Three poisons for love: Manipulation, Intimidation, and Domination

by Rod Smith

TUYL

Stay OUT of control...

When people have to use intimidation, manipulation or domination, the relationship is already spoiled or poisoned. It has become a power play of control. Redeeming such a relationship is possible with the implementation of a wise plan, strongly re-defined boundaries, enduring commitment, and the possibility of a time of separation in order that perspective might be gained.

Willingness and desire to be together, equality between people and complete mutuality are the hallmarks of healthy relationships. Where any form of strong-arm tactics are used, the relationship has already taken a turn to become something harmful to both the parties.

Each of these relationship-poisons (manipulation, domination and intimidation) can be very subtle, coming in different shapes, sizes, and intensities.

Here are some of the evidences of manipulation, intimidation, and domination in a relationship:

1. The relationship has been kept on an unequal footing in order that one person might keep power over another. In a severely controlling relationship, both persons might have forgotten there are choices at all.

2. One person tries to get what he or she wants without declaring what is wanted. In attempting to get what the one person wants, both persons are in some way diminished.

3. One person does not see the other as totally free.

Confused boundaries4. One person tries to get what he or she wants through threats or withdrawal.

5. It is expected that every move, thought, and feeling will be reported at least from the less-dominant person to the other. If one person is unwilling to tell all, it is assumed there is something to hide.

6. One person is not free to make plans without consulting or getting permission from the other.

7. One person in the relationship continually evaluates and examines the commitment and love of the other.

8. The dominant person tells the other how they should feel and usually re-scripts any division or disagreement into the appearance of unity.

9. One person feels at liberty to speak for both people and then, is offended when the partner wants to express his or her own views.

10. Desire for self-expression or a distinct voice (by one) is considered betrayal or a lack of trust (by the other).

11. One person expects unilateral support for his or her opinions, choices and desires, declaring somewhat of an attitude which says: If you say you love me then you have to love everything about me, under all conditions, and all of the time.

12. Difference in opinion or having different interests is considered a lack of love, or a lack of respect and commitment.

Simple definitions and a metaphor which might be helpful in considering the three “cancers” of relationships:

Manipulation: playing chess with another person or with people. Maneuvering as if life were an attempt to checkmate others into loving us or doing what we want.Explosive

Domination: playing chess with another person or with people as in manipulation. The difference is the dominator has removed the opponent’s pieces without declaring so in the first place.

Intimidation: playing chess with another person or with people where winning and losing comes with either the threat of punishment or actual punishment.

Healthy Relationships: There is no element of either winning or losing; they are not a game of chess at all and are free of tactics and agenda.

40 Responses to “Three poisons for love: Manipulation, Intimidation, and Domination”

  1. I wanted to find information on the net about manipulative persons in a couple since my friends had told me my girlfriend was using manipulation over me and after reading this, it seems i have the proof of that. It’s so true and so hard just to get through to the one you love and have the guts to tell him or her how you truly feel and what you want and how s/he has to stop treating you like that. But trust me you oughta do it.

    thanks for the text, very useful. ^_^!

  2. Emilie:

    I am so very glad you found the entry helpful. May you be more free than you ever thought posible.

    Rod Smith

  3. Wow! What a list. I find elements of a lot of that in my relationship. Scary, but I guess I wouldn’t have come across it if something weren’t wrong that needed working on.

