Dealing with Controlling Spouses
This week a girl told me all about her relationship with her 2nd husband. When I told her to give me a sentence that fully explains her husband, she chose: "He is controlling". She had all kinds of data to confirm in her mind that this statement was absolutely true.
What occurs to me when I hear a woman call a man "controlling" is that she has the belief that she can be controlled. This fascinates me. Whenever someone thinks that someone is doing anything TO them, they are getting rid of their power. When our minds think that way about someone other than ourselves, we have to be the victim of their behaviors, and we dont have to take responsibility for our own.
In this case, she was assuming it was his fault that she doesnt sing anymore. He thought that it would be good if she stopped singing in bars, which was her passion before they fell in love and got married. She complied, and, as a result, stopped singing altogether. Then she became resentful that she had stopped living her hobby. She chose to end her singing because it made him uneasy, and yet she found that he kept doing what he wanted even if it upset her.
Why is this problem the case for lots of ladies? It is this way because women like to keep their men happy and also keep them around. Womens actions revolve around those ideas and then they are not happy. Anger sets in and women then turn around and BLAME the men, as if they had something to do with it! (Gentlemen, you must substitute yourselves accordingly and see that this holds just as true in how you think about women!).
To reveal her beliefs and let her go from their hurtful results, we worked together on a number of levels: To start, we looked at her relationships with gentlemen in general and what beliefs she had towards men that would make her think they are controlling. Next, we discovered the way she sees herself as a victim and how she used it in the past and how it limited her relationship now. Then, we probed into the way her life would be if she didnt call men controlling. Fourth, we looked at how she showed up in the exact ways she complained about her husband and males in general. As she noticed how "controlling" she was in her thinking about what she wanted him to do in order to please her, the giggling started. Once we "get" how we are actually acting, it is hard not to giggle!
Her willingness to take responsibility for how she shows up in relationship to men is the key to her ultimate success. When she put all her focus into what her husband was doing wrong, the relationship was hopeless and she was about to end the relationship and move on. When she focused instead on how she was driving him away with her resentment and anger, she had the priviledge to see a number of options available to her, should she choose to be different. She changed from hopeless and powerless, to full of hope and power.
What an exciting opportunity to be with someone when they have the chance to dig deep inside themselves and come up with so many kinds of positive possibilities!
NOTE: Use of this article requires links to be intact.
Emily Bouchard, MSSW, offers a free ezine to help blended families. Webmasters! Get a unique version of this article at http://blended-families.com/cs/spin/?f=family_controllingspouse.php