Controlling, Emotionally Abusive Bf?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2003
Controlling, Emotionally Abusive Bf?
9
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 6:36pm
Hi,

I have a problem with what I believe is a controlling, over protective, emotionally abusive boyfriend. I’m sorry if I jump around with the things I say, and if it gets long, but I would like to make sure you get the whole picture. Well to start with I’m 15 years old and my boyfriend is 16. Please don’t assume I’m going to be a brain dead ditzy kid, I believe I’m mature and I’ve gone through a fair share of bad experiences in life.

To start the story, we’ll have been going out for a year in less then 2 weeks, and mostly, it has been perfect, were deeply in love. Also we live 90 miles apart, and we’ve made it through the distance fine. He drives up here every weekend to see me without complaining since I can’t go there much. I love him more then anything. He’s so amazingly sweet (not like sucking up for things though), he’s treated me better then anyone ever has, we have All the same interests, and very similar personalities. He’s everything I have ever wished for in a boyfriend, and so much more. He’s never pressured me into anything and doesn’t expect sex. He won’t touch me barely at all in certain ways unless he has permission. He would o anything at all to please me in certain ways too. He treats me like I’m breakable and like I’m some sort of angel. He also calls me his little angel because I’ve helped get him through some hard times with his family, especially his step dad, and he feels I was sent here to help him. He would do ANYTHING for me. He got a job that he gets up at 5 Am every day just to pay his phone bills from calling me, to buy me anything I want, and so that I don’t have to spend any of my own money ever. He used to go to parties often and drink with friends when hanging out often, and he never even touches beer now because he knows how I feel about it all. The same with smoking which he did occasionally when with one friend. He’s not your average guy, sometimes its like he’s the girl in the relationship, strange as it sounds. He’s so sensitive, emotional, romantic, and lovey dovey. He would never try anything stupid that he knew would ruin things. Some people call him whipped or obsessed with me because he’s so devoted. But with time I now know he isn’t obsessive. He never expects me to wear any makeup or do my hair for him; he thinks I’m perfect no matter what. I know it’s unrealistic to think about “forever” with him at our ages, but we do. We always talk about what we would like in our future and how it will or could be, and its so comforting knowing you have someone that at least feels that way too, even if it wouldn’t happen. And I feel that if we didn’t have this problem that I will talk about, it could last a long time. He thinks it could happen because his sister who just graduated has been with her boyfriend since the 8th grade. But I could see something happening like, if we split up for some reason, and then in the far future, we got together again. We want the exact same future and are 100% compatible.

Now to state the problem. Sometime around 8 months, we got into bad fighting. It was a 50/50 fighting or deeply in love thing. It would die down and then start up again. Now for some examples. He controls and limits everything I wear. I never used to dress obscenely or slutty at all, always jeans and a normal fitting kid of “fitted” t-shirt. Some would go just a tish above the jeans and show a tiny tiny bit of belly but barely any, and I have a long torso and don’t like to wear huge t-shirts. I worked very hard to loose weight a while ago and I’m very happy with my body now, so I like to wear things that fit it nice and basically all shirts I find to buy, or like a bit smaller you know. Well at first I wasn’t allowed to wear any tank tops at all, even wide strapped baggy ones, then it was no t shirts that show even a half a centimeter of tummy, then it was they couldn’t be tight, fit my body, or show any curves, now its that if when I sit down, you can see ANY of my back above my jeans, I cant wear them, even if I wear a belt and a tank top underneath, and if I did, holy cow would we fight because I did something wrong and “ I should know better”. So basically I cant wear any of my clothes at all. And when it’s 90 degrees out here and I’m working out side in jeans and a big shirt, its no fun, I get really sick feeling. He said he would buy my new things, but we never find anything we agree on and he doesn’t try too hard anyways. In any teen clothing magazine I get in the mail, I look in them, and can find maybe 2 shirts I would maybe wear in all of them. I told him to love me despite my style, because it shouldn’t matter. But he just ignores it and says he can’t help how he feels. When I lay out to tan behind my garage, away from everyone, I’m not allowed to wear my swimsuit, and I live out in the country with no near neighbors. He checks up on what I’m wearing also. I can’t go out with any of my friends or cousins unless I ask permission from him and he ok’s it. Which never ever happens, and then he whines that I want to be with them over him. Or that they will cut into or time. I cant go out to shop and run errands with my mom and little sister, and when she asks me to run somewhere to do something, he gets outraged and tells me to tell her no, and I tell him I obey my mother, and he’s all like “ so you’d rather fight with me then her then?” and I cant get out of it. I’m not allowed to talk to certain mutual friends at all on the Internet, and he blocks them off of my list or tells me too. I’m supposed to avoid certain people in public too. I had to delete all but a few of my guy friends off of my buddy list because it makes him feel like he’s not good enough for me since I need all of them on there. He got mad when I was suppose to go with my mom to visit my cousins who I’m close too that moved to a town 40 some miles away that I never go too, and it was the first time I went ever. I’m not supposed to go stay with my relatives and I must ask permission to go and do anything. At night when we hang up off the phone he gives me a list of rules, including a time we agree I should be in bed by, not to sit on the internet the next day, and not to go anywhere while he’s at work. The bedtime thing is because he claims, he wants me to be the best I can be and I need my sleep. We compromise some things we fight over, but its bad, because he makes bad deals, and im still angry, then he bitches that nothing he compromises is ever good enough. I have to check in every so often with my weight with him, because he thinks im going to starve myself. He says a lot of this is because he cares for me, and he cant help how he feels.

