We read a lot online now about controlling relationships, what they are, how to get out of them and how to recover. It’s finally coming to light properly that domestic abuse isn’t just beating someone up…. and this goes for both sexes, I’ve seen women who are as controlling as men. But here’s my story of how I’ve recognised this behaviour recently and managed to have some lucky escapes. Perhaps it’s this experience that really makes me consider whether I ever want to be committed to anyone again, and the idea of living together again is still a big no.
One of the first experiences I had after the relationship with my daughter’s dad was this guy (Sad Mechanic) who at first seemed charming. He would treat me like a princess (this I now know is controlling in itself) and make me feel special. However there was always a flip side. He was insecure, and his insecurities led to strange behaviour, accusations I was cheating, or just hot/cold behaviour. He’d asked about how many people I’d been with and I’d been honest, he hit the roof. Called me every name under the sun, I hadn’t fully got better at that point and thought perhaps I was in the wrong. Although looking back I should have kicked him out at that point.
This guy had no understanding of my past. He would for his own entertainment wind me up about how great a life my ex was having now he was gone. Luckily I’d had my first round of therapy to deal with the anger so it was all out and done, I was able to tell him to shut up, I didn’t want to know. But imagine if I hadn’t had therapy at that point? With a history of suicidal thoughts, this really could have done a lot of damage.
He would try and force his political views on me and also be weary of me going out with my friends… in case I got raped… although really he was just worried I’d find someone better. This guy, knowing my past tried to keep me in a box where he knew where I was because he wanted control. Please bear in mind we never lived together. My daughter had talked about getting a cat, I wasn’t sure… but after the death of a dog was getting a dog to keep my other one company. This guy had actually had the nerve to tell me he’d leave me if I got a cat once! And then when I got my new puppy had sulked for a week, he had actually said “it’s me or the dog” when I told him I was getting one! The relationship didn’t last long after that, it was the first time I’d actually had to end it on my terms and I felt terrible, but it was the best decision I’d ever made.
His controlling behaviour had started to make me paranoid. One thing I’ll never forget, I’d got tickets to a large company party and had invited him, but he couldn’t go, so I went with my friends and had the best time! It was fancy dress and we had an absolute ball! I had been telling him about it, and he had the nerve to say “you were seen leaving with a man”… this wasn’t true… well I left with a group of men and women… my friends… but not how he’d insinuated. After a bit of an awkward conversation where I felt I had to prove my innocence he admitted he’d made it up and was testing me. What a psycho! Glad he went!
The other big controlling one again started off nice, the guy with the “I did a walk against domestic violence T-shirt” was the Stand in. This was the guy who should have been a one night stand but told me he expected a relationship. This is all very well but he gave me no time to adjust to the idea of one and no space to even think if I actually wanted one. Every moment of my free time got eaten up by this guy. If he was in my office, we had to go to lunch… my gym routine slipped. I’d complain I needed to work out, he’d say he wanted me to have a bigger butt. I was so unhappy about it, I’d finally got my body to a place I was happy and this guy was trying to dictate I should put weight on!
He’d insist on cooking. Again this was actually quite passive aggressive in his approach. He’d insist on picking the food. Now my relationship with food isn’t the best, I go for simple, low carb fuel, I’m not in any way a foodie, I will happily eat the same thing daily as I know I’m getting what I need to stay healthy. After all the ups and downs of diets, gym regimes and making myself ill I’ve broken that bad relationship with it and stick to what works for me. Yet, here is this guy undoing all the hard work I had to put in to break that!
He would insist my daughter wore a coat, she would of course do the opposite. I could see it was damaging, hence he had to go. This guy’s uprightness about everything, rules, things having to be in terms he saw as the right ones made me and my daughter to an extent more uptight. I’d been happy at first, it had felt like someone who actually cared, but in reality this was just a guy who used care to control. There are so many examples of this that I won’t put here.
Perhaps I’m just like that rescue animal that struggles to trust again. Some people think I’m mad to want to stay single. But I can honestly say when I’m not reliant on anyone, when I’m not compromising my happiness that I am of course happier. I see friends desperate to find “the one” and I understand that, having that special relationship can be nice. Having children with someone you love can feel like you’ve won the lottery. But the biggest worry for me is that I’m never sure it’s real. Domestic bliss has its place for some, and that’s absolutely okay if it makes you happy. But domestic bliss for me sounds like actually just allowing someone else to have control, and I’m not really sure that can ever be bliss. There’s a guy right now who has chased me for about 2 years for a date, but I know already that he’s just more of the same. I know already that he will want me to change, he’ll want me to pool my free time and do couple things. I’m not sure I want “couple” things. If someone’s brain isn’t going to engage mine the couple things will just be the same old drudge once the novelty of a new person wears off and I’m not built for that. Is this an introvert problem? Perhaps. I wonder actually if it’s an extrovert problem, as in not mine. I can happily now go a while without human contact and feel great. In fact, I need that time. These guys so desperately seeking the other half can’t do that and I can understand. Everything has to be filled up so they don’t feel the gap and have to do thinking. I’m quite happy here thinking and enjoying being out of control… what does out of control mean? Well just that, no-one is controlling my thoughts and my actions. It is my responsibility what I do, how I behave and I’ll deal with the consequences and reap the rewards. Out of control is actually great, it’s the thing that those in authority shudder at the thought of, because if they can’t control you, you are therefore unpredictable and they have no rules for dealing with that. Out of control is what every human should be, it doesn’t mean you have to party 24/7 or drive your car 100MPH up the wrong side of the motorway, but if you wanted to you could, the consequences are yours…