13th October 2021 at 10:28 am #132461RainbowHopeParticipant
I have joined as it has recently been suggested to me that my relationship could be abusive.
Sometimes I feel like the relationship is too intense, but recently (probably due to me talking about things more at work) I can see more and more problems in my marriage. I was telling a colleague how frustrated I was that within the space of a week, my husband had contacted me on (detail removed by moderator) separate occasions (detail removed by moderator). I did as requested, but made it clear I was frustrated and that as a grown adult he needs to take more responsibility for himself and that he is not a child. My colleague then said how controlling she thought that was, as even though I was not with him, he was still trying to control what I am doing during the day when I’m not working. I have not been able to stop thinking about this since. Is that a sign of him trying to control me?
Over the years he has contacted me at work many times over very trivial things such as what to feed the kids or how much money is in the bank. I have explained to him that I should not be taking private calls at work and if it’s urgent to text me and I’ll reply when I can. His response was (detail removed by moderator). When we first started dating I felt smothered. He could text up to (detail removed by moderator) times a day and was constantly telling me he loved me. I said I could not possibly feel that way after such a short time and ended up breaking up with him. He got so upset and called me to say he was on his way to see me to meet my parents (they didn’t know about him at the time). I panicked and said no I’ll meet him (detail removed by moderator). He ended up making me feel like I couldn’t live without him and we made up. I honestly feel that’s the worse thing I ever did.
I supported him through the loss of his mum and that was physically and emotionally draining. I have had little to no support from him after the loss of my dad. Even our (detail removed by moderator) year old has started telling him he hates him and now my husband has told our son he hates him too. I know our marriage is over, I can’t go on living like this, but is it really controlling?
13th October 2021 at 1:09 pm #132468Wants To HelpParticipant
The definition of a Controlling relationship is below:
• Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour
It’s hard for me to say from your example about him forgetting things (detail removed by moderator) whether this is deliberate control or not, laziness with an expectation you’ll help him out, or whether there is any medical issue that is making him forgetful. Did you have any plans on your days off and by having to take these items mess up those plans, or cancel those plans? Did it make you late for something or delay it?
One thing you can answer that will help you understand if it is abusive control or not is – what would be the consequences if you didn’t take them to him?
Do you live in fear of him in some way if you refuse him? It can be a fear of violence, or moods, of silence, a bad atmosphere, anything really that would make you apprehensive about refusing him something. If the answer is ‘yes’ then there is an abusive level of control.
There is a saying “Be careful what you tolerate, you are teaching people how they can treat you.”
If your husband does not make you afraid but just frustrates you with his ways and always expects you to do things for him because you always have then you need to start making him be more responsible for himself. I am having to do this with my adult son now. Obviously, I did everything for him when he was growing up, but now he expects the same from me and I’m having to tell him ‘no, do it yourself’. For example, my adult son was annoyed with me that he’d got no clean uniform for work because I’d not done his washing! I told him he was now responsible for doing his own washing and it was not my job to make sure his work clothes were clean. He just looked at me in disbelief! After a few times of having to get his dirty work clothes out the linen basket and put them back on he is now doing his own washing. I am not scared of him and I’m not threatened by him, and it would have been very easy for me to carry on doing the things for him that I’ve always done, but by doing so does not do him any favours in life – he needs to learn to be responsible for himself. But I’m guessing your situation is not like that?
There are Red Flag signs in what you have written about other behaviours, such as him telling you (detail removed by moderator). That is a sign of entitlement and not a sign of an equal relationship. The amount of messages he is sending you a day is excessive, the phone calls at work are for petty reasons and could be to check up on you or to try and get you in to trouble so you may lose your job. Whatever his excuse, there is no need for this when you are working.
The early days of your relationship had all the Red Flags of love bombing and the insecure and needy person who has set their sights on you and won’t take no for an answer. I had this too with my ex. I often tell people “I just ended up with him.” Looking back, I didn’t really make the decision to be with him, I just was! And the rest is history…
Lots of children go through phases of hating their parents and telling them so, but for your husband to tell your son he hates him too is a very childish and unhelpful response. Did he say it with malice, does your son believe him? If so, these are not good signs.
I think what makes us question some of the controlling or coercive behaviours is the fact we are now aware it is a criminal offence, and we question ourselves because we ask “Can my husband really go to prison because he phones me at work lots every day?” or “Could I call the police and tell them my husband keeps forgetting things and expects me to take them to him?” When you put it like that it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? And no, in isolation, these things are not criminal offences, but they could be behaviours of a controlling abuser.
The offence of Controlling and Coercive Behaviour is often different to the behaviours of a coercive controller and it can be difficult to separate the two. What might not meet the criminal element does NOT mean it isn’t part of an abusive pattern.
I would tend to agree with your colleague and that there is a level of abuse in your relationship. I’m sure if you look deeper you will be able to give many more incidents.
13th October 2021 at 8:27 pm #132486LisaMain Moderator
Welcome to the forum. You have done the right thing by reaching out for some support.
Yes this is controlling behaviour, you have told him you can’t take private calls during the day and his response was very controlling. He also sounds manipulative as he threatened to go and see your parents and you felt you had to see him just to stop this from happening.
I am sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad, your husband has not been supportive so this must have been difficult.
Take care and please keep posting on the forum,
14th October 2021 at 11:02 am #132506RainbowHopeParticipant
Thank you Wants To Help and Lisa for your replies. I think deep down I know he is controlling. I have frequently told him he is bullying people. I am unsure if my eldest child believes his dad hates him, but going by the appalling language between them when they are arguing I would imagine that he does believe it, which breaks my heart.
I have told my husband that if he doesn’t stop this behaviour our youngest will hate him too, but he doesn’t seem to care. My youngest hides behind me when he is being shouted at and has even asked me if I think daddy loves him. Since all the problems in our marriage, I have developed lifelong problems with my health, which my husband has just brushed off, even disbelieving me.
Even after all the problems, I still feel guilty for wanting to leave (or wanting him to leave). I just don’t know where to start, I feel like it’s me that’s tearing our family apart.
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