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Is dh controlling or am I not couple material?

(13 Posts)
Celticcat Fri 05-Apr-13 09:01:56

Hi, hope to be brief and to the point.
Didnt have boyfriends in teens and twenties (parents v controlling), had boys as friends but got anxious when anyone, no matter how nice, made a move. No sexual abuse btw, just being the good obedient daughter.
Met dh1 at 28, married at 30, had ds at 32, divorced obvious narc H at 35. Had a sort of friendship with a man for several years, it became sexual one night (had believed he was gay or something, although I did really fancy him), but got it into my head he was only interested in sex, didn't have own dc so thought him unsuitable as stepdad etc. practically ended relationship before it got started!
Colleagues urged me to try online dating at 41 and I did meet really great guys. But the spark was not there, gave it up for a year, started again and met a man who seemed nice. We became intimate pretty soon even though I sensed it was not going to be long term (no dc, pretty selfish).
I Just wanted a fling I think because I'd always been so straight laced. Big mistake. I ended it after 3 mths (because i met stb dh2 ) and he stalked me for a year.
Feeling uncomfortable with dh2 behavior now and reading all about narcs has lead me to believe the whirlwind romance we had, buying house together to make fresh start for all of us, (he has 2 dc) after only 5 mths seems unreal now. Married a year later. Both ds and dss are fine with us, dsd less so, but nothing major.
Maybe dh2 is not a narc, but only shows tendencies, eg unwarranted outbursts or embarrassing (me) behaviour in public, likes to be in charge, tells me what to wear, paint my nails.... (I'm not the girly type).
When I do online questionnaires I tick practically all the boxes for control freak behaviour in him, but I'm seriously questioning myself if I'm not the one with the problem? Aren't all men basically selfish machos who like getting their own way? Am I just over reacting to classic male behaviour? We are in counseling, its not very regular, and I feel now that we're concentrating on his behaviour he's off it and saying its just me unused to being in a couple, which is of course is true, too. Help?

CajaDeLaMemoria Fri 05-Apr-13 09:08:55

Erm... No.

Most men wouldn't dream of telling you to paint your nails or humiliating you in public. And there's a hell of a lot of unselfish men, too.

This is nothing to do with you not being used to relationships. He's using that to try and control you.

Could you go to counselling on your own? It seems you have a tendency to choose controlling men with narcissist traits, and talking it through should help you. It may be linked to your parents, from what you've said.

He sounds like a horrible man. Do you love him?

Celticcat Fri 05-Apr-13 10:12:41

Thanks for reply caja, wrote a rambling answer that didn't make it onto the thread, so am trying again!
I used to be v irrationally jealous and possessive when dh was not with me, but have calmed down significantly after 4 years together.
But now that I'm clearheaded, I see dh being a control freak in so many classic ways its almost hilarious. Up to now it was small things that annoyed me but as I'm focusing on narc traits in particular there is no denying it. I think that by addressing every issue that bothers me I've become a nag and may be over reacting?
I do have boundary issues and am obsessive about harmony in the home, we've seen counselor on own too but would have to do more. But having mentioned just basics, therapist agrees with me that I need to stay on top of things and address all the inequalities in the relationship.
Sometimes I just lack the courage or don't want to rock the boat.
Sometimes dh makes a conciliatory move but I feel paralyzed to react normally.
Reading this back it does look like I need more own sessions...
Thanks again, much obliged.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 05-Apr-13 10:42:44

He sounds very controlling, OP.

And if he is, and you are "obsessive about harmony" (ie. overly placating) and "irrationally jealous and possessive" (ie. needy enough to put up with unacceptable behaviour for the sake of keeping the relationship), then the two of you are the perfect combination for an unequal relationship that is based on domination and control.

You probably do need counselling, but alone, not with your husband. Work on your needs, your emotional triggers and reactions. And please, work on them from the standpoint that you are allowed to have your own needs, not from the standpoint that you are a flawed person and therefore the root of your flawed relationship. Only he is in control of his own behaviour. His controlling behaviour is not down to whether you "nag" or not.

Have you read "Why does he do that?" by Lundy Bancroft?

rockinhippy Fri 05-Apr-13 11:36:16

I'm sorry celti but I see you as still heavily ensconced in your controlling upbringing, with what I suspect are Narcissist DPs, at least one if them ??

as a result you attract/are attracted to people who replicate what you feel comfortable with, ie: you were obsessively controlled in your upbringing, so you subconsciously seek out controllers & narcs - your DHs behaviour is far from normal, but just the fact you need to ask that tells that your boundaries are badly skewed.

I've been in your shoes, several controlling relationships down the line including EA & stalking so bad I ad to move cities to put it behind me - the stalking pushed me into counselling as he denied & his behaviour was so off the wall I actually questioned my own sanity -ironically - or not, my severely Narc DM loved him & was angry when we split - that helped bring it all to a head - you NEED to seriously look at your upbringing, look at the legacy it still leaves you with, heal & move on, until then you will only ever have relationships like this.

I did that, my DH is a very different man to any of my exes & we have a wonderful healthy relationship - my DM hates him though, but that's no bad thing smile

Celticcat Fri 05-Apr-13 11:41:23

Hotdamn, yes, I've been a wimp most of my life and feel I'm only growing up nOw a bit in my 40s.
That's probably why I see partners as some kind of father substitute until I'm pushed so far by their selfishness that I leave.

