I am a controlling person

Pizza Hut rescued me from a manipulative controlling relationship

You don't slip into a manipulatively controlling relationship overnight. It's not like you go on a first date with a guy and he says, "I'd like to be with you on the condition that you obey all of my terms." That's why a controlling relationship is such a source of Can be shame. You give yourself to a deceptive lover, piece by piece, until you no longer recognize yourself. I was drawn to Devin * because he was attractive and charming. I mean, okay, he was wearing a fedora, which should have been the first red flag, but he was so agile it looked like he was the only person who could wear it. We met when we were both actors on the same show and much to my surprise and delight, he seemed to be interested in me. Such a handsome guy with a good job had never shown interest in me before. I fell for it. We started hanging out before and after the shows. Forget that sometimes when I wrote to him during the week, I didn't get an answer for 48 hours because sometimes he “just turns off his cell phone”! Mysterious, I thought to myself - but that should have been the second red flag. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was one of its many ways of exercising power over me. As things got more serious, his control intensified. As soon as I became his girlfriend, he believed that he had the right to criticize me constantly on the pretext of helping me improve. I even stopped wearing jeans after he told me they were "doing my bum a disservice". When I expressed negative feelings or felt battered, he told me I would "ruin our day." I later learned that this is a tactic used by controlling partners to make someone feel bad about their needs and to obliterate their self-worth. If I kept feeling unworthy of myself, I wouldn't leave him because I wouldn't find myself good enough for someone else - or even myself. He even withheld sex as a punishment, which is another common sign of emotional abuse . Withholding physical intimacy is one way of getting someone to do what you want. I did everything I could to regain his affection, put up with his verbal attacks - he told me he wished I was taller or tanned and he called me "too emotional to trust me" - and got his penalties in silence too accepted. Sex meant that everything was okay again. That he loved me. I accepted this because I loved him - and because he conveniently isolated me from all my friends and activities I enjoyed by convincing me to drop anything that I was “too good for” " would. Why do you hang out with so-and-so when you complain about them? Why do you work in a job where you are not respected? Why do you waste your time on improvisational theater? Let's sum it up: he was against the way I made money, he was against my longtime friends, and he was against the activities that gave me an opportunity to express myself.


I now know that all of his actions are viewed as indicative of a manipulative controlling relationship. Every last act. Constant criticism, conditions for affection, punishment, isolating someone from their friends and family, making them “earn” affection - these were all factors that kept our relationship going under the guise of “love”. I continued like this for a year even after I discovered I was in an unhealthy relationship. It wasn't until he was hired as an actor on a cruise ship that I began to see my way out. The time before he set sail was the worst depression of my life because I knew - very well - that this relationship was destroying me. He'd quit his day job and quickly spent all his money, so I let him move into my studio apartment to save on rent. I silently adjusted to his needs and told myself that was what I deserved. Perhaps worst of all, I almost stopped performing as he harshly criticized every one of my appearances and punished me when he felt "I could do better". He made me feel like I was only performing for his endorsement. Fortunately, I was still allowed to write, as that meant that I stayed home and "waited" for him. Writing was all I had that was only mine. Everything else in my life should be his. I should bow to each of his wishes. I didn't miss him on the days he was gone. I was absorbed in my newfound freedom by reviving old friendships that I had neglected. I went out. I relaxed. But I wasn't free. Devin required me to text him every evening and morning. If I didn't tell him when I was going to bed, he would call me the next morning and berate me. Ultimately, a week before I wanted to visit him, everything collapsed. I fell asleep before I said goodnight to him, so he called the next morning. His tone was totally flat when he interrupted my greeting to say, "Well, that clearly doesn't seem to work." He said it was over and then he hung up. I lay on the bed numb. I wasn't even sure what had just happened. A few minutes later he called back, “I forgot that you wanted to come next week. You can always come if you want. ”I told him I didn't want to come. He threatened me never to speak to me again and at that moment my attitude turned 180 degrees. "Fine," I said. I hung up and already felt my confidence growing. I wrote to my best friend Meghan and asked if I could come over. Like a real friend, Meghan said she had a coupon for Pizza Hut and that this seemed like the best time to redeem it. She wrote: “Come over. Let's get Pizza Hut. ”I put on a pair of denim shorts that he hated. I wore my glasses, which he disliked so much that he made me cry at LensCrafters, an optician. Even the person who looked after me that day had said, "This guy and his opinions are not worth it" as I wiped away my tears and paid for the glasses that I was excited about seconds ago. I looked in the mirror and knew I was damn good-looking. It didn't matter what Devin thought. Everything became clear to me on my way to Meghan. All the red flags, all the arguments, all the insults, all the times he yelled at me in public, all the times he left me at bus stops at night, all the times he didn't call me, all the times that he had called me crazy, all of his silence, all of his screaming, all of the times that I was sick with worry and pain, how I'd made him so dissatisfied - it was like I was a slave for whatever he wanted. Everything moved into focus. Fuck him. Devin had derailed my life and I had let it happen, but now I was free. At last.


While we were eating our cheese pizza, I checked my cell phone, which was full of his long and accusatory messages, calls, and answering machine messages over the past few hours. Messages begging me to call him saying how much pain I was causing him and how he couldn't believe I was ignoring him even though he was crying for me. Couldn't I see how much he loved me? Finally, as if my eyes were finally open, I saw how manipulative and pathetic all of his tactics were. My girlfriend said, "Ugh, just tell him you're at Pizza Hut." Indeed, it felt like the perfect way to show him I wasn't going to take his bullshit anymore. So I wrote to him: “Don't bother me. I'm at Pizza Hut. ”I know that might sound heartless. And really, he left me a message on the answering machine right after that saying that those were the cruelest words I would have ever said to him. Let me be clear, "I'm at Pizza Hut" were the cruelest words I had ever said to him. L-O-fucking-L. I am sure that when he tells this story everyone shudders at this sentence. Even so, I'm not ashamed of my infamous last words to my ex. I celebrated my freedom. Pizza Hut was my goddamn redemption. I was a phoenix rising from the sticky, cheesy ashes and transformed into my mature self. I was back and the red-towered roof of the Pizza Hut Temple welcomed me home. Devin and I never spoke to each other again. There was no contract. For me it was over because I knew the person I had become under his influence was not me. It hurts to think of this girl who lost herself to a lover who never loved her, but I'm so proud she broke out. If anything about this story sounds familiar to you, maybe a situation you are in or a loved one, then it is time to leave. There's a way to go You can go and you can find yourself again. Your Pizza Hut is waiting - I just know. * His name has been changed to protect his identity