Abusive Relationships/narcissist baby daddy?

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Question
Hi,
I'm currently living with my boyfriend who is the father of our 8 month old baby. I'm in my early 20's and he is in his early 30's being 8 yrs older than me. We have known each other for over 4 yrs on and off we have been together. From the beginning i noticed there was something that was off about him but he just seemed like an amazing guy. He was a lot more mature than guys i had dated. He expressed he had been badly scarred from a previous relationship when she cheated on him twice(they had separated for a couple of years) so he was pretty traumatized.

I've noticed he's very bitter and vengeful. Say we are texting and take a little longer to text him back, he gets upset, and I'm only talking about a few minutes, not half hrs + and then when he responds back he is short for the rest of the convo. When we argue, some days he puts pillows in-between us or sleeps on the couch. He is always quick to point his finger at me and ridicule me but he is guilty of the same thing. If i say that, he will throw that against me, it's like i can never "win" if you may. He is very controlling in the sense he rather i stay indoors than step out and go to a park, mall, see my girl friend, etc. He says it's cause he just is scared something will happen to baby and me. He always puts certain boundaries but if i express boundaries to him he oversteps them.
Lately things have been really bad that on the weekend he has come back in the early morning hours, 2-6am. Since we are not speaking, i do not voice my opinion.
If he disrespects me(says F***you, you're sad, you're corny, b***ch, you're an asshole, etc) I wait for an apology i never get cause he never says sorry. He always manipulates the situation and says if i hadn't done something to trigger that, that he wouldn't have reacted that way but if i apologize for what i did(sometimes i am wrong and other times i just apologize because if i don't, we will never speak).

He has always been one to ask many questions about anything and everything, sometimes i don't mind but other times it is annoying because honestly i have an intuition that has been on point and i feel he is hiding something so he points at me and holds whatever it is, big or small, against me when he is guilty himself. I have gone through some of his things and have found that he has lied to me about speaking to an ex when we were not physically seeing each other but we were speaking. Of course i cannot tell him i know this because it will backfire on me( i know from experience with him) he will hold it against me that i do not trust him and never gave me a reason to not trust him and therefore he "wins".

He always wants to know my whereabouts and we are in constant communication. Lately, because we have been arguing, he has been leaving the house and not saying where he's going or if he does, he is very general example: "going to Manhattan". If i follow the current and do not tell him my whereabouts, he throws it against me, it's just not fair. I just want an uncomplicated relationship, i do confront him with the "but you too's" so he can see that it's so unfair he points the finger at me and never admits to his flaws.

He has said that he knows he is complicated and that the best way to handle him when he gets upset is to treat him with kindness. I have tried this a long time ago but he still treated me unfairly so I have no idea what to do anymore, plus, i feel he manipulates me if i have to constantly treat him all nice when he treats me the way he does.

HELP!

Answer
Hi Andi,
Thank you for your question.  You mentioned in the subject line something about narcissism, but there would have to be some other indicators such as grandiosity and feeling "special" as opposed to other people to make that kind of determination.  In this case, the person you are describing definitely has mental health issues that result from feeling unsafe in his world.  People who control have issues with insecurity usually, which prompts them to take control of everything in their world so they are not unsafe.  Unfortunately, knowing this does nothing to make it better.

This man needs to speak to a counselor who can help him overcome his issues.  He is in denial with regard to his own behavior and focuses his insecurities on you.  Often you will find a certain amount of inequality in relationships where you have an older person and a younger person.  It becomes more of a parent/child kind of relationship than a peer relationship.  This also needs to be addressed with a counselor.  Unfortunately, you do not have the skill set to help him with these issues, beyond setting boundaries and being honest about how these behaviors affect you.

When you set boundaries, there has to be consequences that are put in place if those boundaries are crossed, otherwise the boundary is worthless. Those consequences must be stated clearly, upfront and then acted on if the boundary is crossed.  When you speak with him, you have to let him know that these behaviors are inappropriate and hurtful to you.  It would then be appropriate to work on a solution to the problem, rather than just arguing about it.  Ask him what he sees as the issue which results in these controlling behaviors.  If he can articulate the problem, then both of you brainstorming with regard to a possible solution should go a long way to solving the problem.  However, in my opinion, the issue that underlies the control may take more than a simple idea to alleviate.  However, you can try....it never hurts to try.

It some instances, individuals like this believe that people will leave them and therefore begin to create the scenarios that push people out of their lives.  When the person does leave, it solidifies the original belief and the person begins to establish a very unhealthy pattern with regard to relationship behaviors.  They don't see that they are creating the very thing they are afraid of.  There are some resources that might help you.  Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend is a very good book as well as Your Perfect Right, which deals with assertiveness.  Communication books like When I Say No I feel Guilty and Pulling Your Own Strings can also be helpful if you need ways to enhance your communication in the face of uncomfortable situations.

I am so sorry that you are caught up in such an unhealthy pattern, especially with a child.  I wish you all the best.  Even if he doesn't want to take advantage of a counselor, I would highly recommend that you do.  It will help as you decide what to do with the situation you are in.  If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me again.

Abusive Relationships

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Kriss Mitchell, M.Ed, CRC, CNHP

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding emotional and physical abuse in dating and marriage situations, however I am unable to give legal advice. Having had firsthand experience in an abusive relationship, I understand the feelings, the questions and the doubts we have as we try to make decisions about how to improve our situations. I am also able to address spiritual concerns regarding staying in or leaving these types of situations.

Experience

Having been a victim of emotional abuse for many years and having family members who were in violent abuse situations, I have personal experience on many levels. I have since gone on to become a professional counselor and work with abused women.

Organizations
American Mental Health Counselors Assn., American Association of Christian Counselors, International Association of Prayer Counselors

Publications
I currently maintain a blog at www.livingwellcc.blogspot.com. I also have links and currently written articles on my website at www.livingwellcc.com. You can also follow me on TWITTER @livingwellcc, or on facebook at Living Well Counseling and Consulting. My writings have appeared in The Good News Northwest and the North Idaho Business Journal

Education/Credentials
Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Natural Health Professional

Awards and Honors
Board Certified Christian Counselor

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