Trouble is I doubt my instincts, like the time I felt inexcusably jealous of dh relationship with his dd. I told myself that my feelings were immature and I envied their closeness. Until he said himself people were giving them looks in public places and it made him feel like a paedophile. Then I ordered books on covert emotional incest, we gave the boundary setting a try, and lo and behold, we've all profited tremendously and can move on.
Similar issues with his ds, until I got over myself and insisted he cut the Disney parenting. Rules were made for everybody, dss feels safe within these boundaries and has moved in!
Problem is, dh doesn't give me credit for creating a more positive environment in any way. A small gesture would go a long way, but instead he ups the frequency of distinctly controlling behaviour, as if to show me I'm not in charge!!! HE IS!!!!
I know I need to respect him to love him, he's just making that difficult.
Thank you all for your replies.
It has helped me tremendously to write this down and see I'm together and able to make positive changes. That is v empowering.

overmydeadbody Fri 05-Apr-13 11:50:47

How exactly was he 'Disney parenting' and how did you put a stop to that?

How exactly is he controlling apart from telling you to wear nail polish?

Your posts are very vague, so it's hard to know who is being more controlling.

I don't thiunk you sound like you are not couple material though.

Celticcat Fri 05-Apr-13 11:51:07

Hi rockin, just read your post.
Im not sure which or if both p were narcs. Both have passed away and I'm sorry to say I was a bit relieved although i cried buckets,especially at my dads death, which was over 10 yrs ago. My mum died 2 years ago.
My dad hated my dh1, my mum loved him and was appalled at my decision to divorce. He even visited her in hospital at times and often popped in to see her with ds when she had taken a turn.
She hated dh2 on sight, told me she felt he was overbearing and pompous. Of course I took that then as a sign for a go ahead as he must be the total opposite of dh1! Wrong.
What has changed I think is my ability to stay and work at a relationship and not simply walk away. I would like this to work, there are many positive things to appreciate, but then a tiny remark or pushiness on his part will get me reeling again.
I agree, I need to focus on my own boundaries way more.
Thanks again!

Celticcat Fri 05-Apr-13 12:11:01

Overmy, sorry if I sound vague, I feel stupidly self indulgent already. But here goes.
Dss had become totally reliant in a bad way on any adult in his life (parents and stepparents), I.e. for entertainment, studying, finding friends, etc.
I suggested v carefully dh needed to help dss help himself and over time each of these topics were dealt with, I.e. doing his homework himself, revising himself and only asking minimum input etc. encouraging him to bring a classmate after school in our contact time etc (never on at mums place, he had to see her and older sis as bffs).
I'm pleased to say he has become a well adjusted young fellow who has made friends with a boy in our neighborhood.

I realize the nail polish sounds petty, but he likes me to wear girly clothes and be sexy at home, but dull outside the home. If I don't color my hair regularly he will remind me, not gray yet btw, I just have to look different.
I'm told not to cut hair too short because that's too like a man, and god knows because I'm already so tall ( bit taller than dh) I've got to look more feminine.
Since my pregnancy I've got boobs and his hands are never off them, I have to ask him to stop groping me and he sulks. When I tell him off too harshly for being a pig too rough, he cuddles with me as if I were his mum, head on my shoulder, sort of clingy.
He does this clingy cuddle too when we all watch tv, I feel the kids should be in a position to cuddle us or sit closer, but its like I'm his only, so there!
Sorry, ranting a bit! Hope this makes things less vague.

overmydeadbody Fri 05-Apr-13 12:38:09

Yes that makes more sense, sounds like you did a good job with helping DSS be more independent.

H really does sound controlling, and like he views you are his posession, not as a seperate human being with your own feelings, opinions and interests.

You should be ablet o dress how you like and have your hair hoe you like, regardless of his preferences.

Celticcat Fri 05-Apr-13 12:51:30

Overmy, thanks for the thumbs up regarding dss!

Yes, he is a bit possessive alright. On the one hand he can be a little boy, all hurt feelings and crying a bit, and then make me feel like I'm the little girl he's indulging with attention or doing some job around the house just to make me feel better, not because its needed or something!?
I've met his parents a few times (they live on different continent) and they seem kind and generous, totally unlike my own parents, very open and liberal, a generation younger than mine though.
I think he may be in denial of an own childhood trauma and so we suit each other quite well.
The irritating thing for me now is that I've decided to tackle mine/ our issues openly. Dh does not really want to admit own shortcomings at all. Or only superficially with the idea that once mentioned its over and done with. And that won't move us on at all.

Pandemoniaa Fri 05-Apr-13 15:10:41

I think he may be in denial of an own childhood trauma and so we suit each other quite well.

I think you may be in danger of looking for a reason to excuse his behaviour here. From what you describe, he is very controlling. He has no right to tell you to grow your hair or dress in a 'girly' or sexy way at home. These are choices for you to make, not him to demand.

You need to tackle how be behaves on the basis that it is wrong. Do not attempt to justify it because of a hypothetical childhood trauma that may well not exist.

Celticcat Sun 07-Apr-13 12:23:05

Pandemoniaa, you're probably right. I've been looking for excuses, or at least give him reasonable time to explore his actions himself.
E.g., he complains of my not praising him enough for doing tasks around the house (I don't expect praise for doing the obvious) and likes to stress how important my respect for him is. So I do that more.
He wants me to praise his earning ability and tells me about bonuses, but he does not share his financial information (we have own accounts and a joint account for bills only) with me on a regular basis. All my data is available to him as I keep my records in a folder and he can access my data online too (offers to do online bill payments...)
Yesterday I told him if he wants my praise for extra income I actually have to know about his regular income. He said he'll have to think about that...?

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