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MY BOYFRIEND and I have been together for two years.
He comes from a very abusive background and his father used to beat his mother. The last time he beat her she landed in hospital for three months.
When we met he was extremely hard, but I knew that it was just a mask. He is a very tender, sensitive person. He says he has changed because of me, that I am the only one who shows him true, unconditional love.
Three months ago, he got drunk and pushed me to the ground. He was very apologetic and promised that it would never happen again.
Then two weeks ago I had to work late. He must have phoned me 50 times, but I could not answer because I was working. When I got home he was furious.As I walked through the door he slapped my face so hard that I fell. He said I had been with a man and that was why I would not answer my cellphone.
I could not talk to him because he was so crazy. He had to take me to the hospital for X-rays because I thought my jaw was broken. It turned out that nothing was broken, but as the doctor was checking me, she softly asked me if I was going to report the incident. I said I did not know what she was talking about, but I was so embarrassed.
I could not go to work for three days and I did not say one word to him. He cried and begged me to forgive him. I felt sorry for him and this has left me confused.
I have read about abuse and I understand that he is this way because of his upbringing.
I know I should leave him, but I still love him and I am the only person in his life who has ever showed him love. He will be devastated if I walk out.
How do I leave someone who needs me so desperately? - Anonymous, Tshwane
I understand this is a difficult situation for you, but you need to protect yourself.
Unfortunately you cannot help him. Your love, understanding and patience are not what he needs. He needs professional help. If you try, you will become further entrapped in the cycle.
You have the example of his parents right in front of you. How long have they been married? How long has he been beating her?
Do you want to live constantly fearing for your life?
If you had children, would you want them to be exposed to this and possibly keep the cycle of abuse going?
Of course it will be difficult because you care about each other, but you have to explain to him that you cannot be with him.
He needs to seek help. There is no quick fix and this problem will not go away on its own no matter how he tries to control it himself.
Your life is precious. Look after it.