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DrJackiePhD
DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 201
Experience:  I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
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Ive been seeing this guy for a year now. There was so much

Resolved Question:

I've been seeing this guy for a year now. There was so much conflict at first yet there is still much conflict now but have managed to look at the positives and have a new batch of issues to work out! He's the emotional one (raises his voice, gets upset fast, not receptive to my opinions or feelings in many cases). I am more of an extrovert and very social. He, on the other hand is not, and is very focused on his career and me.

He met one of my good friends that is a male. We ate dinner, they chatted for a long time, bonded, talked about many topics. When I walked the dog, I asked my friend to come along while he was on his way out the door to go home. My boyfriend went to the bathroom prior to, and knew that's what I was doing. While out walking the dog, the boyfriend pulls up in the car, doesn't say anything to me except get in the car. I didn't & said I can meet you back home. I walk home, my friend gets in his car and leaves to go home. He pursued my friend in his car, ran him off the road and said that he was disrespected. So I hear conversation/yelling on Bluetooth and they both came back to my house. My boyfriend says my friend disrespected him, doesn't know him, and says that we are seeing each other! He exploded with fury, says he doesn't trust him, he has to know him, and he wanted to talk man to man. We were both in shock of his actions. It was like he snapped. We thought things were fine, but they were not! My friend explained to him that the only person he needs to trust is "me" and that should be his focus and not him. My boyfriend was not receptive to any words of wisdom, truth, or reason. My friend was patient, and listened to him. I think my boyfriend apologized, and my friend left.

I have felt in the past and at times now, that my boyfriend is not comfortable with me having friends (male especially) and doing things with my family & friends. He likes to schedule time 'every' weekend to spend together. I like doing things with him but I also like to spend time with my family and my friends. My boyfriend, on the other hand does not have friends he does things with and is the only child with relatives out of state. When things go south, he insinuates suicide (happened more than 3 times) by telling me to take care of his things, I won't see him anymore, and I have the keys to his apartment and know where things are located. I don't like that kind of...I don't know what it's called, but it creates a lot of stress on me.

I called the suicide hotline and he hung the phone up on me. I don't know how to deal with this kind of issue, do you???
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

DrJackiePhD :

Hi,

DrJackiePhD :

I'm Dr. Jackie and I can try to help

DrJackiePhD :

Are you there?

DrJackiePhD :

Hello

DrJackiePhD :

Please let me know if you want to chat and I'll stay in here.

Customer:

I'm here

DrJackiePhD :

Or if you are busy, I can email you through the Q&A Forum and at least initially respond that way

Customer:

I'm okay for now...thanks

Customer:

Meaning, although I am at work, I do have time...

DrJackiePhD :

OK.

DrJackiePhD :

Well, my first thought is that your boyfriend has issues he has to deal with. I know you already know this. But the problem then in your relationship is that his problems are affecting your relationship...

DrJackiePhD :

And I have been doing research long enough that and reading others' relationship studies to know that at least statistically speaking, the great odds are that things will not change in your relationship until he deals with these issues.

Customer:

Yes, that's correct...it's almost as if there were many unresolved problems that he never delt with head on before getting involved in a relationship

DrJackiePhD :

His behaviors are not "normal" and unfortunately he won't change unless he wants to, acknowledges he needs to change, and then works on the change, usually with some therapist/counselor.

DrJackiePhD :

So knowing that, you have to decide if you want to continue, give him an ultimatum, see if he will go talk to someone, etc.

DrJackiePhD :

I don't like to be so "either/or" / black and white. I know there is a lot of gray. However, when it comes to relationships and problems, one periodically has to "visit the relationship" and like any other major decision (like buying a house or car, if you will), you have to weigh the pros and cons. And this is when things are going rather regularly. Especially when there are problems, for your own emotional welfare, you have to figure out what you are willing to handle and what you are not.

Customer:

I'm still here...

DrJackiePhD :

I am not telling you anything new. But perhaps what you may not know is that people typically don't change their behavior patterns unless there is some external influence...

DrJackiePhD :

like counseling, like a life-changing event (eg., some people find "God" or religion if they are in a nearly fatal car crash), etc.

DrJackiePhD :

And unless someone or something alters his path, I just don't see the odds there that he will change.

