I've tried and tried, but I can't leave him. I'm also bitter about giving so much and getting nothing in return, so why am I still in love with him and why can't I let go? I am so scared of walking away. It physically hurts!
It sounds like you're dealing with a Toxic Man. According to Lillian Glass, the author of Toxic Men, there are three conditions that define a "Toxic Man". He is any man who:
1. Elicits negative emotions from you
2. Behaves badly towards you or doesn't treat you right
3. Makes you feel poorly about yourself, thereby affecting your behavior and your self-esteem
This man physically makes you ill, fearful, and bitter. He is toxic, and he undermines your life, emotions, and self-worth. He is damaging you in extremely unhealthy ways, and you have allowed him to trap you in a dead beat relationship.
Of the many types of toxic men, it sounds like he is the angry, bullying, control freak who abuses you when he doesn't get what he wants, and scares you so you don't walk away. This toxic man is all about controlling you by telling you what to do and how to do it. His behavior negatively affects you in a physical way, having a direct impact on your demeanor and appearance, so that you don't even recognize the woman you see in the mirror.
As you are probably well aware, you need to let go of this toxic man, find your empowered self, and start anew. He is doing nothing but bringing you down. If you feel you can't walk away just yet, then try the mirror technique, suggested in Toxic Men. The next time he yells, yell back. If he uses a gruff tone, use a gruff tone back at him. If he invades your space or scowls at you, mirror his actions and do it right back. You will be surprised to see his reaction when he realizes you are calling him out on his aggressive, bullying, toxic behavior.
The truth is, the only thing keeping you with this toxic man is you, and you have the power to walk away. Turn to friends and family for the love and support you will need as you make this step. No one is worth losing yourself and living a miserable life with, so throw out a life preserver and save yourself.
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Rebecca Brody is a relationship coach and columnist in NYC. She hosts www.ImprovDates.com, and works with private clients. Send your questions to Brody@TheLuvCoach.com or visit her at www.TheLuvCoach.com.