  4. thanks for responding Scott — let me know if I can be of any help. Rod Smith

  5. I have decided to set up a blog of my own to record my experiences and hopefully help others out who may have suffered, or be suffering, through an unhealthy and/or abusive relationship. I myself have suffered this fate for over 14 years, god help me I’m still trying to get the hell out of it but with difficulty. I wondered if I might ask your opinion Rod? After 13 years my relationship came to a head last July, my partner (or I should say ex-partner) has always been moody and unpredictable and after one of our, what I nicknamed our ‘telephone rows’ (I called them that because that was the only time I could tell him what I really thought of him and know he couldn’t physically hurt me) I’d had the silent treatment for about 2 weeks and as we don’t live together, and never have, I thought this is daft and went round to see him. Well the rest is history, his punched me, pinned me up against the wall, verbally abused me and tried to push me down the stairs. He hadn’t been this violent for some time, although he had in the past and I’d done nothing about it. Anyway I returned home feeling devastated, however this was a pattern of abuse, reconcilliation, honeymoon period etc. I’m sure you know how it goes so I booked with a private Counsellor thinking that I have got one huge problem and need to sort myself out. After almost 9 months of Counselling I came through as a much stronger person with my self esteem on the up and greater awareness of my own personal emotional issues. I missed him though and through email and occaisional phone calls we kept in touch for the next few months. Earlier this year I was made redundant, my house sale fell through, my step-father died and my mother fell ill all within the space of 2 weeks. Well what happened next was something I could not have beleived but my ex-partner, who thinks he’s still my partner of course, stepped in to help as the knight in shining armour. He offered me a briding loan to secure the house I wanted to move to so that despite losing my buyer I could still go ahead, he bought me an £800 laptop with accesories so that I would have access to the web, he took me out for a meal, invited me to his work colleague’s retirement meal, helped my Dad out with his new DVD recorder etc. etc. Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather, here’s me thinking, this guy has really changed, he’s become, well you know, nice! Well it wasn’t long before the old habits re-appeared was it? Just this last week he announced he had booked the week off work and thought it would be nice for us to go away for a few days together…well I wasn’t comfortable with this, not only did I not feel comfortable doing this and being alone with him away from home, but I have a large dog for a pet now and was unable to get her homed for a few days so I had to decline the offer. I told him that no-one in my family (I’ve got 4 grown-up children) including my parents could have her. So there we are, I’ve had the silent treatment for just over one week now. Nothing, zilch, zero, nil, not one phone call, text, email, nothing.
    So, do you think he’s just done all this ‘nice’ stuff to manipulate me and get into my good books? He’s apologised for the times when he behaved badly as he puts it so he knows what he did and he knows it was wrong. You know I just think he can’t help himself and feels justified that as he’s spent all this time, money and effort I should make an effort to drop everything and do what he wants.
    What do you think?

    Cheers for reading this, I welcome your thoughts.
    Lesley Ann.
    ps. Sorry this is such a ‘large’ posting

  6. Leslie — I will read this in full later — got to be off line for a short time — thanks for writing. Rod

  7. Leslie – I hope you have checked back to read that I have read your posting. Please send an email to Rod@DifficultRelationships.com so I have a way of writing to you in a personal and private manner….. Rod Smith

  8. This post is one of the most widely read — I am so pleased this has assisted so many people…… Rod Smith

  9. i have been in a relationship with my “one” for 4 1/2 months…and it is full of terms and conditions, and it is all so indicative of a not so unconditional love. it was at first though. now, i am punished for “making bad decisions”. for not putting him first, but he doesn’t with me. his friends are always before me. and for having parts of my brain missing. this is how he expresses to me my sub-worthy everything…but it is never calmly…always with a shout a scene a throwing a fit…”because i am so hard-headed…i have the mind of an 8-year old…i don’t understand english…i am always out in left field…and thank god for the big heart i have and for the things i do for him…or else he wouldn’t still be here…” i have many a story to go along with this…but not enought room…this 4.5 month-er…well, it feels like its been years…i am exhausted…depleted of avenues to achieve a unified happiness between us…help??

  10. Dear Summer — I trust you will find yourself more valuable than willing to put up with this kind of treatment. Thanks for writing.
    Rod

