A selection of stories, based (loosely) on the stories clients tell us.
Controlling behaviour – Her story
When did I become so unhappy?
How long have I actually been like this?
I used to laugh, I used to smile. When was the last time I actually laughed so much my stomach hurt?
I know what the problem is, but resolving it is just too scary and will affect so many other people. My problem is my husband, he is actually to blame for me being like this.
No, I’m serious, he really is.
Ok, so I hear you say, “Yes, but it is your fault too, for letting him control you like that.” In hindsight, I agree, but you see it doesn’t come at you in one fell swoop, it’s a little bit here, then another little bit and another and before you know it, you’re trapped in a habit. A habit of living a life where one person dominates you. A marriage is about two adults living together in harmony until death do you part!!!!. Who in their crazy mind, ever came up with that? Seriously who? Harmony? Until death? Just not realistic is it?
I remember my mum saying, start as you mean to go on. A piece of advice her mother, my grandmother had said to her, a week after my mum got married, Ron my dad (ok that’s another story) asked if she was cooking him a fried breakfast before he went to work, up pops the sound of nanny in my Mum’s ears and ‘no sorry’ she says.
Well, I wasn’t that clever to remember, the first time I said I was going to meet my friends without him, he sulked for a week. A whole week I assure you is no exaggeration.
Then I looked back and realised I wasn’t going over to see them unless we all met up as couples. I stopped going over my mums unless he came with me, I remember Mum saying she never saw me on my own anymore. So I made excuses, as you do.
My husband was so overpowering
My husband was so overpowering, protective and possessive I had stopped breathing. I wasn’t comfortable any more. I found myself losing my identity.
Sometimes I would lay in bed, sad, sometimes crying, saying to myself this was not forever and one day I would leave.
I actually wanted him to have an affair so it would be him ending the marriage, not I.
Over and over in my head, I would practice, ‘I don’t love you anymore,’ or ‘ I think we should have a trial separation’ or you don’t seem happy these days, are you seeing someone else?’ This continued for a few years, what’s a few? Three of four I think it was. He wasn’t a bad man, but things he said and did would make me cringe. I was happier when he was out of the house or I was, I found myself being tense and clock watching when he was due home. As for a sexual relationship between us. I had gone off it. Well, I didn’t want it with him at least. Not that I did it with anyone else but I did think about it if someone caught my eye or walked past me smelling lovely.
Whatever attracted me was now un attracting me and at a rapid rate of knots.
So who was this man I fell in love with in 1987? He was, in fact, someone else’s husband, that’s who he was. With two small children just to top it all. I do have some kind of justification, well I did then. I don’t know and am appalled and horrified at taking another woman’s husband. So here comes my feeble attempt at the justification.
Ever since I was 15 every boy I ever went out with, went off with someone else, two-timed, got off with and all those other expressions that now have a new meaning. I remember my daughter telling me at 16 she got off with someone before I had a chance to pounce on her, due to the horrid look on my face, she proceeded to tell me, that it means kissing with tongues. That was in 1999. So back to the story, when this married man explained to me that he and his wife lead separate lives and they have an understanding between them, you can justify it when you incorporate how my boyfriends had treated me too.
It’s the chase that is the good bit, it’s that feeling like you never want to sleep because you WANT to spend every waking moment with this person, insomnia creeps in and you can survive on very little sleep with this permanent smile on your face.
So he wined, dined, complimented, made me feel good, and one year later he left his wife and moved in with my daughter and I. Not a planned move, but his wife had found out and strangely enough, she wasn’t aware of this separate life they were leading or the understanding they were supposed to have.
So lesson to be learned if and when I’m reincarnated, when someone lies to me in the early days of a relationship. Get rid of them immediately, it will only get worse.
The courting was over
That was the courting over, living together is now a whole new dimension. Cooking every day. washing clothes, picking clothes up off the bedroom floor, being told how to paint a wall, that did happen, I can assure you. being told which road to take, being told what to wear, or should I reminisce? “Are you wearing that out” “You would look good in…….why don’t you change”?
It couldn’t have been all bad it lasted 13 years. 6 before marriage. I don’t even know why I got married, our life was high or low, never poodling along in the middle, great high’s, awful awful lows. So when he very unromantically said after we had just returned from our first family holiday to Disney Florida with his two children and my daughter, “Well, I supposed we should get married now” just bowled me over with so much excitement I just had to say “I suppose so”.
Lesson 2 for the reincarnated days. If in doubt, do nought, So here I am not being chased anymore, living with a liar, unhappy that someone so possessive is now touching my car bonnet to see how hot it is to get an indication how far I have travelled and whether he believes it is or I did go where I said I was going. It’s time to go.
Over and over and over and over it goes in your head. Telling him it’s over, you don’t love him, he doesn’t really love you cause if he did he wouldn’t do these things. Trying hard not to blurt it out in an argument. Trying not to hurt him. You know it’s over it’s now just a matter of when??
Thanks to him, he gave me the out I had been looking for. We were at a friends football club event and my lovely husband decided this was going to be one of the nights to have a sulking meltdown. I’m not sure what triggered it. We arrived in the car park and Mr Jekyll appeared. He spent the whole night talking to everyone but me. He bought everyone at the table a drink but me. He handed the butter around the table to everyone but me. Friends noticed, but no one made a fuss. Not a word was said all the way home, we parked the car and he said “I’m sorry about tonight” I recall thinking over the years that one day something would snap and I would call it a day but I hoped he would because it would save me from feeling guilty. I didn’t want to be the one to break up our unhappy home.
That I remember thinking “Go on, say it now”, tell him. It was the last straw. I can’t remember exactly but I replied with something along the lines of “I can’t do this anymore” but of course I did. A whole passed with more ups than downs until sulked about a dress I was wearing. We were going to his cousins for lunch, casual affair obviously. So jeans, white t.shirt and boots. Exactly the same as he was wearing strangely enough. But when he came downstairs he looked at me with disgust. “Are you wearing that out?” Yes, I replied. What about that lovely dress you bought, you dress up for work but wear jeans and t.shirt when you go out with me. “We’re only going to lunch at your cousin’s house” FINE was his response. We hadn’t driven more than a mile when he shouted at me to turn the car and go back home. Which I did of course. He went upstairs, came back down, picked up my car keys and drove alone to his cousins. I couldn’t even take his van out because he took those keys too.
He came home late and took the spare quilt and slept on the sofa. This continued for three nights until he came up, on the third night and I called him. Calmly I said “I want a divorce” Wow! I’d said it, it was out in the open. He responded with a FINE and went back downstairs. 2 am and he woke me crying and sobbing, apologising, promising it would never happen again and he would change. I don’t remember what happened immediately after but the following night was a repeat. He started to scare me, and I called my best friend to come over and stay. By the third night, he left, not telling me where he was, but I found out he had gone to his ex-wife’s house and stayed there a few days. How she listened to him sobbing about how he had never loved anyone like me, and she didn’t punch him, I’ll never know. We, that’s his ex-wife and I get on really well now and can laugh about it. But not before I apologised a thousand times for my behaviour. She has forgiven me, which I am eternally grateful for because without her approval her daughter, my stepdaughter & I would not have such a good relationship.
So my unhappiness didn’t happen overnight as it does for some people, it took years of him sulking for what I considered to be ridiculous childish reasons. Years of controlling behaviour, years of his weakness bringing my strength down. Mum described it once as I was the oak tree and he was the ivy. The ivy curls it’s way around the tree until eventually, it strangles it.
Each and every time he acted in this manner a little piece of love died. I did try to talk to him about it over the years we were together. Whether he listened? I have no idea. But now I look back I see he was a bully, they come in all shapes and sizes, his sulking was a form of bullying me to do what he wanted. His following me or checking the heat of the bonnet of my car was all about control. His weakness being taken out on me. I was the lucky one who was strong enough to walk away but I did feel guilty and still do. It was never my intention to hurt him but we weren’t really right for each other. I do wonder though if he would be with wife no. 1 had I not destroyed that marriage. Instead, he is on wife no. 3 and a dicky bird told me that she too gets the same controlling, sulking behaviour.
If this situation feels familiar, and you would like to talk about divorce, then please contact us on 0800 177 7702.