I Feel Horrible That I Hit My Boyfriend
Updated January 24, 2019
Reviewer Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH
If you are coming to this article thinking, "I feel horrible that I hit boyfriend," that's good. You should feel guilty about using physical violence against your partner. Having these feelings mean you recognize that this behavior was not the right way to keep a bond with your significant other. But you don't need to be too hard on yourself, especially if it's the first time this has happened. Sometimes we act without thinking. That being said, hitting your boyfriend can cause big problems in the relationship. So if your boyfriend is willing to continue the relationship, here are some steps you can take to try to make amends.
I hit my boyfriend. Now, what do I do?
You have already taken the right step by recognizing your error. But your boyfriend doesn't know that you realize you were wrong to hit him unless your words and actions show that. The steps listed below are not guaranteed to make your boyfriend forgive you or stay with you, but they provide the best chance for continuing a healthy relationship.
First of all, apologize. Giving a sincere apology is absolutely the number one priority after hitting your boyfriend. He needs to hear the words and know that you don't think violence against him was the right thing to do.
Commit not to hit again
You can promise your boyfriend that you won't hit him again if that promise feels right for you and him. But even more important than stating a promise is to commit to yourself that you will not hit him again. Promises can be broken if the one making them hasn't made the goal a personal mission.
Be aware of emotions and violent urges
Be mindful of what it felt like when you were about to hit your boyfriend. What emotions were you feeling? What physical sensations did you feel in your body? Would you recognize being in that state again? The next time you get angry or upset with your boyfriend, pay attention to whether your feelings are going back to the place, and find a way to remove yourself from the situation before you lose control.
Preventing further violence
It's a good idea to find ways to relax and destress. Often, we take out anger and violent urges on the people close to us, when the real issues are other stressors in our lives. Taking care of yourself is the first step in a healthy relationship. It's also important to explore whether you are personally at a place to be in a serious relationship at this time. Check for circumstances that contributed to the violence, such as drinking too much caffeine or alcohol. If it's possible for the relationship to continue, work on communication skills with your partner.
Acknowledging your error is a good sign that you are self-aware. It's a good idea to explore why you lost control of your temper by getting counseling from a professional therapist.
Physical abuse of any kind is unacceptable - whether perpetrated by a female or a male, whether it is intentional or not, whether it causes visible marks or psychological wounds or not. Saying sorry is not enough. It is a known fact that there is never just one incident of abuse. Everyone needs to recognize abuse when it happens and take steps to protect themselves. If this requires removing yourself from the situation or discontinuing contact with the abuser, it is absolutely vital that you do so and confide in someone to help you make a plan. Do not pretend it didn't happen or keep the knowledge to yourself. Do not believe that you deserve the punishment or make excuses for the abuser's behavior. Abuse only escalates. Here are some examples of abuse that you should not tolerate:
- Being threatened with bodily harm
- Being threatened with a weapon
- Being grabbed, pushed, dragged, tripped
- Having something being thrown at you
- Having your hair pulled
- Being scratched, slapped, punched, kicked, bitten, or pinched
- Being forced to have sex
- Being grabbed to prevent you from escaping
As the abuse, you need to know what you are doing is wrong. In today's society, we are beginning to realize that not all abusers are male. Men have hidden abuse they have suffered, for the most part, because they were ashamed to admit they were being abused by a female; they believed it was humiliating and others would see them as being less than masculine.
Society's view of abuse has changed, and not just because of the "MeToo" movement. It is a fact that women have developed a new persona, never before seen. Women are finding themselves in power positions at work, and, in fact, they are more vocal about their place in society. Perhaps this has been some of the cause of women and girls finding themselves as the abuser. A survey of high school students called the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey concluded that 1 in 8 girls and 1 in 13 boys reported physical violence when dating during the year before the survey. In 2010, an adult (over 18 years of age) survey called the 2010 National Intimate Partner, and Sexual Violence Survey found 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced rape, violence, and/or stalking by their intimate partner.
Lessons parents teach are key to how children view themselves and others, how they demand to be treated and how they treat others. The biggest, most important lessons are taught by example. If one parent abuses the other, they teach their children that it is acceptable behavior. Parents need to show compassion and empathy as children learn more from what you do than what you say. Parents need to be available to listen and take their children's comments seriously. This does not start when children are already in their teens and are dating; it begins when they are toddlers. Physical violence on the part of the parent or the child cannot be tolerated.
There have been many studies trying to find the correlation between abused children who became abusers in adulthood. In two studies done by Cathy Widom in 1992 and 1998, she found that 38% of abused or neglected children were later arrested as a juvenile and 53% of children who suffered physical abuse were more likely to be arrested as an adult for violent crimes. Other studies have determined there is a link between physical abuse in childhood and aggression in adulthood.
The first thing a person, male or female, should do when they feel like they want to act out their aggression or anger is getting help. This is before they actually act on their impulses. Talk to a teacher, a parent, or an adult in whom you trust. Recognizing anger and how to control anger is discussed with students in elementary, junior high, and high school. Counseling is advised if you find that you are having difficulty controlling your anger or it you are harming yourself or harming others.