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Toxic relationship. Please help me untangle(11 Posts)
I've just ended a relationship that was incredibly toxic and I am slowly unpicking things alone in lockdown. I know the way he behaved and what he said was extremely manipulative but I want to know if there's a name for it. I'll give a few examples of the dynamic.
From the moment we got together, after the "honeymoon period," he pushed very hard to unbalance the relationship to try to make my behavior and communication with him one dimensional and one-sided. Eg he very slowly only started engaging in the relationship properly if I acted like some kind of crazy groupie/fan, ie constantly praising him, telling him I wished I was with him all the time, that he was a God. It got to the point where just to have an okay-day without him giving me the silent treatment/not answering/disappearing/accusing me of stuff, everything had to be entirely on his terms. When I did this, sent him constant praise and admiration and orientated my life around him, he was very loyal, attentive, always in contact etc.
When I expressed any of my own personal wishes, preferences or emotions, he would accuse me of being combative or "wanting conflict" and say that he "doesn't like to fight," when what I was saying was nothing near a fight. This was completely the opposite from the beginning of our relationship where he was very open to aspects of my life, past relationships, information, listened to me for hours etc. What I realised is that time just gave him the opportunity to refer back to things I'd told him and use them against me eg in backing up his argument that I am combative, he would say "well you and Paul used to argue a lot. Now I know what the cause was..."
He also developed (and loved) this idea that I was desperate for sex with him or addicted to him and that he had to "allow" me sex or access to him. I was never addicted to sex with him, or desperate for sex with him, but I went along with it at the beginning because he said he felt very insecure about feeling wanted and attractive. I didn't realise in wanting to reassure him he would then create a world in which he was the God and I was the mortal. He would randomly send me dick picks or photos of him naked and would expect instant replies with gushing praise and admiration. If I didn't reply within a certain timeframe then I would get the silent treatment.
Every time I would say "right, I am done with this," he would break down and cry/beg/apologise and bombard me with calls. Everything would be balanced again for a couple of weeks and then he'd slowly start to shift the relationship back to the rockstar/groupie, God/mortal dynamic. I know i sounds crazy that I put up with this, but it was so insidious, and also very passive. Nothing would be blatant, it would be in silent treatment, in well-chosen words, in comparisons to others, that he would condition me to act the way he wanted me to.
Obviously I am out of this now. But what was it?
I have been with someone like this. It was so weird
He would send me photos of himself doing push ups and expect a gushing comment
But if I ever sent a photo of me he would ignore it!
He also was always going on about how I wanted sex constantly like he was irresistible and making funny comments about it. Like I was insatiable or something
He also did not like it when I had any emotion or issue with anything at all the same as you. And a lot of ignoring
I call it probably an element of narcissism, prelude to being emotionally abusive. Emotionally unstable person, with intimacy and control issues
It’s unstable and manipulative and good job you spotted it and ended things. How long were you together?
He's someone who has no relationship skills, so creates intimacy with people by finding ways to manipulate them.
He's like a hacker in a way - tries different things until he finds a way to breach defences, and when he finds something that works, he keeps doing it over and over, with little tweaks sometimes, to get deeper and deeper into the psyche of the other person, to get more and more control.
It's a way to feel safe and in control in a relationship really. It's also a way to make a relationship descend into a batshit crazy hinterland of fuckery. Which is exactly what happened here.
There are people out there who build relationships through being close to the other person, chatting to them, being nice to them, being in close, consensual physical contact, creating shared happy memories and a safe, non-judgemental place to be together.
Then there are the headworkers who have no idea how to do that, or don't find it exciting enough - so they act like this instead.
Sorry this happened to you OP. What a horrible experience
I don’t know what it is called either but he sounds deluded.
Strangely enough some things you describe also describe my ex. My ex wanted me to think he was the best thing since sliced bread and my purpose in life was to serve him, like the king that he
thought he was. He wanted to be pampered, never to lift a finger, me to adhere to his requests immediately without question and most of all with a smile on my face.
When we split he up, amusingly, he said I must be going through some mental heath issues for not wanting to be with him
You’re well rod and well done for doing it
Has he got a personality disorder? Unbalanced definitely. Needs therapy.
Covert narcissist? You certainly served as narcissistic supply.
I think this is what psychologists call “being a complete tosser”. Well done for escaping and thanks for sharing, mumsnet has really opened my eyes about how gobsmackingly self obsessed some people are.
A hugely insecure narcissist.
What were his family and friendship relationships like? (If he actually had any of the latter..!)
I imagine you've read/seen a bit about it. I think a lot of people would say he sounds like a narcissist.
Whatever the official name for it, definitely an annoying dickhead. Glad you've got rid of him- please don't get back with him. xxx
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