Tell Me About It: My boyfriend is trying to control me
Q I have been going out with my boyfriend for six months. It’s been great. I feel he really loves me and wants to take care of me, and we are about to move in together. But I’ve seen a side of him I’m not sure about.
I feel I have to choose between him and my friends. He doesn’t get along with them. He says he doesn’t want us to have any secrets, and I agree. I trust him and want him to trust me, so I don’t want to hide anything from him, but I think it might be a bit much for him to be checking my and texts – I don’t do that to him.
When one of my best friends called last week he picked up my phone and yelled at her to stop bothering us. I don’t know how to apologise or explain it to my friend, and he just huffed afterwards so I didn’t get any apology or explanation from him.
Last weekend I went out with the girls and he said he didn’t want to come and was going to stay in but I’m sure I saw him in town. When I asked him about it he said I must have seen a look-a because it wasn’t him.
My boyfriend is creating an atmosphere through his insecurity. I don’t want to make him feel bad, but I don’t want to have to give up my friends or my privacy to be with him.
A Your and phone should be password-protected and no one else should have access to them.
This isn’t about keeping secrets from one another, it’s about maintaining the integrity of your personal identity and spelling out what’s his business and what isn’t.
He shouldn’t be trying to part you from your friends and flying into a jealous rage when one of them interrupts your time with him.
It sounds you are extremely uncomfortable with what is going on. Consider how you feel about this, not how he feels. You say you trust him, and “want him” to trust you.
How do you feel about not being trusted? His inability to trust is his issue, not yours. People who cannot trust may try to control you so that they feel safe.
This never works, and it could lead to escalating means of controlling you, where you feel increasingly unsafe.
You say you want to “make things okay”, but things may never be okay from his point of view until he has total control over you. Part of this is alienating you socially, so it is important for you to tell at least one trusted friend what is going on.
Possessive people can be seductive at first, but when you say he wants to “take care” of you, does this mean he wants you 100 per cent in his control?
You could seek relationship counselling, or go on your own if you are determined to stay in this dicey relationship. But do not move in with him without first getting expert help. You see the warning signs. Perhaps you need them confirmed.
“Unfortunately we know from callers to our helpline that control, manipulation, and isolation are features of relationships for young women, even when the relationships aren’t ‘domestic’,” says Margaret Martin, director of Women’s Aid.
“It can be difficult to identify subtler forms of emotional abuse, using jealousy to control or isolate, or guilting a woman into sharing her online passwords, and these are often excused as insecurities, so it’s really important to keep an open dialogue on what is acceptable behaviour in relationships.”
Women’s Aid has a Relationship Health Check at 2in2u.ie that you can use to further explore what is happening. Call the Women’s Aid national freephone helpline, 1800-341900, open 10am-10pm every day.
Email questions to email@example.com or contact Kate on , @kateholmquist. We regret that personal correspondence cannot be entered into
You’re Not The Boss Of Me! 9 Signs That Your Man is Way Too Controlling
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Most men and women long to have partners who love and care for them, help them out from time to time and inspire them to be better people. But sometimes, gently nudging your significant other love in an attempt to “help” can suddenly turn into something else.
One minute you think you have a loving boyfriend, the next minute he’s trying to control your every move. I’m not talking about violent or abusive men who use force to try to dominate you.
I’m talking about emotionally or mentally manipulative men who try to convince you that he’s only looking out for your best interest and who are simply overly protective of you. If you’re not paying attention, you may miss his subtle attempts to try to control you.
If you can’t tell the difference between a truly genuine person who only wants the best for you and the relationship and someone who is deceptively trying to control you, look out for these warning signs.
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1. He Puts You Down
Usually when someone is overly critical of you, it’s because they’re trying to mask their own faults or deficiencies.
Does he constantly put you down when you feel beautiful? Does he nitpick everything you do, pointing out mistakes rather than telling you that you did a great job? Does he tell you he could have done it better and tries to “help” you by pointing out your flaws rather than encouraging you with praise? If so, he’s trying to make you lose your confidence to the point where you will have no choice but to look to him for approval or reassurance, therefore boosting his ego. Putting you down is his way of making himself feel bigger. If you recognize that he is always breaking you down instead of building you up, then it’s time to find a man who will encourage you to be your best self with kind words, not disparaging ones.
2. He Tries to Isolate You From Friends and Family
If he gets upset when you try to spend time with your girlfriends, or is mad when you spend time with family, it’s because he wants your world to solely revolve around him.
