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Extremely Possessive PP

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Blacktidesly
Blacktidesly's picture
Extremely Possessive PP

Was trying to navigate this one on my own but things are really starting to get out of hand. I have a PP who has gotten really possessive and has started treating me like I'm his in pretty much every way. It's gone beyond "I don't like the idea of you writing other inmates" into writing my name with his last name on the end and getting jealous over a close friend of mine who is a woman and therefore not even in my dating pool. I mentioned my friend in one sentence, in one letter, and he's latched onto that detail. In my last letter I softly was like, hey, I don't want to break your heart dude, I need you to calm down. The most recent letter I've gotten is honestly a little scary (was postmarked before my other letter went out) and I showed it to my friend and she has been telling me to "nuke" my whole thing with him because she is really concerned by his behavior. I'm starting to wonder if she is right and I should. 

I want to give him a "dude, cool your shit or I'm out" letter but I don't want to hurt his feelings if it was just a misunderstanding on my part. I thought it was cute at first that he had nicknames for me but... Things are getting dicey. It's one of the few times I've been really glad I have a PO Box. Do I think he would/can do anything? No, but it helps me sleep at night knowing he doesn't have my address. 

I don't know. Should I wait and see? I told him I wouldn't walk out on him but this... I don't like it. 

Jeanne555
Jeanne555's picture

Hello, sorry you are going through something like that, I imagine it is very unpleasant. I think you should remind your penpal about boundaries that you want respected. For example, you want to have multiple penpals and he must respect your decision if he doesn't like it then you will stop communicating with him all together. I haven't dealt with something like that but some members described something similar where their penpal wanted to be their only penpal. Thing is this is not okay.
You are an adult and you can make your own decisions, he has no say in this. Don't be too soft with him or he will try to manipulate you. I don't know him of course but it sounds like he is becoming very controling so he needs to be reminded that he is a penpal, not your husband. And even then husbands need to be supportive, not order you around. If he persists with this behaviour it would be better to find another penpal who will respect your boundaries.

freebird1
freebird1's picture

Sorry you're having issues Blacktidesly, and maybe my opinion might be a little harsh, but this is an old head on broad shoulders, and I have met my fair shair of manipulative people over the years. This guy and his underlying threatening possessiveness is taking advantage of your soft and generous nature. He (I think) is more than aware of what he is doing and how he hopes you will react to his pressure. You wouldn't tolerate it from someone on the outside and would distance yourself or break ties immediately. So, don't be sucked in because he is on the inside. It's toxic and your obvious anxiety and stress is not what you signed up for.  Forget hurting his feelings. Where are his concerns about yours? Send him that letter of intent. It doesn't have to be cruel... but it does need to spell things out very clearly, that his behaviour is unwarrented and unwanted. By all means tell him of your fears like you have on here. But if the response is more of the same then bail out. The trust is already questionable for you, and that is something you need to keep in mind. By continuing, you will always be guarded in what you write, will always be double checking you haven't written anything that can be misconstrued. That is not a healthy situation, so listen to your friend's advice.  Making a promise not to walk out on someone only remains in place if they play by the same rules. 

Anne marie HH
Anne marie HH's picture

Don't walk away from this guy --- RUN

Anne marie HH
Anne marie HH's picture

Don't walk away from this guy --- RUN

Anne marie HH
Anne marie HH's picture

Don't walk away from this guy --- RUN

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

Make it clear that this glass shoe isn't fitting your foot.

In other words: "I'm not your boyfriend and I'm not going to be. If you accept this, fine. If you don't, don't neither waste your nor my time."

Or more diplomatic, but clear anyway: "I don't like it when you write your family name next tomine. That's sth. for husbands and we're not and won't be. If you accept me saying "no" tno being together, fine. If you don't, I'm gonna stop writing to you. Your choice."

