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Girlfriend Has Controlling Parents
Asked May 3, 2009, 05:16 PM
I joined this website just so I could ask this question. Let me tell you some backstory about the situation. I'm 20 years old and my girlfriend is 19. We were friends for a while until we both started to realize we liked each other more and we started dating in August. Things were going great for a while until about two months ago she told me she thought she has depression and wanted to get help for it. My mother has depression so I know first hand how dehibilating it can be. She told me that she is never happy at home and doesn't feel like herself, she also says she has night terrors at home. She told me she asked her mom to take her to the doctor for it a few years ago and her mom just laughed at her and told her go away, so I would have to take her in secret. Here is some information about her parents, her mom is the most controlling person I have ever met, she tells my girlfriend what to wear( my girlfriend is a very conservative girl, I'm not talking about a revealing shirt for a nice one I'm talking about don't wear the blue one it makes you look ugly) she tells her how to style her hair, what to eat, what movies she likes and constantly insults her telling her she isn't smart or pretty enough. My girlfriend is the most beautiful girl. Her dad on the otherhand is bipolar, he was never diagnosed because he it too proud to go but I'm a psychology major I know what I'm talking about. In his episodes he has hit her a few times. They have a bad marriage, they take turns sleeping on the couch and I have never seen them show affection for each other. Back to the story, I took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with severe depression and bipolar type 2 which is when you are uncontrolalby sad. She was prescribed antidepressants and told to see a therapist. Things were going good and she was feeling good about herself for about a week until her mom went through her bag and found the medicine. Her mom flipped out and told her she didn't "believe" in depression and it was all in her head caused by me. She would sleep over on the weekends so we can spend time together and because she liked it more at my house. That weekend though when it was time to pick her up she told me not to come and if I did she wouldn't come outside. When I asked her why she said because her mom would call the police and say I am stalking her and she is mentally ill. So I dropped it and we just talked on the phone all that weekend. The only time we saw each other was class because we made our schedules together, all that week she didn't want to see me after school. On the last day of the week she wasn't in class, so when I called her she said her mom logged on to her school website and dropped her from the classes. She still didn't want to see me for the next week, I gave her a million chances to say she didn't love me anymore, I said if you don't just please be honest with me no hard feelings. Every time I said that she said she loves me so much and wants to spend her life with me but doesn't know how. So we talked on the phone and I supported her and let her know how much I love her. Her mom took away her phone and her computer just so I couldn't talk to her. The last time I heard from her was 5 days ago when she stole her sisters phone just to say she loves me and misses me, she said she wanted to arrange a meeting for us to meet without her mom knowing but her mom found out she took the phone and we didn't have time to arrange anything. I am not a bad kid, I'm responsible, I don't drink, I don't do drugs etc. I always treated her parents with respect, I tried talking to the parents, I left them flowers on there door, I emailed her dad saying sorry for doing it behind there back I just wanted his daughter happy, I invited them over my house so they could eat dinner with me and my family but every time I reached out to them they either ignored me or told me I can never see there daughter again. My friends and family tell me I should move on because they don't like seeing me unhappy. I really love the girl and I know she loves me. I don't think she would message me every chance she gets telling me how much she loves me and misses me, and risk getting in trouble if she didn't mean it. She is so terrified of her parents that she can't stand up to them. She's told me many times that I make her stronger and give her the courage to stand up to her parents, I also think that is why they don't like me because I encourage her to think for her own. My parents want her to move in and my girlfriend want too as well but she is afraid her parents will hurt me or her. She has also been talking about suicide lately, I don't think she would ever go through with it but things must be really bad for her to even talk about it. She doesn't take care of herself when she's at that house, she doesn't eat and now she's cut off from the world. I don't think she can ever overcome her depression while living there. I don't want to live my life also wondering what could of been if she just knew how to stand up to her parents. I don't know what to do, I really see myself spending my life with her but with her depression and controlling parents she doesn't know how to be with me. Any advice or opinions on the matter would be really appreciated.
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May 3, 2009, 05:43 PM
Well I ended up in a situation where a mother was really controlling and other family members of my girlfriend at the time. It does not matter how much you try, nothing will change her parents. It is a long hard battle believe me. I have been through it myself. You can do your best to convince your girlfriend to move in but if she is not willing to make a decision on her own, and you keep pushing for her to make a decision it might back fire. There is no such thing as the word can't. She can tell her parents, she can speak up to her parents and she can move out IF SHE REALLY WANTED TO. It is hard, because she was brought up in such a controlling environment and believe me, the parents for a long time will view you as the bad guy and blame you for all the GOOD CHANGES she is making. Especially starting to think for herself and standing up to her parents. I am sorry to say this but SHE HAS TO BE THE ONLY ONE TO MAKE THE DECISION TO MOVE OUT. Only her, but I agree as long as she is there under those influences she will NOT GET BETTER.
It is not up to you to make those changes though. It has to be her that finally stands up to them on her own. I know this situation Is tough and believe me I have some really good stories to share about my experience. Let me tell you it is very hard and trying and there were times where it almost came to breaking up over family causing so much stress on the relationship.
So just to let you know there is no guarantees here either way. You two might not end up together or you might. It just depends on how much you want to go through. Eventually it will go one way or another.
You just have to be careful on how much you pull. You need to encourage her to always speak up and to make decisions based on what makes her happy but you can not make the decisions for her. It might take years for her to finally stand up to them depending on her mental state.
Each situation is different but I have hope for you that it could work out eventually, you have already did your best to impress what is important but it is up to her to start taking the steps of living her own life.
