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Needy Controlling Girlfriend Please Help!


TaoW

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Hi Everyone,

 

I hope this isn't too long. Let me get straight to the issues and then some background in case it's useful.

 

My girlfriend is very extroverted and craves attention and affection constantly. I really like her extroverted opinionated personality at first. I had been with somewhat meek girls in the past and got tired of them always deferring to my opinion but it's now become domineering and judgmental to me. She's the 3rd of 6 children which I think has something to do with it. She's always asking me to do minor little things for her. Look up this on the internet, find out how to do this or that, hang this over there, hand me that, where's did I put this, help me find it. On top of that she's messy and irresponsible.

 

For instance today it snowed and she couldn't get in touch with anyone to see if she had to work. Rather than get ready to go and just hope it was cancelled, she didn't get ready at all and then when she found out she had to work she had me running all over to help her get ready.

 

We have very similar goals in life that are pretty rare. We both want to live out in the country and live off the land, grow our own food, generate our own power, etc. When we discuss the specifics of things we often have differing ways we think it should be done and rather than compromising it turns into big arguments.

 

We can both be stubborn, but she'll say things like she's thought about it and her way is the BEST way. Which to me says that she's being close-minded and barricading herself into a position. To accept a compromise is to accept something less than the best. I would never say my way is the best because I'd like to think I'm always open to a new idea. So over a simple thing I'll end up feeling drained, unsatisfied, and angry.

 

She's also very needy when it comes to love and affection. She's a hopeless romantic and while I used to consider myself to be one she puts me to shame. A lot of times I think she believes love is like the movies and we should be eternally riding off into a never-ending sunset. She likes to ask me for attention, massages, foot rubs, etc. I would estimate she asks for massages at least 2 times but often 4 times a day. While I know she does have some neck problems, it feels more like a chore for me than giving her affection of my own free will and I've started to chafe under the yoke as it were.

 

I hate to feel like I'm complaining, but I just really feel the need to get it all out. There's one other thing that she does which drives me nuts. In social situations she's very extroverted and loud. She's passionate about our plans and thinks everyone should live the way we do so she's constantly trying to convince people to live like we want to. It's not subtle either, it's almost like she's trying to blunt force change their minds and they understandably push back. She'll often ask me to tell them some environmental facts or details on something or other and as soon as I start talking she'll begin talking over me. As if I'm a desk reference and I've served my purpose. I talk to her about it and she says she knows its annoying and she's trying to stop but it never gets any better.

 

I feel like a lot of her problems stem from lack of affection and attention with 5 other brothers and sisters. She has to force herself into the conversation and push opinion fast and hard to get it heard over all the other voices. She's trying to make up for the lack of affection and love from her parents by having me try to fill the hole. She shovels food down like someone else is going to eat off her plate.

 

I just don't know what to do. I finally got her to get a temporary job until we go to the land anyway to take some of the financial pressure off of me since I've essentially been supporting her for a year. It's all becoming too much. I love her but I feel like my spirit is being broken and I'm not enough to be able to fix her, which is probably not the right approach. She is who she is, who am I to say it's wrong. And a lot of times she'll say just that when I bring up some of these issues "why can't you just love me for who I am?". It makes me feel guilty but at the same time she's bending me to her own will, how is that loving me?

 

We've gone to a counselor and she zeroed in on her and wanted to do one-on-one counseling with her but she didn't want to and said that if the relationship was having trouble we both needed to be there, but it never seemed to fix anything. I'd feel better for a couple days thinking that we were actually making progress until I realized nothing was changing at all.

 

Sometimes when we're talking about things she'll accuse me of exactly what I think she's doing. I think she really believes it, and I've done some soul-searching and introspection and I just don't see it. It seems like a strategy a politician uses, preemptively accusing someone else of something you're guilty of so that when they try to turn it around and say you're actually the one guilty it just seems like a * * * for tat.

 

It all feels very controlling to me and of course she says I'm the one that's controlling. Anyway, I'm kind of hanging by a thread here. I do love her but I can't live like this. If you have any advice for me please please please I'd appreciate it so very much and thank you for reading all of this.

 

Thanks,

Tao

 

PS - Here's some more background if you're interested:

 

My girlfriend and I have been together almost a year now. We met online on a dating site for environmentally conscious people and hit it off. We have very similar interests which are pretty rare. We both want to live off the land, grow our own food, generate our own power, etc. My family has some land in the country and we've been making plans to move out there.

 

When we met I was already preparing to move out there and she told me she was about to move away as well and essentially go camping for a summer and move to a rural town known for having people who are environmentally conscious. We met and things went well and I convinced her to come with me out to the land instead. She'd told me that she wanted to spend a week or two fixing a house that she'd bought several years ago and that she had a couple of correspondence courses she was going to do over the summer, but that was it.