 

ST4s
ST4s's picture

“I will not write you in this box; I will not write you with a fox; I do not like this current track; You’ve really gotta pull it back” (with profound apologies to Dr. Seuss :-)

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Oh, I have to disagree a little bit with the other responses here...yes, it SOUNDS from what you're describing to be the behavior of a manipulative and possibly dangerous person, but I don't know what he actually said or if there was something objectively beyond the pale, and also bear in mind his last letter was before he got your "cool it dude" letter.  But most of all I feel like saying, please try to remember how different it feels to be on the other side of the wall, and have such limited access to people, such that you may be the only person he feels able to talk to at all--and talking to someone is a basic human need.  The dependency on his side can be huge.  It's not healthy for an outside relationship to be that dependent, but it's very difficult to apply the same standards and draw the same conclusions about a prison relationship, for that reason.

I remember when I was in college, I had a practicum going to visit with inmates in the state mental hospital nearby, and I had a sort of friendship with a couple of guys who were warehoused there for decades, for serious mental illness.  They ALL immediately developed crushes and fantasies about me, having a sexual relationship with me, having children with me, it was pretty overwhelming to have to deal with and calm them down a bit.  And not encourage their very natural fantasies about this 19 year old chick coming to visit them in hell for an hour or two of private personal attention.  They were coming from a very different place.  I see some of that in the prison population, not coincidentally.  These guys were not harmful, and unless there's some specific reason to think your PP could be, I'd hold off on getting too scared off just yet.  I think you could give this a few more letter exchanges, first, and try to see if he can get a grip.  It's might be he just needs a reminded and a gentle reinforcer about what is appropriate.  Many of these guys have been tucked away from "normal" social interactions for so long, or from such a young age, that you might consider them to be developmentally stuck at the emotional level of teenagers, who still haven't figured out how to date and manage adult relationships with the maturity of their chronological age.

A lot of what can look like "manipulation" can be immaturity, too.  And also, it can be manipulation.  I just am making the devil's advocate argument that it could be something else, and there's a reason to consider that in this situation.  I hope this works out for you.

mjuran
mjuran's picture

Also...I am thinking about irrational jealousy in my own PP situation (it's not an issue, I don't mean to suggest it is or ever has been).  But just as an illustration of how batshit reactions can fly amok when one person has such a large void to fill and such a small tap to fill from, a small singlel lonely chance tap that might be getting distracted with another friendship and stop working, I got a rather chilly letter from my PP at one point because I mentioned writing to someone else.  Then he quickly got a grip and acknowledged a flash of jealousy, and said it was a good thing.  But he is someone who's spent a full lifetime on the outside before coming to prison, so he's got more experience both in communicating and relationships, and in understanding himself and the whole dynamic.  Also we have started to build a lot of trust with each other, over the time, which I measure in letters, not  days or months.  I don't know how much trust you've built up with your PP yet, but this will be a good opportunity to see how the first speed bump goes, and whether it derails you or makes you better co-drivers.

mjuran
mjuran's picture

ST4s, I hadn't seen your comment before I posted:  I love it.  Communication!  Yay!

mjuran
mjuran's picture

About manipulation and immaturity (I am on a roll now, watch out!), I think they are related but important to distinguish between.  The first way any of us learns to get our needs met is by manipulation (Waaa!  Waaaa!  Someone do something to make me not uncomfortable, or I will keep crying!).  As we grow older and find other tools to put in our toolkit to get needs met, like using our words, for  starters, we hopefully cease using the cruder forms of manipulaton to get our satisfactions met.  However some people remain overly reliant on manipulation, for whatever reasons.

So when I feel pressured, or manipulated, I try to understand if it's the immaturity of someone who isn't self-aware and has limited skill in using other tools, but isn't nefarious and malicious and showing bad intent?  And could be willing to learn a different way of negotiating terms with me if I address that with them openly?  In that  case I will keep writing to them, if I feel I'm safe and still benefiting from the correspondence.  But if it's the manipulation of someone who is trying to get something out of me or bend me to their will for some purpose they aren't fully ready to acknowledge, then I run.

