Male 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.
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 free!
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 abusive anger:
Refusing to talk
to give her something
Hitting or kicking something
Refusing to make eye contact
arms, eyes closed, head down, deep sighs
Withdrawing or withholding affection
Showing disgust-rolled eyes, deep sighs,
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 include:
I did it because you...
You didn't remind me.
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 SIMPLE.
CONTROLLING BY DIMINISHING YOUR PARTNER:
Laughing at or
Mimicking your partner
Scornful, disdainful, contemptuous tone of voice
"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"
- talking in ways intended to mislead or baffle your partner
Insulting your partner
Making inappropriate sounds
inappropriate facial expressions-rolled eyes, grimaces, deep sighs
Starting a sentence then stating, "Forget it.."
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
Make a list of everything you've ever done that was abusive-ask your partner to review the list.
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!
The author was not given for this piece, but it
was taken from Dr. Irenes Site on Verbal Abuse.