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by Abigail Van Buren

Warning Opens Woman's Eyes to Her Own Abusive Behavior

DEAR ABBY: When I read your list of "15 Reasons to Leave Your Lover, Warning Signs of an Abusive Personality," my jaw dropped. My heart began to race and my stomach did flip-flops. My boyfriend isn't the one who fits so many of the characteristics on the list -- I am!

My boyfriend and I have been dating for nine months. The first three or four months, I was an angel. Then slowly I began to change. It started with one incident every few weeks, then once a week, and now it happens almost every day.

I interrogate my man about where he has been, who was there, and how long the conversations went on. When things don't go the way I think they should, I blame him and call him mean and hateful names. I criticize him for things over which he has no control and curse at him. I have actually kicked him while he was asleep so he'd wake up and I could finish giving him a verbal bashing. I have threatened to kill him -- and that's not right. One minute I'm sweet and loving, then he says something that sets me off and I'm on a tirade, cursing and yelling.

Sometimes, when we aren't fighting, I look into his eyes and see the pain I've caused over the last few months and I feel awful.

So, Abby, I want to thank you. I am going to get help immediately! The next time you print that list, remember that women aren't always on the receiving end. My boyfriend has been nothing but good to me, and no one deserves the treatment I have given him. That article opened my eyes. Thanks, Abby. -- A NEW LEAF IN GEORGIA

DEAR NEW LEAF: I'm pleased that the "15 Reasons" provided a mirror in which you saw yourself. I'm even more pleased that the column gave you the push you needed to seek professional help.

With guidance and a sincere desire to deal with your anger, insecurity and need to control, you will conquer the problem and ensure a safer environment for the people you love and who love you.