Why can’t I just say no?

13 May

M called me on the phone this afternoon. Like an idiot, I picked up. Still haven’t told him that I’m moving and had it in mind to slip it into the conversation. Naturally, the whole conversation was about him and I didn’t have a chance.

Just one little tidbit from Saturday: he has been complaining about money for years, how he never has enough and needs me to give him more. So we’re sitting in my car at the bus stop* and he starts and says, “I should make sure I have some money before I get on the bus!” whips out his wallet and fans it open to show a bunch of bills. “I have a wallet full of twenties, so I guess I’m set!” he says with a grin. WTF? Infer what you will. I went from asleep to pissed off in about half a second. Wheeeeeew…letting it go…

Anyway. So he calls this afternoon. His friends in Olympia sold him B’s car. She got a new one and they gave him a good deal.** He made it back alive and had a favor to ask. Would I be the legal owner of the car? You see, he can’t own more than one car or he won’t qualify for the disability claim*** he has been working so hard to get. He wants me to put the registration in my name and add the car to my insurance policy until he can sell his truck. IF he can sell his truck. Lots of open-ended mumbling.

Here’s where I should have just said, “no,” and stuck to my guns, but I did it once before when we were still living together and it was no big deal.

Obviously the situation is a bit different now and I have many reasons for not doing it. For one thing, I would have to put my actual address on the registration and I have not updated that info with the DMV. The registration would have to travel with the car and I don’t want him to have it. And who would pay for the insurance? And what happens when I move out of town? Would the insurance company have a problem if there was an accident and he was “borrowing” my car in another county? All of these things were running through my mind as I was trying to come up with an excuse to justify my “no.”

Gah! These knee-jerk, make-it-work-if-you-can reactions are making me crazy! His reaction to my hesitation was predictable: the reasoning voice telling me that it was totally legal and nothing bad would happen, asking why I had reservations, what is the problem (increasing volume, hard edge to his voice) aren’t we friends? Don’t I trust him? and on and on for about five minutes.

I said over and over that it just didn’t feel right, that there was an alarm bell going off in my head that told me it was a bad idea, and he kept pushing. Finally he backed off and said he had something else to ask.

Srsly? He is expecting money from selling some boat hardware that will be coming from New Zealand. Would I give him my PayPal info and deal with the money and give it to him? You see, he can’t show any income and is worried that if any cash goes into his checking account it will be detected and he won’t get his disability claim.

Sigh. I said that the best thing to do would be to set up his own PayPal account and get a debit card and use that to spend the cash if he didn’t want to make deposits to his checking account.

I mean, really? Not exactly laundering money, is it? But close, right?

Oh, he was not happy about that at all. By the end of the conversation he’s fake crying and I feel like puking from the stress of continued “no”s. He got nothing, so it’s a victory, but damn! What an exercise!

Received this e-mail a couple of hours later:

I’m sorry about the turn our conversation took today. It’s obvious you are working on being reasonable and congenial with me despite our problems. I want you to know I’m very grateful for that effort.

There is no one I trust more than you to attempt any dual ownership agreement on a vehicle. Once I got over the disappointment, it’s obvious why you wouldn’t want to do it – the whole thing is predicated on the possibility that nothing bad will ever happen, which is a long-shot gamble. I went ahead and insured and registered it in my name and will see how things work out. It may happen that I sell the truck and problem solved.

Much love, 

He called again later but I sent it to voicemail. Imagine my surprise when the message was an apology. He said that I was right to deny him and he’s sorry to put me in such a position, that it’s his problem and he was wrong to lay it on me. The first message cut off (there’s a limit on the length of voicemails with my carrier?) so he had to call again to finish his apology.

It’s exhausting.

* Lest you think I actually did him a favor for nothing, I want to set the record straight and say that I did it because it meant that I knew he would be out of the house and I could go get some stuff without having to deal with him and his continued requests for sex. I ain’t stupid πŸ™‚

** I know, right? He can’t pay the property taxes or his boat moorage fee, but 6 months later he can buy a used car? And he has no job or legal income? And he had the nerve to lecture me when I came up with the money by working seven days a week? Right. Asshole.

*** I’ll say it again – dude is pretty fucked up physically from a couple of nasty accidents and I really have no problem with him getting disability payments. It’s not much money, so it’s not like he’ll be living large if he gets it. I do not, however, want to be involved in any illegalities related to getting that claim approved.


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26 responses to “Why can’t I just say no?

  1. Jenny

    May 13, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Do NOT do anything to help him!!! He’s pulling the poor pity me bullshit and you do not want to be in the middle of it…please cut yourself off from him and stop this nonsence! This guy has a screw loose and dangerous….get out of there before I pull you out of there!! Just kidding but lordy gal you got my feathers ruffled and I don’t even know this guy!!

    • Sofia Leo

      May 15, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Take a deep breath, Jenny πŸ™‚ Just a couple more weeks and I’ll be 70 miles away from his crazy!

