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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Controlling?

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Author Topic: Controlling?
Dizzy123
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Just a quick question. If someone gets mad at you for not texting back within a certain amount of time, is that controlling behavior? Thanks!
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skiesofgreen
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Nerdfighters! Huzzah!

That said can we have some more context here?

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Saffron Raymie
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I would say that's a very unfair, controlling thing to do, yes. Is this typical behaviour of this person, Dizzy? Do they usually become angry with you for not acting exactly as they want you to?

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crathes
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The same thing is happening with me...

I've had a few times now that my boyfriend has called me 4, 5, 6, once even 10 times, and chewed me out when I called him back or answered the phone, because I didn't answer the phone or text message. A couple times, the accompanying text messages were like "If you don't call me back there will be trouble" or "Call me or we are done." (I felt like replying, "Fine.")

Generally he calls and texts me a lot anyway, and I have tried to explain that I can't always answer the phone, but it seems like in the past month it's been worse.

I am just getting so stressed with all of this.

[ 11-06-2013, 04:47 PM: Message edited by: crathes ]

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Sam W
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Crathes, what you are describing does sound rather controlling and unhealthy. Out of curiosity, how did he respond when you told him that you can't always answer the phone? Because my first suggestion is to set a very firm boundary with him (if you haven't already) along the lines of "I am busy during the day, so why don't we set up a time in the evening to talk. If you call me at any other point, I won't answer."

[ 11-06-2013, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: Sam W ]

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crathes
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Thank you for your reply, Sam W. [Smile]

Actually, when I've told him that I can't always answer the phone, he would just be okay; he wouldn't argue it or anything.

Yes, a family member told me something similar to what you've said, and it makes sense. I do struggle with passive behaviour, which doesn't help.

It doesn't seem to matter if I say that I am going to go to sleep, or if I had previously mentioned my plans, so I guess I have to say it really plainly like you said.

I get confused because, in situations that are similar, sometimes this has happened and sometimes it hasn't. (More often it doesn't, but like I said, it seems to be happening more within the last month.)

Like, one night I told him I was going to go to sleep soon, and early the next morning I woke up to him calling me and insisting that my phone had been busy or something, and he said he didn't think I loved him anymore. Also I had 10 missed calls, several text messages including the "there will be trouble" one, etc.

However, usually if I don't respond to his goodnight text, he might just text another one and call me once (at which time I may or may not be awake to answer).

...although last night I did reply, and then he called me this morning saying my message was "really messed up," apparently because it wasn't in the same order as what I usually write. [Confused]

I'm sorry this was a lot longer than I had intended. I've just been feeling pretty upset and confused about all this lately (I haven't told 100% of everything here, of course). FWIW, I have talked to two family members about it (they voiced concern) and am hoping to see a counsellor soon.

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Sam W
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You're quite welcome.
I'm glad to hear you're able to talk to your family about this, and that you're looking into seeing a counselor. I'm wondering, how do you feel about this relationship aside from his problematic calling habits? Taking a look at this article might help you with this question:Does Your Relationship Need a Checkup?. And, have you noticed any other shifts in his behavior in the last month?

[ 11-07-2013, 12:10 PM: Message edited by: Sam W ]

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crathes
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Thanks again. [Smile]

Well, basically, overall I've been feeling pretty stressed for a while... (I really second-guess myself, though - like the time we spent today, everything was fine. so then I feel bad and confused.) I can't say that I had been fine with everything for a while (I think that's just me, though), but I feel like things have been... bothering me more, maybe.

To be honest, I thought him calling/texting a lot was mostly just annoying (sorry) until the time when he got pretty mad that I didn't answer the phone... then I got a little scared. He said he was about to drive over and look for me, that his blood was boiling, and that if I didn't love him anymore, then fine... Then he was back to usual and saying he didn't know what came over him and that he was sorry, etc...

Also, I don't know how to take him when he's talked about getting really angry and feeling like doing XYZ to so-and-so, and I don't know how much is just bluster.

Anyway! Thank you for the link. It seems pretty helpful, and it's a lot to think about, for sure. I'm sorry this was super long again. But I appreciate you reply [Smile]

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Karybu
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Unhealthy relationships aren't always awful; nor do people usually show unhealthy/abusive behaviours right at the beginning (otherwise no one would date them). The fact that you're scared of your partner at times is a huge red flag, and I'm glad you're getting some counselling around this.

