This week we are to consider the concept of control.
It’s all very well having control over finances or your pet, but what when it stretches further and your partner exerts control over you?
That can be quite frightening.
The joke goes that when someone authoritative says jump you ask ‘How High’, but sometimes you’re afraid to move, let alone jump. That in itself can lead to repercussions, yet had you jumped, it would not have been high enough or in the wrong direction.
I cannot imagine a life where we are afraid to think for ourselves or have to ask permission to do the simplest thing. I’m pretty independent and have been since my teens, but I respected the parental home and my friends were always made welcome.
Mum and Dad advised or guided, but never told us exactly what to do, when, why or how, and if we got in a pickle, they were always on hand to help us get ourselves out of it.
You see movies where partners, usually women, are beaten both verbally and physically into submission, made to tow the line or face the consequences. To the outside world, the relationship is seen as one of doting love and respect, a match made in heaven perhaps, but behind closed doors it’s one of fear and pain, a living hell based on secrecy and lies.
It’s easy to say ‘Why don’t they leave?’ as we sit here in our armchairs, confident in our own relationships and surroundings.
Ease has nothing to do with it. For a start, so called friends, even family, find it hard to believe and say things are being blown up out of all proportion.
Even if they did leave, where would they go? How would they live or support themselves? What would happen should they be found? Add into the equation family committments, well, you can understand their indecision and acceptance of better the devil you know. They convince themselves they might actually deserve it and their life isn’t all bad.
They have a lovely home, and as long as they ‘behave’, all will run smoothly………… until he gets bored, has one too many, or suddenly doesn’t like the way you look, your friends or the fact that you may be more popular than he is.
It takes time and planning to get out of such a relationship, and when your sense of self-worth and confidence are both less than zero, you need someone in your corner for support and reliability.
Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) starring Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergin portrays one solution for escape. I still remember the tins and towels.
Very well written post. You have described the mental state of someone in the situation perfectly.
Wonderful post. The true tragedy of domestic abuse is that if someone tells you you’re worthless, that you deserve to be hurt, that it’s your fault, often enough, eventually, you begin to believe it.
Knowing when to take control of your life is one thing. Doing it is never easy and there are always reasons to stay longer even when the outcome is physically detrimental. I know I stayed around far too long because of my children but life is what it is and we respond in our individual ways. I enjoyed this post Di, you gave me something to consider about my own world. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
As you know from previous posts, I stayed for almost 8 years, though in hindsight I should have quit after 1. But there were others to consider, and they were very young. I couldn’t do it.
We were so naive back then, well I was.
My rose coloured specs were in full bloom I think, coupled with my pride for not wanting to admit another failure.
Very much like that wasn’t it…
such a knowledgeable and sensitive writing on the subject. Very much appreciated.