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Am I in a controlling relationship? Mumsnetters please help?

(94 Posts)
floppydisc Mon 16-Jun-14 09:43:09

Sorry, this is long. I really need the feedback from other MN's. I'm desperate, and I've been stupid, I've stayed in this situation for a long time and not spoken with a soul about it, so I have no idea if I am imagining things or not, or if everything's my fault.

Does this sound like a controlling relationship?

- I love my job, yet he has very fixed ideas about what I should and shouldn't be doing, on the basis of his feelings about certain colleagues (we are in same field of work) and I've turned down opportunities that would have been good for me because he has made it clear that if I took them up I would 'not be the person he thought I was' etc (he makes a big deal about integrity) and because I love him and don't want to lose him I do what I think he wants. It's as if I have to side with him/agree/do what he'd do and if I don't he gets angry and suggests I have no integrity. I don't get why his battles have to be mine too. Also, he withholds praise and is quick to criticise me professionally. Initially that was the opposite - it almost feels like he was building me up and then knocking me down again and then I think no don't be stupid, you are imagining things.

- When I visit his home, he has set ways of doing things - things have to be put away in a particular order, and go back in the right place - I joked that he had OCD and he didn't laugh just got a bit prickly and said was other people that were stupid/unreasonable, was gist of it. If I accidentally put something back in the wrong place he gets really verbally nasty, and very angry at me, and it's like he switches. I never know when something I am going to do will make him flip. It's very often over what I see as small things - but they seem huge to him, enough apparently to judge someone's whole personality on, or to have a relationship hanging in the balance - never just 'oh never mind, you forgot' or flexibility, just full on anger/nastiness. If I ever challenge that as being a bit unreasonable he gets really defensive and says he's allowed to get pissed off and that he feels like he is walking on eggshells around me, if he can't express how he's feeling then apparently it's another nail in the coffin of the relationship and it's my fault (again)

- I feel on eggshells when I am round his place - am constantly checking myself that I havn't put something back in wrong place in case it angers him. I am scared of his anger - it's the only thing that he's ever admitted to - that he has an anger problem.

- He's constantly looking for evidence of me lying to him. I only lied to him - and it was no more than a fib, tiny thing, a few years ago, and that was over something ridiculously trivial, don't even know why i fibbed, think I probably felt bad about something/under pressure/anxious - and I immediately felt bad about it and I admitted it to him - wish I hadn't because I've never been allowed to forget it. Ever since then it's like he is constantly looking for evidence of me lying to him, often he just decides that I have, blows up at me, and I'm there desperately trying to say listen you have got this all wrong but it's like he can't see past his own beliefs and I end up defending myself when I havn't even done anything. I feel not heard and then he seems to chalk it up as yet one more reason why the relationship 'won't work'. It's like he's looking for things to chalk up to add to the 'lie' list.

- in three years he has never visited my home, despite me asking him and me visiting his on many occasions (some geographical distance involved) - always said he was 'too busy with work' etc and gets very defensive when I ask him about it - angry, and that I am 'judging him'

- He won't identify the nature of our relationship - on the one hand it's 'oh let's just be open to what happens' and telling me we are meant to be together, and how much he loves me, on the other hand not wanting to commit to anything specific, yet then asking me to move in. I don't get this push me/pull me thing that's going on. Again whenever I try to bring this up, it gets turned back on me and he ought to be a politician, the way he ducks and dives, it sounds crazy but I never can get a straight answer out of him - when I say that he says 'oh you just see things in black and white'

- The latest is that he can't deal with 'how I am'. My confidence is on the floor and I think I'm losing my mind, I no longer trust my own judgement.

I ought to have talked to someone about this ages ago but I didn't feel like I could, not even to friends.

Please can any mumsnetters offer their thoughts?

floppydisc Mon 16-Jun-14 09:45:37

Should read: 'I only lied to him once - and it was no more than a fib'

BrucieTheShark Mon 16-Jun-14 09:50:54

God, yes you are. I only really needed your first bullet point tbh.

He clearly is a master manipulator as evidenced by his beautifully crafted argument that he should be allowed to verbally abuse you, otherwise he is not being allowed to express himself and is walking on eggshells around you.

DON'T try counselling with this guy. DO just get out. Tell friends/family/colleagues - this makes it real and might give you the momentum to make a change. He will not change though.

It should be easy, after all he wants to be 'open to what happens'.

Well what should happen is that you gallop for the hills.

ShineSmile Mon 16-Jun-14 09:52:51

Gosh definitely yes! It's my first ever LTB on MN. Honestly you are going to destroy yourself if you stay.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 16-Jun-14 09:54:47

What do you get out of this "relationship" now, what needs of yours is he meeting here?.

What did you learn about relationships when growing up?. Was your own dad similarly angry?. We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents, what did yours teach you?.

It all seems very much on his terms but why have you complied to date so readily?. He has done more than his fair bit here to get your overall confidence at such a low point; he has you really now where he wanted you all along. You've actually taken a baby step out of this by writing about it, you need to start opening up to trusted people as well. Womens Aid can and will help you leave this man.

