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Handling a Controlling Man --The Fried Chicken Break up

Sep 1, 2007
On Friday night, Leslie and her live-in boyfriend of 8 months were at his mom's house for a fried chicken dinner, and Leslie took a few pieces home with her because it was so good.

Her boyfriend is a health food nut and doesn't eat fried chicken and rides Leslie about what she eats. He seemed to have an attitude when she got in the car with the chicken and made a comment about why she had to bring some home with her. Then he said, "Just don't get that greasy crap on my car seat! Let's stop and put it in the trunk!"

This was the beginning of the end as their argument began to escalate. She called him a jerk and asked why he was so angry. He said he wasn't angry and told her to stop telling him how he feels.

Then she said, "Never mind!," and threw the chicken out the window. The fight became vicious with name calling and even some shoving by the time they got home.

He once again threatened to move out, as he has done in the past when they fight. The last time he threatened it, she begged him to stay. But since she's in therapy and getting stronger, she's not allowing him to intimidate her anymore. This time she said, "Go ahead and leave if that's what you want!"
So he proceeded to pack up his things,calling her a hot head -- as he then shredded their photos, breaking the glass frames. Then he left. With the moving truck arriving on Sunday,he was completely out by Monday and staying on his mom's couch.

Leslie couldn't believe what had just happened! And since she now realizes what a control freak he is, she knew he was just trying to punish and intimidate her again by moving out.

By Monday night, he was apologizing and begging her to talk to him. She messaged him back that there was nothing to talk about.

When they finally did talk, he said it was her fault because she told him to leave and had lots of chances to try and stop him, but didn't ask him to stay. He then said he loves her and wants to still date.

Leslie stayed strong and told him there was no way she was taking the blame for what happened and that it's over because she will not give him the chance to hurt her like that again! However, she does still love him and wants to know what to do.

What should she do? Here's what Carolyn told her:

Let him know that the real issue here is his controlling, self-righteous, self-centered attitude,
and that his moving out is just a part of that.

To help him get it, tell him that you know he would not have been as disrespectful to a friend and said the same thing (in the same tone) if he or she had fried chicken in the car.

Then tell him that if you agree to date him again, he has to get into therapy and deal with his mother issues or whatever his personal issues are that makes him act like that with you.

Back the relationship up to closer to the beginning where you see him only a couple of times a week and let him know that he's on trial.

Don't fight with him about who's right and who's wrong -- that just causes escalation and gets you no where.

Instead let him know what you will and won't put up with by setting a boundary about how he treats you and a consequence such as, "Every time you act controlling or self-righteous with me, I'll say 'You're doing it again,' and if you don't stop, I leave the situation.

Don't let him move back in for several months (at least). This way you'll be able to keep the power and he'll be more motivated to change.

Should Leslie try all of this or just chalk it up to "Another one bites the dust!"? If he justifies his controlling, self-righteous ways, Leslie is wasting her time.

On the other hand, if he gets it and is willing to work on himself and change his bad behavior, she should go for it because she will grow as she stands up to him and teaches him how she wants to be treated.
About the Author
Carolyn Bushong, a Denver,CO licensed therapist, helps
couples and singles in her office, on-line, by phone.
Author of: Loving Him Without Losing You, Bring Back
the Man You Fell in Love With, The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes. Has appeared on Oprah. http://www.carolynsays.com 303-333-1888
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