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shame/guilt and control?

Posted by close_1972 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 25, 07 at 8:56

My group therapy group and the facilitating counselor have recently put forth the theory that I have issues w/shame (stemming from my mother) and my DH, intentionally or unintentionally, uses that to guilt and control me. This comes as a complete shock b/c I don't think he is controlling; they say it is usually hard for the controllee to recognize s/he is being controlled.

I'm worried that maybe I just didn't present a fair enough version of what is going on. I do tend to feel guilty about a lot of things that I do or don't do, but I'm not even sure how to explore the shame issue. As for control, DH doesn't fit the "typical" profile as far as I can tell, and my group isn't in this situation, so how do I begin to explore this issue while being fair and unbiased? I have always seen DH as a good, fair, honest, trustworthy, dedicated etc. person, not a controller. This could really change my perspective if it's true.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: shame/guilt and control?

You're right about questioning your group and counselor's interpretation of what is going on. They don't know the full story and sometimes once someone is labeled, people just seem to want to run with the idea.

You can find controlling examples for anyone if you look hard enough. Furthermore, I'm not too sure problem type controlling people are that hard to spot. It's usually prevelant in many aspects of their lives. How is he with the kids or at work, with friends?

I would explore how your DH makes YOU feel when you are with him...better or worse? Again, I would try not to focus too much on a label. While it's true that woman often don't see the abuse that their husband's are causing them, they usually know at least something is wrong with them and the marriage. If you have always seen your DH as the words you used, he probably can't be all that bad even if he can be controlling from time to time. I can't believe he could pull the wool over your eyes that much. Then again, it's worth exploring. But there's often one partner that is a little more controlling and one that is a little more of the follower anyway. I would focus more on if he generally tries to build you up or seems more into tearing you down?

ps...sometimes therapy causes more problems than it's worth. Not saying this is the case, but it's worth being open to that idea and exploring that too. They may think their problems and experiences are your specific problems too.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

There are things DH does that are controlling: he gets upset when I don't answer my cell phone b/c he says he is worried about me. He used to get incredibly upset by it but now I am more responsible so he's not as angry. He likes me to account for my time when I'm out b/c he says he doesn't trust me; details of that story can be found in the thread by justme01 but the short version is that when I was dating him I also dated and slept w/someone else, then lied that I didn't date and sleep w/someone else. Seven years later (and we've been married five of those seven years) RECENTLY DH found out I had lied because he obtained my work email password and read my emails b/c I had been in touch w/that person after years of not being in touch. DH tracks what I do on the internet and what computer files I open. He has said that if my family does this or that one more time then they aren't welcome in our home but I don't believe in cutting off family so I continue to welcome them; he tries to say my mom can't babysit our son but I feel comfortable asking her for help so, in an emergency, I would rely on her (I say emergency b/c my mom feels taken advantage of if I ask her for "too much").

The fact that group even mentioned DH being controlling has got me to thinking more about how we interact. I just don't want to be wrong or unfair to him OR to myself. I do know that I am not happy with my marriage right now and marriage counseling and group have helped me explore my feelings; marriage counseling seems to have helped DH not hold so many grudges against me about things I've thought were minor (like when I've been unhappy and complained about something, or when I've procrastinated chores etc--not the lying issue but other, day-to-day stuff couples encounter).

It's just the thought that this might be what's going on and it has caught me off guard; the group facilitator has expressed that these are THEORIES, not accusations, and that they may not be right but it's something for me to think about. And I'm thinking about it, I just don't want to take it too far or to the extreme. Most people in group felt it was very inappropriate for DH to be so into my business, now and back before we were even serious, but many of them are at least ten years older than me so maybe things change as you age? I'm 30 so I don't think I'm THAT young, but DH always says that I should only be bothered by his wanting to know my business if I have something to hide. Well, now I don't have anything to hide any more, and what I was hiding happened before we ever got serious. I do regret not being honest but I don't feel like I should have to suffer indefinitely for it.

