Auntie Dote is HBI's answer to the usual, treacly, self-help advice columnists.

Disclaimer: This isn't an advice website. Yet from time to time we receive email asking for the Heartlessly Bitchy point of view. If you need serious medication, therapy or professional help, seek elsewhere. However, if you still insist on soliciting OUR advice, just remember...


All submissions become the property of HBI and by sending email to Auntie Dote you thereby give your permission for letters and responses (sans identifying information) to be published on the website. No emails will be answered individually.

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Ask Auntie Dote
The Auntie Dote for what ails you...



Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008


[Dear Auntie Dote...]


I have found your website, an eye opener. It has made me realise that my ex partner is a control freak. What was even more interesting, is that I realised myself that I am a control freak also, or at least the website made me re-think my own needs and values.


My ex partner is 6 months pregnant with our first child, she had been in total control in the relationship, and my gut feeling was telling me that there was something wrong. I didn't know what it was, or rather, I couldn't put my finger on it.


She had emotionally abused me, very much the same way as my father used to abuse me... To some degree I find it amazing that the list of things I hated about him and things I hated about her was almost identical.


However to my amazement, I realised that although there is a child involved, what she had done to me was the same thing that I had done in my previous relationship.


At the start of this relationship, I told myself, this one will be different. I will not be in control, I will try to have a balanced relationship.


However, amazingly that was not the case... I was controlled, and I really dislike myself for letting myself be controlled.


In the end I got a bit of my own medicine from my previous relationship, and it made me wake up to what is going on.


So where to from here ?
I will be a father in 3 months, and my ex partner holds all the cards, and is in 'control'.
It is quite a situation I have got myself into, and realised that I was manipulated, controlled and all my buttons were pushed.


So with that in mind, now that I have had both ends of the stick.. One - being in control, Two - being controlled, I conciously have to make a choice to be somewhere in between in my next relationship.


My only fear is that, as it goes, those who are controlled, end up controlling themselves and be manipulative.


I cannot forget this painful lesson in life, where the woman I loved, said and did all those things to make it all sound like everything was my fault. I actually believed her.


I guess in a way, my own weaknesses were exposed, and as these were exposed, these were fueled by my own lack of control of my feelings...


Its sad that as I write this e-mail, I think to myself, in a way I am a 'control freak' of sorts, by sending this RANT through, complaining and whining.


Bah, a painful lesson in life, but perhaps it's a wake up call.




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Dear W,

We're glad the site was eye-opening to you. But you are not very specific in your note as to what sort of controlling and button-pushing behaviors are going on. In that sense, it's impossible for us to judge through a computer WHO is doing WHAT exactly and to WHOM. So we won't be taking sides with regard to your current relationship. Just because you FEEL out of control, doesn't mean you're being treating unfairly. You're the admitted "control freak" remember? Maybe you just can't read other people's behavior any other way.

What you need is a damn good therapist. Without outside support, as you have evinced, you just keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again in different ways (and from different angles--sometimes as the controller, sometimes as the controllee). The patterns of behavior still win out. It's no wonder, since you say you are familiar with them since childhood.

Knowing you have a problem, and knowing how to fix it are two different things. It's analogous to knowing you have a leaky sink and then thinking you can fix it yourself without any tools or knowledge of plumbing.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to seek family counseling in this case, because even if you two end up going your separate ways, you will be dealing with each other for many years to come in regard to your child. What the TWO of you need is some healthy communication. The last thing you want to do is use your kid as a bargaining chip. If that's not a wake-up call to you, we don't know what is.


p.s. Don't email us from your workplace, we'd hate to think you were ranting to us on company time. Plus we don't like getting mail with those little legal disclaimers on the bottom. Just remember kids, as it says on the HBI website: if your fish go into our barrel, they are ours to shoot.


Copyright© "Auntie Dote" & Heartless Bitches International ( 2008
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