Customer:

sorry, was a bit distracted...now I'm reading...thank you for your patience

DrJackiePhD :

no problem!

Customer:

Well...he does go to church, and did every Sunday while getting to know him...but he's slacked off with that --we've gone together at times...he had asked me recently, what is he doing wrong...I guess he sensed that I am really getting fed up with this...so I told him I'd rather word it "what can he do better and work on"...

DrJackiePhD :

I like your wording,

Customer:

...so he wanted to know right then and there, but the way our discussions go, when I talk, he continues to interrupt and I really don't get a chance to finish..he'll talk over me continuously, I do point it out but it's not until I decide to not talk until he finishes...that usually goes on for about 20 minutes or so!!!

Customer:

VERY Unproductive conversations...

DrJackiePhD :

So he knows you are displeased, but asking you what he is doing wrong seems senseless. I mean, I'm guessing he knows what he did wrong.

Customer:

Not many or little resolutions

DrJackiePhD :

Oh, no!

DrJackiePhD :

I agree--unproductive!

Customer:

yes, he knows I am unhappy in the relationship

Customer:

when I told him that, then comes the pity...I can't do anything right, I can't make you happy, I'm not gonna see you anytmore, take care of my things....!!!

Customer:

Please pardon the typing errors, too fast!

DrJackiePhD :

Right--and it's totally selfish for him to hang suicide threats over you. That is not a healthy way to live!

Customer:

yes, that's what really gets to me...

DrJackiePhD :

Will he go talk to to someone professionally?

Customer:

that's the "alarm" for me

Customer:

no...he's in the military and...

Customer:

I guess doesn't want that in his record

DrJackiePhD :

He is holding the suicide over you so that you stay with him. At least that is my guess.

DrJackiePhD :

Again, this is not healthy for you and for your relationship. He needs to get healthy.

Customer:

yeah...sad...and we are not "young" folks!!

Customer:

I think this may be his first long term relationship...

Customer:

first time feeling deeply in love...me, on the other hand, am a veteran of relationships, shall I say for a lack of better expression!

DrJackiePhD :

Do you think he will talk to someone?

Customer:

hmmm....well, he didn't want "me" to talk to a suicide hot line person...so maybe bot

Customer:

*not

Customer:

I wanted to ask them how to deal with that and how to get help for him

Customer:

after he hung my phone up, he says...

Customer:

how about I call you job and tell them you have issues

Customer:

hhhhh!

DrJackiePhD :

Wow! I am so sorry. He really sounds like he doesn't want to deal with his insecurities. And I don't have any other suggestions (other than he needs to talk to someone) unfortunately because until he gets himself emotionally healthy, he can't really contribute productively to a healthy relationship.

Customer:

I told him over the weekend, after the incident that I felt that I am not the women for him...he asks if he can comment and says he disagrees and here's why...and told me what he felt

DrJackiePhD :

He told you what he felt?

Customer:

yes, like he never felt this way before...blah, blah, blah

DrJackiePhD :

Oh, I see. And he may well mean that 100%.

DrJackiePhD :

But here is the botXXXXX XXXXXne--in my opinion...

Customer:

I think he does, I know he really loves me but love is not possessive

DrJackiePhD :

If you have two apples in a bag, and one is ripe, shiny, and good to eat, and the other is bruised and rotten...the good apple can't make the bad one become edible. Unfortunately the rotten one will end up bruising and causing the other apple to "go bad."

Customer:

yes! just like a bag of onions...then they end up stinking awfully bad!

DrJackiePhD :

I know that is a crude analogy, but applied to relationships, both people need to be healthy on their own in order to have a healthy relationship. One healthy person rarely helps the other become healthy. It's usually the opposite. :-(

DrJackiePhD :

Yes!!!

DrJackiePhD :

No, love is not possessive or obsessive.

Customer:

hmmm, makes sense

Customer:

I feel that we're better friends than partners/companions...he wants to get married

Customer:

I told him at the beginning of the year that I am "not" ready and neither is he

DrJackiePhD :

So I don't know if my response is what you wanted or hoped to hear, but in my research and experience, you both need to be "healthy" on your own. And just reading the part about marriage, I definitely would not consider saying yes unless/until he not only agrees to get help but actually TAKES ACTION AND STARTS the therapy.

Customer:

After 15-16 months in a relationship, I thought things would get better...