It's a lot to think about, for sure, and if you want to talk anything through here, you're more than welcome to do so. [Smile]

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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crathes
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Thank you, Karybu. [Smile] I don't know what to think, but I'm just carrying on for now.
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Redskies
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Hi, crathes. It sounds like you're saying that sometimes your boyfriend behaves perfectly ok in these situations, and sometimes he's really not ok. What can get lost in that is that for the person on the receiving end, it's never perfectly ok, because there's the unpredictability and always the possibility that they'll be angry. If we're the person affected, we have the right to think about the situation as affecting us always. The times when the other person behaved well don't make the times they didn't go away, if we still feel upset, worried or scared about it.

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Redskies
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Also, I've seen your post in another thread about difficulties saying "no" to sex and being nagged. Is this the same partner?

If we indicate that we don't want sex or aren't interested in it right now, someone repeatedly asking or nagging us is coercion. No-one should do that. If we then agree to sex we don't want, that's not on us for not holding our "no" - that's on the other person for walking all over our boundaries.

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crathes
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Hi Redskies, thank you for replying.

quote:
Originally posted by Redskies:
Hi, crathes. It sounds like you're saying that sometimes your boyfriend behaves perfectly ok in these situations, and sometimes he's really not ok. What can get lost in that is that for the person on the receiving end, it's never perfectly ok, because there's the unpredictability and always the possibility that they'll be angry. If we're the person affected, we have the right to think about the situation as affecting us always. The times when the other person behaved well don't make the times they didn't go away, if we still feel upset, worried or scared about it.

You know what, thank you for that insight. Sometimes I think I am overreacting or maybe losing it. Since these things happened, I sometimes pick up the phone just not sure what's going to be there and feeling just a little nervous to look. I think maybe it won't happen again, but there's really no way to know , so yeah.

quote:
Originally posted by Redskies:
Also, I've seen your post in another thread about difficulties saying "no" to sex and being nagged. Is this the same partner?

Well, sort of, because I was thinking both of exes and of current relationship. Thank you for the perspective. I guess (not just thinking about sexuality here) sometimes I can say "no" to something at the start but break down after that, because generally it's still hard for me doing tht.
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Sam W
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Hi Crathes,

When you say you say no and then break down after that, could you elaborate? Is it that you mean "no," but have difficulty holding that "no" when someone leans on you?

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crathes
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Sorry I wasn't clear. Yes, that's what I mean.

Like, it's one thing if you muster up the confidence and say no, and they respond to that. But if they keep going, "Yes, but..." - or if they seem okay with it, but then they keep going back to it - then I feel like it gets harder and harder to keep saying "no," if that makes sense.

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Molias
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One thing that's really important is for partners to take a "no" as a NO and not as a "I might be able to be convinced."

Do you think you'd be able to ask your partner to take your "no" at face value from now on? This could include not ever saying "yes, but..." and also not circling back to a question once you've said no.
You could say something like "when I say 'no' to a type of sex, I need you to accept that answer and not ask me again that night (or week, or whatever time frame). Once you ask I know you're interested, and if I change my mind I'll let you know, but I need you to stop asking."

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crathes
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Okay, thank you [Smile] It only happened once or twice, Everything is okay.
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Heather
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I sometimes find in these kinds of relationships or dynamics, crathes, that it can be helpful to visualize a relationship without control and no consent, to visualize something way more than bad stuff you to,erase, but something that does not have ANY of that stuff.

If you can do that, what does that look like? Does that look like something you would want more, feel better about, and would be more beneficial to you?

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crathes
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
I sometimes find in these kinds of relationships or dynamics, crathes, that it can be helpful to visualize a relationship without control and no consent, to visualize something way more than bad stuff you to,erase, but something that does not have ANY of that stuff.

At the risk of being stupid, I'm afraid I don't really understand what you mean.