  11. Am I being dominant? I have cried for months over being called dominant by someone I really cared about. She refused to give me details of what I was doing that was so dominant. I felt this need to know. I will tell you of some situations that she declared, vaguely, that were dominant in her opinion, or atleast in her claim.
    1. I asked her if she would help me with an ad I wanted to place on ebay. She agreed, and I told her that I know she usually does most of her mother’s ebay ads for her and that I wanted to learn for myself with her help. I suggested before I came to her house that we could do it at my home if she felt uncomfortable with me using her PC while she watched and guided. She agreed that it was ok. Well, I got there and we set it all up and I noticed that she was looking for pricing guides and checking out other ads that were selling similar items for examples and just clicking all over the place. I told her that I didn’t really want to spend too much time on this ad since it was my first one. I also mentioned directly that I am not learning anything and she is going too fast and that I wanted to be the one doing the ad. I reminded her 3 times politely that we agreed that I would be doing the ad and that I am not learning. She did not respond to me. She mutteres “hold on” and kept going. I felt like my needs and feelings were cast aside. I began to get very angry, but I kept my cool. I handled it a bit passively and with a giggle and a half smile (while still feeling angry) I scooted my chair into hers and nudged her out of the way. I laughed and wanted to turn it into something playful, instead of something angry. I still felt angry and I might have come across as not as playful as I wanted to be. I don’t know becasue she never tell me. Maybe I should have just got up and left. Who knows. But she got angry with me. She didn’t yell, she went outside and watered flowers and plants and left me in there. She came back inside and was pacing and looking out the window and not saying anything. I went over there and gave her a hug. She later on called me a “forcer”. I asked her what she meant and if something was wrong, and she said “you just are. your a forcer.” Later that evening I thought abot the incident and called her and apologized and said that I am sorry I got upset at you. my reaction, no matter what you did, was not called for. I am sorry if I caused you and hurt. I also stated that I was frustrated at her for not following through with my agreement. I wanted to learn and you didn’t allow me the opertunity. I reminded you and you ignored me. She didn’t apologize. From then on, she began the same flakey behavior she demonstrated when we were dating, after I set a boundry with sex ( I told her that I didn’t like when she provoked sexual activity with me, and recoil when I reciprocate. I was very open about it with her and told her a few times before that that it was ok if she was not ready. She kept insisting it was about her not being groomed). She began not following through with commitments, cancled plans without calling, cancled plans to go out with someone else, basically all the things she knew hurt me before. When I told her that I didn’t like being treated like that and it needed to stop, she did it more. then she came up with a rule made just for me “I don’t make plans ahead of time becasue I don’t know what is going to come up” I didn’t think she wanted to be my friend and asked her if something was wrong, and asked if she was trying to get rid of me. I wanted honesty! I needed honesty! I needed to know what was wrong. When I stopped calling her a couple times for a week or so, she would end up calling me or emailing me. And then the same behavior would continue! So I asked again what was wrong and her answer was “I’m aloof.” It was wierd. I felt torn. One side of me wanted to scream in frustration and another side wanted to hold her and comfort her. I knew something was bothering her, just like in our dating relationship, and she did not want to tell me, but she wanted me to stick around for whatever she was doing. It seemed she wanted me to know something was wrong, but she refused all my attempts to find out. JUST TELL ME! I ended up depressed and angry and confused. I cried and cried. Finally after this sherrade, she told me the reason for her not wanting to be around me anymore is that my personality was too strong and their is no room for her personality. She said I was dominant. I asked her what she meant, and the only things she would bring up were the Ebay ad, and our drive in the car over to her mother’s for dinner (this happened a few months after the ebay thing and after she had been punishing me for a while). I don’t know. Was I dominant? Was I too foreward? Was I the problem? What should I do about my dominant behavior? We laughed and played and could talk about things, and shared many days together with smiles on our faces. I will never forget her smile and her laugh and the way she would wrestle with me. She seemes to be completely comfortable with me and we could connect, we could finish eachother sentences, we were great around eachother…… Until we did ebay together… 😦 I will tell you about the car incident later. It is a bit shorter and even more confusing.

    • There is NOTHING wrong with you. Your girl friend has Borderline Personality Disorder. No doubt. She was using the “I hate you, don’t leave me” tactics. She has a fear of abandonment (she has to be the one to abandon) so she wants you hanging around. But she also has a fear of engulfment – if she lets you get too close to her, she with be swallowed up, dissappear. The way she wouldn’t teach you anything while working on the ebay ad showed her colors. She is immature and selfish to the extreme. Her wants and needs are the only things that are of importance. Your’s aren’t acknowledged. Google – “BPD”. Good luck!!

  12. I am realizing more and more the great tendancy I have in my relationship with my boyfriend to move from fear within myself toward the use of guilt and manipulation against him. I have depression and am medicated for it, and am doing well in regards to symptoms, but I find that I still have a wide range of extremes. He has explained to me that he cant tell whether I am upset with him for legitimate reasons or whether it is another time of me pushing him away through anger and manipulation, and testing his limits. the manipulation comes in the form of making him feel guilt and pain. we both have a great deal of commitment toward the relationship, love eachother in a very real and honest sense, but i am so worried that i cant control my manipulative behavior and will push him away for good. He often states that he is a “softy” and so extremely sensitive to the manipulation. how do i address this behavior in myself… in the midst of it.. how do i gain a handle on how not to move to efforts to control? anger seems to play a huge part in all of it. anger at myself. and frustration at my feelings of unable to change.

  13. after several years of living on my own, I”vee started living with my partner for nine months or so . Things are going good most of the time but there seems to be a little problem that arises from time to time that I”am getting concerned about. If a problem arises that is worked out . These problems get rehashed and He vents these to me for longer then it should.A couple hours of something that didn’t cause but was settled with and everthing gets back to normal . He is still bothered by it and this matter is vented to myself with some anger and long discussions lets say that is not a possitive .If it was resolved weeks before’I think this negative response to me and me only isn”t healthy for the both of us.I realise that venting is good if have to .But is it resonable for me have to be the one with all this nagitive outpour and maybe he is not trying to be positive on himself and needs to talk to someone about another issue?????????? The tension is”t good for anyone.

    Why do I have to take this when it really should be to whom ever the nissue is about. This is really bothering.

  14. please give me someout put!

  15. Dear Debbie:

    I hope I understood your qquestion.

    I gather that your partner sees you as a sounding board for his frustrations at work but cannot tell when his venting becomes hurtful. It would be quite reasonable were you to refuse to listen to him about his work-related issues. Tell him to talk directly with persons associated with his work-related problems.

    Thanks for writing.

    Rod@DifficultRelationships.com

  16. I am so confused that I don’t know where to turn. I have attempted several times to break up with the man that I have been dating/seeing for two and a half years. He demandeds, belittles and confuses me to the point where I lose ground and give in. He is very good in twisting words. When I say I am not happy and want to break up, he says that I don’t know what I want and that I am trying to control his life. He tells me that I am not God and that I have no right telling him that he can’t see me anymore. I realized recently that he has done quite a bit of nasty backstabbing where I am concerned and basically has told everyone at work that I am hopeless, that my house is always dirty, that my youngest son was the product of an affair before my divorce and that my children abuse me. None of this is true and those that truly know me understand this. These rumors have spread all throughout the building in which I work (he recently quit). People whisper about me all of the time and when I brought it up to him, he told me that he is the only one that has ever cared about me. This isn’t caring from my viewpoint. Also, when I do try to break it off with him, he shows up at my house unannounced, he shows up at work, sends flowers to work, etc. I feel more like a peice of property than I do anything else. He has totally alienated me from co workers, acquaintances and has even tried to separate me from my own family. I want so desperately to get away from him! Short of filing a restraining order, which he would ignore and I can’t afford, what else can I do to make him give up and leave me alone?

  17. Please get that restraining order asap; this could end up in a dangerous situation. Good Luck

  18. After reading this article I can see it also used in other relationships such as the one between my stepmother, my sister and I.

  19. I was married and with my ex for 12 years.Recently divorced from him and living in far away in IN, 3 states from him as well.He used contrlling tactics of manipulation alot as I became more and more submissive and loss of self.I decided in 2004 to seperate myself with my children after learning through therapy with my oldest that manipulation was a learned behavior she had retained from his manipultion in and over the years.I have been to therapy and under went EMPD sessions to be able to gain my control back as I left him. To stop the cycle of me wanting to keep going back to his control.Since we have been apart and divorced he still comes to me with manipulation, only now I can spot it far and clear and try my hardest to become assertive and say no more.Thinking my divorce would stop him from trying to manipulate me and me living with our children 1100 miles away has not stopped him from still trying to get back in my life alot.Threatening me now that he will be “up my ass for 12 years no matter what.” Since our youngest is only 6 now he was saying that till she is 18 he will not stop.He uses my children as pawns and tries to make me feel like he is the only one for me still.Will bring up memories and say “why spoil something good.” I am standing ground and having little to no contact with him period.Only if it concerns our daughters do I reach for him.It is not easy dealing with someone so toxic.I am hoping that oneday soon he will give up on trying to manipulate me anymore and leave me and our children be.I am guarded now when I have to see him and I am silent and maintain no eye contact.Numb and miserable when he is around.I offer him nothing about my personal life as if I did he would try to ruin any part of it that makes me happy.He still trys isolating me ..that I will not let happen!

    I am optismistic that I can change this pattern and continute to be in control of my life for me and my children. To prove that no matter what life goes on in happiness and that situations like this are far damaging than ever could imagine.I keep a journal now and try to talk about this as much as I can to show everyone there is a way out of a manipulative realtionship.

    Now I am just hoping my ex will give up on trying to stay in ly life like this and I am hoping it will come to closure! Will it ever stop with me trying to fight his manipulation or is it just a challenge to him?

  20. Dear friend.

    I only want to know is why are there many people, I mean, men, who does not know appreciate the concept of family? What about their mothers or fathers? What did they teach to their children? Why parents faill in this work?
    Thanks
    a kiss from Chile

  21. I was searching for a website that could tell me about the man i am suppose to marry. we have been together off and on for 4 years and have a child together. once we moved in together i saw a side of him that i thought i would never see. it turned verbally and physically abusive. i feel bad because i did not want to involve my friends but when we would fight and he would not let me leave the house i would call somebody to try and come save me. the cops were called a couple of times but from them telling me that because i hit him back that the both of us could go to jail and that my son would be put in social services i could never bring myself to press charges. at one time in the relationship he use to make me feel good but now i am very unhappy. i finally got the courage to leave him because i realized this relationship was not healthy for my child. we seperated for a year. during that year he seemed to go back to being nice i guess because he could not control what i was doing. he would always tell me how much he loved me, how my family did not care much about me, and how my friends were jealous of me. i thought about the conversations he and i had. i wondered how he just knew everybody like a book. i went through some hardships in the last year and had to contact him for some help because i had no one else to help me. Needless to say we got back together earlier this year and i broke up with him in the middle of the year because of his jealousy and insecurities. now he tells me that he met another man at his job that knows me because of a picture he saw of me. he then went into detail about some not so nice things about me. the two of them got in a fight and had to meet with the project manager. supposedly the project manager allowed this man who i do not know to make another phone call to someone else who supposedly knows me. they discussed me on a conference call about sexual things and medical info. when he first told me this story a couple of days ago i believed it but now i think he is lying to me. why would he make up this outrageous story? what is he going to gain from this? i told him that if the info is true i want to talk to a lawyer. he wont give me any info so that i could take it to an attorney. i told him tht if he is lying he does not have to worry about getting married to me. we are back together but he has complained about me not putting in 50 percent and i tell him all the time that if he is not happy with me to just go find someone else that makes him happy and can support him financially. can you give me some advice??

  22. My relationship with this woman involved all 3 of the subjects mentioned. 1. Manipulation: She could do whatever she wanted,call me whenever she wanted, answer my calls whenever she wanted, and if i reciprocated and did the same, look out! Intimidation: She would say do this or do that if you dont I will “F” u up, you dont know me and I will rip you apart. Domination: Her way or the highway! You can’t come over to see me and I wont answer the door, however if she comes over and the door isnt opened well look out. If we have a barbque(sp) and I buy extra food, I might as well be hung! Why do I still care about this person?

    • Just went through the same thing with a woman. I was just a puppet for her and in the end my professing love for this person she took it as a personal attack on her emotions.
      Needless to say its over. I did care about this person deeply and it will take some time to come to grips with the fact I was manipulated and used.

