Is my boyfriend too controlling? And what can I do?
Okay, so to start off with, I’ve made some pretty big mistakes in this relationship, the worst being lying. I’ve never cheated or anything like that, but suffice to say, the lies weren’t pretty. So, that may explain some of the behavior.. but I feel so confused, like should I even be upset that my boyfriend is acting this way, or am I just going crazy and being too paranoid/sensitive?
Here’s some examples of things that have actually happened.. so, judge for yourself; is he being controlling and should I still try to change things and give our relationship a chance?
-He calls me stupid/a dumbass/a brain the size of a pea/etc. ALL the time. If I do anything wrong at all – miss a turn on the road, forget a leftover in the fridge, anything at all that he thinks is wrong, he immediately calls me stupid or something similar. He tells me that I’m not as intelligent as he thought I was when we first started dating. Of course, after he’s called me something and it’s been a little while, he’ll come back and say he didn’t mean it, and that it was just the thing I did that was stupid, I’m not a stupid person.
-He freaks out about small things. For example, when we first moved into our new apartment, we agreed that I would do all the dishes, and he would do all the laundry. However, as time went on, suddenly the entire kitchen was my responsibility, and I’m in huge trouble with him if I don’t run the dishwasher fast enough, or I leave crumbs on the counter.
-He won’t let me give my cat treats. When we first adopted her, he said that he would be responsible for feeding her. I agreed, since I just thought he was trying to help out.. but then it got crazy. He literally won’t let me feed her or give her a single treat, even if he’s not there. He threatens that he’d better not find out I fed her, and he’ll be angry if he finds out I did. When I try to confront him about it, (because frankly, I’d like to be able to give MY cat a treat) he says that I’m better with cats and if he doesn’t give her all her food and treats she won’t like him.
-He complains every day that I’m impossible to live with, and I’m not a pleasant person to live with, and he doesn’t see how anyone would ever want to live with me. Why? Because according to him the fact that I accidentally leave mascara on the sink sometimes, leave dirty dishes in the sink, etc. etc. make me a complete slob. Now, I’m not an OCD clean freak, but I also think it’s okay to leave a dirty
dish in the sink once in a while.. but maybe I’m wrong.
-He asks me to do stuff for him ALL the time. I love helping people out, but he seems to believe that part of me being his girlfriend is helping him with things ALL the time. And don’t get me wrong, I think that’s important in a relationship, but lately I feel like it’s getting extreme. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but here’s some examples: We’re both laying in bed watching a show, and he asks me to get up and get him things – water, his vaporizer, turn on the fan, you name it. Because it's “easier for me to get out of bed than him” Or, for his class in school, he’s allowed to have cheat sheets. He asked if I could help him create the first one, because I know how to use Photoshop and I can make everything fit on one page. But then, suddenly, he wants me to type all of his hand written notes for the class for every test he has, and make his “cheat sheets” every time.. even if I’m stressed out and I have too much work to do, he freaks out and says “You said you would help, are you going to renege on our agreement?”
Also, he expects a head massage EVERY night before bed, and if I tell him I’m too tired or I fall asleep while I’m doing it, he kicks me out and makes me sleep on the couch because he’s mad and says that because he’s mad he can’t sleep, which of course makes him even more mad.. Also, every time he needs to call the Post Office, Airlines, etc. he asks me to do it, and if I say I’m too busy he gets really mad and says that since I work from home I must have time (I run my own marketing firm and work from home. He doesn’t seem to believe that could possibly take any time at all to do..)
-Nothing is EVER his fault..but things are my fault all the time. If anything goes wrong, he immediately starts telling me what I did to cause it. But, if I ever try to say he did anything wrong..FORGET IT.
I’ve tried to talk to him about all of this, but he just shuts me down and starts listing all of the things he wants me to work on and change, and then tells me that if I don’t give him a specific instance when something happened, then he refuses to talk about it. I try to give him instances, but then he turns it around as to why it was my fault it happened.
So, am I going crazy, or is he being too controlling? Is there anything I can do about all of this?
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist