17 year old with controlling boyfriend

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
17 year old with controlling boyfriend
13
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 8:17am
First of all I will give you a little background. My 17 year old has been dating the same boy for over a year. She has been through a lot in her life. She has had 5 spine surgeries and through high school she made a career of hiding her scoliosis. If boys liked her she just befriended them and added them to her list of buds. She never had too many girlfriends, mostly guys. She was compared to Kate off of Drew Carey because she was always one of the boys. Last year she had 4 boys all from the same group liking her and the one she is now dating made a comment that she was going to have to quit screwing around and make a choice. That didn't impress me much at the time. She told him that she didn't want a boyfriend and she had told them all that. When she went for her last surgery she had to tell her friends what was up and she was shocked how nice they were about it. She for some strange reason had thought they wouldn't like her anymore. She finally began dating this particular boy, I think because he never let up and something about him appealed to her. He made a big difference in her life. She started to actually feel good about herself. She started to try in school. We had previously had a few drinking episodes but once she started dating him she stopped that. He's antidrinking, smoking and drug. He's also very musically and artistically talented. Not very ambitious though. He's got a great sense of humour. He's become like one of my kids.

Lately however he has become some domineering. I think he is afraid that if he lets her out of his site that he will lose her. She started her first part-time job and he's not pleased about that because it takes his time away. He doesn't have a job other than playing in his band which really isn't a job more of an interest. I've noticed that she's become more cranky and withdraw again. She doesn't come in the door all happy like she did at first. A few weeks ago she went out with a couple of her old buddies and wouldn't let him come. She came home so happy. They'd had a great time. She took these two guys makeup shopping with her. They'd also gone to the used clothing store. But she does it once and I think he makes her feel so guilty. She told me that she went down the hall at school to talk to another friend for two minutes and when she came back he wouldn't talk to her.

I'm worried about the summer. I told her that I don't want every waking moment to be them just hanging out together. I spoke to her about it yesterday and of course started crying. Funny thing was she agreed. She told me she told her best friend that I thought her and the boyfriend shouldn't be spending so much time. He also agrees with me an says that her boyfriend is too possessive. She is going to tell him what we think. I hope he doesn't hate us. I think personally he prefers things this way. Where she feels along and he's her saviour. The kid needs his own life, and a job.

Another thought I have is that she is afraid to ever have another boyfriend because it means having to explain about her scars and back plus the fear of possible rejection.

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Avatar for yuccabugg
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 2:38pm
I have no advice right now, but I wanted to mention that any controlling bf/gf is NOT good and she really has to look at what's going on. I was in a controlling relationship and it was quite the terrifying experience once I realized what was going on.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 3:45pm
I wouldn't tell your dd to just tell her bf that this is what you *think* ... I think I'd let her know if needed, she can change that to say that this is the rule that you have SET. If he doesn't respond or interprets this as being negotiable and so he can push your dd to make her OWN choices about spending all her time w/him, then she should be able to say, my parents have put their foot down and they've said, they first chose to say it that way on the assumption we'd both see the wisdom in that; now they're putting their foot down and saying, if you or he cannot see the wisdom in that, then we are stepping in... this gives her an out and something backing her, taking some of the pressure off her if SHE cannot do it ...

I think your insight into this situation is likely very dead on.

If he is 'like one of your own kids', and if, after she talks to him he acts differently, I would encourage you to try to talk to him, too. A good time to do this would be the next time he's over visiting your dd after she's already tried talking to him about your stance; sit down and just tell them that there is something you feel needs to be addressed to help clarify for both their sakes. Be positive and encouraging (at least in the initial talks). Tell him that he HAS done a world of good for your dd. He has been encouraging and supportive. That you appreciate his anti-drugs, drinking stances. Tell him you have approved of their relationship because it seemed 'inter-dependent' as opposed to being 'dependent'. Tell him you are ALSO concerned about *him* ... that if he needs your dd's time and attention this way *now* that that is a signal to you that there is something not right going on in the interaction between him and your dd. Explain that in order for a relationship - any relationship - to grow and mature and blossom, that it needs two INDIVIDUALS with lives of their own separate from one another to keep feeding it. To try to keep it static will smother it and that the person trying to smother or hold onto it too tightly will end up being the one hurt, more than not and that you don't understand the change but that yes, it IS concerning to you - for your dd's sake AND his sake.

See where it goes from there. Take this one step at a time and don't try to cover all the 'ifs ands and buts' before they happen; don't try to overanticiapte how he may or may not respond. Respond to each interaction as it happens.

Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 1:02pm
I will be honest with you - if your DDs self esteem is in the gutter, if she feels that she is not *as good as* other girls, not *as pretty as* not *as whole as* other girls because of her scars ---- then she is prime candidate for being in an abusive/controlling relationship.

because those abusers know how to get to the vulnerable women. they are extremely talented in that way. they know how to be charming, and make you think that you are the most beautiful person in the world.

I have most definately been there done that. I thought of myself as *fat* even at a time when I wasn't fat. but I was a chubby child and preteen and even though I slimmed down in HS and was a normal size (I was never skinny but I had a nice body) - I still SAW MYSELF as fat, not as pretty as other girls. and so ---- when a REAL HUNK fell in love with me - I was his girl. I married him. and he was definately abusive and controlling...

so---- the best advice I can give you is this: your daughter needs to have her self esteem built up. she needs to KNOW that she is a beautiful human being - inside and out- no matter what scars she has. and its not enuf for mom to tell her - its possible that she could benefit from some professional help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
Tue, 06-10-2003 - 6:27pm
Thanks to all who posted with advice and their thoughts. We've done a lot of discussing the last few days and I'm so glad that we are dealing with this openly. She has promised that she won't be spending all her time with him this summer.

She's told me how she has tried to deal with him and what happens. She's really a strong willed girl so I surprised that this is hard for her. She tells me that when he gets mad at her for say spending a few minutes with someone else at lunch and won't talk to her later, he then later tells her that "I just wanted to spend some time with you."

She also told me that she is done in her one class so she went with a couple of the other girls down to the store and she got back for lunch a few minutes late. She said to the one girl the first thing he's going to say is where were you. Of course it was. I think he has to learn that she is not going to spend every available minute with him.

This will either work it self out or break them up. As far as self esteem, he's done a lot for it. He thinks she is the most beautiful girl alive. He just doesn't want to share.

She said that she knows that others would go out with her and although she is reluctant to share her problems with others she thinks she could. So I guess it's not like she feels she has to stay with him because he is the only one accepting it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 12:16pm
It sounds to me like he is controlling her by making her feel guilty for doing anything other than be with him. I think he is the one with the insecurity issues. No offense to your daughter, I am sure she *IS* beautiful, but he probably sees himself as able to 'get' ger because of her health issues. As in no one else would want her because of it (which I totally DON'T agree with!) If she sees herself as complete and strong regardless of her scars, then she might not need him. He is likely afraid to lose her if she spends time with too many other people, especially since she has shown that she has more male friends than female friends. It seems almost co-dependant. He thinks she needs him because of the scars and she feels responsible for him because he makes her feel guilty for leaving him alone.

Whatever way the chips fall, this doesn't sound like a very healthy relationship, and I do think your DD would benefit from some counseling. If for nothing else so she can feel good about any decision she makes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 7:40pm
I don't think you need to worry too much about dd's self esteem. Sounds like it's pretty healthy to me.

The problem I see is her boyfriend's self esteem. I think it is he who has the problem with finding different friends and contacts. Because of that he may see your dd as the only one who will spend time with him and he is desperatly trying to keep that going.

Dd needs to be the one to sit him down and let him know that he is suffocating her. It's great that she is able to interact so well with so many that it would be a shame for him to spoil it for her.

Hugs for you and dd,

Lynette

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 8:43pm
I agree with you the more I think about it. He does have self esteem issues. When he met my daughter he lost a pile of weight. I don't know if it was to get him to like her or not. I do know that when he gets upset sometimes he tells her that he's still that fat kid inside. In some ways he is so confident though.

Also to whoever said that my daughter probably felt that he was the only one that could accept her, I don't believe this to be true. I believe though that she isn't comfortable with letting anyone know about her scoliosis. Now that her back isn't noticeably crooked she can talk about it with some people. It's such an improvement. At one point, when the boys discovered her and I told her that she was pretty, she said What's the point? I don't think she feels this way anymore.

This week has been so much better. I think she feels better than we have talked about it and she seems in better spirits.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Fri, 06-13-2003 - 1:53am
I don't KNOW your daughter but this IS a self esteem issue,beleive me. IF your daughter had an ounce of self esteem - she would've sent this guy flying after the first controlling incident. instead, she sees it as acts of love. she feels *better*, and you are saying that he is doing alot for her self esteem.

really - I am telling you--- I have BTDT. go onto any home page of domestic violence and you will see the same type of stories. self esteem does not come from a boyfriend, it comes from within, it comes from loving and accepting yourself. it comes from being proud of YOURSELF of your own accomplishments. I hope for your daughters sake that I am wrong----but this doesn't sound good.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Fri, 06-13-2003 - 2:44pm
Girl we went through that with one of Jennifer's former boyfriends. He was not only controlling but physically and sexually abusing her. Every time she broke up with him... he would guilt her into coming back with I'm gonna kill myself now. So please please please get your baby girl away from him. JoAnn
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 8:59am
I really think that it's just a matter of time before she breaks up with him. She's told him what bothers her and he's not taking it seriously. He turns it around to be her problem not his. I see that she is growing and he's not. She's a year younger than him but she is the one who got her driver's license first back in Feb. He takes his next week. She has a job and he is reluctant to get one. She is working hard at school so she can get into the program she wants. He doesn't care. It's not that he couldn't do better he just thinks that he will find some program that will take him with marks in the 60's. Their plans were to go off to college next year when she's finished but I just don't see it happening.

She told him that we think he's too controlling and he seems to be acting the same around us. I was worried about that. She told him that she wants to be able to hang out with other friends and not feel like he is mad about it. They've been going out for over a year but this controlling issue seems to have evolved over time.

Last night they went to the prom. She was so excited for him to see her all dressed up. Normally she only wears her *vintage* army jacket and black music tshirts and jeans. She had a beautiful black dress that was kind of sexy. I drove them there because none of us was sure where this place was. He was so concerned about her chest not being covered. It's not like the dress was super revealing but it did have a v neck. He was like can't you pull that up higher...your dealies are showing. He said everyone can see.... It was funny at the time but it's just another case of what he's like. I talked to her after the prom and didn't get all the details but sounds like they did have fun. I was scared he might ruin the evening.

I hate worrying about this.

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