Friday, February 5, 2010

Revisiting the "controlling" spouse

Over the weekend, we attended a friend's birthday party. A good time was had by all.

While there, I overheard a comment by another friend. Let's call her "Kate". And her husband "Lance".

Kate: I was gonna eat this. Is that okay?
Lance: Yes, that's good. You can eat that.

At first glance, and I must admit, my initial reaction having never met Lance before, is "wow - he really is controlling of Kate, isn't he? Even telling her what she can eat".

And then I remembered. Kate, who is pregnant, has struggled with several eating disorders over the past 10 years. Watching them together thru the rest of the party, I realized that Lance was a loving & caring husband. And I came to realize that it appeared that Kate had given him control over that part of her life, at least for now. What to eat. What a small thing. What a big thing. What an important thing. Especially when what you eat, how much you eat, affects the baby inside you as well. By admitting she had an issue with her own perception of what is okay to eat & what is not, and relinquishing that control to her husband, she demonstrated not only her love for her child, but also her trust in her spouse.

I have had a few (very few) people tell me that FireMan is controlling of me. I have also been accused of being controlling of him. And both perspectives have caused me some confusion, as I don't really see either.

Now I wonder if it had to do with whatever tidbit of our lives they saw at that moment.

When it comes to things that are very dear to my heart (my family, my home, etc) I can become quite passionate when asserting my position on things. I am firm on doing what I believe is the best for all involved. I can see where someone who might see just a piece of that might translate it into me being controlling.

Perhaps someone saw FireMan with me during the latter stages of my pregnancy, or while I was still in recovery. These were some of the most helpless times in my life. I knew my perspective was skewed, so I relinquished control of some things to my husband. So yes, there were times when I asked his permission to do some basic things. Why? Because I humbled my self enough to admit that maybe I didn't know best, maybe I wasn't thinking clearly, and I gave myself over to someone who was in a better position to make those decisions.

Which leads me into thinking about those spouses that truly are in controlling situations. Abusively controlling situations.

That is completely different.

But at the same time...

I just want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that no one can control you without your consent. No one can take control over you. They can make it tough. They can make your life miserable. They can make the decision agonizing. They can put you between the proverbial rock & hard place. But you still have to choose to let them take over.
I'm not saying it's always easy. I'm not saying it might not be the most heart-wrenching, difficult thing you've ever done. But you can fight back. And if all else fails, you can just leave. Scary, difficult, terribly hard... but possible. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
You have the strength, you have the power over your own life. You really, really do.

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