Yesha Callahan

Are You Being Stevie J’ed: Signs You’re in a Controlling Relationship

Last week I found myself watching the most severe form of ratchetness currently on television. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m referring to “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.” This season, on a show that has absolutely nothing to do with hip-hop, the antagonist is played by former Bad-Boy producer Stevie J.  Still attempting to hang onto the notoriety he gained in the late ’90s-early 2000s, Stevie J portrays the quintessential asshole perfectly. Not only does he have a baby-mother (Mimi),  but he also has his side chick (Joseline). He seemingly has both of these women wrapped around his finger.  His controlling and manipulative ways, not to mention his contorted faces, actually make me want to vomit when I see him onscreen. What’s even more depressing is the fact that these two women are fighting over him.

In one corner, you have Mimi, the woman he’s been with for several years. Together they have a child, and up until recently, seemed to be cohabitating as well. That is before he decided to get her a house far away from his. In the other dysfunctional corner, you have aspiring, um, singer, rapper, former stripper  Joseline e . As the story line goes, Stevie J saved Joseline from a life of pole burns and stripper stunts by convincing her she’s the next rising star. In typical woman fashion, Joseline and Mimi bump heads. While Mimi has been putting up with Stevie J’s ways for quite some time, Joseline, the “newcomer,” is still trying to mark her territory, even though she knows about his relationship with Mimi.

With a bat of his lashes, some smooth talking, and broken promises, Stevie J is a master control freak and manipulator, but he’s not the first man to be able to rope in two women by using control tactics. In my 20s I had Stevie J moments and found myself being drawn to a certain type of man. Adjectives that I could use to describe them would be: arrogant, manipulative, and controlling. Not only were these traits fostered in their personal lives, but ironically in their careers, as well. There was the overly aggressive cop, the strict military officer, and the arrogant professional athlete.  All of these men seemingly shared the same traits as Stevie J. When things didn’t go their way, or when they would get caught doing their dirt,  they would try to “butter” me up and make promises that would eventually end up being broken.  These men were my Kryptonite. On the outside, I was the “strong” black woman, but in their presence I became a meek follower, hanging on to their every promise to do better.

Now that I’m in my mid-30s, when I look back at these relationships, these men were just as insecure as I was.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Carla Rhodes, Ph.D., a D.C.-based psychologist. I wanted to pick her brain on control freaks and what they thrive off of and how to recognize the warning signs.

What are some of the warning signs that you’re in a controlling relationship?

The warning signs range from the subtle to the bold and seemingly outrageous. A man may make negative comments about your weight or looks or may even dictate how you eat and dress. In most controlling relationships, there is either an implicit or explicit contract that essentially makes the woman feel as if she is a party in the controlling behavior, if not a partner, albeit an unequal partner. This “contract” serves as a point of reference for the controller, allowing him to refer to your complicity in the behaviors as a condition of the relationship should you protest (i.e., “We agreed on this” or “You know what this is”). A controlling man might make sexual demands that are uncomfortable and exploitative, whether it be demanding you engage in sexual acts with him at his command or compromise yourself otherwise sexually. Verbally or physically assaultive behavior may be a factor, as well. All too often in a controlling relationship, such abuse is often followed by a swift “apology” or tender explanation, like, “I hate when you make me treat you this way.” Other signs include a demand for monogamy while flaunting infidelity; uneven access to each other’s social lives (he has all of your passwords, but you dare not touch his cell phone); restrictions on your social circle and interactions; and a generally negative or misogynistic attitude about women in general.

Why do you think women choose to be in these types of relationships?

Women who choose to stay in controlling relationships may have a history of abuse, though this is not true for all women. Those with a history of abuse, whether verbal, sexual, or otherwise, may connect controlling behavior with love and concern, particularly if their early abusers were people who professed to love them (i.e., family or former lovers). They perceive the controlling behavior as an expression of passion and desire and are willing to endure the abuse for love’s sake. There are also a great number of women, who may or may not have a history of abuse, who feel helpless and trapped, typically for financial reasons. They may have children who require support or may have difficulty earning an adequate living.

Are the men to blame that they’re controlling or are the women to blame because they choose to stay with them?

We cannot really say that the controller is to blame for his behavior or that the controlled is to blame for sticking around. Controllers have typically been subjected to abuse, either directly or vicariously. They may have seen their mothers treated in similar ways and, instead of breaking the cycle, they are filled with guilt and rage over having been so helpless. They may be trying to understand or master the situation or even hold onto a wish that the women they are controlling will be “strong enough” to break free of what their mothers could not.

All in all, being a part of a controlling relationship isn’t healthy. When you see the signs, take note, and possibly think of an exit strategy.

