- Gender and Relationships»
- Advice & Tips for Women in Relationships
Is Your Man Controlling?: How To Avoid Indirect Emotional Abuse
Watch For the Signs and Get Back Control of Your Life
Women are naturally nurturing by nature. We tend to over look our own personal needs for those that we care about. This is a very positive and virtuous trait in woman, but can also hurt us in the long run. Most men are wonderful people but there are a few men out there who only understand the meaning of the word "me" and who also view women as property - a status if you will. So when is enough enough? Yes, if an individual is controlling another, such that it hinders the freedom and enjoyment you once had, and also oppresses your self expression, it is a form of emotional abuse. Let me give you a few signs to look out for. I speak from personal experience and would like to share what I have learned so that you may catch these signs before you find yourself in a 'hard to get yourself out of' situation.
1. Does he tell you what topics are not allowed to be brought up around him?: What I mean is: does he not allow you to ask him certain questions? This means that he's not opening up to you and he probably never will. You see, when a guy really likes/loves a woman he wants to know everything about her as you want to about him. If a man is placing rules on topics of conversation, then he's basically telling you that your opinions about him are to be only on approved material - What is he hiding? What is he not telling me?
Let me give you a quick example from my experience: When my ex-husband and I were dating, he told me early on that questions about our future together were not allowed. This was pre-empted. I had not even asked him such a question before the rule was placed on the table. It wasn't until he proposed that he literally said: "This now opens up a whole new realm of questions you can ask me." It sounds awful to me now, but in my youth I thought - "this is normal."
2. Does he not allow you to discuss your fights or problems with anyone?: I don't mean it is okay to tell everyone your marital issues, but sometimes it is okay to have an outside unbiased opinion of your situation - say, a best friend?. This would serve for both party's benefit. In doing so, you learn if you are being stubborn or if you are in the right. By not allowing you to speak to other people about your issues, he basically telling you, "I don't want people to know that we have any problems." He is creating an illusion on the outside to others that this is a perfect relationship, but doesn't want people know what is going on behind the scenes - Most likely because he doesn't want people to know how he is treating you. In the back of him mind he knows others would not approve.
3. Does he talk over you in public? - This is a hard one to describe, until it is happening to you. Basically, the question means exactly just that: If he talks over you in a social situation, or in a store when speaking to a customer service agent, then he's letting you and everyone around you know that your opinion isn't to be taken seriously. He's basically ignoring you completely. Now, this does happen from time to time in any relationship depending upon the circumstances, but if you find yourself learning to be quiet because you figure, "what's the use?," then you are not being treated as an equal. If you are in the company of others and have something valid to say, a man who truly respects you would also be interested in your opinion, not just his.
4. Does he not tend to your sexual needs? In any relationship, there should be a somewhat equal give in take in all aspects of the relationship. If you find that his needs are always being met but he ignores or belittles yours, then he is running the show in the bedroom. Does he tell you that what you want to do is boring? Does he act like his needs need to always be met to keep him interested in the relationship? This should never be the case. There is a give and take from both parties in a relationship. Don't let him scare you into thinking he'll leave if you don't abide by his commands. You don't deserve that - LET HIM LEAVE!
5. Does he punish you when he feels you have disrespected him or if you have broken a rule he established? You should never be chastize for breaking his rules (he shouldn't have rules in the first place).Here are a few examples:
- Some men may take privileges away
- Some may close up even more and refuse to tell you about certain things about themselves.
- He gives you the silent treatment. When this is happening, he's not short, he will ignore you completely. To him, you don't exist.
- Some men may lecture you as if though you were a child, until you submit to his demands or admit that you were in the wrong, regardless of if you agree or not. This may be masked as a lesson. In his mind, he is teaching you something.