I KNOW marriage counseling is helping with regard to some issues, I'm a little more wary of group but the facilitator tries to remind that these are merely theories that may not be true but it's something to think about and consider.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Please read your own post just above.

He gets angry when you don't answer your cell phone,
he wants you to account for your time,
he "obtained" your password & read your emails,
he tracks your internet use (is he reading this???),
he wants to isolate you from your family,
& he "says that I should only be bothered by his wanting to know my business if I have something to hide."

Listen to the others in your group.

"controlling" doesn't begin to describe this.

Take care of yourself.

I wish you the best.


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RE: PS: forgot to say...

...that it isn't easy to recognize controllers.

If it were, it would be much harder for them to take control.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Ok, you cheated on your husband when you were dating and you have been recently keeping contact with that old guy through e-mails and you are mad at your husband for reading your e-mails and wanting you to call/check in with him, etc.!?! I would call that a justifiable trust issue, not necessarily a control issue.

I admit the family thing could be controlling, but without knowing the specifics of what they have done to get your husband so mad at them, it's hard to form a good opinion. Are they giving the kids too much candy or smacking them around? Your husband may/could have some good reasons for his not wanting the kids around your family (even if you don't agree) and it may have nothing to do with control but with family values.

Here's a little link about control...now, please, remember, everyone from time to time will be a little controlling and even a little abusive..(making others wait, eyerolling or making a belittling joke). Even the best of us are controlling at times it's just human nature to care about ourselves, (You should even notice yourself in a few things). But, if you see a constant steady pattern with many/most of the things listed (control abusers will usually do almost all the things listed on a regular basis) he is probably very controlling and an abuser. But, since you said.."I have always seen DH as a good, fair, honest, trustworthy, dedicated etc. person, not a controller" I have a feeling it's probably different issues that are at the root of your marriage problems. Good luck in sorting everything out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Control


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Did anyone not notice that she said her husband is justme01???
I have been arguing for her sake in the other thread,only to find out she cheated on him.
I also find it VERY hard to believe husband and wife are both gonna post on the same forum about their marriage problems. What would be the point? they would both read the bad things being said about them.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

I didn't see it. Still don't see it. Where did she say that?


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

"He likes me to account for my time when I'm out b/c he says he doesn't trust me; details of that story can be found in the thread by justme01 but the short version is that when I was dating him I also dated and slept w/someone else, then lied that I didn't date and sleep w/someone else."

Her second post in this thread.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

but she didn't say she was justme01's wife, she said she talked about her situation on his thread.

Look again; somewhere down there she says to him "I hope you can forgive your wife" (words to that effect).

not forgive *me*, forgive *your wife*.

confusing, yes, she was talking about her situation on his thread.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Thanks sylvia.I apologize to Op then.
I also agree with carla35 then. Your husband has reasons not to trust you.You cheated.If he cant forgive you though and feels he has to control you,then it's time for him to move on.

You stated you were unhappy in your marriage.Seems alot of it has to do with the other guy. Are you in love with him or something because he seems to be a theme in your relationship with your husband?


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Sorry for the confusion, I posted my situation in justme01's thread b/c I thought it could give him a little perspective; I felt like I could identify w/his wife. Maybe referencing it was a bad idea. No I am not justme01's wife but I think my DH must be going through something similar to what he's going through right now.

Regarding my DH: he has always seemed to have trust issues w/me. Seven years ago he asked me if I slept w/the other guy and I said no. I lied. I felt horrible about it but I felt even worse thinking of possibly telling the truth. I just wanted to pretend it didn't happen and I thought, in time, it would go away. At the time our relationship wasn't even serious. I lived in a different city and he was very blase' about "us" and I think he only visited me three times that year while I drove to visit him about 2/3 of my weekends. I do not believe I am exaggerating. SO the controlling things is that he's always wanted to know how I spend my free time, he's always been very upset/angry w/me if I didn't answer my cell or let the battery die. Regarding my mom watching our son, she babysat him for the first year but my mom and DH didn't get along well. It's so complicated to explain but basically DH has a lot of unspoken expectations that people have to meet. When they don't, he is angry with them or disappointed. He will interpret subtle things to mean WAY more than I think a "reasonable" person would interpret.

