Out of Control

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…

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Was I Dating David Mitchel???

So…. I met this guy who shan’t be named back in February 2016 on Tinder. I’d just split up with my first boyfriend (the one) after the big break up with my daughter’s dad. And to be honest had no idea that no matter how hard I tried wasn’t going to be over that guy ever.

He seemed nice when we were chatting online and seemed to give off this air of a “Fuck it” attitude… I kinda liked that. I’m impulsive at the best of times, and then doubly so most of the time so this guy seemed to float my boat. He was previously a web developer who’d decided to move back to Cardiff and become a mechanic. At 28… yep he was massively younger than me, I thought why the hell not?? After chatting for a couple of weeks we arranged to meet up after work on a Monday night. We went to the Cosy Club and had dinner. We talked happily through the meal and got to know each other. Now you have to remember at this point in time I was still getting over the rejection of my Ex and felt hugely unattractive so probably threw myself at any male who offered me attention, easily done. So we left, and I invited him back. He still hadn’t kissed me… like when was he going to kiss me? So I took my chance and made the move, he was a bit shocked but kissed me back. I felt a bit awkward, like had he wanted me to? Anyhow he came back to mine. Now, my house isn’t perfect, I’m a mum, I work full time and have two dogs. So there was mud all over my pale tiled kitchen floor, I didn’t see this as an issue, I WORK FULL TIME!!! His first comment upon seeing my pretty nice, okay perhaps a little lived in, but nice house was to offer to mop my kitchen floor??!!?? WHAT? Slightly insulted, I declined his kind offer. So I make him a coffee, we get chatting, have a bit more of a passionate kiss and I lead him upstairs to see the rest of my house (yeah you know where I’m going here…).

We go into my bedroom, he moans a little about the pile of clothes in the corner on my ottoman… I kind of ignore it, thinking… I have big boobs, you shouldn’t be looking over there. Without trying to sound too narcissistic, I was actually out of this guy’s league, but of course, when you have low self esteem you don’t see that at the time. so we start getting a bit closer, takes a while, this is awkard, the last guy was ripping my clothes off before we’d even got upstairs! Okay, so perhaps I have a gentleman, that’s not so bad right? He whips out a bunch of condoms… okay so at least he had intentions that’s good! I may have looked slightly horrified, I’m all for safe sex, but perhaps it was his clinical manner in which this was done, like someone prepping for surgery. Anyhow, we have okay sex, not really fireworks but not the worst. Okay so this could work I decide, he’s okay… seemed funny and charming, I will give this guy a go. We’re lying next to each other, post coitus as Sheldon Cooper would describe and I catch the guy’s profile…. OH MY GOD! I think, He looks like David Mitchel?!? OH NO! Can I cope with this? He didn’t look like him in any of his profile pics, although he’d clearly put on some weight since then (something I was going to learn about Tinder… They Lie! They Allllll Lie!!!!)  Okay but he was nice enough, I took the comments about my floor as endearing, he opened doors and paid for food, plus this one could drive (somehow I always manage to pick men who can’t drive… I like cars, no I love cars, and motorbikes… I find it odd when someone can’t drive) I decided to keep this one for a bit at least. He mentioned the whole, I don’t take this stuff lightly, I’m sleeping with you because I intend to be in a relationship with you, well at least I knew where I stood… and so the saga of the sad mechanic began… To be continued…

And then you go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like vote Brexit…

The conversation that confirmed it was never going to work…

I was still seeing the Sad Mechanic, and was over him before it had really started but couldn’t seem to shake him off. There were moments where he could be sweet, he talked about loving me, and yet it was so empty, I don’t think I really had feelings for him. Looking back a long way on I realise now he was so similar to my daughters dad. He played the mind games that I’d become accustomed to, going silent and ignoring me till I begged to know what I’d done to upset him. I never did find out. Accusations of seeing other people, all the time. And the constant comments about my house being unclean, my clothes too scruffy, the things that made me feel like crap but also made me militant in my need to stand up for myself. Not that I really did. I reverted to type, it was going to take a bit more therapy to realise his behaviour was wrong and be able to stand up and walk away properly. These guys get you with guilt. They don’t believe deep down they are worthy of you (they’re not) so to bring you down to their level they chip away at you, gaslighting, starting arguments, then showing you off to their friends as long as you behave as they had trained you to… so you start to believe you were always in the wrong. Really you just fell for more tricks. This guy was constantly moaning that he was a failure, in fact I actually think he was. Here was a guy with everything, parents to bail him out, living at their farm, eating whatever they bought, never having really looked after himself. But his failure was actually his own making, he was so arrogant, always right. I remember the day he went nuts in front of everyone because his sister had used his boots to go feed her horse. It was totally disproportionate and I felt awkward and left pretty quick.

The conversation that ended it, with The in/out vote looming and this guy so pompous in how right he was about everything started talking about how Maggie Thatcher was the best Priminister ever and the Tories were the best thing to happen to the UK. It put me on edge, I’d grown up in the 80’s with my parents working hard but struggling, my dad a teacher and my whole family from industrial backgrounds, Tories for me were just unacceptable, there was no way I could ever vote Tory. And so he started to talk about voting out of Europe, that it was the only way. I disagreed and put across my points. He gave me a lecture about how little I knew and actually said that women like me were so jaded, we shouldn’t be allowed to vote. The conversation made me realise that if I stuck with this guy, I’d be as unhappy as I had been before. He was just a younger version of my daughter’s dad. Who incidentally had also been very into politics and incredibly forceful in his views. The Brexit conversation ended it for me there and then, like a wake up call. It would take me a further 2 weeks to actually pluck up the courage to end it, and he didn’t take it well. But getting that one out of my life was a relief he was not the guy he sold himself as, he was looking for someone to validate his bad behaviour and treat him like a god. I’m not into monotheistic religion luckily so saw that shit coming and did what I should have the first time he went cold on me and cut him out for good.