"Male role control works
by physically, verbally, or emotionally destroying your partner's physical and emotional
integrity so that she will be afraid to be herself, will control herself, and therefore be
available to be controlled by YOU." Emotionally controlling behavior is
implemented through verbal abuse, body language, and deprivation (withholding). These
behaviors are "the way the abuser treats his partner"
Abuse is always about CONTROL. Whether it is verbal abuse, emotional abuse, or
physical abuse, IT IS ABOUT CONTROLLING YOUR PARTNER, subtly or openly. Check
yourself out with these controlling behaviors or words:
CONTROLLING HER TIME: The abuser controls his partner's time by making her
wait. He will say he is ready to talk, but will continue doing something else while
his partner waits. He will tell her he is ready to go to bed, then make her wait. If
she complains of having to wait, he will blame her for "not having enough
patience", "I have to wait on you too", or "Do you expect me just to
drop everything!"-- thereby blaming her for HIS making her wait. This also
commonly occurs when the abuser is called to a meal, family activity, or that everyone
else is ready to leave. If the partner does something while waiting, the abuser will
then angrily proclaim that "HE has been waiting on HER". A subtle way of
controlling a partner's time is to leave most, if not all, of the work for her to do-then
complaining about anything she does for herself, or what she does not get done. Other
examples are procrastinating promised work (especially what she is counting on),
"watching just one more program" or "playing one more game" (that goes
on and on and on), refusing to give a simple and direct answer to concrete and direct
questions (Are you going to do this or that. "We'll have to wait and see, I suppose,
maybe, what do You think, I didn't know I was supposed to...why don't you figure it
out!") The abuser may also control his partner's time by grandstanding. If she
tells him she is unhappy about an incident, he will deny it happened, discount her
feelings, or accuse her of trying to start a fight. He might also proclaim that
"you're causing the problem by bringing it up," "no one else notices,"
"everyone else does, so why can't I," Diverting, countering, blocking,
"forgetting," forcing her to explain, making her repeat because the abuser was
not listening or paying attention, and "prove it" are also common ways to
control the partner's time and energy. It is rare that an abuser will be willing to
discuss or negotiate HIS plan-to do so would be giving up control. This type of control is
two-fold: Control her time in some way, any way, then blame HER for it.
CONTROLLING HER MATERIAL RESOURCES: The verbal abuser may control one or all of his
partner's material resources by WITHHOLDING information as well as by withholding work
which he has promised to do, often by "forgetting", "I don't know
how", or "I didn't know I had to". Another common practice of the
abuser is to withhold needed money, then compound the abuse by forcing her to act on her
own, beg, plead, or do without. He then begins blaming his withholding on her acting
on her own, begging, pleading, or "trying to be a martyr." In more severe
cases, the controlling abuser will keep money from his wife that is necessary for her
survival and that of their family (whether it is the promised food budget money or his
entire salary). He gives no thought to "spending his own money," or what
his control and selfishness is doing to his wife and family who are either deprived of
necessities or working desperately to support themselves while HE feels in control and
CONTROLLING WITH BODY LANGUAGE AND GESTURES: The verbal abuser uses body language to
control his partner, just as he uses words. The words and gestures often go
together. This can be seen as using HIMSELF to control his partner. Following
are some hurtful and intimidating ways of controlling that are forms of withholding and
Refusing to talk
Refusing to give her something
Hitting or kicking something
Refusing to make eye contact
Boredom-crossed arms, eyes closed, head down, deep sighs
Withdrawing or withholding affection
Showing disgust-rolled eyes, deep sighs, inappropriate sounds
Strutting and posturing
CONTROLLING BY DEFINING HER REALITY: This form of
control is very oppressive. When he tells his partner what reality is, he is
playing God, he is discounting the partner's experience by defining "THE
TRUTH"-which in fact is a LIE. Some examples: That's not what you said or
That's not what I said or That's not what you did or That's not what I did or
That's not what happened. That's not what you saw. That's not what you felt. That's not
why you did it. I know you better than you know yourself!
CONTROLLING BY MAKING HER RESPONSIBLE: By telling his partner she is responsible for
his behavior, this verbal abuser attempts to avoid all responsibility for his own
behavior. In other words, he avoids accountability by BLAMING. Examples
I did it because you...
You didn't remind me.
You just don't see what I do.
Just show me how
Set a good example
CONTROLLING BY ASSIGNING STATUS: Putting her down, especially on what she does best.
Putting her up, praising or thanking her for trivial things rather than the big things she
does, which demeans her talents, time, and energy, while implying she is best suited to do
trivial or demeaning tasks. This category also includes statements such as: That
right! You're a woman!! (said with disgust) What makes you think you can do that? I'm
the leader, the boss. You're not THAT stupid. Just THINK about it. ITS THAT'S
CONTROLLING BY DIMINISHING YOUR PARTNER:
Laughing at or smirking
Mimicking your partner
Scornful, disdainful, contemptuous tone of voice
Ignoring, "I'm not listening to you"
Avoiding eye contact, turning away
Expecting partner to talk to you while you're watching TV, reading, game playing
Words like "Sooo" or "So what!" or "That means NOTHING to
me" or "Whatever"
Bafflegabbing - talking in ways intended to mislead or baffle your partner
Insulting your partner
Making inappropriate sounds
Making inappropriate facial expressions-rolled eyes, grimaces, deep sighs
Starting a sentence then stating, "Forget it.."
Accusing her of being "controlling", "having to have the last word"
CONTROLLING behaviors such as those above are used by verbal abusers to gain feelings of
power and control whenever the suppressed fear and pain in his own life start to
"seep out" - terrified of not being in control, terrified of
"feeling," terrified of her leaving. Do you have the courage to see
yourself as others see you - as your wife and children see you? Do you have the courage to
be honest with yourself? If you have seen or heard yourself in the paragraphs above
RUN, don't walk to get help. Suggested are the following steps:
Read everything you can about verbal abuse-several times over.
Listen to your partner with an open, accepting mind and feel your pain without shutting
down in anger or withdrawal.
Make a list of everything you've ever done that was abusive-ask your partner to review the
Ask your partner to remind you every time you say or do something abusive.
Become aware of the effects of verbal abuse on the partner-read about women's experiences,
pain, torment, doubt, fear, loss of spirit and self, etc.
Get into a men's group (a domestic violence men's group) to help root out the controlling
behaviors and anger and pain.
Start feeling your pain.
You must want to change more than you want to control. No one can make you change.
But wouldn't you like to know what a REAL relationship is with your partner and your
children? Don't you want to be free of the pain of your life? IT IS WORTH IT!