DrJackiePhD :

We all do--I believe most people do hope and dream positively. But unfortunately, research and experience both teach us that things just do not "get better" on their own. :-(

Customer:

Dr Jackie...what is with a person who wants to know and needs to hear if "I" believe in them and are on "their" team???

Customer:

I don't understand this...one time he was crushed because after getting in a spat/argument, he wanted to know if I BELIEVED in him...

DrJackiePhD :

There needs to be an intervention. This is true for anyone in a bad way--whether they are in debt or addicted to substance or in an unhealthy relationship. And you can be his biggest cheerleading fan and support him and "be on his team"--if he agrees to get help.

DrJackiePhD :

Believing in someone does not mean you have to be romantically involved. It sounds like his lines are blurred regarding real friendship and an intimate relationship.

Customer:

since I didn't answer him and said that I was upset at the time...he says he wrote a suicide letter, was at the harbor and stayed there for hours until a man talked to him....???

Customer:

well, he didn't mean "believe" by truth, but maybe by capablilty???

DrJackiePhD :

Are you blaming yourself? Do you think he wants you to blame yourself for his reported suicide thoughts?

Customer:

No, I don't blame myself but see a very trouble man, that I have NO CLUE of what to do other than tell him how I feel and what I am not going through

Customer:

...for another 15-16months!

DrJackiePhD :

right. I agree. Did he respond to that?

Customer:

Calls me yesterday, to say that he has not been treating me right and if he wants to be the "MVP" in relationship, he has to start acting like it, by listening, and doing more...but even then...I think he's not really pinpointing the real...the root of the problems...

DrJackiePhD :

I think your instincts are probably right. And the MVP--well, relationships work best if they are equitable, not more or less one sided...

Customer:

He gives more "office", employee/manager examples in our relationship when we talk about issues...I think he doesn't quit know how to "relate" in our relationship...or shall I say "function" as a partner?

Customer:

*quite

DrJackiePhD :

right

DrJackiePhD :

I think you're right from what you have shared.

Customer:

says he's got all these plaques, rewards (and he does), and accomplishments and is very efficient, and a "can do, 100% man" and a "I got it" needing "little instruction" person...but I asked how does he apply that to our relationship? He says..."good question"

Customer:

that's when he came back with the MVP initiative!!!

Customer:

hhhh!

Customer:

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! For engaging in this problem!

DrJackiePhD :

Can I ask if you have thought about what it is that actually MAKES your relationship? What I mean is that one very well respected Iowa University scholar by the name of Steve Duck has spent his entire career studying relationships and his conclusion is that communication IS the rleationship.

DrJackiePhD :

oops relationship

DrJackiePhD :

So my question to you is---

DrJackiePhD :

What makes YOUR relationship?

DrJackiePhD :

Because it does not sound like you are on the same communicative page.

Customer:

hhh....okay...Sunday...just past, the first time I've ever got really emotional and shedded a tear when I told him what I thought was so special....

Customer:

I told him I thought I found someone that really listened to me, that cared about my opinions, and can talk out problems without yelling and the conversation getting blown out of proportion....

Customer:

hhhhh....there's just a bit more....

DrJackiePhD :

ok

Customer:

I told him when we first started talking, I really felt this way, knew what he did as a professional, he carried his self very well, very well spoken, seemed level headed...but I didn't know that this relationship would be like this...

Customer:

I later learned...as I am going along with the relationship, that he translate, transcribes SO MUCH differently than I do...

DrJackiePhD :

And you told him all this (again) on this past weekend?

Customer:

he does exaggerate, and I called him out on that...

Customer:

yes!

DrJackiePhD :

How did he respond to that? With the MVP comment?

Customer:

he came over to me, asked if I was okay, rubbed my shoulder, cause he knew I may have shedded a tear, it was kind of dim, and says...oh, I know how you feel...umm....

Customer:

whatever he said was not directly related to what I just told him of the disappointment that I have in the relationship, but he tried to be compassionate

DrJackiePhD :

I see. And compassion is awesome---but is that worth the cost of the relationship? I guess from my point I am trying to answer your overall question (and if I'm not answering it, please let me know so that I can re-direct my responses) and am not trying to talk you out of the relationship at all. I do, however, want you to evaluate what is important to you in terms of the relationship. You already said you can't go another 15+ months like before. And unless he is an outlier of the "bell curve," he IS going to repeat that unless some external force (like counseling) changes his behaviors.