  23. I recently seperated from my husband and have started the divorce proceedings. When my husband and I first got together he was so loving and strong, I felt protected. I was a mother of seven children from my previous marriage and I admired him for taking on such a big responsibility. After about 6 months he started seperating us. The kids were no longer allowed to sit in the living area and if I spent too long in thier room, he would come looking for me. He would always say that I never spent time with him. At dinner he had to be served first and no matter how much milk we had he always got a glass. He became abusive toward my kids by grabbing them by the neck pushing thier heads toward the floor, screaming and yelling calling all of us names. I would intervene and his anger would turn on me. He would say that I let the kids do what ever they want and he wasn’t letting them “ride shotgun over him”. He would lecture me for hours on what a bad parent I was and how “those kids” needed someone to be the parent. On several ocassions he would line us up in the living room and begin lecturing all of us, I was one of the children. Our intimate relationship was degrading, if he wanted sex in the mid-day and the kids were there it didn’t matter to him. If I refused him, he said that I was selfish and he would pace around the bed yelling at me, He would say that he does everything for me, takes my kids to school, runs errands for me while I’m at work. I was punched several times on the side of my head one night when i told him I was too tired. I had him arrested one day when he punched my 13 yr old son in the face while I was at work. While in jail the officer dialed my number for him to call. He apologized and proceeded in convincing me that it was my son that provoked him. My son being under his rule agreed that he had smarted back at his step-dad when he supposedly slapped his face. After a few months of being in jail, he was out and back at home with us. DHS made frequent visits to our home and later closed the case. I was so very depressed and tired all of the time. I had no energy. I would come home from work everyday praying that he would be in a good mood and there would be no fighting and yelling going on. Some days it was peaceful and we all played our role of the happy little family. After 10 yrs of this and being told that I was the crazy one, that he just wants to take care of us I decided that I needed enough strength to walk away and this so far has not been easy. He would come to our home and tell me that he would be better, that he would change and I wanted to believe him again but I knew this wasn’t true and the minute I would point out his cycle he would become enraged and call me various names, he would stand up and lunge toward me to intimidate me. Then he would calm down and start over and I would hold my ground and he would slam his hand down on the table. On x-mas night he bit my face and the following Monday I was talking to an attorney. He tries to get to me through my oldest children, but I need to be strong and sometimes that strength is hard to find. I should have left so long ago and didn’t and for that I am ashamed. I was so dependant on him that I believed I couldn’t make it without him. How do you keep from falling back into this situation again?

  24. I have to say i have been married for almost 15yrs in June and I have finally come to grips with the fact that my husband is manipulative and has been that way for years, i was reading a marriage book to him last night and it touched on all the things he was doing and he got mad and flew off the handle that let me know he was guilty.I had been told he had been doing this the whole time i was married by family and friends but could not see it, now i see it for myself, i also left him back in feb and came back because of manipulation, but God has opened my eyes and i have seen the light.I have four children and it is going to be difficult but i no longer want this relationship, and because i decided to come back to him to work on the relationship my family is kind of upset with me but, when i leave this time i am not coming back. The only way to keep from falling back into a situation like this is to pray and ask God to get you out of the situation and once out, stay out no matter what.

  25. Rod,

    What do you mean when you say “complete mutuality”? One spouse can define mutual based upon his/her terms. To the other spouse, those terms may not be mutual at all. Please elaborate…

    –Mark C.

  26. Hi- thanks for not minding that I linked this blog. I read it and while you were talking about it from a different point of view the MID person as I took license to shorten the description to is my step-daughter to the T. I did reply back to you through my blog (and I have sent people to your blog site whom I know might benefit from postings I made about things I have learned to FB friends). I pulled my reply because while I hope she does read my blog since it is about the only way she can find out what we are doing or what I am up to, I decided calling her out in a reply was probably stooping to her level. The only 2 things that remains in my marriage that fall under the title of “difficult relationship” are 1) my loving husband who told me to do what I needed to do now realizes that things have changed and he has to go see them alone and 2) the ex I referred to is now telling the grandsons the reason they don’t see granddad is because of me, and that I am a terrible person who caused all this mess. Whatever-and BTW I take my venting posts like that down in about a week, it’s cathartic. Have a great weekend and I think I read you are traveling. Safe travels Rod.