Anyway--and I talked about this in another thread--my marriage has been going south for the last 4.5 out of 5 years. In the last year I reconnected via email w/the "other guy" and it was in talking w/him and beginning to feel emotionally attached that I realized I had to get some counseling or something, that this wasn't right.

So here I am, in counseling, and in a little shock I guess. I kind of regret posting this but I was sort of reeling at the thought that I'm being controlled by him. I think I just need to let this settle in and give it some time. Sure some of what he does can be considered controlling, but so can some of what I do. BUT why do I feel so bad about myself? I know I didn't feel this way when I first met him.


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close

Ok,he TOLD you he didnt trust you though,right? If my husband said he didnt trust me,I'd feel bad about myself too.
However,
If you were really not seriously dating when you slept with this other man and lived in seperate cities,then I could see your point about not telling him maybe.
But in your post you said your husband found e-mails to this guy? (I'm sorry if I'm wrong,but I'm very tired and I keep making careless mistakes,LOL)
My question was and is,do you still like this other guy? Is that why maybe you are unhappy in your marriage because you have feelings for someone else?


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

"DH has a lot of unspoken expectations that people have to meet.
When they don't, he is angry with them or disappointed.
He will interpret subtle things to mean WAY
more than I think a "reasonable" person would interpret."

so you have to read his mind, or else he gets angry.

One of the ways that controllers take control of you is by isolating you from normal emotional support.

Then they move on to criticizing your every act your every characteristic, then to convincing you that nobody else would want you & that you're lucky to have them.

Nothing you can do is right, everything you do is wrong, you never know what will make them angry, *& it's your fault that they get angry*.

No wonder you denied something that would set off a storm, no wonder you just wanted it to go away.

No wonder you felt more "emotionally attached" to someone whose anger you don't dread.

The risk here for you, I think, is that you may see your situation as *either* your husband *or* the other guy.

Chances are, the best thing to do is to break the destructive pattern with your husband, re-establish your boundaries, & get some normal healthy emotional nourishment.

It doesn't seem like you're likely to get it from your family, or at least from your mother, but it sounds like the therapy group is helpful.

I wish you the best.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

"...my marriage has been going south for the last 4.5 out of 5 years..."

Due respect to counseling......if you're married to a jerk, what is one supposed to do? Endure? Understand? Be compassionate? Are we talking about analysis or acknowledgment? If you are, perhaps for the first time, becoming aware of what's going on is not action called for at some point?

You have one life, kiddo. Strongly advise not living it with a nincompoop.

PS: Flush the other guy. He's clouding your judgement. One step at a time. Deal with you present situation without the fantasy.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

I think you should take note of what Sylvia says.

It is a worry that your husband is trying to prevent your family from making connections with you, this is strange and troubling.

A happy marriage would 'resolve' disputes and grievances, its not healthy to let them fester and keep bringing them up and that word BLAME is so distructive.

Trust is paramount.

I think its good you are going to counselling. Its good to have an impartial perspective on what is going on.

Perhaps you could keep a diary, write it all down, keep it in a spot where prying eyes wont read it. In this way you can see if there is a pattern of behaviour. Then you can see in black and white what is going on and how he reacts to situations.

I wish you the best. Take care....