But that is just me.  

freebird1
freebird1's picture

Oh mjuran, what a wonderful in depth description and reasoning from a different perspective. And very timely too. Because I got a 'special request' mail from my pp last night. Nothing I couldn't handle, nothing serious enough to make me consider kicking him to the kerb. But it did make me angry for a while. Simply because he (in my opinion) had over stepped the mark. I sort of considered it from his side of things, but due to me being annoyed, not enough. So, I sent him a rather straight to the point mail, and went to bed. (This 8hr time difference messes stuff up) This morning the mail box was overflowing with mails. He was upset a) because he had upset me; b) he thought I hadn't written because I was offended; c) he thought it was the end of the pp relationship ... and so it went on. The desperation and almost uncontrollable despair in those moments he was writing were almost palpable. So, over my first early morning cuppa.. I wrote him back, saying nothing had changed, other than his inappropriate request was out of order and must not be repeated. I guess I'm lucky that this is a mature man with a rock solid sensible head on his shoulders and I know this is just a mere hiccup, but it does serve to demonstate how quickly even the most reasonable of people can, in a heartbeat get something wrong. Yet again, this forum, or more importantly, some of the people who regularly frequent these pages have taught me something and although I had sent my morning mail before coming on here, it served to remind me there is always, always more than one angle or side to everything.

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

Great posts, all of them.

@Mjuran: I do not always agree with what you're saying, sometimes I wonder where you're coming from (i.e. I don't always find it easy for me to follow your line of thoughts) but these were posts I drew a lot from for myself. Thank you!

@Blacktidesly: Given what we discussed on the other thread, I still hope that you remember that you have the right to protect yourself. (I fear a little that you might neglect this at times. But I don't want to maternize you, so, sorry, if I might come across like a wing-spreading hen). ;-)

 

VioletGrey
VioletGrey's picture

 

I'm not going to add to the advice given here, because it's a  lot and I know you weren't overly keen on being bombarded Blacktide, so I offer this instead:

If this was me writing this thread, what advice would you give me?
Or if this was your best friend coming to you with this problem, what would you say to them? 
(you don't have to answer here on the forum, just food for thought) 

ST4s summed it up pretty well somewhere else: do not tolerate disrespect. 
 

I hope you've gotten a more respectful letter in response to you softly putting your boundaries in place. Hugs for all the stressful times you're going through 

davey1800
davey1800's picture

You're scared of him but are asking if you should walk away? Walk away... he doesn't have your address and he appears to be a manipulative control freak. Walk away now while you can.

Liw from Scandinavia
Liw from Scandinavia's picture

Okay, my english isn't perfect, but I just wanna give my thoughts about this, just because I recognize this behavoir so well from work (I meet a lot of troubled people in my work). So I think this guy is used to being abandoned by people important to him and has a disrupted attachment style since childhood (which also obviously is quite common among inmates). This has made him possessive of people (and sometimes things) and that for sure is something worrying. This is the type of guy that can start doing things that hurts you or/and others just to make you become HIS (typical behavour in domestic violence cases). You gotta be very careful with this and not tolerate jealousy or possesion one second more. It has to stop NOW. You're not his and he needs to show you that he has the ability to accept and respect that (you!).

In the best of all worlds I would suggest that you tell him how you feel about this and see if he listens and stop the behaviour. I'm a firm believer in second chances and this obviously comes from being abandoned a lot before. But only you know if what you tell him can have an impact or not. If not. Run. He can become dangerous.

Liw from Scandinavia
Liw from Scandinavia's picture

Also, I want to say.. Mjuran, so well written and I couldn't agree more! That (about immarturity and manipulation) is for sure someting to keep in mind when it comes to situations like this.

As I see it the possessiveness is a form of survival-strategy for some people. Manipulation or not, it's still something that the person has learned to do (conscious or subconscious) in order to get things his way, when other constructive ways according to the person's past experiences doesn't seem to work or has never been learned properly. (When it's conscious - we call it manipulation. Subconscious - immarturity?)