@stellate23: I can only give you my perspective and that’s going to mean telling you a bit about me.
I grew up with an angry, controlling, emotionally and physically abusive mother. I fell in love with, and married, the male equivalent. Did I love my husband? Of course. Was it a huge issue when we first lived together, or were just married? Not really. Did it get worse? Five cop cars and an ambulance on my front lawn would tend to indicate yes.
It took me a very long time to finally get some help and figure this all out. As in 12 years long, and yes, it took therapy. What I have learned is this, and again, I’m only talking about my own experience but it is based on a ton of research by professionals:
1. We learn our core beliefs from our family of origin, in particular our parents and primary caregivers. I learned how to exist in an abusive situation, and it became part of my ‘make up;
2. We are often, unknowingly, attracted to partners or situations that recreate that dynamic because we are comfortable in it. Not that we agree that it is the right thing, but we instinctively know how to exist in that kind of environment; and,
3. It’s going to take a lot of work to turn this around, not only for your partner, but also for you. It is not acceptable for you to tolerate this type of behaviour, and it’s certainly not acceptable for him to behave that way. He has to WANT to change his behaviour, and you have to learn to love yourself and set healthy boundaries.
I waited too long too long to figure this all out but I am now the happiest, most well-adjusted person I have ever been. I’m in a relationship that is honest, loving, supportive, and mutually beneficial for the first time in my life. Please don’t wait as long as I did; you are worth so much more than that.