I’ve seen a lot of questions from girls who’s boyfriends threaten to hurt or kill themselves if they ever broke up. I have the same problem.

I’ve seen a lot of questions from girls who’s boyfriends threaten to hurt or kill themselves if they ever broke up. I have the same problem with my current boyfriend. It worries me that so many native girls are in relationships such as this. Do you have any thoughts as to why this is the case? Is there something about native women that attracts these men? Is there anything I can do to help?

You are so right. I feel like I get a LOT of questions from young adults who have partners that have threatened to kill themselves if they were to breakup… This sort of manipulation is clearly very powerful and is definitely a form of emotional abuse.

There are probably several reasons this situation comes up so often. These young men might be repeating relationship patterns that they’ve seen in theirown homes growing up, or expressing views that have been voiced by their friends. Either way, there are things you can do…

If your own boyfriend has made such threats, you need to get support and come up with a plan. I recommend talking to a professional – you can go to yourtribal clinic and ask about their counseling services – or at the very least talk to a trusted adult or get support from Love is Respect (text “loveis” to 22522 ; or call 1-866-331-9474 FREE). Your partner isn’t showing you love by making this type ofthreat; they’re trying to control your actions.

You’ll need to set and stick to your personal boundaries. You can say something like, “You know I care about you, and I understand you’re upset, but thisis not ok with me. If this it truly how you feel, we need to find you a counselor that can help you.”

Just remember that you are not your partner’s counselor, and you can’t force your partner to get help if they don’t want to. They have to make that choicefor themselves.

If this pattern continues, you may need to take more drastic steps and if you do ever feel you need to or want to break up with your partner, you shouldnever feel responsible for what actions he/she does after that. Trying to get your partner help now may be helpful in the future if for some reason yourrelationship does not work out. Above all else, your safety and mental health must be your first priority.

Please have courage and dig deep! I have faith you can do this.

Auntie Manda

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