Well when we fight it’s because of something I do wrong, or that he doesn’t like about me. And when that I guess im never good enough for him, and the fights are my fault because it always something about me he doesn’t like, he gets furious and says its not true and not to start. I know he knows its true, but he still thinks im perfect so he doesn’t know what to say except it’s his fault. Its terrible because when were not fighting, were so happy, but this is always in the back of my mind and it gets me moody and I worry. For a while he said he has a temper, and it runs in the family. I begged him to change, and he said he has a problem and its deep inside him and he wishes he could because its not like he likes doing this. He told me to find a way and I couldn’t and said it’s his mind. Sometimes I cry, and he says it kills him and he wants to die when he knows he does that too me. He hates himself for it. He also told me to never apologize when we fight, because it’s always his fault. But lately he claims I do things wrong. I tell him that I just sit and put up with it all when he’s being a jerk and what am I suppose to do about it all. When he’s all pissy about something dumb, I comfort him and things, but if im moody, he gets cranky and gets all mad, and his excuse for doing all of this is just saying he’s an a*shole. One thing I know he would never ever ever hit me, and he never tries to hurt me emotionally. He hates abusive men and rapists, and when I mention emotional abuse, he gets really hurt.

Well we would fight about every day about things that were sooo stupid, and he was just constantly controlling my every day things and I was so unhappy inside, and I could not take it anymore. I thought if I mentioned breaking up, he would realize that he cant treat me like this and expect me to just sit here and do nothing and put up with it. So one time while fighting, I said that I love him more then anything and I need you to change for me. Now he’s very emotional and sensitive, so he was crying and couldn’t believe I would think of that or feel that way. So instead of realizing how I feel. He went off on about how he didn’t know if I really loved him, and couldn’t believe I would say that and how he just didn’t know what to think. He then agreed to change a little at a time, but he didn’t know if he could change the clothes thing. Now it’s been weeks, and we’re back to normal, I still love him dearly more then anything as he does for me, but I know this isn’t right. I don’t know what to do. I know you all probably think that, oh its just a young love they’ll get over it if they break up, but I as I said, I could see it lasting so long if this problem wasn’t here. It’s so scary thinking about throwing it all away. Throwing away what could be so perfect and is at times, and hurting someone I love so much. They say get rid of something if your not 100% happy, or fix it, and I tried to fix it. I don’t know if he can change or if its how he’s going to be, and I hate thinking what if he changes and then he’s with someone who loves him like I do, and their perfectly happy and had what I once did, and tried so hard to keep. He doesn’t have a bad history with this, he’s only dated a few girls when he was a lot younger, and it was only for a couple of weeks because they were immature and it was on of those just “ date someone to say you have a bf or gf things”. Sometimes I can imagine myself ending it and being fine without him, but other times, I could cry just thinking about it. So to sum it all up: he’s either perfect and I’m the happiest ever, or he’s controlling my every move, and I’m in hell. I’m so lost. Please help me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 7:23pm
this probably isn't what you want to hear. But i'm going to say it anyway. You don't necessarily have to "break up" but don't expect it to last forever. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worse. Many people i know have been in the exact same situation. You say your love is different, well, that it is, but you are very young. I am 18 and am not sure if i have ever felt true love, let alone love in general. I was in arelationship for a year when i was 15 also, and it was nearly EXACTLY the same situation as you're in now. I've noticed, reading your post, that every time you state what the problem is, you finish it with "but he never does that" Obviously he does and you're not being honest with yourself. you sound as if you are reassuring yourself through complaints of what ISNT (but really is) bad about this relationship. First off, if he's telling you what can or cannot wear, this is a toxic relationship. No man should EVER EVER tell you what you can or cannot do...and why should you listen? are you not your own person? are you not free to do whatever you want? then why would you give up those rights for someone who takes them away from you, just because he "Loves you so much." This isn't anything different, dear. This is part of growing up, becoming who you will be for the rest of your life. You are naiive, you are young...i'm not denying you your feelings, i've been there before too. I know it seems like forever with him will always be, but theres a large chance that it will not be there waiting for you, as you are expecting. Until then, take care of yourself, don't change your life because he doesn't like it, and quite frankly spend that time with your family, relatives and tanning in your backyard. Without him. And what i still dont understand, is how, if he lives 90 miles away, he knows what you are wearing, tanning in etc. Unless you are providing him with that information for him to feast onm controlling you for another day. But don't let him control you. You are your own person, strong and beautiful, and you will be both of those things without him.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 9:02pm
I don't think I understand. If he's 90 miles away, how does he manage to "check up" on you? And if you're behind the garage in your bathing suit, with no neighbors, how does he find out? I'm asking because I think you're pulling our leg about this problem, but just in case you're not, here's my advice:

RUN away from this guy faster than you've ever run before. In fact, tell your Mom about all of this and have her call the police before you give him the bad news, because he could be dangerous. If this guy really does what yu say, he's a potential stalker.

Oh, and you think you're mature, do you? Re-read what you have written. The second half of your post is the exact OPPOSITE of the first. Everything you say about the "problem" makes what you said was "great" about the relationship IMPOSSIBLE to be true. How can he be "sweet" and "kind" and "generous" when he makes you accont for every minute of your time and expects you to defy your mother because he tells you to?

He'd "do anything" for you? Is that what you said? Well, how about if he lets you live your life and take care of your responsibilities - like visiting your relatives with your Mom, running errands and doing chores for her, and seeing your friends - without complaining?

"Deeply in love" are you? Well, the basics of "love" are trust and respect. Does he show you ANY trust or respect? Not that I can see. He treats you like a slave. What's REALLY sad is that you TAKE it, and apparently, you think it's COOL.

As I said, I think you're making this up. But, if you're not, you are in the middle of an EXTREMELY sick and abusive relationship. There is no "love" here. And if YOU think YOU'RE in love, you have a serious problem. Let's hope it's just that you're 15 and don't know any better.

Talk to your Mom about this, then get and TAKE her advice.

Lee M.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 9:26pm
I could write an answer to your post the size of a small novel, but I'll try to keep this short. First of all, your boyfriend is obsessed. He is also controlling, which can be dangerous. And please remember that as time goes on, this will only get worse unless he gets help. By "help" I mean professional counseling. You are very young, and you could be confusing his possessiveness with love for you. He has control over what you wear, where you go, who you associate with. Honey, it's time to move on. Any guy who tries to control any aspect of who you are, especially trying to take away time with your family, shouldn't even be given the time of day. You are the only one who should be controlling your life. You deserve better, and I hope you will realize that in time to save yourself from this relationship. One more thing, don't ever let anyone tell you when you can and cannot see your family, because when you lose everything else, they are all you will have left.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 9:51pm
I'm sure that everyone who gives you this advice, would say the same to a woman of any age with a BF or husband who behaves like yours does. Don't think it's because you're young - the advice you've been receiving on this and other boards is the same advice we'd give to a woman twice your age. Your youth does not affect the content of the message we're sending, nor do I think you are immature (your reasoning ability and the way you express yourself shows that you are a mature young girl), but I feel great concern for you because your lack of experience makes you vulnerable.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 11:54pm
thank you

Casey

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 06-22-2003 - 8:10pm
To answer your question, yes. This is a toxic relationship, whatever other words you use to describe it. First of all, you clearly are mature and healthy enough to see the red flags in front of you. You are asking the right questions about this relationsip. Are you prepared to understand the answers? Every relationship has a payoff, even the bad relationships. In your case, the relationship doesn't feel bad all the time - that's one payoff. You have someone in your life who, at times, makes you feel special. How is your self-esteem outside the relationships you are in? Another payoff is that you feel that you are being treated better than you have by anyone else.

My wish for you is that you learn not to accept bad behavior or a toxic situation just b/c it is 'better than' some other experience you may have had. Measure your relationships and boyfriends ONLY against your own values and self-worth. Who cares if this guy is nicer than the others - he still has problems and this relationship is very damaging to you. Even if you don't fully comprehend the damage now, trust me, it is damaging. And I fear for you b/c you are at a stage of life where you are still learning about yourself and establishing your values and your identity (regardless of how mature you happen to be - you are still at a critical point in your development) - this kind of relationship could seriously impair that work to the point of causing major problems in the future.

Look, I'm 29 and I have had boyfriends non-stop since I was 16. While the quality of those earlier relationships were good, they distracted me from truly establishing my own identity and becoming self-sufficient. All that energy I spent on my relationships could have been spent on myself - and that really made a difference when I became involved in unhealthy relationships in my mid-20's. I just got out of an abusive relationship and, for the first time, I'm focusing on things I should have been focusing on when I was 16. I'm not saying to avoid relationships - I'm suggesting that you are setting yourself up for big problems if you feel compelled to be in a relationship with someone. Why not just spend some time focusing on yourself? Even if this was a healthy relationship (which it isn't), I would worry about you if you were clinging to it and feared being alone.

Now, the fact that there are so many 'good' things seems to cloud your perception of your current relationship. That means you need to be even more conscious and aware and try very hard to get perspective. Hon, the fact that you practically wrote a dissertation explaining all the 'good' things about your relationship before getting to the bottom line is evidence that your self-esteem and judgement have already been affected by this relationship, and by you expending your energy on the relationship rather than yourself. Also, it speaks volumes that you chose to post on 'Problem Solving for Couples' rather than 'Recognizing and Dealing with Abusive Relationships' or 'Toxic Relationships.' Look, if there is questionable behavior or risky dynamics in the relationship, that's all you need to focus on....Balancing the good with the bad is a rule for HEALTHY relationships where the 'bad' is not taking out the trash or snoring or things like that. That rule doesn't apply where the bad behaviors are abusive in nature. I promise you, the hazard of staying in that kind of situation is far greater than any benefits the 'good' things will bring you. I speak from experience. Have the courage to look at the relationship for what it is - controlling and emotionally abusive. Have the courage to look at yourself - why are you accepting this? It is NOT okay to have to clear your outfits with your boyfriend. It is NOT okay to not be able to sunbathe in your own yard.

Relationships with abuse dynamics like this are a slippery slope. They ALWAYS get worse. Really.

I should mention that I put 'good' in quotes b/c abusers are very skilled at manipulating and confusing their partners. In fact, the most abusive men can be like Romeo - super supportive at times, generous with compliments and gifts, and gratitude for times when you are there for them.....but all of this just distracts their partners from the truth - that they are insecure, controlling, and abusive men. I"m not saying he is doing this intentionally or that he is necessarily a bad person, but he does show characteristics of an abusive personality and you are showing characteristics of being in an abusive relationship. (BTW, I believe that staying in abusive situations is self-abuse and that is far, far more damaging than anything anyone else can do to you.)

Read as much as you can about emotionally abusive relationships and quit doubting yourself. Stop excusing his bad behavior because of his good behavior. You are right on the money that there are some control/emotional abuse things going on here. Good for you. I hope you act on it. Also, I hope you figure out why you are allowing it to continue.....if you don't confront that part of yourself, I fear for your future relationships and mental/spiritual health. If you do resolve these things with yourself now, you are sure to attract non-abusers in your future. Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2003
Sun, 06-22-2003 - 9:00pm
hi,

the other day (21st) i decided to break up with him. i explained it all to him, and he understood, apologized, and said he would do anything i asked to change, he would do anything not to lose me. he asked ifi would promise him that i wouldnt think about breaking up again until i found out he couldnt change, if that happened. well just that night, and the day later, he has been acting different and i consulted him with this also. hes doing the whole 'trying to make me feel guilty for it' thing, which i know abusive men will do. its focused on how bad he feels now and that junk. i had talked myself into not wanting to be with him, and now i still am, so im half happy i am, and half im not, i've been thinking about what i would say now to break up with him, but i feel so lame and immature that i have to do it again. i know he will feel even worse this time, and i feel i will look like the bad guy. if you could, would you mind helping again?
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2003
Sun, 06-22-2003 - 10:24pm
Congratulations to you for having the inner strength and courage to end an abusive relationship. The reason you feel guilty is because you are a caring person. Don't let that feeling of guilt stop you from doing what is best for you, which is moving on. You are right, abusers will try to make you feel guilty or sympathetic. But remember that this is just another way for them to manipulate you. Abusers don't just change in a matter of days or even weeks. It takes a lot of time and professional help before they can learn to stop their destructive behavior.

Of course you want to aviod hurting him, that is only natural. But you should be more concerned about hurting yourself. Your wants, needs, feelings, and self worth should come before anything else. Staying with a controlling or abusive man because you are afraid of hurting him, or you believe that he will change, is a disaster waiting to happen. Focus on what makes you happy and don't ever settle for less.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2003
Mon, 06-23-2003 - 2:45pm
Thanks