  1. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    lol@ his contorted faces…I caught that too.
    It is pretty clear this show is highly scripted, which doesn’t excuse his portrayal of a controlling man, but it does highlight the fakeness. It’s really just bad entertainment (that I can’t stop watching!).

    • July 20, 2012 - Reply


      I agree his facial expressions and his total attitude is what makes the show. Although it’s entertaining it’s informative. You get both male and female perspective.

  2. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    The first part of this post made me “lol” so much that I had a hard time focusing on the meat of the article. I’m coming around to know the show is scripted but damn Stevie J plays the asshole so well that I would be hard-pressed to believe that he isn’t that way when the cameras are off. He seems crazy, I mean one obvious sign is how one eye is bigger than the other and that thing he does with his mouth. Back to the subject at hand, while he is manipulative I feel that there’s something in a woman that makes her accept the behavior and being controlled. At any point Joseline and Mimi could walk away but for whatever reason they choose to stay and actually fight over this man…..a man who wears sunglasses in the dark….yeah he’s crazy.

  3. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    Hip Hop Atlanta has become my favorite show…full of drama…Love it! But anyway, I don’t see Stevie J as controlling. Mimi & Jose. are choosing to stay. They are getting something out of the relationship that they want such as attention, time, affection, money. It is not the idea situation but that’s reality, nothing is perfect. You are always going to have a problem. Mimi and Jose have the power to leave, we cannot continue putting everything we do on men.

    • July 19, 2012 - Reply


      Jose? Shade! lol

  4. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    LOL at the photo up top! That’s a classic, ” I’m trying to mean mug, but it just looks like I’m secretly pooping in my pants.”

    • July 21, 2012 - Reply


      LMAO @Duke… I can’t even make it through the rest of these comments after your “secretly pooping in my pants” foolishness. Next article please. wait, let me scroll back up and look at the pic one more time… LMAO!

  5. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    I have to agree.

    Everyone plays a fool once in their lives but when will women like Mimi and Joseline learn?

    I can’t watch this show. Whether or not it’s scripted, I’m bored with seeing women play themselves silly men.

  6. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    Stevie J is a pimp I’m convinced. He talks to Joseline as if she is a puppy and she just obeys. I have no sympathy for the women in this situation at all. Stevie J makes it very clear what kind of person he is and these women still hang to the foolishness. No peen or cash is that good to make me stay through 5 babymamas, sex tapes, abortions etc. These women just have no self worth

  7. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    I have to agree w/ @Tami when she says that “We have the power to leave” and we do.
    I’m not sure how much of the show is reality and how much of it scripted but all of it is a hot mess.

    • July 19, 2012 - Reply


      Even w/the most scripted show, there’s still a little bit of reality that some people can relate to.

  8. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    It’s not discussed often in the black community but Stevie J is your classic textbook narcissist. You can see it in his empty black eyes and his lack of empathy and compassion.

    A narcissistic man is a man who has been abandoned, neglected or smothered to the point of abuse by his mother. They carry a lot of toxic shame and the womanizing is a cover up because deep down they feel like flawed and broken weaklings. When a man’s mother breaks his heart its pretty much a wrap for any women who comes into this man’s life. He’s unable to love women because his mother failed horribly.

    The abuse by Mommy dearest is the perfect storm that creates an entitled, selfish, self-centered and demanding human being who cannot see others as human beings. Stevie J will never TREAT any woman right because he lacks the capacity to.

    Narcissists such as Stevie J see women as OBJECTS to serve him. He’s obviously has learned how to choose women with low self worth who are willing to take his abuse because they do not fully love themselves. Any woman who truly respects herself would not tolerate such abuse.

    I won’t judge these women because I’ve been there. My narcissistic relationship was a gift and a curse. It taught me to truly love myself and God first. Most of us have met a narcissistic a*shole who had thunder between his legs. I’ve been there, praying for a miracle that this man would see my self worth. I’ve been dickmatized where I have blamed myself for not being good enough: sexy, pretty…”what does she have that I don’t?”. It all hurt like hell but I needed that relationship to truly heal what was broken inside of me.

    Nevertheless; every woman has her breaking point.

    Mimi and Joseline can bark all they want but until they truly walk away; he will never truly respect them. Men equate true love with respect. If they can’t respect you then they don’t really love you.

    • July 19, 2012 - Reply

      @Bump Mediocrity

      Everyone has “Mommy issues” to one extent or another (not to mention “Daddy issues”). But Stevie J is grown, now. Mommy isn’t to blame anymore. He’s old enough to take control of his life and mental health and make the necessary changes. At this age, Stevie J is a control freak and a narcissist because he wants to be.

