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Ask KansasTherapist Your Own Question
KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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My boyfriend says to me over and over not in a mean way but

Customer Question

my boyfriend says to me over and over not in a mean way but in a joking and sometimes trival way, "what's wrong with you." He says it so often that it is almost as if it is done out of nervousness, almost like a nervous tick or something along those lines. It's almost as if it is a knee-jerk reaction or someone who cannot stop clicking their pen. What does this mean?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  KansasTherapist replied 4 years ago.
KansasTherapist : Hello
KansasTherapist : The way you describe it, it does sound like a habit. In that case he likely picked it up from someone he's known in the past.
KansasTherapist : As to what it means, if it's a habit, it probably doesn't really mean anything, though it may be very annoying.
KansasTherapist : is there something wrong?
Customer: This is not what I consider a psychologically trained answer. I could have asked a five year old and gotten a better answer. If you needed more information to answer it, you should have asked. I am not paying $29.00 for that garbage answer!
Customer: What other information do I need to provide for you?
Customer: Do you need to know age, family background?, etc?
KansasTherapist : Generally, in a chat, there's some give and take to get to the answer you're looking for.
Customer: I'm asking a serious question and you're treating it as if I'm joking.
KansasTherapist : Okay, is this something he says in just about every conversation?
KansasTherapist : Have you spent much time around his family?
Customer: He is a 36 year old male with the most controlling mother I have ever heard of in my life. She literally goes through his trash at 36 years old when she comes to visit. We have been dating for just over a year. There have been a few issues in our relationship. He never started dating it until the first issues occurred. He has been saying it more and more frequently. That's why I sat its like it's a nervous tick. We have been spending less quality time together.
KansasTherapist : His mother sounds like a very difficult person. Do you get along with her?
Customer: Here is an example of what I mean. He will answer my call or vice versa and the first words that come out of him mouth are "what's wrong with you". Not in a mean way but almost as a substitute for hi how are you. He will say it two to three time in a row sometimes. I will say back, nothing, what's wrong with you? Again, I say it in a joking manner back.
Customer: I just don't understand why he says it. In a three hour stretch he will say it about 6-8 times at least. I don't remember that at all when we were first together. Sometimes he says it more other he says it less.
KansasTherapist : i'm wondering if his mother has a negative attitude toward you and his pressuring him.
KansasTherapist : What you're saying does sound pretty anxious.
Customer: I have not met anyone in his family but have heard thousands of stories about them.
Customer: He has a sister two years younger that did exceptionally well in school. He is probably the smartest person that I know but dropped out of college because he didn't like it. He now has a very successful engineering business. He feels like they gave his sister everything. He also still, in the back of his mind, believes that he should have finished college too.
KansasTherapist : Since this started after you had been dating for a while and after you start having some issues with each other, it does seem like he's feeling nervous about the relationship. If his mother is pressuring him on top of that, it could be adding a lot of stress.
Customer: She is unbelievably difficult. His mother is a very, very controlling individual.
KansasTherapist : do you think it's as though he's asking himself the question, "what's wrong with me?
Customer: His mother does not want us to date. We got pregnant about 5 months into our relationship and thought it was best, ***** ***** how conservative our families are, to end the pregnancy. Long story short, we had hidden something in his closet and then forgot about it. She went through his closet and found a bottle of pain medication and some brochures from the abortion. She said he was to stop seeing me and he said no.
Customer: They are still not on great terms. We did break up once too back at the beginning of the year and got back together. He said I am the one and only girl that has gotten him to go back on what he said and because of that he always feels like a failure.
Customer: Possibly. That crossed my mind that he was actually saying what's wrong with me?
KansasTherapist : My guess is that his mother has said something to him about what is wrong with him, or with you. In fact, his mother may frequently say things like, "I don't know what's wrong with you." He's definitely feeling stressed and uncertain about your relationship.
