, take action and apologize.
You say she never hurt you, but that’s not true. I think most men identify “hurt” as a physical experience. But words can cause hurt and pain, too.
A relationship can be unhealthy or abusive even without physical violence. Experiencing verbal abuse may not cause physical damage, but it does cause emotional damage. Don’t get me wrong, we all can reach a point where we’re sooooo mad we want to lash out and go for broke. Been there, done that. The frustration can be overwhelming and you release it like a pressure cooker. Nobody’s perfect. It happens every once in a while.
Hold her accountable and insist that she receives the help she needs. I wouldn’t consider marriage until the two of you are basking in progress and exercising a new learned and acceptable behavior, a corrected behavior that can be demonstrated and passed along to your kids. Marriage doesn’t fix your problems; it leans towards escalating them. It’s best to make appropriate enhancements on the front end.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: alwaysaskalma@ gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.