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Girlfriend Grossly Overreacted

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From the U.S.: My girlfriend (very serious, will get married) grossly overreacted at something I did, due to an experience she had with another man from her past.

I seem to recall from college there is a specific name for this and would like first to know if it does in fact have a name please?

And, how to deal with her. Very simply…
She was once with a very controlling man, the typical where are you and who are you with 24/7.

I am not at all like this.

A few days ago she told me she was going to attend what you might call an alternative religious service and she told me I was welcome to join her. The following day she expressed to me that she in fact did not wish me to attend with her because she wanted to have the experience to herself, to which I agreed.

As this is something that interested her I reached out to what you may think of as the clergy and asked if he would teach me about this event. I thought she would be pleased that I took an interest in this as it seemed important to her.

She instead became extremely angry stating she feels violated because I even wanted to learn about this.

During the conversation in which she indicated I would not be accompanying her, she did not in any way express that I should not even try to learn about it.

She won’t even speak to me now. During a text exchange she seemed almost militant in her informing me that “I’m done with people that don’t respect my boundaries, I’m done being told I’m too sensitive, I’m done being made to think my feeling are wrong”

Did I do something wrong or is this an overreaction due to the prior relationship?

Girlfriend Grossly Overreacted

Answered by on -


 I appreciate that you were trying to be helpful. In 20-20 hindsight, it would have been more helpful if you had asked her if she was okay with you talking to her pastor. From her point of view, you went around her to talk to the pastor instead of talking to her about wanting to do so ahead of time. The issue isn’t that you wanted to learn more about her interest. The issue is that you chose a way to do it that left her out of the conversation.

To avoid this kind of misunderstanding in the future, I suggest that you have a serious talk about what she means by “boundaries” in very practical and concrete terms. A discussion about whose point of view is right or wrong will not be useful. It won’t help if you characterize her response as “overreaction”. Focus instead on how you can each respect and support the feelings of the other.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Girlfriend Grossly Overreacted

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). Girlfriend Grossly Overreacted. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 13 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.