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

asolo--right now my action is the counseling, especially the marriage counseling. DH really seems to be doing better where his temper is concerned. Small things that used to make him angry suddenly don't, almost like he's gained some perspective. I think that's a good sign...but I think, in all honesty, that if we didn't have a toddler then it would already be over. I wouldn't say we're doing it for the kid, but the kid has given us more reason to try. LOL re: "flush the other guy"--it's been a month since we communicated. It was hard, at first, but when DH found out that there had been a sexual relationship in the past he said it hurt him to know I was still in contact with the other guy. I do miss talking to the other guy, we share an emotional connection that I don't think I ever had w/DH. "OG" was angry that I was cutting him out of my life for a second time (the first time was seven years ago) but he's just going to have to deal with that and I don't feel guilty about it.

I've thought about it some more and read the links posted above that describe "controllers". I think both my parents fit the description but each in different ways. DH is a controller but probably mild to moderate, not severe.

Any suggestions on how I can deal with my shame/guilt issues that, apparently, have made me susceptible to this whole situation?


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

So if the OP decides this is a controlling situation, what can she say to counteract this control ?

In other words how does one stand up to a controller, once the controllee has recognised the behaviour pattern ?

I wonder if a controller knows that he is being like this ?

It seems very subtle behaviour to me, it could be really difficult to identify.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

popi,

I've studied emotional abuse some and can't really say there are definite answers for your questions.

The main hope someone may have if in a contolling relationship is if the controlling partner really wants to change and seeks out help. But, I wouldn't hold your breath.

It is very hard for a controllee to stand up to the behavior or change it without being abusive themselves.

Most controllers do know what they are doing although they may think it is normal behavior and they are entitled to do it. Many have other personality or mood disorders that run with abusive tendencies. If they know you are on to them, they can change their ways for a while but will usually revert back to their abusive ways.

It is important too to note that marriage counselors are not always trained to handle abusive relationship and often can cause more harm than good. Both abusers and abusees usually come from abusive homes...often the way the abuse was handled decides which one you are.

Although it seems subtle and there are always shades of grey, it really is not that hard to pick out a contoller. Even if you don't use the list above, you can pretty much tell what things are "wrong" or NOT nice, right? Quantity and Consistantly is the key...everybody can have a bad day and yell from time to time, or demand people go to their movie, but it is pretty easy to pick out a consistant real abuser. They don't give an inch and live to put you down.

Oh, abusive men often have very chavanistic tendencies. They tend to view almost all woman as being beneath them and as stupid.

You may be interested in reading "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Carla,

Thanks for answering my queries, I appreciate your response.

OP..I would imagine it is very difficult for you to, now be thinking there is something very wrong with the way you are being treated by your husband. It must be a big shock to you.

Perhaps if you concentrate on being more assertive, to be able to know that you can say what you think, and know it is right. Basically to have an opinion, that is valid.

Your rights have been trampled on, its very sad.

Popi


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

I've read "The Emotionally Abusive Relationship" and now I'm reading a book called "The Confident Woman". Reading these have made me feel like I'm not being unreasonable w/my DH, I'm just not too sure he's the controlling abuser my group thinks he is--this is where I hope the diary will help; learning to be assertive, too, is something that my counselor has recommended. Recently DH has been telling me that he just can't move past the lie and that I should be more understanding.

One area where he wants me to be understanding is regarding the lie; sometimes he wants to talk about how bad/hurt he feels, how he doesn't know how he can trust me. I've listened and talked w/him about it, but I also have told him that I don't enjoy talking about it and it's hard for me, too, when he brings it up. My telling him that have apparently given him something new to focus on: he's upset that I only talk about it w/him b/c he wants me to, not that I'm doing it b/c I know it helps him feel better. I don't get it???


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

"My telling him that have apparently given him something new to focus on: he's upset that I only talk about it w/him b/c he wants me to, not that I'm doing it b/c I know it helps him feel better. I don't get it??? "

Well, of course he's upset:
You're acting on your own feelings & not putting his feelings ahead of all else in the universe including/especially yourself.

(It's like that old joke:
They had a lot in common, they were both in love with the same person...him.)

You're speaking & acting from your own center, which means he's not in complete control.

As to that "trying harder" behavior, be very cautious.