  2. Jenny

    May 14, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Please stop playing this game of cat and mouse….OK you made him squirm….he’s not thinking straight, now get the hell away from him!!

  3. Awana

    May 14, 2013 at 1:32 am

    You have wasted way too many syllableson this garbage–instant response should have been “no”–however, I know how you feel–I was manipulated way too long by all kinds of people. I was happy to get to the end and see that you were your usual rational self–what an asshole! It seems that the stress of being responsible all by his itty-witty self is bringing out the crap. “…YOU are working…”; …”noone else I trust…” Bleh….don’t waffle!!!!!

    • Sofia Leo

      May 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      I know! Obviously still not free of his bullshit, and angry about that. His hooks are still into me enough that I waffle when he makes a request and I don’t know why. Never fear – I won’t be going back and I’m not confused about what a monster he is, just still having trouble cutting him off completely.

  4. bethany

    May 14, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Oh boy have I been there! I am so glad you said no and had your victory in the end but I know it took every ounce of your strength to go through that conversation. Then he has the nerve to apologies? It should really “read I am sorry I couldn’t pressure you into doing my bidding. I will let you rest, and give you a nice apology to break down the walls you have up against me and then I will come at you again, harder, next time.”
    Stay strong dear!

    • Lee

      May 14, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Yes, the apologies are just part of his controlling behavior. It’s the same old cycle of abusing, then reeling the victim back in by being nice afterwards. Not a particle of it is genuine. He has not changed at all. Every part of his behavior toward you has the goal of getting you back under his control.

      The real event is your ongoing battle against your own internalized submissive responses to being dominated by another person. Since you’re still fighting that battle inwardly, you keep engaging in it outwardly in relation to him. He plays the part of your old inner demons of self-doubt and a sense of personal worthlessness that are trying to drag you back down.

      You can smack me if you want, but I call ’em as I see ’em! πŸ˜›

      (I hasten to add that even though he is playing a role in your internal battle, he remains fully responsible for his own behavior. He is still guilty of all his offenses against you, both past and present.)

      For what it’s worth, I’m rooting for you to achieve a full victory . . . over yourself!

      Then we won’t have to read about him on your blog anymore. πŸ˜‰

      • Sofia Leo

        May 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm

        You called it correct! πŸ™‚

        It is the same cycle, and he claims not to see it. I expected his messages to be blaming of me, but the apology didn’t surprise me much. I know it’s all part of his act and by not responding to him I am taking back the power in the relationship. He can stew in his own misery. I’m done playing.

        What I don’t understand is that I don’t let anyone else control me this way. In fact, most people would agree that I can be a real bitch if I feel like my toes are being stepped on. It’s only with M (and the two men before him) that I’ve let myself be so diminished. That is the crux of my problem, and I’m working on it. The day I can shake his voice completely out of my head will be a red letter day for sure.

        Thank you so much for your support and words of wisdom. If I don’t write about M, what will I write about? My life is coming up roses at the moment – ho much Happy, Happy, Happy can y’all stand? πŸ™‚

      • Lee

        May 16, 2013 at 7:12 am

        My theory on why it’s different with him (and your previous boyfriends) is that romantic/marriage relationships go deeper than any other kind of relationship. We open up deeper parts of ourselves in romantic/marriage relationships–parts where our emotions and reactions are more raw and primal.

        It’s much harder to dig that deep and deal directly with stuff that was already being ingrained in us when we were infants and toddlers, and did not yet have the ability to rationally evaluate or even clearly see the messages that were being inculcated in us.

        The flip side is that once we finally are able to deal decisively with those underlying miswirings in our personality in the context of our romantic/marriage relationships, they’re much more likely to be fixed fundamentally and permanently, so that we don’t keep making the same relationship mistakes.

      • Sofia Leo

        May 16, 2013 at 9:34 am

        Another difference with this relationship is that he claimed that he wanted to know the “real me,” that he would protect my secrets and be careful of my hot buttons, that he wanted to be sure he didn’t repeat the mistakes of my previous relationships, and his, too. On the surface it sounded perfect – here was a guy who really wanted to start on the right foot with communication, proceeding with love and care into a relationship where we could both feel safe sharing our real selves, that dream relationship that we’ve all heard about.

        I know now that it was all a ruse to discover what would hurt me the most and how to use my emotions against me, and that is perhaps the most painful part of this whole experience. I will never trust like that so quickly again. Ever. He has taken my heart and shredded it for his own use and amusement and I will carry that scar forever.

        I am wiser now and well on the way to healing myself so this doesn’t happen again.

      • Lee

        May 16, 2013 at 7:17 am

        P.S. This blog doesn’t have to last forever. It has a particular purpose, right? Once that purpose is achieved, you can move on to greater things, and begin the process of letting that sorry phase of your life gradually fade from memory.

