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Is He Being Controlling?

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From the UK: Hi, Recently I’ve noticed my partner has been really moody and down so today I asked how he is. I got the same response as usual, which is that he can’t really describe it, stuff is getting caught up with his issues and because we had been arguing a lot lately.

A parcel had arrived for me today, so I asked if it was because I’d bought something for myself (it was a new cat bed). He said yeah. He explained previously that he felt bad when I bought something because he’d lent me money to pay bills. BUT this was months ago, I have since paid him back and received a payment from work and will be starting a new job soon with better pay so recently treated myself to supplies for my hobby out of my own money which only cost like $30-50.

We are not married, we do not live together and we do not have a joint account and our bills are paid separately, all my bills are up to date. He buys food for us when he stays over but I do his washing for him and pay for utilities and he uses the electricity at mine for free so doesn’t have to pay as much of his own utility bills as he is using mine for free.

I do not understand his issue so I am here looking for help. He says his old therapist used to tell him it’s “neurological pathways”, he said it’s just like how I feel threatened/ have panic attacks over little things due to past experiences. I dispute this because I have abuse in my past that have left me like this. I have never used him or spent his money – in fact I have never asked for a penny and feel very uncomfortable when he insisted on helping me before.

He insists it’s neurological pathways, when something is repeated it becomes an issue just like learning to drive. When I ask what is being repeated (because I’ve not done anything wrong) he says nothing in particular, that’s just how it works. I don’t understand what he’s talking about and feel it is an excuse for control. He refuses to read this over to check I’ve got it all accurate. But does he have a point that I am misunderstanding? If so please explain.

Is He Being Controlling?

Answered by on -


I don’t understand what he’s talking about either. I also don’t understand why you are in this relationship. From what you wrote, it doesn’t sound like he is contributing equally to the practical aspects of life (laundry, paying his electricity, etc.). You mention nothing about feeling loved, cherished, or supported for who you are.

Instead of working on improving your communication, your boyfriend confuses you and denies personal responsibility for his behavior with his talk about neurological pathways. Really?

It may be that you are arguing more because you are slowly coming to terms with the idea that, however charming he may be, this relationship isn’t working for you. Do think about it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Is He Being Controlling?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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). Is He Being Controlling?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 7 Jul 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.