Home » Ask the Therapist » She wants to help, he isn’t asking

She wants to help, he isn’t asking

Asked by on with 1 answer:

Q: I have an unusual situation. I met this guy a couple of years ago online and it developed into something I never dreamed of, an actual relationship. We are actually across the world so money has been a big issue for visiting. The problem is, he shows every sign of insecurity and emotional problems. He’s possessive, controlling, an emotional blackmailer all across the board, threatens suicide if I left him, getting angry at me easily for small things, calling me names, you name it. I admit, I don’t help the situation. When I get angry it shows and I am not exactly the picture of calm and forgiveness. In a situation like this, it is easy to say exactly what’s on your mind so it’s difficult to hold back.

Why haven’t I left him you ask? I’ve asked myself the same question. I have thought long and hard on this. I really do care for him, a lot. When he’s not like this screaming monster, he’s the most caring person. He is the most attentive, loving person and at times I feel blessed to have met him. Anyone who meets him would think this. I am just tired of this Jekyll and Hyde situation I seem to have gotten myself into and I am ready to pack it and go.

The real problem is, I want to help him. I care too much for this person to just leave and not look back. I know he has a lot of emotional problems, it’s like an me. He even knows he has this problem, we get into huge fights and then it’s ok and then another huge fight and then it’s ok. It’s a vicious cycle.

I have no idea what to do in this situation. I can’t leave this person knowing he is unstable. I have talked to him every day, for two years solid and I genuinely care for the well being of this human being, I love him, and I can’t stand to see him acting out like this. What can I do? I have a feeling that part of it stems from frustration about not being able to meet, but what if it isn’t? Thanks for reading.

She wants to help, he isn’t asking

Answered by on -


One of the ways that controlling people manage to control good-hearted people like you is by keeping them off balance. Just when you can’t take the anger and manipulation another minute, he turns on the sweet side, making you believe that if you would just do what he wanted, he would always be like that. Or maybe he just turns on the charm out of the blue and it feels so good, especially in contrast to the bullying, that you fall for him all over again. This is the cycle of abuse. This is something you should run, not walk, away from.

You can’t help him. He isn’t asking for help. My guess is that from his point of view, he doesn’t have a real problem. From his point of view, you’re the one who should change. He loves the drama. It keeps you tied to him. His moodiness has absolutely nothing to do with meeting him or not meeting him. It has to do with something inside of him that you can’t change and you can’t help.

You’re right. Your problem isn’t this guy. Your problem is your need to help in spite of all the signals that no amount of “help” is going to be helpful. Please find the local Women’s Center or Counseling Center and get yourself into a group for women who have been in relationships with controlling men. You have some personal work to do so you don’t fall into this kind of relationship again. Once you feel stronger, I hope you get yourself out into the world. Get active. Meet some guys. Figure out how to have a relationship with a stable man who can be there for you, both figuratively and in person.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

She wants to help, he isn’t asking

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). She wants to help, he isn’t asking. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.