Customer:

makes sense...

DrJackiePhD :

So how can I better answer/provide answers at least according to research for you?

Customer:

Yes, I have seen repeated behavior after gentle reminders, reminders in main stream, reminders after the fact!

Customer:

wow...hhhh...umm...

Customer:

okay, is the suicide insinuators a manipulative technique?

Customer:

is that a form of being a controlling person?

DrJackiePhD :

Well, to answer you, in most cases, yes it is. I don't want to say it ALWAYS is, because there are always exceptions.

DrJackiePhD :

But, at least according to what research we have, people who have "threatened" suicide do so to "hang it over someone" manipulatively, like you have suggested.

DrJackiePhD :

And yes, that is definitely an indicator of control. I am not willing to "label" your bf as a controlling person just yet because I have not met him and know very little. But yes, manipulating someone is definitely a good indicator that he may be controlling in various areas and aspects of his life.

Customer:

okay...last question...

Customer:

is there a gentle way to break the news to him that we, or shall I say "I" need to step away from this relationship until he's better able to handle out conflict without threatening suicide

Customer:

?

Customer:

*our

Customer:

although when I confront him with that notion of suicide he says I have it wrong!!!

DrJackiePhD :

That is such a good question...

DrJackiePhD :

And I definitely think you are kind in choosing to be gentle. Because even though I do believe suicide is a threat, it is still a possibility even if I don't think he would carry it out. I mean, there is always the chance since he has mentioned it. So being gentle is very gracious on your part and a good idea.

DrJackiePhD :

And maybe you don't necessarily have to label it as "stepping away from the relationship." I mean, do you have to call it anything right now? Can you suggest without saying those words or using words like "break up" that for your relationship to flourish and be healthy for BOTH of you (stressing it's for both of you, not just you) that the suicide talk really is impeding your ability to move forward and that you need him to see someone/talk to someone?

DrJackiePhD :

P.s. I don't quite understand what you wrote by the last comment--l"athough when I confront him with that notion of suicide he says I have it wrong!!!"

Customer:

I can try that approach, but if he resists the idea of getting help...hhh...I need a break!

DrJackiePhD :

And yes, I think if you have been "gentle" in your wording and have laid all the cards on the table and he still resists, you have to take care of yourself and your emotional health/well-being.

Customer:

oh...I'll explain, when he says, you can have my car, take care of my things, I'll tell him those are things people say when they are going to hurt themselves....

Customer:

he says "no, you can just have my car", then he'll say, "you have my keys, take care of my items, you'll do good in life"...

DrJackiePhD :

Well, again, I don't know him and haven't talked to him, but it really does seem like he is trying to manipulate via threats...

Customer:

yes, as mentioned, it has happened on numerous occasions.

DrJackiePhD :

At least from what we know from psychologists who study suicide and suicide behaviors, people who do end up taking their lives usually don't "make threats" to others. They exhibit more self-deprecating behaviors, at least USUALLY, and they are too depressed to be interested in manipulating others, if that makes sense.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX you have been very helpful and insightful...this is very different for me to deal with someone who has so much to live for, yet makes threats when feels threatened (?)

DrJackiePhD :

I am so sorry for what you are going through and truly wish you the best--especially emotional health and happiness!!!

Customer:

what's self-deprecating behaviors?

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX

DrJackiePhD :

So sorry--behaviors that hurt oneself--whether it's cutting or writing things on paper about oneself's flaws==like being dumb or overweight or anything that is an insult to oneself

DrJackiePhD :

Sorry about that. Does that make sense?

Customer:

yes, it does...

Customer:

okay, I will let you go! Thank you for your time and expertise in this matter

DrJackiePhD :

Any time! Let me know if you ever want to talk again. :-)

Customer:

okay, shall I just log on?

DrJackiePhD :

Sometimes talking to a stranger really helps! :-)

Customer:

how does it work?

DrJackiePhD :

I think the system asks you to rate the session before you log out.

Customer:

Yes! It does help to talk to a stranger opposed to friend or family member!!

Customer:

EXCELLENT!

DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 201
Experience: I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
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DrJackiePhD
DrJackiePhD
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I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.