Controlling Behaviour – A Wife’s Perspective

September 27, 2023

Looking back, it’s easy to see the gradual changes, many so subtle that whilst I did stop and wonder from time to time, it was something that didn’t seem worth mentioning. Until I realised that things have indeed got to a stage where I dreaded going downstairs for fear of what could be said.

There can be no doubt that having children changes the dynamic in any relationship; given that the primary baby carer is the mother, the father may feel left out whilst the woman he loves gives her time and attention/affection to another human, even if this is his child. The mother herself is having to cope with a baby who is unable to communicate, demands a lot of time and plays havoc with her sleep pattern, not to mention the care needed, which for first time mums can be quite overwhelming.

Your social life changes, and babies cause a change in financial circumstances; nappies are not cheap!

In my case, the first problems started after our second child, a son was born; I am told that for some men, having a male baby can cause either cause psychological issues and / or cause unhealed trauma from the past to rise to the surface.

Perhaps the first shock was hearing my husband suddenly escalate an argument with 2 very close friends who had come up to spend the weekend. It was late in the night and he demanded that they leave the house. Within a short period of time, he relented and went off to look for them, but he’d ruined the remainder of the weekend.

He did apologise and try to explain why he had suddenly “seen red”, and at the time it made sense, so I accepted this. Over the next couple of years, he started to have temper tantrums at friends homes and made us leave early. Once again, his rationale made sense, but the events were beginning to pile up. I remember one of the sub contract staff saying “you just make me feel so small”..

Things got to the point where I would take the children out to events and get togethers by myself to avoid any upsets. Then he started having a go at me for going out and leaving him in the house, regardless of the fact that most mornings he was still asleep even at midday. He seemed to just want me at home. He also started to make comments about what I was wearing when I went out for meetings.

Looking back, my mistake was not having that honest conversation to try and resolve matters or at least recognise the problems. Which of course allowed things to escalate. I also paid heed to the words of my sister who said “you can’t leave him until the kids have finished school; they adore him!” – somewhat ironic when it all blew up and they spoke about how scared of him they were.

I know that it’s hard for women who are stay at home mums, and therefore reliant upon the income from their partner’s job to pay the bills, to stand up for themselves for fear of struggling financially. Because we have been emotionally abused, it’s easier to keep quiet than rock the boat.

But allowing things to continue and feel our self confidence controlled by others is horrible.

It scars us for a long time. It also does not teach our children how to behave and sadly may also set up a precedent for how they and others treat us in the future.

If this has happened or is happening to you, and you don’t feel that you have anyone you can turn to, please reach out here, whether in the community page or to one of us directly.

If you’re a survivor of such a relationship and are able to share any suggestions or thoughts that can help others, please comment below – thank you.

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