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Connection between abuse and mental illness?


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I'm so desperately trying to find a reason (excuse?) for why my boyfriend acts toward me the way he does... I have a really hard time accepting that he is purposely trying to hurt me... It's easier to accept thinking that he has something going on with him that is not in his control... So what I'm wondering is:

Does having some kind of mental illness excuse/explain abusive behavior? Or is it just that abusive people always have some sort of mental illness going on?

Is there ever a time when abuse is forgivable because it can be blamed on mental illness?

Having seen my brother go to prison for domestic violence, and yet knowing the man behind his abusive behavior and the insecurities that led him to rage has I guess given me a different perspective and perhaps tolerance toward this kind of behavior. I tend to want to see what is behind the behavior... It's hard for me to believe people can be mean just for the sake of being mean:(

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You're on the receiving end, temp. Does it really matter to you why you're being abused?

Now, when you get yourself out of the abusive situation, then you, or someone else, might try to get your boyfriend help for whatever his suffering might be. I would suggest that most people have some suffering; that most people aren't mean just for the joy of it. It may not be "mental illness", in any strict sense, but it probably does involve pain of some sort, for him.

But I wouldn't equate the reason for something with an excuse for it.

It sounds like you're combining a value judgment, whether he's "bad" for treating you this way, with the fact that he is treating you this way. It's abusive, you describe it that way yourself. That means you need to safeguard yourself, first.

But in the end, it's not that one of you is right and the other wrong, in either direction. He has reasons for doing it, you have reasons that have kept you with him, so far. The important thing is whether you want the abuse to continue.

After you've made it stop, you can decide whether it's "forgivable".

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I think people are who they are from their history as well. So yes you having seen your brother's issues has made you more understanding of the "why". Understanding is the first step I think...

But I think there is a point where when people know they are hurting others is where I have a problem accepting. Yes I know it can be part of the illness or personality disorder but too many people enjoy conflict, abusing and feeling more powerful over others.

Yes they may have been abused and then the cycle continues. But if someone knows and have been told they are hurting another and won't accept help or understand anothers feelings then a person in the relationship has a choice to stay and continue to be abused or leave.

No one has the right to control, abuse or humiliate another person no matter the reason. And if it is uncontrolable, then they need to be medicated but then again that type of person would resist any type of help.

Sorry for being so strong here but clearly I have a history and have decided not to accept, be controlled or ever be manipulated by another human being. It is just a wrong way for the human race to be...

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  • 2 months later...

Don't let him get away with it. I let my abuser get away with it. I'm so messed up from his past abuse that my kid thinks I'm the abuser. My life is a cosmic joke because I thought I was being understanding and I stayed. It messed me up so bad I'm filled with anger and self-hatred all the time... yet he's turned a new leaf (mostly) but I can't get over the past.

Everyone in our family hates me and he's universally loved and approved of because he can "act right" to them. My life became a cosmic bad joke because I was 'understanding'. I wish I'd taken care of the problem properly when it occurred. You're playing with fire, please don't let him get away with it. He can get help, and you're going to need it too.

Please get help.

Good luck and sympathy!


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