Thursday Thought — What do the following actions have in common?
*Your partner yells at you to shut up.
*You are trying to make a point in an argument, and he snarls, “You are such a stupid idiot, you obviously just don’t listen.”
*You say hello to a friend from work on the street and your partner immediately jumps into interrogating you about whether you are attracted to him.
*Your partner sulks if he doesn’t get his way, or gives you the silent treatment, until you give in.
The common thread is control. Your partner is interfering with your freedom to express your opinions, to stand up to him, or to have freedom to care about other people. The explosive outbursts that he subjects you to, the cutting remarks, the accusations, the periods of silent treatment, all share at their core his desire to control you.
Along with those behaviors comes a set of attitudes to justify what he does; he believes that he has the right to have the last word in a conflict, that his way is the only way — especially when the stakes are high — and that if you resist being controlled by him your defiance proves that there’s something wrong with you. If you stand up for yourself at the wrong time — and it may always be the wrong time — you pay a stiff price; he retaliates with name calling, ridicule, or physical intimidation.
Think back over incidents in which your partner has hurt you emotionally or frightened you, and ask yourself, “What was he trying to control about me in that situation?” You will find that you can come up with an answer for most incidents; once you understand that his goal is to control you, the behavior of your abusive partner rapidly starts to make more sense.
(excerpt from Lundy Bancroft’s When Dad Hurts Mom, pp25-26)
***IMPORTANT NOTE: While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’ See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.