Saturday

Silently But Deadly: A Partner Who Takes It All In Now But Uses and Abuses Later

You think a controlling partner is harmless when he or she sits back and listens to your complaints, nods and agrees with your issues, and seemingly acts supportive, right?  You believe that because he or she doesn't share your rants and negative statements about others to people outside the home that they mean you well, right? 

Controlling partners will get even sooner or later based on what you have shared with them.  If he or she doesn't like a certain family member or friend or doesn't like what you say or do, the abuser will not hesitate to use what he or she knows against you to get desired results!  To an abuser his or her requests are logical, practical and in the best interest of the family, but one should know better.  He or she is typically the only one who benefits. 

From the abuser driving you crazy for the things you said or did in the past by repeating them over and over again to physically threatening you or assaulting you, he or she wants to feel in control since you may have done something that made this person feel out of control in his or her mind, body or spirit. 

Confiding in a control freak is the worse thing you can do!  Making him or her your so-called best friend only gives this person ammunition to use against you later.  Think about past disagreements where sensitive information about yourself or someone you shared with your partner came back to haunt you.   A controller's personality is like a man paddling a child or a woman wielding a knife at a lover, in order to feel in control, an abuser must use a tool to get you to submit.  A silent but deadly partner will use mind control as his or her secret weapon!

1.  Present information in a variety of forms to get you to do what it is that he or she wants.  From pointing out a news segment to sharing an article that makes you think twice about crossing him or her.
2.  Reminding you of hurtful events of the past so that you won't want to do anything to upset him or her.
3.  Use distraction to keep you from thinking about what he or she has done to make you feel bad such as:  blaming your family, friends or work for stressing you out.
4.  Ignore you or act in ways that tell you, "You messed up...you did wrong...you better not do it again or else..."
5.  Raise his or her voice, call names, or stand close to you to intimidate you.
6.  Hit you with an object or his or her fists, spit on you, or throw things at or near you to keep you from bringing up any subject matter again that makes him or her look less than stellar, causes discomfort, or challenges his or her personal beliefs/behaviors.  

These mean-spirited people will make you feel bad when they are convinced you are in the wrong.  So what does a victim tend to do that creates more relationship dysfunction?  He or she scrambles to save an abuser's reputation or his or her self from being used or abused by any means necessary!  Those of you who are not in this sort of relationship reading this may recognize how someone has used you as a pawn in his or her game to appease a controlling partner. 

The victim will do almost anything to keep from having to deal with a controlling partner's vengeful behaviors such as: using family members' in ways to appease the abuser, asking to borrow money or find ways to get money to shut a partner up, go into further debt to meet the abuser's selfish needs, lie or cover-up things to keep a partner off his or her back, and/or work hard to make a partner feel good again about the victim.  He or she seeks praise and reward from the abuser especially when the relationship is rocky.  Meanwhile, the abuser will use the partner in ways to make him or her feel in control like:  take advantage of a lover's kindness, buy things for self but deny a partner his or her wishes, insult or hit the victim into submission, bad-mouth a victim's supportive network, convince the victim that he or she can't trust anyone but him or her, and more!   By doing these things, the victim is less likely to:  share personal family business, assist others without the approval of the partner, visit family or friends without checking in with his or her partner, and let anyone in his or her life without reaping some benefit for the abuser.

Consider the following when analyzing your controlling partner who uses silence and threats to get you to tow the line or do what he or she says:

1.  Has this partner brought up what you talked about later in a way that made you uncomfortable, nervous or caused you to wish you never opened your mouth?

2.  Did he or she harshly criticize you and others about what was said or done to the point where you felt like you had to hold back tears?

3.  Do you find yourself shifting blame after you told and received advice from your partner about the person or related events that upset you?    Do you hold yourself or your partner accountable for his or her involvement or lack thereof?

4.  Do you feel miserable after talking with your partner about personal matters?

5.  Do you feel an overwhelming need to want to rectify a situation such as: you lost his or her money in a risky investment so you wish to make him or her feel better, you lied to your partner about something, shared personal information, or exaggerated a situation and now you want to work to look like you are trustworthy, or you denied doing something and felt bad about it so now you work hard to try to be honest? 

Now that you have taken the time to analyze your relationship, does it look as healthy as you think?  Relationships like this that last for many years do so because one refuses to say or do anything to expose/confront/ the other.  The victim rather pick battles externally (with other people like parents, sales clerks, teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc.) then to expose a partner, face the truth, and do what he or she knows to be right.  A battle between two people at home ends up being a battle on the street--everyone is eventually affected.

Check out information on this site about narcissism.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate, Know Your Enemy: The Christian's Critic and When Mothers Cry.

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God didn't put you with an abusive mate. Your flesh did.

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