- Some men will even use sex as a form of punishment. He will sometimes mask this by calling it "make-up sex," but if you are not in the mood (angry, sad or indifferent) and you tell him "no", then he is mounting you and showing his dominance as would a dog. Don't let him do this!!! This is a form of sexual abuse. Call the abuse hot-line and speak to someone. Nobody deserves to have their body violated. Yes, boyfriends and husbands do commit rape, but make you feel as if they have earned the right not to have it referred to that way. I am learning that there are a lot of women out there who don't realize this. Your body is your body. If you choose to share it with someone, that is a privileged they have to earn. On a side note: One of my rules was that I was never to withhold sex in my marriage. There is a lot wrong with that rule.
6. Has he made you agree that, no matter what your financial situation is, he is to be in charge of the finances? Take heed in the words, "in charge." Finances are now typically earned by both parties of a relationship, so there should be equal say. Is he taking your hard earned money and paying down his credit cards or buying that new computer he wanted? Does everything you acquire seem to be hand-me-down? A joint account is great for joint bills and expenses, but there should be an equal distribution of the remaining funds. Don't let him guilt you into thinking that his needs are more important. Carefully, examine the pros and cons of any financial decision you make. Don't allow yourself to need to financially rely on him.
7. Does he keep locked boxes/file cabinets and such (Does he lock you out of his computer)?: Depending upon where you are in a relationship this is a bad sign and he feels you don't need to know everything that is going on in his life. If you are married or are about to marry this person, let him know that this act makes you feel uncomfortable and see how he responds. If he says he'll let you see it in a couple of days because he's too busy, he may be looking for an opportunity to hide the evidence before you go nosing around for it.
Please do not go on a head-hunt through his things. Everyone deserves a certain amount of privacy. I am mainly speaking of extreams. If you feel he is going out of his way to ensure you do not accidentally get a peak, then he's most likely hiding something (i.e. making sure he is logged out before leaving the room).
8. Does he only let you consume alcohol when you are in his presence?: Why else would your man tell you this? He doesn't trust you to be able to take care of yourself. In certain situations, a drink amongst friends should be allowed. You shouldn't be afraid that he's going to smell that one cosmo you had on your breath when you were at a girlfriend's house.
9. Are you not allowed to wear your nice cloths unless you are with him? You should be able to wear whatever you want. He does not want you parading outside looking attractive when he's not around to patrol and reap the benefits.
10. Are you not allowed to have friends of the opposite sex? Yes, I do feel that being too close to a member of the opposite sex outside of your relationship can cause problems, but in a healthy relationship your man should address his concern, not demand it. You should have enough respect for him as well that you not make him feel uncomfortable with these relationships. What I mean here is that it is controlling if you are not allowed any interaction with the opposite sex. Here is my personal example: I was in need of a trip to the airport and my male co-worker was free to drive me to the airport on his lunch break; however, when I asked for permission, I was given the cold shoulder and a straight no without anything more. Needless to say I had to catch a $30 taxi ride. Please note that I knew I had to ask for permission fist!
11. Are you denied opinions other than his own? Does he ignore any opinion you may have that are not in alignment with his? This is not healthy behavior for a relationship. Your opinions matter and you should not be belittled for having them nor should he look down his nose at you as if though your opinion disgusted him. A man should respect your opinions and enjoy you for the unique individual that you are.
- You shouldn't feel compelled to ask his permission for everything
- You shouldn't fear punishment from him
- You should be included in all important joint aspects of your lives (i.e. finances, purchases, home moves, etc)
- You shouldn't be afraid to talk to him openly about anything
A few emotions you should not feel in your relationship: fear, anxiety & oppression.
Controlling men are very good deceivers and can make a woman feel sorry for the position that they take. They like to set he game rules before you even have a relationship with them. They are looking for the perfect 'victim,' if you will, and they take advantage of that nurturing female nature. It is healthy to set boundaries but not healthy to establish one-sided rules. If he threatens to leave because you won't conform to his ideal then let him leave, or better yet, you leave him! Ladies, he won't change, so don't wait for it or think that if you are self-sacrificing enough he will notice and want to return the favor. The longer you let the emotional abuse continue, the worse it gets. Don't reward him with yourself. You are a beautiful person and there are really great men out there. Take home lesson: Don't ever date a man who expects you to show him more respect than he gives you.