        I have an active filter on my daily conversation such that unless my previous life and relationship is the direct topic of conversation for some reason, I don’t talk about or use examples from that time time in my life and all the associations of that relationship.

        If, in the course of ordinary conversation, a great example pops up in my mind relating to my ex or her friends and relatives . . . I just zip my lip and don’t use that example.

        It’s part of my conscious campaign of leaving behind the past and moving forward to the future.

        Eventually, I won’t even have to think about it anymore.

      • Sofia Leo

        May 16, 2013 at 9:43 am

        You’re right. People can only take so much of my talk about M and his shenanigans and there will come a time when it’s all irrelevant. Hopefully very soon πŸ™‚

        I do see this blog as a place where I can document other interactions with people and my reactions to them as a result of past abuse. I need to make the connections for myself in order to heal and maybe it would help others to see how they respond to people they are not in a romantic relationship with in response to their conditioning. It’s a vague idea at the moment, but I think it’s very important to get the word out about how DV influences every aspect of a survivor’s life and how to see what those connections are in order to move on to a better life.

    • Sofia Leo

      May 15, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      I feel like my walls are high enough that he can’t get over them, but I also feel like I have to shore them up every minute I’m dealing with him. This is not normal! I am getting pretty pissed off that he can still have this effect on me. Very soon there will be more physical distance between us and I feel so relieved that it’s finally happening. Once I’m farther away I think it will be easier to just say “no” with no waffling. What I really wish would happen is that he would find someone else to manipulate and leave me alone.

  5. JackieP

    May 14, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Well now, he wants your help in defrauding the government? You seriously thinking of helping him in this? And when he’s caught guess who he will blame? Yeah, who he always blames. I must say he does come up with some excuses as to why you need to be helping him. It’s NOT your fault he was in these accidents and is fucked up. It’s NOT your place to be caretaker. He can do it himself as he as proven he can. He will suck you dry one way or the other if you don’t cut him off completely soon. I understand the feeling of needing to give back some of what he has dished out for years. There has to be a finish line somewhere or you will turn into a female HIM. Don’t go down to his level, you are better then that.

    • Sofia Leo

      May 15, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Exactly! In the past, I would have agreed to anything he wanted (legal or not) and worked out a way to minimize the fallout when it came, so it is a minor victory that I actually did not get involved with his schemes. You’re right about it not being my fault for his accidents, but he can give a dozen reasons why it’s now my responsibility to support him now – after all, he has “supported” me for so long. Not. He has a couple of speeches that outline his rights in regards to how much I “owe” him and he loves to trot them out whenever I try to deny him something he feels he deserves. Gah! He makes me crazy!

      Only a couple of weeks before I head out of this town – that will force my brain to make some new connections and sever this tie with him and his bullshit.

  6. Melanie

    May 14, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Good for you. Sorry it had to be so exhausting, but you did it!

  7. behindthemaskofabuse

    May 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

    good for you for standing your ground under such exhausting attempted manipulations. frig he’s relentless!

    • Sofia Leo

      May 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      He is relentless, and I am exhausted. But standing strong and not giving in.

      • behindthemaskofabuse

        May 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm

        i’m so glad you are but sorry, it’s draining you xo

  8. Jenny

    May 15, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Oh I so agree with JackieP!!!!

  9. Jenny

    May 16, 2013 at 12:09 am

    be thankful you weren’t married he could go after alimony!

    • Sofia Leo

      May 16, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Yeah, like my dad tried to take my Mom’s social security. You see, Mom worked (often two jobs) while dad just couldn’t be arsed to go to a job that he felt was beneath him. When he turned 62 he started employing relatives to get Mom’s social security number so that he could claim her higher benefits because he was a stay-at-home dad! He wasn’t there for anything but abuse, she worked very hard all those years and now he thought he was going to get something from it? Srsly? They had been divorced for the better part of 20 years at that point, he had even re-married, but because they had been married for more than 10 years he could go after her SS. Amazing! I understand that loophole is for Moms who stay at home with the kids, and here he was trying to take advantage. Is it any wonder I’m fucked up? Of course, he was unable to get Mom’s number and I hope that someday he needs a kidney or something and I’m a perfect match so that I can tell him “NO!”

  10. El Guapo

    May 16, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Next time, if you have this converation with you in the car and him outside of it, you can run him over!

    (Just kidding.)

  11. cowboylawyer

    May 18, 2013 at 8:58 am

    As you already realize, and as others pointed out, there are important legal reasons to not put someone else’s vehicle in your name, reasons unrelated to the unhealthy relationship you are writing about. Don’t do it!

    • Sofia Leo

      May 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Of course. I didn’t really entertain the idea. The more important thing is that I couldn’t just say “NO!” right off the bat. I thought I was farther away from his influence, but this conversation proved that I am not as healthy as I think I am. I’m still a work in progress πŸ™‚


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