You are probably going to write that you were initially a strong, confident, perhaps even feisty woman when you met. Some abusive men actually like these types of women because they can bring them down, they actively enjoy doing so.

You are currently in an abusive relationship this is all about power and control. Controlling behaviour is in itself abusive. It goes without saying that you need to make a swift exit from it because all he is doing now is dragging you down with him. You've had three years of this and you write that you're walking on eggshells aka living in fear. There is nothing good about any of this whatsoever.

piratecat Mon 16-Jun-14 09:55:51

yes you are, where is the love trust and joy.

you're being brain washed into thinking this is normal!

ltb-my first one. xx

antimatter Mon 16-Jun-14 09:58:23

He won't identify the nature of our relationship after few years?

Who are you for him?

I would not stay even a single second if someone didn't know where I fit in their life.

My first ever LTB.

And don't look back!

DoingItForMyself Mon 16-Jun-14 10:00:32

This sums it up, "The latest is that he can't deal with 'how I am'. My confidence is on the floor and I think I'm losing my mind, I no longer trust my own judgement."

He's done a real number on you. Please get out now and start to build yourself back up again. Think yourself lucky you have some distance between you and I presume given you circumstances, haven't got DCs together.

I'm sure there are good points about him and happy times which you haven't mentioned, but even so, with all of this, he sounds unbearable and you really don't need to put yourself through all this angst.

AnyFucker Mon 16-Jun-14 10:02:30


End it before he destroys you completely

pictish Mon 16-Jun-14 10:11:37

My God - I would never stay in a relationship with someone who is nasty to me, insists on dictating my work life, critisises me, makes me strive for his love, controls me and manipulates me and then at the end of it, tells me 'oh lets just keep it open' and won't comit!!

You can surely see from an outsider's pov just how you have been brainwashed into accepting this shit.

For fuck's sake run!

pictish Mon 16-Jun-14 10:13:44

You're not in love with him btw - you're in love with the him you think you're going to get if you jump through enough hoops.

There will always be hoops. Always.

It's rotten to the core.

MrsCosmopilite Mon 16-Jun-14 10:19:13

What everyone else has said.

You're not being 'you' whilst you're in this relationship. You've compromised your professional life to suit his expectations, you're constantly undermined, criticised and verbally abused. He doesn't respect you, he just wants you at his beck and call.

Please finish this before you lose yourself.

LoisPuddingLane Mon 16-Jun-14 10:22:48

He sounds horrible. Just think how nice life would be without him.

beccajoh Mon 16-Jun-14 10:24:09

I only read the first couple of sentences about him making you turn down jobs before thinking "yes he's an abusive knob".

pictish Mon 16-Jun-14 10:24:46

Yes...imagine a world where you do what the fuck you like, and in which you are free to meet a nice man who makes you happy.
Looks good huh?

Flexibilityiskey Mon 16-Jun-14 10:24:55

Just reading your OP has messed with my head. I'm not surprised you are struggling. It sounds like whatever you do will be wrong. Do you get anything positive out of this relationship?

mammadiggingdeep Mon 16-Jun-14 10:26:08

Yes. You are in an abusive relationship. You really need to end it and detach yourself from this nasty controlling man.

Idontseeanyicegiants Mon 16-Jun-14 10:26:48

Yes. Yes you are. You are in a controlling and abusive relationship.
In my own experience people who shout loud and long about integrity generally don't have much themselves..

LoisPuddingLane Mon 16-Jun-14 10:27:12

He reminds me of the bloke in Sleeping With the Enemy.

Shizzy Mon 16-Jun-14 10:33:35

Sounds exactly like my ex husband. Please walk away now before he damages you any further. He will never change and will continue to take pleasure in destroying your emotional and mental well being. My very first LTB.

januarycat Mon 16-Jun-14 10:36:35


Definately controlling, manipulative & abusive.

ScrambledSmegs Mon 16-Jun-14 10:37:38

Yes, you are in a relationship with a controlling abusive man. I'm so sorry. The realisation must be very painful for you, almost as much as the abuse.

Could you give Women's Aid a call, talk it through with them? Your self esteem is in tatters so once you've dropped 10 stone of twat I think the Freedom Program may be of some help to you.


SolidGoldBrass Mon 16-Jun-14 10:44:46

What a complete fuckwit he is. Obviously you need to dump him immediately, but if you actually work in the same office, you are going to need some strategies for keeping him at a distance, because otherwise he will pester and harass you until you agree to take him back: this is all about him exerting power over you.

There's plenty of support available, on here and from Women's Aid. Best of luck.

JackieBrambles Mon 16-Jun-14 10:48:36

There is great news, you don't live with him! And there is some geographical distance between your homes!

Sorry, don't mean to be flippant but please end this now, he sounds controlling and abusive.

You sound lovely and deserve someone lovely. End it now!

JackieBrambles Mon 16-Jun-14 10:50:15

Sorry, missed that you work in the same office?

This will make splitting a little more tricky, can you confide in a friendly colleague?

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