    Carole

  27. Thanks for this article. I found it when I looked up “Control Domination Response” after basically hearing my ex described on “Law & Order”. My ex has me totally diagnosed as everything Dr. Tara lists on her site, using this information to justify his treatment of me. I wrote her after he posted some things about me, and she basically was highly uninterested in hearing that perhaps people use that information to justify their awful behavior. However, my family and friends, as well as his own family and friends all know him to be verbally and physically abusive, mean, violent and disturbed. I am not perfect, but I knew something had to be wrong, because on the one hand he was all I ever wanted – virile, strong, smart, funny, capable – and on the other he was the scariest person I knew. I tried everything, including couples therapy at the end, but he would say I was lying, and basically it got to the point where every single thing I did was wrong, everything I said or didn’t say was wrong, every action was suspect, every friend was a whore including my own family members. If he said something to hurt me and I cried, I was weak and trying to make a scene, even if no one else was around. I have had to call the police on him constantly for interfering in my and my people’s lives, he threatens and assaults me when he drinks. He came from a broken family that involved a very mean mother who blamed him for reminding her of his abusive, alcoholic father, a father who disappointed him constantly, poverty and a very harsh neighbourhood. After he hit me, I moved away and he followed, we made up and things were great for a while. Then his drinking and abuse began again in earnest and he did an interview with an expert who directed him to anger management. This was the best time in the whole relationship when he was in this program for angry male batterers, but he refused to continue because he felt he was “not as bad” as some of the really criminal men in the group. When he doesn’t drink, there is no physical abuse but he deludes himself and usually cannot even recall what happened.

    It’s been months since I have even seen him but still he texts me with comments on my life, accusations when I am not even dating yet and to tell me that I am “living on borrowed time”. I do still love him but I can’t believe he turned into this monster when I know and have seen and lived his wonderful side. I see so much of what you say above in his behaviour, plus he always blames me for causing him to get so angry. I think his anger and refusal to get treatment are his own issues, not mine.

    Is there anyway a person like this can be helped, even if not for me or us, but in general? I love him enough to want him to be happy. He’s had a hard life and it’s not fair for him to never find happiness just because he is sick.

  28. Thanks for this article. I found it when I looked up “Control Domination Response” after basically hearing my ex described on “Law & Order”. My ex has me totally diagnosed as everything Dr. Tara lists on her site, using this information to justify his treatment of me. I wrote her after he posted some things about me, and she basically was highly uninterested in hearing that perhaps people use that information to justify their awful behavior. However, my family and friends, as well as his own family and friends all know him to be verbally and physically abusive, mean, violent and disturbed. I am not perfect, but I knew something had to be wrong, because on the one hand he was all I ever wanted – virile, strong, smart, funny, capable – and on the other he was the scariest person I knew. I tried everything, including couples therapy at the end, but he would say I was lying, and basically it got to the point where every single thing I did was wrong, everything I said or didn’t say was wrong, every action was suspect, every friend was a whore including my own family members. If he said something to hurt me and I cried, I was weak and trying to make a scene, even if no one else was around. I have had to call the police on him constantly for interfering in my and my people’s lives, he threatens and assaults me when he drinks. He came from a broken family that involved a very mean mother who blamed him for reminding her of his abusive, alcoholic father, a father who disappointed him constantly, poverty and a very harsh neighbourhood. After he hit me, I moved away and he followed, we made up and things were great for a while. Then his drinking and abuse began again in earnest and he did an interview with an expert who directed him to anger management. This was the best time in the whole relationship when he was in this program for angry male batterers, but he refused to continue because he felt he was “not as bad” as some of the really criminal men in the group. When he doesn’t drink, there is no physical abuse but he deludes himself and usually cannot even recall what happened.

    It’s been months since I have even seen him but still he texts me with comments on my life, accusations when I am not even dating yet and to tell me that I am “living on borrowed time”. I do still love him but I can’t believe he turned into this monster when I know and have seen and lived his wonderful side. I see so much of what you say above in his behaviour, plus he always blames me for causing him to get so angry. I think his anger and refusal to get treatment are his own issues, not mine.