KansasTherapist : There are a lot of big issues in the past and present between you. His mother just adds to the anxiety.
Customer: So, basically how do I answer that question? In the past I have said nothing, what's wrong with you? Now I just say nothing.
Customer: Do I suggest therapy?
KansasTherapist : In your situation, I would come it and ask him about it. Let him know you've noticed he started doing this a lot and you want to know if he really thinks there is something wrong with you. Once the conversation starts, you may be able to get to the root of his feelings about your relationship.
Customer: I seriously think that she's does say or said that to him when he was a child. He was always a little different growing up I think in that he is very smart and I think a little eccentric.
KansasTherapist : Dose he have a certain topic he talks about all the time?
Customer: Thank you. I thought that there may have been some psychological quick explanation towards it.
Customer: Cars, guns.
Customer: He knows tons about those topics. He has a photographic memory.
KansasTherapist : does he talk about these things even when the person he's talking to is obviously not interested?
Customer: At times. I never used to be interested but now I find it interesting since he has taught me so much.
KansasTherapist : I'm just wondering if he has Asperger's. some of the qualities you're talking about point a bit in that direction.
Customer: Not sure what that is. He also is VERY sensitive to smells and will throw up if there is food smell in his house. That's why he doesn't like it when his mother and father visit because she cooks and it makes him sick. He eats at the same five restaurants all the time and orders the exacts same thing each time.
Customer: He's definitely not physically clumsy at all. He is actually very adept. He played the string bass for six years and the violin for 8. He is super sensitive to sounds as well. He can hear pitches that are amazing. He also played soccer dlgrowing up.
KansasTherapist : Asperger's is a developmental disorder. People who are effected by it are ridged in their thinking, follow certain rules they think are important, get fixated on specific things and don't seem to notice when the person they're talking to isn't interested. They tend to be very bright with good verbal skills but are not good at understanding their own feelings and at reading body language.
Customer: His father has displayed a sign or two of physical aggression. I think it was him taking his feelings of Imasculinity out on his son because if the way his wife treated him. With my bf's parents, mom wears the pants. The father basically has no say on anything. When my bf was younger, apparently his dad hit him so hard in the face that he broke his nose.
Customer: Oh wow, that's him!! He is very very rigid in his thinking. It's one strike, your out with him. If he gets pissed that's what he bases whether or not to be with someone even if they are the perfect package.
Customer: Another thing, he completely shuts down when he gets upset. Completely. No communication at all. I'm just supposed to figure it out.
KansasTherapist : That may play a part in his repeating the phrase. It might be stuck in his head, probably from his mom, that there is something wrong. Ridged thinking keeps him from processing and moving on. Instead it just goes round and round in his head.
Customer: He also doesn't make good eye contact at certain times. When we go to a restaurant, he check the entire place out as if screening his surroundings to make sure all is ok.
KansasTherapist : not talking about a problem when he's upset may be because he doesn't understand his feeling himself so he doesn't know what to say.
KansasTherapist : All of what you're saying points to at least some level of Asperger's Syndrome.
Customer: What do I do?
KansasTherapist : if he saw a therapist who is experienced treating Asperger's, he could learn to notice his own and other people's feelings. There are just certain skills these folks have to be taught where most people pick them up on their own.
Customer: I love him but he says he's not sure how to move forward in our relationship because "I" pissed him off so much. Now, here's what he means by's crazy. 1. We got into a heated exchange at a bday party and his friends overheard. 2. He said to me that we were done& clammed up. I wanted to talk it through and went to his house...I had a key and we had been together for 8months...he said I should not have gone inside. 3. That same night, I tried to speak to him when GE said to leave him alone. I sure learned my lesson when that happened. Haven't done that since.
Customer: Oh, and, by the is always my fault. If something happens, it was my fault that it did. Something I did made it happen or affected our relationship.
KansasTherapist : You haven't responded in quite a while. I'm going to switch to Q&A mode so we can continue this conversation if you like.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We got disconnected
Expert:  KansasTherapist replied 4 years ago.
We can continue. Just reply in the box below.

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