Another thing I would like to mention is that because she is so used to the control... I bet it is scary for her, whether she tells you this or not. She is probably scared of making her own decisions. People who are brought up in the environment are not really self reliant, not really used to making there own decisions so now maybe they are afraid of making any decisions without the approval of their parents. Low self esteem and etc... This is what you have to work with.
Well after 5 years of marriage, my wife's family is coming around, some sooner then others. Also have a child, which changed things as well. I think everybody adjusts to change very differently especially parents. Parents with there own problems always projecting them on their children which is not good, but happens a lot. Just know that no matter what you do, it will not change.
I think truth needs to be spoken. I Would not go as far as sending flowers and phone calls and emails and whatever because honestly it probably makes them want to hold on to their daughter even more.
Hard situation, it is up to you how long you decide to wait it out for. How long you decide to go through it. I know a lot of people told me they are surprised I stuck through everything but in my case it worked out for the best. Wife and Child now. Very happy little family unit.
LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, but remember that after a certain amount of time, you may need to get out of the situation because you might find yourself getting very caught up in anger and control and be the same as her parents which I know you do not want to do.
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May 3, 2009, 06:01 PM
That's really sad and I can definitely see where the depression comes from. I commend you on your efforts to try and help her out. It sounds as if your parents are willing to as well. It would be a better situation for her. Getting your girlfriend to feel safe to do so seems to be the barrier to that solution.
But I have a question for you to consider. Knowing that this girl has a lot to go through, are you able to handle it and be able to separate yourself emotionally if need be for her benefit? Have you considered that if she does accept the invitation, and gets through her struggles with her esteem and depression, she may decide later that she no longer wants to be with you? Have you considered her love for you may be based on you reaching out to her and trying to help her out of her situation?
I wouldn't want to tell anybody not to help someone else out. But you would have to be prepared for these things to be an issue and if you would be able to handle the outcome.
My suggestion would be that if you and your parents accept this responsibility, that you put off trying to have a relationship with her until she gets through it.
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Family & People Expert
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May 3, 2009, 06:21 PM
Good advice so far, but there's one problem that we are overlooking, he hasn't been able to reach his girlfriend and without any means of communication nothing matters.
Part of me thinks that you should call the police. This is insane control. It's not physical abuse, but it's emotional abuse. But there's nothing the police can do for emotional abuse. Your girlfriend has to want to leave her family on her own to get out.
There's not much else you can do. One thing you should know is that I think that she really does love you, but she's not strong enough to leave her family to be with you. So you don't need to give her extra pressure by asking her if she loves you or not.
I know you want to help her and you've offered almost everything you can. You even let her move in with you. In an ideal world, that will probably happen, but things aren't always ideal. But again, she has to WANT to leave. She's over 18, she's an adult, her parents can't force her to stay at home. She can get a restraining order if she's that fearful of them.
If you can be patient with her, then continue supporting her, from a distance if you have to (such as phone or email). Your other choice is to leave her alone and move on with your life.
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May 3, 2009, 06:51 PM
You're in a very difficult and complicated situation, and I really feel for you.
I agree with the other posters, that your girlfriend has to make the decision to leave. I expect that this will be extraordinarily difficult for her, because in effect she will lose her family. Even if they are controlling and seemingly psychotic, they are still her family and I'm sure that the thought of leaving them will be hard for her. And remember, she's used to being dependent.
I would not be taking responsibility for this alone if I were you - it's too complex and she requires more support than you alone can provide. Is there someone at the school (a counsellor/social worker) that you can talk to about this? What about the doctor that you saw? Have your parents got any advice? If other people are aware of what is happening, to her then perhaps they can act together to assist her.
In the end it's up to her. She needs to break free from her family's control and to begin the process of finding herself and living her own life. You can facilitate this, but you can't do it for her.
There is nothing worse that being put in the situation of 'rescuer'.
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May 3, 2009, 08:23 PM
I'm going to take this statement and run with it:
My parents want her to move in and my girlfriend want too as well but she is afraid her parents will hurt me or her. She has also been talking about suicide lately, I don't think she would ever go through with it but things must be really bad for her to even talk about it. She doesn't take care of herself when she's at that house, she doesn't eat and now she's cut off from the world.
In order to heal she has to get away from the situation. In order for her parents to accept her she has to separate.
Parents were likely paying for school, hence the control. They took that away. They don't want her to leave.
She is 19. She can legally leave.
She has to have a easy to grab get away package ready to be used at a moments notice. Basically a tornado kit. Important papers etc.
If there was some way for her to read some books on living with emotional abuse great. I can find a few titles, if needed. This will re-inforce that it's not what you think, your parent's think, but what professionals think is best.
This case is very severe.
Have restraining order paperwork in the works or have it.
Just set the terms. It doesn't have to be an all out no contact. E.g. Face to face meetings must occur in a public place with xyz within range.
Show up with a U-haul and the police to collect her stuff. Serve the restraining order at the same time.
That will break it.
The relationship may not survive. Be prepared for that.
Now, therapy. Both psychological and psychiatric.
She needs to get out of prison. She needs a plan.
She needs to want to do it and know what the possible consequences are; hence the books.
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Jan 14, 2011, 02:12 AM
Oh yes, they are so B.S..... People who are abused, sexually abused, witnessed murders, been to war, they definitely do not need to talk to anyone, and they must not at all ever get tramatized by these such events. They just live the rest of there life like nothing ever happened and are always completely normal after witnessing or going through such events. Yes, depressed people, what a made up disease! I can't believe people actually think they are sick and need help when they feel so down. What are these therapists thinking when they want to help people? What a joke!
(whole post very sarcastic)
Edited - sorry I quoted annon's post, but I see its been removed
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