Under his thumb

This has been on my mind a lot lately….

Most of my friends are childless by choice or circumstance. They are either single or independently committed to someone. When I say independently committed, I mean that they are in a monogamous, enriching, loving relationship while still maintaining their individuality and independence.

That would describe my current situation, too.

Many years ago I was in a relationship that had me dependently committed to someone. That is to say, that my self-worth was attached to his feelings about me, and the time he would commit to me. He would do whatever he wanted, and I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t for fear of a) him deciding not to do something and therefore I’d miss out on spending time with him or 2) by affirming my independence, I would lose him. Hahahahahahahahaha….he ended up losing me. I finally “got” it. He couldn’t care less what I did, in fact, my dependence on him was rather unattractive. I forgive myself by reminding myself that I was 23 years young at the time.

Anyway, that little backstory is to give my opinion on this matter a smidgen of credibility. I’ve been “there”. I do understand. Which is why when I see my friends, nearing their 40s, in similar situations it pisses me off to no end.

One of the friends that I love the most is the most incredible and memorable people that I, and many of my family and friends, have ever met. She’s the kind of person that people ask after, even not having seen her for YEARS. She is THAT amazing.

Yet, she spends most of her time tending to her 3 young children….waking them, dressing, feeding, driving, parenting, playing, washing, praising, disciplining, cherishing,  and putting them first. She barely makes time for herself, and when she does her partner sabotages her progress.

Now, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he does this subconsciously. But he does it.

She’ll join a running group. He’ll “forget” to come home on time so she can go running.

She’ll join weight watchers. He’ll get home late on the days she needs to go weigh in and get support.

She’ll plan a day with her friends. He’s late to relieve her of the parenting duties.

She’ll plan a trip. He’ll sabotage it by telling her who she can invite or by not giving her enough time to plan in properly.

His middle name is “Late”….and it may not be on purpose, but it serves a purpose. It keeps her right where she is, physically and emotionally.

The most recent situation that arose was when several of us were planning a girl’s trip away. He waited so long to give her the go-ahead, that although not impossible to organize, the last minute cost became prohibitive. In the meantime, we were all waiting around and made other plans. I call that “creative subconscious sabotage” on his part. Brilliant move! Not only did his wife not get to go on a well deserved and benchmark trip, he has alienated many of us from ever making big plans with her again.

To make up for it, he took her on a trip. What a sacrifice for someone who goes on $1000 weekends away, frequently.  Not only does he look like a hero, HE gets a trip too! What a great guy!

She gave up a lot to be a parent. He has given up nothing.

She misses out on a lot of fun things. He misses out on nothing.

She is unhappy with her body and appearance. He plays on 2 hockey teams, golfs and runs. And travels.

I had a talk with my girlfriend about this. Touchy subject, I know, but this affects me too. I literally cry for my friend when he is unfair to her. Let’s face it, my plans also suffer. My time with her is always interfered with. Regardless of that, I feel for my friend. However, I told her that I would no longer be chasing her around begging her to spend time with me. I would also not be waiting around or changing my plans for her family anymore. Not only do I suffer because of that, so does she. He wins. Again.

This behaviour is not isolated. I see it often.

Another one of my friends has a husband who travels the world like it’s his god-given right and his needs appear to come first. At least she gets away and has a balanced life. I’ve noticed that he can’t really let her have anything 100% though. He always seems to have his hand in any social thing she is part of. Again….I see it as a controlling situation. Subconscious or not. It sickens me.

Yes, we can blame the men. What I see from the outside are, in these instances, 2 very insecure, controlling and manipulative men. They recognize the incredible power these women would possess if they got outside the house once in awhile and met other people while pursuing their interests.

My god, what would happen if their wives actually grew into themselves and remembered who they were before marriage and children? I guarantee these men have considered this on some level and the thought of losing control of their wives time and self esteem dictates their own very bad behavior.

I also blame the women, though. You teach people how to treat you. By putting up with this crap and by not providing consequences, their partner’s behavior is condoned and therefore it continues.

It’s really lose/lose.

Let’s face it though, when my friend has plans to go to weight watchers and her hubby is late, she can’t just leave the kids and go to her meeting. AND HE KNOWS THIS.

It’s the perfect arena for controlling, manipulative behavior. It also keeps her physically unhealthy and in turn sabotages her self-esteem.

I don’t think these men are loving their wives. Love is not just a word or a sentence. Love is wanting your partner, family member, child, or friend to be the best, most whole person they can be. Love is trusting that you will be enough for them when they feel like they, themselves, are enough. Love is letting those you care about discover their needs and fulfill them. Love is freedom from fear. Love is not controlling someone so that they have to stay with you.

Love is not sabotaging someones growth for fear that they will get too big for you and leave you.

That is fear. That is all it is.

Fear keeps people in the same place they are. Fear eliminates the possibility of full freedom.

Fear eliminates the opportunity to really, really love.

Fear makes people run.

Banish that fear, gentlemen.

I guarantee that if you honor the mother of your children, you will unleash a creature so beautiful that there will be more than enough love for the entire family. And she will stay.

Because she can breathe.

 

 

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4 responses to “Under his thumb”

  1. MouthyGirl MouthyGirl said...

    You are the voice of the strength that I seek. In my weaker moments when I tell myself..who is going to love me like he says he does.. I tell myself if I leave.. my chances of finding that love..that one that let’s me be myself..are pretty slim. That may be..but you’ve reminded me..I owe it to myself to be as independent as I want to be..the control has to stop.

  2. Thechicagored Thechicagored said...

    What’s the saying? There are two types of people in this world: proactive and reactive.
    Proactive people create their own circumstances; reactive people are influenced by their surroundings. The women you mention aren’t victims by any stretch. They have and are choosing their realities. It’s unfortunate that they enable their significant other’s weak behaviors.

    And again, love your blog.

  3. Ugogurl Ugogurl said...

    “Love is not sabotaging” exactly!

    If we as people can find a way to truly “Love” one and other, that “Love” will be returned.
    Often, we don’t know how to talk, be, and continuously live in “Loving” ways that allows us to grow as people, especially people in coupled relationships. This however, is what we are suppose to do; Love each other enough to set our relationship(s)on fire.

    To quote another source and not to get preachy, but: “Love is patient, kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
    Love never fails.”

    We as (broken) humans almost always lose sight of what real Love is supposed to look like, while settling for the (misguided) Love we have.

    You are a great friend to voice your thoughts to her in hopes for change, but change will only happen when the fog of (self) worthlessness evaporates. Hopefully that veil has been lifted. Only time will tell.

    Ugogurl!

  4. Teresa Lynn Teresa Lynn said...

    It’s hard being on the outside of a relationship and wishing things were different for them. It’s a long process retraining people how to treat you. It works though. While I don’t crave extended time away from my family, I love that I am able to get out for the evening or occasional weekend and self indulge. I used to choose to stay home no matter how much my husband thought I needed to get out, get a hobby, hang out with friends, etc. I never wanted to get out before. Home, quiet with my family or just by myself reading was my idea of relaxing.

    Times have changed! lol I’m out of the house more than my husband is now and I make time for both myself and time with friends. It was hard for me to not feel guilty at first because I felt like I should have been there with my family just in case they needed me. I think it was a misguided ego that put that thought in my head. My kids are in very good hands when home with their dad. I always knew that but climbed up on the cross of mommy-martyr anyway. But, like I said, I had to retrain people to have different expectations of me. It turns out, the hardest person to retrain was myself.

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