    • July 19, 2012 - Reply

      @Bump Mediocrity

      I was always told narcissism is just one step away from sociopath. You are so true with, ‘every woman has their breaking point’!

    • July 24, 2012 - Reply

      @Bump Mediocrity

      Thankyou Bump you are the best in the mom is a mainley every man I encounter has been one or had there last bf..was stevie j..a marc..he was exactly him he now moved back with his previous girl before me..he are me feel like I wasn’t shot and she was better..I still strugle with that..he’s flying away to live with her and her child..I now realize few a complete narc and has serious mommy issues..I beleive his mom is one..and his father was one to ..his father was abusive..his view on women is screwed and he can never ever lobe a women..his ex is fooled and so was I..but I was addicted tobthis man..still am..a person thst always talked about my clothes and body..I thought he was more somatic turned cerebral narc..because he would withold sex from me and his other dcs .I beleibe it was a sign of control and abuse..God help me in this tough time..I was inlove with yet another narc and it was so clear..

  9. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    @ Duke

    Your comment is so funny. Thank you..(comedy is great!)

    Just to chime in real quickly; scripted or not, this is a crazy look. Sadly, some women do exist in dysfunctional situations such as these. And Lord knows this situation can evoke conversations for days provided that one has the energy for it. Even though MiMi and Joseline are both helpless (being fed kryptonite via an IV tube {haha –maybe}; we mainly discuss MiMi. I don’t like to see any woman “allowing” such disrespect in her space. But I do agree with @ Ms. Tami “I don’t see Stevie J as controlling. Mimi & Jose are choosing to stay.” Really, this is the bottom line. Jose may be somewhat more helpless because she reveres Stevie J as her savior.

    Now MiMi on the other hand, just say you want to stay if that’s what YOU would like to do– accept your choices, your life, and your drama. By Mimi words not agreeing with her actions, she is being an accomplice to Stevie J’s behavior. You expect more, but not demanding more. Men such as Stevie J don’t see anything wrong with their behavior because in the end it is accepted. Can you really get mad at Stevie Js of the world? He doesn’t have to change unless he wants to. It is up to these women to love themselves more, once they do this; they can face the truth and accept it. Until then, the Steve Js will have two chicks or more with the main chick thinking she is the “main” chick when in essence she is really the “main” fool because you continue to accept being one of many. And he knows you know that you’re not the only one. So these types rarely stop until they are good and ready. Yep, this show is a hot mess.

  10. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    This dude must have the magic stick having two chicks know about each other, abortions and still keeping both .

  11. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    Take it how you wanna ladies,str8 from a self “acknowledged” @$$hole. Women may not like or may not like being with an asshole. However lots of women are “attracted” to us. Any guy will tell you that bending to womens demands or being “nice” will get you absolutely nothing in the long-term when it all comes down to it. *iKnoThisGame*

    • July 19, 2012 - Reply

      @Gordon Blu

      I feel sad for those women then. You admit your “upper hand” is in treating other human beings poorly. Really think about that one.

      I’m literally repulsed by this kind of behavior and quickly next a man over it

      I honestly don’t understand women who mistake this for masculinity. No one is saying pushovers and doormats are where its at. Whats wrong with balance?

      True Alphas don’t act like this. How do people get confused. whatevs

    • July 19, 2012 - Reply

      @Gordon Blu

      Not that I know if you do/don’t have children, specifically a daughter, you’d be ok w/her dealing with someone like you?

  12. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    @Bump Mediocrity

    100% to your comment. The Stevie Js are well aware of which women to prey on. I’m not sure of what Mimi’s friend name is (the one with the nice stylish cut), but Stevie J would have never approached that type.

  13. July 19, 2012 - Reply

    He reminds me of my little baby cousin who thinks he’s big and bad lmao. I laugh everytime he talks. I pray real women do not let a child like this control their lives.

  14. July 20, 2012 - Reply

    Mimi allowed herself to be played out like this for years and them raising a daugther with this fool also word is Steebie yeah thats what he’s called online lol has more kids. Its appalling that children are being raised in environments like this, this man has no respect for women at all or his girlfriend. Then again people only get away with what we allowed Mimi is doing what others before her and after do thinking its got to be some big payoff for this crap somewhere. Nope dont work like that she’s worse than that gullible Emily B from the Ny show and I didnt think that was possible.

  15. August 16, 2012 - Reply

    Amen…. I just went thru everything u stated and learned the same lesson. Well said…

  16. August 29, 2012 - Reply

    This is going to be even more tragic when his daughter(s) are old enough to comprehend this foolishness and pick men just like him……

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