 

So instead of moving out to the country, when my lease was up I moved to her house to help her fix it up I figured with my help it should go twice as fast. She also quit her job and focused on the house, but instead of just doing enough to the house to rent it, we spent 2 months working from dawn til dusk completely renovating the house. I tried to tell her it was too much, that we were doing way more than we needed too and it wasn't what she told me we were going to be doing. To make it worse she ran out of money after a couple weeks and I ended up spending over $2,000 to bank roll the renovation and my own misery which she told me she would pay me back for. We would fight constantly because I was not being heard, when I would come up with ways to avoid massive amounts of work she would say, "but I've been dreaming of how it would look for so long". I kept telling her that it was fine to have a dream but I felt deceived about the whole house issue.

 

Finally we we finished the house how she wanted it and left for the country, but by that time it was too late in the summer to build a place for the winter on the land so we just camped, explored, and began prepping the land for the next year. Her correspondence classes turned out to be a nightmare as well. She had apparently saved all of her hard classes for her last semester and somehow thought it would be easy. So she spent a lot of the time working on that while I did the prep work on the land. She never did finish her classes and got 2 of them extended into this semester which is almost over and she still hasn't finished. How that's possible with having nothing else to do but these classes is a mystery to me, but aggravating nonetheless.

 

We're planning to go back out to the land and start work on a small house. I'm terrified that she's not going to help or argue with me about every minor detail and task. Or she's going to go off and start some other project which she'll then need my help on and pull me away from getting a roof over our heads, etc.

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yeah tahts what I think aswell.. I think thats who she is and shes not gonna change, or change all the things that bother you about her. Shes said it herself, in a very selfish way "Im who I am, who are you to say its wrong" - that like saying, I can treat you like I want, I can be like I want and be disrespectful all the time, well its me, Its who I am, why cant you just love me the way I am.

 

 

Personally I couldnt deal with someoe like this, max. as a friend, not as a romantic partner tho.. she sounds extremly difficult, exhausting, and selfish/selfcentered. ..She probably has her wonderful sides but its up for you to decide if you can deal with her, with her attitude and personatliy, and you say you cannot live like this, so you can either hope she changes in the future(Very Very Unlikely) or you break up with her now and realise there are girls out there, who are so easy and wonderful to be around with,.

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I notice you have a lot of story. A lot of story here. But what it comes down to is that you can't stand her. You've put in an effort to get help for the relationship, but she didn't. But not only that, it just sounds like you two aren't compatible except for political/life choices and even that... it sounds like you don't agree totally with that either. I would say to cut your losses and move on. I didn't hear one reason in your posting why you would want to stay with her!

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TaOW, she refuses to see any problems within herself and the way she is and until she admits that and begins to change FOR THE BETTER, then things won't change.

 

She sounds opinionated, selfish, rude, stubborn with a high level of self-importance, plus no respect for you.

 

I have to admit that I was starting to act a smidgen like her in my relationship, blaming my boyfriend for everything and putting all my past hurts on him, until he told me he wasn't happy and that maybe I should look into my own behaviour instead of blaming everything on him. I thought about it and he was right, and we are now getting on better than ever.

 

You need to basically tell this girl everything you have said here and how it makes you feel and that you are starting to think that you actually don't like her very much! Don't be her doormat. Who says you were put on this earth to give her attention, while you feel unhappy? No matter how much attention she didn't get as a child, is it your responsibility to fix it? NO. She needs to sort it or she will lose you. If she argues, tell her she's not listening to you and in that case, you will walk away - eventually.

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I feel like a lot of her problems stem from lack of affection and attention with 5 other brothers and sisters. She has to force herself into the conversation and push opinion fast and hard to get it heard over all the other voices. She's trying to make up for the lack of affection and love from her parents by having me try to fill the hole.

Don't give her outs. Her behavior could be curbed and I doubt seriously it is due to her birth order. A first born female would act this way much moreso than a middle child so i think your theory is just grasping straws as to why she is an ass and such a pain to be around.

 

Nothing you can do but let her know what is bothering you and that if it doesn't stop you are near getting ready to exit the relationship. Let her know she is overbearing and suffocating and you don't find it attractive and that it is affecting your attraction for her. If that doesn't get her attention, and cause some change out of her, nothing will.

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Hey,

 

I am just like your gf except that I don't go trying to force people into the corner and make them think my way, other than that it sounds just like me.

 

 

And let me tell you this--she still has NO IDEA how her behavior affects you. I can totally see. When my ex brought this up I always turned it around and guilt trip him. I cried. I said he didn't love me enough. and the thing is I was not trying to guilt trip him. I really FELT that way. I felt unloved unless he did gazillion of these small and big things for me.

 

Watch out. From how you sounds, one day you are going to feel so worn out that you fall out of love. (You sounded just like my ex when he explained it to me, this is why I think I know.) You are going to feel so tired of her that the idea of going out to dinner/movie with her, even hanging with her, make you feel drained. It will get to the point where just thinking about spending an evening with her makes you want to crawl into a hole and hide. And when things deteriorate to that point it is likely that you won't be able to turn it around...no matter how much she manage to understand or chance. Like my case, it will be too late...and it is heartbreaking.

 

I really don't know if there is a way you can fix this.....I never understood what my ex went through till he broke up with me, stay broken up, and I found ENA and read countless of stories.....