Visualize something really bad? Or something good? I'm sorry [Frown]

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Redskies
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I'm not Heather, but I think she was suggesting that you visualise something good: visualise a relationship where there are no controlling behaviours and no poor consent or struggles over consent. Even taking that further, visualise not just an absence of bad things, but a relationship that is full of Good, full of things that warm you and make you feel happy, comfortable, secure and safe.

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crathes
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Okay, I get it... I don't really get why to do it, though... no offence [Frown] I feel kind of bad anyway, I don't want to be mean. [Frown] No one is perfect.. I know I'm not!!
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Sam W
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We reccomend that you do that thought experiment to get you to compare your current relationship the type of relationship you want. It's another method of evaluating how good/bad a current relationship is.

Keep in mind that this isn't about having a perfect partner. It's about envisioning a partner who has some (or all) of the traits your current one has without the issues around consent and control

[ 12-10-2013, 09:11 PM: Message edited by: Sam W ]

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crathes
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okay, thanks.. I just feel bad when I try to do that. It reminds me about someone else I consider a special friend who's always been very kind and respectful with me, but it isn't fair to compare the two.

I don't mean to be mean, but I just don't like worrying about the stupid phone. I have tried to explain that I can't always answer it or call back right away, but sometimes, it seems like it just doesn't matter.

Like if I was driving and I missed his calls, one time he was mad about that and said I should have told him that I was going to be driving. (He knew I was on the road - usually it would have been someone else driving.) I have had a couple times the "Call me or I will leave," also on occasion voicemails of "just F-ing call me back" and F this and that.

Then those messages or whatever don't happen for a while, and I think, okay, maybe it won't happen again. I mean, it's not all like that.

But I have never been in a situation like this before and i find it kind of frustrating, or baffling. I guess maybe it all has to do with the mental health issues, which I have those too, just different ones.

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Sam W
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Out of curiosity, why do you say it isn't fair to compare the two?

I think not wanting to worry that not answering the phone will result in being cursed out or threatened is completely reasonable. It's not mean to want your partner to treat you respectfully and not curse you out for something minor.

As to your comment on whether or not it's his mental health issues that are causing the behavior, that doesn't actually make a huge difference. It may explain part of the behavior (although it's really not my place to diagnose that), but he is still choosing to follow through with it even after you've explained your feelings on the matter. Having mental health stuff you're dealing with does not excuse you from being a respectful partner.

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crathes
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Thank you for your reply. [Smile]

Why do I say that - I don't know; they're different people. :/ Haha, that's pretty much it.

Thank you also for that clarification. [Smile] It makes sense.

Sometimes I do think I am being difficult or mean.. My BF gave me a hard time today because he wanted me to pick him up. Long story short, I am not really supposed to do that driving, plus my car is in the snow. oh my word. "A trained monkey could do it." He went on about all this other stuff too

I usually see him every other day. I am just not up for digging the car out and driving him back to his town tonight, but what an ordeal. I was tempted to just say, "Okay fine I'll do it." I also told him again that a lot of people go longer than 2 days without seeing each other, and he said "a lot of people are idiots." [Confused]

Sorry for venting so much... he said he tries to treat me nice, well, I am trying too but just don't know sometimes! Cheers!

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Sam W
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Hi Crathes,

So, I am getting the sense he seems to badger you (which may be putting it mildly) frequently.

You say he says he is "trying to treat you nice," but are you actually seeing proof that he is doing so? And any evidence that he is trying to be less mean?

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crathes
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Thanks for your response. Well, things weren't bad all the time, but they were going downhill, IMO... I liked it better when we were friends and when we were first going together. Yes, I hate being badgered, like anyone.

soo... I broke up with him the other day. He called me for no apparent reason other than to insult one of my parents. He has disparaged my family before. I was calm and asked him please not to say those things. Then the cell phone cut out, which happens sometimes at my house, and he must have thought I hung up on him, because while I was trying to call back, he texted, "F[***] you"

That was just the last straw. I told him I couldn't take it anymore. He called many times on my phone and the house phone. He also texted to call him back or there would be hell to pay! and left me one of those voicemails about f-ing answer the phone.

My mum finally answered because I was having an anxiety/panic attack and told him he wasn't welcome here anymore. Later in the day he threatened her, which scared me.

