A sign of control: wanting to direct another person’s feelings.
My ex-husband and I got married when I was 24 and he was 22 (yes, I know, I know, we were too young). At that point I felt confident and comfortable enough to start writing my Novel. When I finished writing it, I gave it to him to read. His comment was that it was okay, a middling, barely encouraging okay. Nonetheless, it made me feel good. He had a habit of being very critical, so I translated his reaction as more positive than it came out of him. Then he suggested that I give it to a friend of his to read; this friend was also an aspiring author. I did. He didn’t like it. Then, my husband came back and said that, in fact, he hadn’t really liked it either, but that he didn’t tell me because he didn’t want to hurt me. That dishonesty hurt more than the bad press. Why did he withhold his true impression from me? Why did he feel that he could/should control my emotions? Was this an example of how he was manipulating me—so very long ago?
Now I know that this was surely a warning sign of his control issues. He felt that he could/should determine my moods, and that I was not, what, mature enough to handle myself. Or that he knew better than I what was good for me? At that time my reaction was hurt, and I did as I was wont to do: retreat into my shell. It took far too long to realize that when someone else thinks that he is responsible for your moods, that is a sign of an unhealthy person or relationship.
As easy as it might feel to hand yourself over to someone else or to effortlessly fall into having that person comfort you and direct your path, it is nothing but a path away from personal fulfillment and a path towards constricting of mind and personality. And that, I know, is not a healthy place to be. At a certain point in the marriage I just stopped listening to him—critiques and compliments alike. How could I trust him when, I finally realized, he was trying to direct me for himself, and not for me?
I have come to see that stronger marriages and individuals are made by butting heads rather than resting your head on his shoulder.
To read more about life as it’s lived by a woman who has walked away from an abusive relationship, visit my blog at www.rebelliousthoughtsofawoman.com.
More from love