This post is personal and is common in too many relationships nowadays.
At the age of 17 I escaped the miseries of home life to live with someone I THOUGHT I was in love with. Why I thought I was in love with him? Because I felt as if I HAD to to have been able to put up with many of the experiences I faced each day. Let me just point out I am not here to bash my ex. I am not that shallow. But there are people who are in the same situation I was in and I feel this is something I should share.
It originally started with jealousy. Jealous in that other men could possibly pay me any sort of attention. There was no way I should have ever let myself become appealing to other men even if it was just for myself. This included wearing clothes were tight fitting, showed a tiny bit of cleavage or even wear mascara. Oh and having my hair down when out in public was a no-no as it looks nicer that way…
I wasn’t able to escape an interrogation when watching a film or a TV show that contained half good-looking men or look up from the floor if we went out as I may be questioned.
Certain words were cut out of my vocabulary. “Sex” should be called “making love” if ever brought up for example and I could not call it anything else. I wasn’t allowed to talk about my past or say “I love you” to family (or the cat even!) or that “I love cake” because there was only one thing I should ever love. It was ridiculously suffocating and exhausting.
I cut my family and friends out of my life as he “was all you should need”. I put up with this for two years (I know it could have been longer like many relationships but luckily it wasn’t).
I know he probably didn’t realise what he was doing. I know I should’ve prevented these requests to be “for his eyes only” but I felt like there was no escape. Until one day I laid it on the table “you change or I go.” The answer was “I’m changing for no one.” Fair enough. What shouldn’t have been a surprise is that I left. I was alone, trapped and unloved what did he expect?
I want make sure that you know that I was never physically assaulted, it was all emotional. I also want to point out that I forgive him and I hope he is happy and has grown and learnt from mistakes.
I know there are men and women who have been in this situation and it isn’t right. It needs to be done before it gets too late. You can do this by stopping the actions altogether (break up entirely or simply rejecting odd requests) or seeking professional help (seeing a therapist).
If someone stops you from being you, then you need to ensure they know that that is not an option. You need to be accepted for who you are. Of course you should have respect for each other but there is a line for respecting and obeying.
Here are some signs of controlling behaviour:
- Continuous jealousy
- Trying to change your appearance or behaviour
- Questioning actions and opinions
- Prevention of voicing your opinions and thoughts
- Putting you down
- Checking up on you all the time
- You have to plan responses
- Guilt tripping you into doing what they want
- Prevented from seeing friends or family
Once I left the relationship I returned home to live with my mother. I contacted all of my friends, went shopping and tried to become me again. This was hard as I had lost sense of what I liked and disliked. I bought things I would’ve bought before I entered the relationship. This meant I went back to being 16 years old again.
I applied for a job at Blockbuster Videos and after a telephone interview I was asked to do a trial run. This meant talking to the public and approaching people, giving them eye contact, smiling and being polite. All things I hadn’t done for months to anyone but my friends. Even with people I knew I found it hard to act “normal”. The reason why I hadn’t done that in so long as I had been doing cleaning work, which was on my own. I was panicky and nervous. Luckily, I got the job. I was over the moon that I was able to conquer that hurdle I head been dreading for so long.
Slowly but surely I started going out more and more, wearing what I wanted (or what I thought I wanted) and lapped up any attention I was receiving. The latter was completely reckless of me. I openly admit I was needy and pathetic. But after about a month of continuous drinking, I decided to sit in on my own and watch all of the free rentals that were on offer. I needed time to think about what I wanted from life.
MEETING THE ONE
It was only 2 and a bit months after the breakup that I met Paul. I had said 3 minutes before meeting him that I wanted to be single for as long as possible so I could find myself. It was like a miracle to be introduced to him so soon after that (corny!).
Paul helped me in my mission to find myself. He introduced me to a range of new music, films and even took me shopping so I could discover what I liked and didn’t like. He would compliment me on my hair and make up, say I smelt nice and would often treat me to make me feel good about myself. He was fully aware of my past and helped massively in getting over my nervousness and insecurities.
I feel bad for Paul has I was very cynical and negatively opinionated when I met him (I still am opinionated really!). All of my reactions were pessimistic but he never gave up on trying to help me see the positive side of life. For that I thank him immensely.
Within a year of our relationship I found lots of parallels of my ex’s actions with my own. For example, I hated knowing that Paul was taking me somewhere that he had been with another girl. Petty right?
I soon had a wake up call. I won’t go into detail of that but after a big talk about how life was different with me and that he loved me, the past no longer mattered. I know we are in love and we love each other for who we are. And that’s how it should be.
Have you been in a controlling relationship? What did you do to solve the issue?