 

The best thing to do is tell her this is a big deal, not just annoyance about small day-to-day issues. You have to be REALLY OBVIOUS AND FORCEFUL. Otherwise she will just feel like they are small problems and will treat them as such. She (like i was) was now OBLIVIOUS to how unhappy you are and how big these problem are.

 

Sit her down. Bring all the problems up on the table ALL in one go. Tell her it is not a bunch of small problems. Make sure she knows it is wearing down on you. Make sure she knows IF THIS IS GOING ON YOU WILL EVENTUALLY FEEL WORN OUT AND WILL FALL OUT OF LOVE/WANT TO BREAK UP. I know it is hard to deliver it in such a way that does not sound like you are threatening her with breaking up. Find a way. You have to do it.

 

 

Please also read this book "Uncoupling" by Diane Vaughan. It is not just recommend but you HAVE TO. There are too many details in there that I just don't have time/energy to cover. It pretty much tells you about how the unhappy party does not communicate clearly/forcefully enough and their partner, as oblivious about the problem as they are, will just not get it. By reading it you will see many things you might be doing while communicating with your SO such as sounding like you are joking with her "We have to break up if you buy that teddy bear!" and she takes it as that --a joke but you actually meant it. The book kind of argues that the unhappy partner sometimes tend to skirt around the issues/watering them down/make their complaint sound like half a joke in fear of hurting their SO. And when you do that--like my ex once did saying he would break up with me if I bought another handbag and I totally thought from the tone of his voice and how unemotional he was when he said it that he totally did not mean it--your SO, like me, just WON'T have an idea how unhappy you are.

 

So promise me to get a copy of the book and read it (better yet make your gf read it too...) and talk to her. Be forceful. Make sure you look upset if you feel upset because some people just don't get it that you are upset if you look totally calm and unemo. I wish you luck.

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Thank you all for the feedback. I already had an idea what people were going to say, I wanted to feel a little reassured before I did anything drastic. And you're right I didn't put any of the good things in but as time goes on it gets harder for me to notice the good things. I used to try to block the bad stuff out and focus on the positive but it always came flooding back and it's almost all I can see now.

 

She can be a very sweet girl and I know she loves me a lot. I've never broken up with someone who loved me so much. I love her too but it's turned sour in my mouth. I've actually tried to break up several times before but I could never quite leave. I saw the pain in her eyes and it cut me deep. She told me the last time if I ever did it again that would be it, she couldn't take it any more.

 

I hear from my friends and hers(mainly hers since I live in her city now) how perfect we are for each other. I think it's mainly because people who want to do what we want to do are rare, at least for our friends. I think there are more out there than they suspect. They also think we're perfect for each other because we're both pretty good looking people and look good together, but I don't see how that really matters. And I won't lie I like that she's very attractive, but she also tends to be a little narcissistic about it. Not as bad as I would expect, but still I always wanted to be with an attractive woman who didn't place so much value on it and just saw it as how she was.

 

I know in my heart shes not going to change, at least not significantly or any time soon. I also know I can't change to be what she wants. So I guess it's time for me to finally do it no matter how hard it is.

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Hey kitchty,

 

Thanks for the comment. I was writing my response while yours was posted so I just read it. I've been very direct and that's one of the things we've got going for us is that we're able to openly talk about everything.

 

One thing that happens when I tell her about how I feel is she gets upset and says that I just hate so many things about her. She makes me feel guilty for saying this, that, and the other is wrong with her even when I'm really trying to couch it in a nice way. I really just want her to see how it affects me, and she admits that she needs to change sometimes but she needs to do it at her own speed, which as far as I can tell is nowhere fast.

 

She knows things are bad because we've almost broken up probably a half dozen times. To the point where I'm moving my stuff out and I finally crack and come back because either she comes after me or I see her suffering. That's why we've been to see the counselor, and I even got the impression the counselor didn't think we should be together. I wish there was another way besides breaking up, and the best way I know of working on it, openly talking directly about the issues, isn't working at all so I think that's it.

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Well...

 

I am sorry but sometimes it takes breaking up and staying broken up for real changes to happen. Maybe she needs to be alone for a while and she will realize....

 

You see, in my case I am not just changing at my own speed. I am doing everything I can, as fast as I can, but my relationship is beyond the point where it can be repaired. I do admit, too, that there are things that seem beyond my control right now even if I want so very much to change.

 

I somewhat agree--at this point you should break up. If she insist that she can only do things at her own speed and there are things she is unwilling to change, it is time to let go now. I think breaking up now, where you are not completely hurt, out of love, and broken down is better than later. It is, in a way, the only way perhaps to be loving to her and yourself and to give both of you a chance to perhaps grow and be together again in the future.

 

Again I think you are making the right choice here. I can see that you really love her and want to give her a chance, and the only chance you guys have now is to break up before things snowball....

 

I guess I am starting to understand my own story better here, too....breaking up can be a very loving decision...look at what happened to me...my ex and I thought he could only show me how much he loved me by staying together...How wrong. Staying together until he totally fell out of love kills the chance for both of us to be happy together ever again. I don't know if that chance is totally dead or not, but IMO it is totally dead.

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