It's hard because he texted me all day like "please take me back" and "I'm so sorry" and "I love you" and so on. It has been hard on my nerves. I ended up feeling bad (guilty). I do care about him and told him so. But I can't take it anymore.

I'd like to thank all of you volunteers for responding to my posts and being thoughtful and patient. I really appreciate it. [Smile]

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zeitvogel
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Congratulations on making a brave decision [Smile]

And remember, the scarier he gets, the more you know it was the right decision. Maybe you can print out some of his messages, in a place where you can re-read them every time you're thinking of maybe taking him back again. (Isn't it odd how you feel guilty, even though he is the one behaving so badly? I know that feeling but it really doesn't make sense.)

At this point it may help to write down everything he does, in case you have to go to the police about it. Because honestly, it sounds like you may have a stalker on your hands [Frown]

In that case it's probably best not to respond to him at all, in any way.

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crathes
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Thank you so much, zeitvogel. [Smile] Your message was helpful to me.

I do have a bunch of texts that i saved.

It was very hard on my nerves, but I was getting better, I think, But, then the other night he left me this long voicemail about maybe we could work things out and he was so alone without me... I got really upset because I felt so sad and bad and didn't know what to do.

Then today he sent me 2 texts about being so sorry what he said and he'll change his ways and "please find it in your heart to forgive me" (I did forgive him and I had said so)...

But he also left me this weird voicemail

It was like: "Maybe we can work things out... If you want to. If not..." - he asked me again to send him his stuff back (I need to find some of it :/) - "and you can live your own f***ing life by yourself."

I found this all super depressing ..

But it's kind of funny in a way.

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Sam W
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I am glad you are sticking with your tough decision and keeping records (like Zeitvogel said, having these records can be handy if this guy escalates his behavior). You're right, this stuff can be very hard on the nerves.

Just so you know, the behavior you described where he says he sorry, wants to work things out (but then starts being mean again if that doesn't work) is a really common behavior in toxic and controlling people. So it actually keeps with the patterns he's shown you before.

Going forward, what would be the thing you would like us to do to help you (if you indeed would like help)?

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zeitvogel
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Hi, hang in there [Smile]

About your sadness... I don't know if this'll help, but it's natural to be sad and upset after a breakup. Even if it was your decision, even if it was necessary, even if the relationship was hurting you. You still shared part of your life with him, and he was important to you. The sudden loss of that connection can be painful. It's okay to take some time to grieve.

It sounds like you're planning to send his stuff back by mail? I was about to recommend that [Smile] There's a chance that he will try to drag out the process of stuff-returnation in order to get more of your attention, so it'll help to do it as impersonally as possible.

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crathes
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quote:
Originally posted by zeitvogel:
Hi, hang in there [Smile]

Thank you. [Smile] That makes sense. And I like that, "stuff-returnation" XD

quote:
Originally posted by Sam W:
You're right, this stuff can be very hard on the nerves.

Definitely! I feel like it shouldn't still be bothering me, but it is.

quote:
Originally posted by Sam W:

Just so you know, the behavior you described where he says he sorry, wants to work things out (but then starts being mean again if that doesn't work) is a really common behavior in toxic and controlling people. So it actually keeps with the patterns he's shown you before.

Thanks for your reply. I guess so, I suppose it's happened before.

I still feel guilty and sad and scared sometimes. I feel it's actually harder when they DON'T say mean things. Does that make sense to anyone?

I have felt bad about not contacting him in the past couple weeks, but I don't even know what to say.

I blocked his number reluctantly and thinking maybe I would unblock it later. But he can still call no caller ID, and now he left me a voicemail saying to give him another chance, "and if not, f*** you." [Eek!]

quote:
Originally posted by Sam W:
Going forward, what would be the thing you would like us to do to help you (if you indeed would like help)?

That's very kind of you to ask. I don't even like to ask for help, you all have been so much help to me already. This site is a wonderful resource. I wouldn't even know what to ask for anyway. [Confused]
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Heather
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It absolutely can be harder when someone abusive or controlling is in the honeymoon phase, as it is typically called, of that dynamic; that part where they are being nice. It is well understood by experts in domestic and interpersonal abuse and violence as what most keeps those in those relationships feeling stuck in them (that and things like children being threatened, or not having another place to live besides with the abuser).

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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