    Is there anyway a person like this can be helped, even if not for me or us, but in general? I love him enough to want him to be happy. He’s had a hard life and it’s not fair for him to never find happiness just because he is sick.

    • Dear c
      If his behaviour and personalitty changes with the drink, he most proberbly suffers from alcoholism and can be helped. .AA and Al- anon can help. If it is not the drink, then I don’t know; but there are many 12 step programs based off the AA concept

  29. I never heard of CDR until I the episode of LAW & ORDER. My ex has tried his best to NOT talk to me since we broke up, now almost 10 years. Instead opting to speak to anyone else.

    When I ask a direct question he will not respond. Example, “How are you?”

    When an opportunity to come face to face, he exits the area looking like a frightened animal. He will turn his back to avoid speaking to me. All of this seems to be CDR.

    Instead of speaking face-to-face or phone calls he inists on emails, responding only when and if he wants to.

    I am raising a teenage girl and she sees her father’s behavior towards me.
    She wants no part of this and I don’t blame her.

    So how to get this guy to show me respect and speak to me directly?

  30. I can’t agree more

  31. It’s so nice to find a site where I can actually vent!. I am 38, married to a man 59 years old for 12 years. We have a son together, I have a daughter from a previous marriage and he has 2 adult children. I think the is the MASTER manipulator. Recently, we moved to CA, where his daughter and grand kids live from AL. I have no family here, left behind my business, a home and family not to mention my mother who has been recently diagnosed with parkinsons disease. We have been here in CA now for a little over a year and I HATE IT! His job relocated us here but the decision to come here was never an agreement, just his decision. My kids hate it here and he now refuses to help my daughter finish college financially. I have not been able to find a job and have no means of income other than what he gives me. I feel SO TRAPPED!. My life was so much better and easier in AL where my family is, my business and everything else that I need to thrive!. I am severely depressed and it is manifesting itself in every aspect of my life including my health, not sleeping, snapping at the kids etc… Should I move back to AL and start my life over with my kids or just tough it out? Am I being immature for wanting to be near family? Having an open and honest conversation with him is out of the question, he dominates the conversation, threatens to divorce when I argue with him and he knows that I’m in a situation where I can’t move finanacially. I would love to go back and move to my home in AL and start over. Please help someone, am I going crazy or what?

  32. My fiance tells me I want to talk about everything too much. I have been the therapist amongst my friends since 1st grade. I talk through everything. He doesn’t have the problem with my actual conversational skill, but he hates when I want to talk through an issue. What this really equates to is that he depises being called out on a fault. I am horribly critical of myself, so most times I am calling myself out on my faults before he gets a chance to. He holds me to all of these standards, but he doesn’t seem to think he needs to do the same for himself. i.e. We were having a debate, and I cut him off. He became very angry and told me it was horribly rude and disrespectful to interrupt him and that I shouldn’t do it. Not even 5 minutes later (not exaggerating) after listening to what he had to say and ASKING if he was finished, I began to explain my side. Mid-sentence, he interrupted me. I stared at him in disbelief before losing my temper and blowing up. Things like this happen alllllll the time. I am a firm believer in equality in relationships. When I tell him he is being a hypocrite, he blows up and tells me that we don’t need to talk about every little issue. His double standards infuriate me. Am I being controlling by wanting to talk through issues? Am I beeing dominating? I am stubborn. I won’t let a topic die until we’ve reached a conclusion. Everyone calls him immature, but I wanted to see what an imparital outsider had to say.

    • Constant in-depth conversations can be exhausting, enough to make some resist all conversation. Discard the therapist label – especially with your fiancé. Good therapeutic process often allows for silent, purposeful living. I have no idea how immature he is. I’d suggest you not discuss him with “everyone”, which I know, is not only immature, it doesn’t do much for love.

  33. I was watching Law and Order when I saw my sister being discribed. It was just a few days before that she punched me in the mouth. I wasn’t “acting right”. She’s been the smartest person in the world for as long as I’ve known her and I know nothing. She has no children but I’ll be dambed if she does’nt know more about raising my two boys. I got a restraining order and I never want to see her again.

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