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Hello, my name is Rick. I'm 19 years old, and I've suffered my fair share of abuse and hardships throughout life. I've always been a bossy person, and I had a horrible relationship with my mother. I'm a very controlling and mentally/emotionally abusive boyfriend. I'm tired of losing and ruining potentially good relationships because of my outrageous behavior. It's time for me to change my attitude, but I need some help.

Every time my girlfriend hangs out with other guys or goes places without me, I feel very jealous. When I express those emotions, I destroy trust that might have been building in our relationship. If I try to hold in my jealousy, however, it festers inside of me and makes me feel worse in the long run.

Like everyone else, I like to have my way. I try to be open to compromise to create a win/win solution, but most of the time I nag my g/f until I get everything my way. Obviously, I'm not proud of that behavior, and there's no satisfaction in always taking what I want.

Mixed in with all the selfishness is a completely opposite and selfless side of me. I've been trying for a long time to control my negative half and be the better person to be around, but my progress is very very slow. I would like some help learning how to control my emotions and be the loving man that my girlfriend deserves.

Thanks for your note to Feminist.com and for your honesty, which totally endeared you to me. What you have described--your abusive childhood and now your own rage, is a perfect example of what people describe as "the cycle of abuse." The "cycle"--generally speaking--plays itself out differently for men and women. For instance, when women are abused as girls, they often fall into a pattern of being abused. Men who are abused as boys on the other hand repeat the pattern by acting out the violence or by replicating it. This pattern continues until it is broken--and that's exactly what you are trying to do. So for that I thank you--because if there were more people like you--who were willing, able, and capable of stepping out of their situation, there would be less abuse all around.

Now, doing it is the next step. The most obvious suggestion is to find a therapist that you trust who can help you deal with this. An additional option is some men's groups that are working with other men to break this cycle. The most famous is the Oakland Men's Project, based in Oakland, CA. However, there are a few other similar programs listed under our Pro-Feminist Men's Section. Without knowing where you are geographically, it's hard to make specific recommendations. However, our directory of women's services can help. Even thought it's labelled "women's services, you might find some resources there. Besides making these specific suggestions, I also want to thank for taking this initiative. I'm sure your girlfriend will appreciate it--as will anyone with whom you are close to--and even yourself.


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