04.06.2004 // 12:51 pm
This was a response to a letter I found on a website about emotional abuse. I ran the search because that's how I feel... like i'm being abused. I own the part I played in all of this. And I know I got a ton of shit to work out myself, but that doesn't absolve him of his shit.
Anyway, I'm not going to print the letter, just the therapist's response.
Nice girl meets controlling guy. (Or, nice guy meets controlling gal.) Your problem is so common in fact, that I may end up publishing this as an article rather than an email advice piece! Look for it... Either way, your details will be kept confidential. Here goes:
This person will wine and dine you; they will tell you they love you. You have met the perfect person, and you think you are in Heaven... But watch it, you are really on the doorstep of Hell.
You have hooked up with an individual who is in pain and who is looking for somebody to take their pain away. The objective: take care of me; love me; take away all my hurts - because that is your job. I don't have to worry about your emotions because this is all about me. Everybody else has messed up caring for me, so you'd better not - otherwise I'll hate you! It has never occurred to this person that it is their job to take care of themselves. Not a problem for the nice guy or gal, who is loving and giving, and really wants to take care of somebody they care about.
Even highly attractive, accomplished, apparently confident people - with just a hint of low self-esteem - are vulnerable. Because your caring traits are a virtual life-force for them, your ability to give is priceless. They will do anything it takes to win you over. Anybody who is even mildly low on the self-esteem scale is vulnerable.
So, if you think he (or she) is too good to be true, trust your instincts! A normal person is not so persistent, so involved, so flattering, so quick to fall in "love" with you. Also, watch what happens when you reciprocate emotionally: they find some reason to push you away! Your guy stuffed your comforter into the closet. Another may be cool and distant the morning after a passionate night.
This kind of "push and pull" or "on and off" behavior is characteristic of the controller, since they cannot really allow you too close. They think you have the power to destroy them - as well as to save them. You need to be kept at a comfortable distance. A normal person, who can take care of themselves emotionally, doesn't go here... There is not as much fear of closeness...
The fix: Trust your instincts more. Exercise more self-control. If something seems too good to be true, don't be too quick to trust it. At the first hint of controlling or abusive behavior, back off. Better yet, get out.
You have work to do. You are frightened of closeness yourself...
Advice: You deserve what you give. Find another giver and have a nice life.
I'm going to do my best to try and take her advice.
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