Does he think your friends are “no good” for you, or does he tell you who you can and cannot hang out with? Has he even gone so far as to choose your friends for you? If so, put the brakes on him and your relationship.
Otherwise, you’ll lose touch with everyone you once considered very dear to you and you’ll find yourself completely dependent on him…which is what he wants. Healthy relationships are ones where each person is free to nurture friendships and have his or her own outside interests without feeling threatened or guilty.
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Most times, a man who is trying to emotionally control his girlfriend or wife is one who is insecure, needy or possessive. If he has no control over his own life or feels lost, he may try to control you in order to give himself a false sense of power or security.
So if he’s lacking in his career, feels dependent in the relationship or he isn’t worthy of your love, controlling you is his way of making himself feel more in control of something. Don’t let his insecurities dictate your relationship. You can only do so much to make a man feel validated.
He has to build his self-esteem and know his worth on his own; if he doesn’t, there’s nothing you can do about it.
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Whether he’s ducking behind trees spying on you or stalking your page, a man who snoops, stalks or spies on his lady has some serious issues. Now if you’ve given him reason to not trust you, maybe you deserve to be checked up on a time or two.
But if you can’t go to the store without him running up on you, he calls you 20 times a day needing to know your exact whereabouts or wants all of your passwords, you may want to put out a restraining order on this dude. There’s nothing cute or endearing about that.
Relationships can’t flourish where there is mistrust or suspicion, so if he can’t trust you no matter what you do, then it’s time to move on.
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If he’s stalking you, it’s probably because he has jealousy issues. I’m not talking about the guy who gets a teensy bit covetous when he catches another man checking out his woman. I’m talking about the guy who starts a fight with you because another guy glanced your way and you didn’t even see it. Yeah, that guy.
It may seem cute at first and you may even be flattered when your man shows his jealous side. But that side can quickly turn ugly, and it’s no longer cute…it’s scary.
Jealousy can turn into a possessive obsession which can lead to more harmful, even deadly, behavior so keep an eye on a guy who goes into a jealous rage for your own protection and sanity.
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But you always are.
Is he the type of guy who gets upset if you correct him, even in a playful or loving way, but will point out your mistakes until hell freezes over? Does he tell you it’s wrong to hang out with your friends instead of spending time with him even though he rocks out with the fellas every weekend? Is he a hypocrite who expects you to follow his rules but doesn’t apply those same rules to himself? Then yeah, he’s trying to run you…and it’s time for you to bounce.
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It’s one thing to consider your partner when making decisions, but if you find that you are asking him for permission to do simple things go shopping with your friends or have lunch with your sister, you’ve lost control and your freedom. He’s played a mind trick on you, boo, and it’s time to wake up.
Most ly, your friends and family are telling you that you’re brainwashed, but you probably feel that they’re just “hating” on you because you have a man who loves you. Listen to those who have your best interest at heart and be honest with yourself.
He’s not your daddy, he’s your boyfriend, and you shouldn’t have to ask another grown person what you can and cannot do.
My Boyfriend Tries to Control Me
I get a lot of emails about controlling relationships, where one person seems to want to exert their influence over their partner.
I read tarot cards professionally, and many questioners ask, “Why does my boyfriend want to control me?” Well, having been in such a relationship myself for 10 years, I decided to do some research into this question: why do some men feel the need to control their partner?
If your partner tries to control by physical violence or outright physical abuse, then it’s pretty obvious he is uncontrollably jealous and possessive. The only advice anyone can give you is to leave the relationship. If you are too scared to leave, you must seek help. You can’t stay in such a relationship – you could end up hurt, or worse.
Yet there are many men (and women too) who control their partner in very subtle ways. So subtle that you can’t pin it down. So subtle that you are gently guided toward their way of thinking. You may not even realize you are being emotionally manipulated until you wake up and see that he has undermined your confidence and self-belief.
I’ve focused on men in this article because my emails come primarily from women. And because I’m a woman and have been on the wrong side of a controlling partner myself.
- Your boyfriend says he loves you deeply and, at the same time, he appears to be vulnerable. You fall for it, and happily take on the role of protector. He may well be insecure but watch out for emotional manipulation. If you find yourself modifying your own behavior in order to keep him happy, he’s controlling you. Sometimes he may even hint at harming himself in order to keep you tied to him.
- He becomes distant or mean when you tell him you’re going out with your friends or seeing your family. Controlling people hate it when they are left your social plans. He will either withdraw his affection, or become critical of your friends and their behavior. His aim is to remove you from your support network.
- He puts down your efforts to do anything without him. Let’s say you are savvy enough to service your own car, or change a tire, or do a bit of DIY around the apartment. A controlling boyfriend will find fault or ridicule your work. This saps your confidence and self-worth.
- Constant criticism is another way to undermine and make you feel less-than. He might tell you that he just wants you to be a better person, but the ultimate aim is to make you feel small.
- He places conditions on his love… “If only you lost a little weight…” or “You could be more sexy if you dressed …” This causes you to strive to make yourself fit his ideal picture of you. It never works because there will always be something or someone for him to compare you with.
- He makes you feel guilty. It might be combined with any of the behaviors detailed above, and the outcome is that you feel guilty because you can’t live up to his demanding standards.
- He spies on you. It is so easy to place a hidden app on your phone and it only takes a couple of minutes when you are the room. You’ll never know it’s there, yet he can monitor your calls, texts, emails and location remotely. Tell-tale signs of this is that he knows things that you haven’t told him. Or he questions where you’ve been.
- He accuses you of two-timing him. He’ll take an innocent encounter, let’s say he sees you smile and say thanks at the gas station. Next thing, you’ll be accused of having an affair with the cashier. This shows how paranoid he’s becoming.
- He makes fun of you, which can be funny enough to make you laugh, especially if in front of other people, but leaves a slightly bitter taste. You wonder if his jokes might hold a grain of truth. Again it’s a drain on your confidence. Know that he is bullying you.
- He won’t let you hold a point of view that’s different to his. You’ll be interrupted or find that he’s not listening to you. That your perspective is worthless and invalid.
- He constantly makes suggestions about what you should do, wear, eat, speak and, well, everything. They sound suggestions but in reality, they are instructions. Should you go against them, he’ll be angry or withdraw his affection and take great delight in saying, “I told you so,” later.
- He drains your bank account. Oh not obviously, but somehow you end up with less money than you should. Perhaps he manipulates your finances so that you are paying out more than he does. Your ‘half’ also becomes his. There’ll always be a reason why he can’t afford to pay a bill or get you a decent birthday gift.
- Very often, a man might not even realize that his need to control is unreasonable. It might be how he was raised and how he saw the father-figure in his life treat his mother. Or, the complete opposite – his mother may have been the dominant partner in the relationship and he made a decision he would never be brow-beaten his dad.
- The most common reason for wanting control is because of fear of losing you. They believe that control is the best way to keep you with them.
- Another reason is their own lack of self-esteem. He is using you as a means of lifting himself. By putting you down, it gives him (in his mind) a level of superiority.
- Sometimes, a man simply thinks he’s doing it for all the right reasons. Men are programmed to problem solve. Your girlfriends are programmed to empathize, but your man is biologically instructed to Get Things Sorted. They don’t understand you don’t want something fixed; you just want them to listen.
- Because he’s a bully.
- Once you recognize your partner is trying to control you, it may be enough for you to walk away from the relationship. Other people might find that difficult because, well, they love their partner.
- Try talking to your boyfriend. He may not be aware of his own behavior and, once you point out to him that it is not acceptable, he might make an effort to modify his controlling attitude. You can make an agreement – if he slips back into his unwanted ways, you can say, “You’re trying to control me again,” or some other mutually acceptable trigger phrase.
- If you feel in any way threatened, you know you have to leave. Do it in any way you can. Ask for advice. If there’s violence involved, contact the police or the NCDSV (or its equivalent in your country).
- Turn to your support network. This could be an ouchie, especially if you have been constantly telling them how sweet he is, how loved up you are. It takes courage to swallow your pride and admit that all is not well. You will receive lots of advice, some of it conflicting, but someone may come up with a plan. If you know there’s something they can do to help, then ask. People often to be asked specifically.
- Make a plan – and stick to it. Moving on from a relationship can be extra-complex if you have a home together. So work on a way to disentangle your joint commitments and finances. He probably has control of your money, so you may need professional advice how to go about making practical choices.
One characteristic of controlling boyfriends is that they don’t to let go. He will do everything he can to get you back.
It may involve pleading with you, turning on that irresistible charm, promising you he’ll change, threatening you, following you, stalking you, talking to mutual friends about you, spreading lies about you, turning up on your doorstep and even contacting your family to let them know how badly you’ve treated him.
Don’t fall for any of it. It’s too easy to believe he’ll moderate his controlling ways, but deep down, you know that’s not going to happen. Don’t you? Take it from one who’s been there.
I wish you all the best and have a happy life.