How many of us know the difference between a controlling and “needy” partner? ….I will give you a minute to think about it…….5,4,3,2,1…..There is NO such thing as needy in a relationship between a man and a woman. Children and pets are needy….spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends are not. Long term boyfriends and girlfriends in my mind are actually the watering hole where seeds are planted to grow what your future may look like. We have all heard about the perfect partner who gets married and turns in to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde….but for the most part….people exhibit warning behaviors prior to marriage.
Let’s start with a few examples………..feel free to pause & reflect during these….if you have experienced one or more….then you either are at peace with the way you live, a happy co-dependent or on the edge of divorce.
Example Number One: Girls Night OUT or IN The girls have made plans. Doesn’t matter what the plans are….it could be a milestone birthday, just a birthday, dinner, a movie, shopping….even something as simple as scrapbooking.
Inevitably, somebody in the group…usually the same suspect(s)….will end up not being able to go and if they do go…not staying for longer than a couple of hours. Why do you ask? Because the husband or boyfriend has gotten into their head……who knows what they say…but its the trigger that paralyzes them into not going to keep the peace…or staying just long enough to get back home at what the husband or boyfriend believes is a reasonable time. Um…the only person(s) that controlled my goings and comings like that…..were MY PARENTS!!!
Example Number Two: Girls Vacation Trip One thing I love to do….is TRAVEL!!! Especially with my girls. From the adventurous plane rides, to the people watching together, to the family style sleeping, to the belly aching laughter, faces hurting from smiling after my “we are in Hawaii” picture-taking and tears from our heart-felt confessions.
Once again……there’s the friend you invite….who hems and haws….because she is trying to figure out the best way to ask her husband or boyfriend to go. Um…..screeching car hault!!!…are you kidding me?? The only person I have EVER asked permission to do something from is…..MY PARENTS!!! (are you getting the common theme here?) When you are married or in a long-term relationship your “permission” questions are framed differently. Its not…can I go? Its…..the girls and I are planning a vacation in yatta yatta….what does your calendar look like so I can plan daycare or after school activities accordingly? See the difference???
Now the only person not agreeing with the above right now…..is the CONTROLLING husband or boyfriend.
Example Number Three: Power in Words This example is more for those who have experienced the feeling of being guilted, pushed around, made to feel less than, made to feel like they should change, made to feel like they should distance themselves from the friends they hold dear, made to feel like the only time spent should be the two of you….the jealous man who starts fights in bars, accuses you of cheating, accuses you of flirting, accuses you of caring more about your friends than him……that man is an insecure man, a man with his own demons or secrets he’s fighting…..a controlling man, a man who goes from passive-aggressive to aggressive with no in between …..there are key words and phrases that should make you pause, reflect and turn those words into an action plan. As always with men and women…there is a bit of a double standard….why you ask?…because men are considered the head of the household who should hold their wives in the highest regard and treat them better than they would treat themselves.
To control another human being who you did not give birth to, who is not your blood relative, who is an adult just like you….whether you are a man or a woman says that you are insecure and feel a loss of power when you don’t get your way. Many of us deal with the rules of engagement in relationships (see 3, 90, 1 year Rules of Engagement blog)….there are deal breakers and I can live withs………many of us live with the not so bads for our children, for financial stability and for appearance.
For those who have made the choice to deal with the deal breakers thru divorce, I commend you for the strength and courage that it took to take that step. For those who continue to live with insanity……your day will come. If you’re not married….don’t DO IT…getting married will not change the behavior. For those living with the not so bads….maybe someday…it will get so good that you will thank yourself for staying. To the husbands who are controlling…..own it…..and fix it….or you will lose half of everything you have built. Whether that’s thru divorce or thru dissociative behavior from your wife. Boyfriends….will become inconsequential.
Here’s to realizing the difference between controlling and needy……to understanding the neuro linguistic programming associated with why we act the way we do….to understanding the goal, the feelings and the behavior associated with how we communicate. Let go….let live….let love…..let’s CHEERS!!!