By Jody Valley
Break the pattern and get help
Q: I am an African American lesbian who is in need of help for emotional problems and domestic violence toward all of my partners. I wish to break this cycle with each new relationship. I pray, hope and feel that the anger, rage, and physical abuse is over, and that there will be no more.
I give a lot to my partners and when I feel betrayed by their lies and behaviors, I don’t leave the relationship. Instead, I become very angry and shout, yell and call names. I will ask them to leave the home or I will leave, but do not remain away from the relationship. I usually allow myself to be talked back into the relationship with promises from myself and partner that the same destructive behaviors will not be repeated. But, of course, they do!! This is when I begin to physically abuse with a lot of bad name-calling. I have never really sought help for the root cause of my problem. I have read a lot of self-help books and tried to put into practice that which I feel applies to myself and partner. But nothing seems to help when I feel betrayed or used by my partner.
I see a therapist bi-weekly, but not for issues involved in my pattern of abuse. She is straight, and I feel too ashamed to discuss all the abuse and betrayal. I have contacted a lesbian therapist in another city, but she did not accept my insurance.
I am in my late 50’s and do wish a stable, long-term, and lovin’ relationship, but I am afraid to seek out another relationship due to fear of repeating the same pattern. In my last relationship, I have allowed myself to be controlled and driven into emotional and financial bankruptcy, trying to remain in the relationship.
I have done some mean and cruel things to my partner, as I felt that she deserved them due to her lies and betrayal. I still love her and feel that she wishes to remain in my life, but we fight via telephone whenever we talk, which is not often as she refuses to telephone me often, and I do the same.
Recently, she came by to bring me a favorite food. I didn’t let her in as I did not hear her at the door, but she left the item on the doorknob. It took me two days to call to say, thanks. We got into a shouting match on the telephone due to things that I have done to her out of anger and hurt. My partner has relapsed and returned to smoking marijuana after six years of no use. She runs the streets and hangs out all night at gambling casinos, or with people she has met at work. Many of these people are not a good influence as they are drug dealers, cheaters, and drinkers.
She expects myself and her girls to just accept this and say nothing. She has developed a new set of friends who all smoke marijuana and drink alcohol. This is against her probation, and I turned her in to the courts. She is very angry with me and cannot see that I was attempting to help her, the girls, and the entire relationship. She has lied to the courts/probation officer and made me out to be a villain. I have tried and tried to talk to her, but when things do not go the way she wants, she throws tantrums and does what she wants, with no thought to me or the girls. But, I refuse to allow her to walk over me and mistreat the girls.
I am seeking information as the where I can find a lesbian therapist who will take my insurance. I am from an abusive family history, both physical and sexual. I don’t wish to continue life in this manner.
Life in Chaos
A: I commend you on your desire not to continue your abusiveness, and stop the cycle of abuse you have going on in your relationships. You are right not to want to get involved in another relationship–or continue your current one–until you have dealt with some of your issues and have the support of a therapist who knows what’s going on with you. I’m really puzzled as to what you could be talking about with your current therapist, when you have all this chaos going on in your life that you apparently aren’t talking about.
For sure, you don’t have trust with your current therapist whom you see twice a week, so you do need another therapist. From your letter, I’m assuming that you will be okay with finding someone in the Detroit area. I would suggest that you call Affirmations, whose number is 248-398-7105. They should be able to refer you to an appropriate therapist and/or group. Good luck!