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Do some people subconciously want to be controlled?

(11 Posts)
maggiethemagpie Mon 03-Aug-15 21:17:27

I'm just trying to understand why some people can find it so hard to leave controlling relationships. My friend has shacked up with the world's worst control freak. He controls her every move. What she wears, where she goes, who she sees. He drives her to work and back when she'd rather walk. I just met up with her a couple of weeks back at a festival and it was awful, we couldn't do anything together, couldn't go where I wanted to to go or she wanted to go it had to all be about him. He was ordering her about all the time. She's only been with him 8 months or so, it's not like they've been together a while or had kids.

She has complained in the past about him and the first time she told us what he was like we urged her to consider leaving him. She did, he went ballistic,constant ringing and texting, suicide threats etc. She then went back to him the next day saying she loved him and he was a good man.

There is something subservient about their relationship, he gives her orders and she obeys them. He tells her he needs her all the time and that seems to be justification for her doing whatever he says. She told me she had to make sure he was happy all the time.

I can't fathom out why she doesn't just leave and then it occured to me that maybe on one level she wants to be controlled? In an almost masochistic way?

I'm not trying to be flippant about EA relationships, I am genuinely trying to understand the psychology. I personally couldn't imagine anything worse than being controlled because that's not my pattern but for people like my friend it clearly is.

DistanceCall Mon 03-Aug-15 21:32:10

Yes. Unconsciously, or semi-consciously. Some people need/want/like to feel controlled, some people need/want/like to feel needed/indispensable, some people find it easier to transfer responsibility for their own lives to someone else, and so on (and combinations of these).

And yes, masochism is real.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Mon 03-Aug-15 21:57:42

For some people it feels familiar, safe, comforting, like love. Usually when people have had abusive childhoods and have been conditioned that way.

ShebaShimmyShake Mon 03-Aug-15 22:10:19

It's my belief that some people (usually women, but not always) have sexually submissive tendencies that they don't understand properly and this enables abuse. True Domination/submission is not abusive - far from it, it is mutually consensual, beneficial and pleasurable and the complex concept of power exchange rules throughout. It's intense, scary and sometimes the lines are thin, but the sub always has the power to say no. Otherwise, it is abuse.

It's also my belief that a lot of people (usually women, but not always) fall into relationships that become abusive, and then they cannot leave because they have been ground down. Their identity has been wiped and replaced and they cannot conceive of being someone who is not with this person. Their self esteem has been eroded until they do not know how to cope on their own. Their minds have been gaslit so they don't trust their own judgment and think they are the ones being unreasonable and unrealistic.

Also, don't anyone fall into the trap of thinking only 'weak' people find themselves in these relationships. Being a sexual submissive absolutely does not mean one is a weak character (though, as with any cross section of society, some will be). Nor does being in an abusive relationship mean one is a weak character. If anything, a lot of abusers like the idea of 'breaking' a strong personality...and because they are very psychologically astute and manipulative, they can often do it.

maggiethemagpie Mon 03-Aug-15 22:28:00

It's just so sad because she left her husband of 8 years 18 months ago for a new life in this country (she is originally from here, moved abroad and got married). I don't know if he was a control freak like her current partner but I do know he was a serious alcoholic who is now an invalid due to alcohol abuse. So this was supposed to be a brand new start for her but she's just replaced one bad relationship with another.

To the poster talking about childhoods,Interestingly enough I had a very controlling mother as a child and it's made me the opposite as an adult. I can't stand to be told what to do and will kick back if anyone dares to try! I have a very passive partner, we both let each other do our own thing a lot of the time but it works for us.

Maybe that's why it's so hard for me to understand why my friend is choosing to be with this man, I can't bear to see him boss her around to the point where I'm not sure we'll hang out much any more - but if she is choosing to stick around with him she must be getting something out of it. Maybe my own fear of being controlled (from childhood) is playing a part in my reaction?

maggiethemagpie Mon 03-Aug-15 22:28:23

It's just so sad because she left her husband of 8 years 18 months ago for a new life in this country (she is originally from here, moved abroad and got married). I don't know if he was a control freak like her current partner but I do know he was a serious alcoholic who is now an invalid due to alcohol abuse. So this was supposed to be a brand new start for her but she's just replaced one bad relationship with another.

To the poster talking about childhoods,Interestingly enough I had a very controlling mother as a child and it's made me the opposite as an adult. I can't stand to be told what to do and will kick back if anyone dares to try! I have a very passive partner, we both let each other do our own thing a lot of the time but it works for us.

Maybe that's why it's so hard for me to understand why my friend is choosing to be with this man, I can't bear to see him boss her around to the point where I'm not sure we'll hang out much any more - but if she is choosing to stick around with him she must be getting something out of it. Maybe my own fear of being controlled (from childhood) is playing a part in my reaction?

OfTunbridgeWells Mon 03-Aug-15 22:32:46

I've name changed for this.

(You do need to be clear about the differencebetween controlling people and controlling types and full blown abuse - with that noted then I would answer....)

Yes!! I crave a relationship with a dominant and controlling man.

I am a very alpha -type female. I earn more than most people I know. I am more successful than most people I know. I am a born leader. I am a witty conversationalist and have a great network of high level contacts.

It is very very hard to meet anyone that is not intimidated by me at all - let alone a man who can get past all of that to see me - as a woman.

The only relationship I have had that I thought could last long term as an adult was with a man who was extremely controlling. I loved it. I felt able to relax with him; let him take charge.

He made me feel very feminine - probably because he seemed so manly to me because of his controlling and macho personality type.

I am sexually submissive but this was way beyond sexual feeling. I loved being with him and felt great about the whole thing - because for once, I wasn't in control or having to make decisions or micro-manage everyone elses life and problems.

That relationship ended and it wasn't anything long term - so I don't know if in the long run, there would have been conflict and I would have bored of it all.

He is the closest thing I've found to what I felt I wanted. And the controllling personality was a big part of it. I really really liked it.

This wasn't the same as emotional abuse - at least not at this stage - it may have emerged later.

Answer to your question in my case is 100% yes though. I'd love to date another man like that.

DistanceCall Tue 04-Aug-15 00:04:18

There is a difference between being happily submissive (in whatever sphere of life) and being abused, as Sheba has described so well. I think the question here is whether your friend is happy. You wouldn't be happy in her situation, but perhaps she is.

Offred Tue 04-Aug-15 00:48:33

He has made her feel responsible for his happiness. TBH in this society it is pretty easy for men to do that to women, even couples counselling will often reinforce sexist stereotypes about women being responsible for men's feelings/behaviour/lives.

AtrociousCircumstance Tue 04-Aug-15 00:58:57

That's interesting Offred - in what ways have you seen couples counselling operate like that?

minkGrundy Tue 04-Aug-15 00:59:25

She did, he went ballistic,constant ringing and texting, suicide threats etc. She then went back to him

And

She told me she had to make sure he was happy all the time.

Had not wants to make sure he is happy.

She isn't choosing this. She is being abused and she is trapped. She probably believes if she leaves he will kill himself and she will feel guilty. Her self esteem will be being groubd fiwn and replaced with the idea that making him happy / rescuing him is a good thing.

She needs to read Lundy Bancroft and realise he won't kill himself he is just yet another spoilt, entitled, manipulative fuvkwit.

Sadly it may take her a while to realise it.

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