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I found your website through Google.

Last night my boyfriend of 2 years and I got into an argument. The situation elevated quickly and I pushed my boyfriend. I didn't mean anything violent by it, but I was angry and upset. After I pushed him, he pushed me back about 10x's harder... he said it was self defense, but I don't feel that I did anything too harmful to him that he would need to defend himself in that way.

What are your thoughts? The fighting continued for a couple of hours and now I am left with a huge bruise on my arm and other various bruises throughout my body.

I called in sick to work today because I am embarrassed to go into work in this condition. I believe our problems are being caused by a breakdown in communication which has caused our arguments to turn physical. I don't know how to explain myself to him because he just sulks and tries to make me feel guilty for bringing up issues that started the argument in the first place. It is hard to explain the whole situation but I thought you maybe able to offer some support or advice.

Thank you for your time.




Dear A,

You seem to have analyzed your own problem -- a breakdown in communication and deeper than that -- a breakdown in how to communicate -- resorted to physical expressions rather than intellectual or emotional.

The key is to make sure that you are both aware of this and understand that when you want to go to that physical place out of frustration, you need to talk through it. I don't want to underestimate the potential seriousness of abuse and physical violence, but it seems like something you can work through. I am been stuck in that place before and know that others were, too -- and it does come back to being able to talk that changes the course of it.

That said, however, if for some reason the physical aspect were to happen again, you might consider seeking help or at least refuge from one another. These situations can escalate and you don't want to make yourself vulnerable.

The one other thing is that you can't keep it in -- you mentioned being embarrassed to go to work -- it's that silence that overtime can turn negative -- your protecting your relationship, which is fine, but not at the expense of your safety.

I hope that helps you to clarify what you already seem to know.

Good luck,

-- Amy