Please read Lundy Bancroft. It was such a penny drop for me. It saved my life.
I've actually read half of his book, a while back, trying to make sense of this situation. I got confused because of the mental health element. I don't know that he is calculating about it all. He hasn't really ever broken anything of mine etc. He's more self destructive. I understand that much of what he's done is abusive behavior though, and anyone is only a few degrees of escalation away from a tragedy I guess.
I'm so grateful for all the different perspectives in here. It's helping me to understand. I find it really hard in the calm between the storm to know what to do. I think because I'm just so thankful it's now stormy.
My therapist asked me once how I most wanted to feel in the relationship and all I could come up with was "relaxed". She said "what about loved?" and I had to think a lot because all I could think of was I'd love to feel relaxed for more than a day at a time, I can't even imagine what being loved feels like beyond being relaxed.
I've had a couple of moments of being taken care of since then that felt more like that, I had a string of bad migraines and he took care of me.
I wonder whether those times are good, or just not awful though, as compared to the crises anything feels good...
I'm going to ask around and find out what getting him some treatment might look like, then work up the courage to talk to him about it I guess. I'll try to work up the courage to ask a friend about a place to stay when things get rough too. And let him know once it gets outside partner support he or I'll need to call someone to help. Not sure how I'm going to handle this but I'll have to try.