The normal cycle for abuse is an explosion followed by a "honeymoon period", during which the abuser acts contrite, apologizes, begs for another chance, brings flowers, etc.

But as soon as the door is opened enough for him to wedge a foot inside, the same old stuff starts again.

As for him being "moderate but not severe" (in comparison to your parents?), there's no such thing as a moderate control freak.

It's like he's a little bit poisonous:
toxic is toxic.

Would you willingly drink something that's "moderately" poisonous?

Sometimes when someone has been controlled, manipulated, etc, she feels grateful when someone treats her "not as badly" as the worst person in her life ever did.

which enables the controller to inch into every aspect of your life & take it over, without you even realizing it, at which point the control is no longer moderate, it's complete.

sort of like a virus takes over a cell...

Be very cautious, & take care of *yourself*.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Recently DH has been telling me that he just can't move past the lie and that I should be more understanding.

Im a little confused, the OP says she slept with someone prior to marriage. Did her husband just recently find out about this or has he known for the last 7 years?

IF he has known for 7 years, perhaps he's using this guilt as a way to control her. He says he can't get passed it. He apparently got past it enough to marry her.

If thats not the way it is and he just recently found out that she had slept with the other guy 7 years ago because he read her work emails, then what the heck was he doing reading her emails if he supposedly trusted her up until that point?

This screams control freak all over it to me.

he gets upset when I don't answer my cell phone
now I am more responsible so he's not as angry
He likes me to account for my time
he obtained my work email password and read my emails
DH tracks what I do on the internet and what computer files I open.
He has said that if my family does this or that one more time then they aren't welcome in our home
he tries to say my mom can't babysit our son
marriage counseling seems to have helped DH not hold so many grudges against me about things I've thought were minor (like when I've been unhappy and complained about something, or when I've procrastinated chores etc--not the lying issue but other, day-to-day stuff couples encounter).
DH has a lot of unspoken expectations that people have to meet.
BUT why do I feel so bad about myself? I know I didn't feel this way when I first met him.

Any suggestions on how I can deal with my shame/guilt issues that, apparently, have made me susceptible to this whole situation?

YES, let it go! You were a kid, 23 years old, not married, not even in a serious relationship with him. You lied, big deal, people tells lies in their lives. You don't have to feel guilty about it forever. You married the guy, you didnt marry the other guy.That should speak volumes to him.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Your husband seems to be using this "lie" to control you.

He is acting like a victim, to manipulate you.

Remember to stick to the facts, when you are discussing things with him.

Maybe "I" statements.

You seem to be confused about what he is saying to you about this "lie".

I would wonder why he needs to talk about how he is feeling about the "lie" on a regular basis.

In a perfect world, if we stick to the rules of disputes...once "sorry" has been voiced, then both parties have reached a resolution and move on, and "forgiveness" is on the table. This means the incident is never brought up again, and both parties move on in a positive mood, working hard to resolve the guilt, resentment, all those negative feelings.

Can you talk about all this with your counsellor ?

Popi


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

To linda117: it happened 7 years ago and he found out about a month ago.

popi: I do plan to bring this issue up in marriage counseling. I think it was touched upon during our last session but not resolved, just acknowledged that it was happening and that I probably would not endure it for an extended period of time.

DH and I have a history of not resolving our disputes. For a long time I thought it was b/c I was too demanding, that's what he often complained about. Now, however, I've realized that it's not just me, maybe it was partly me but I've been working hard to try to make those "I" statements and not be critical, he often reacts the same as previously and now I know it's him too, not just me.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Close, you sounds like a very reasonable, compassionate, understanding and level headed person. What amazes me, with all that reason, level headedness and compassion for other people, you don't see the very thing that is everything you are not.

Your husband NEVER trusted you. If he did, he wouldnt have been reading your emails, making you account for you time,and that entire list that has been typed several times in this post. He did all of this stuff PRIOR TO finding out about the other guy. THIS IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM! What you did, you did PRIOR to marriage. You didnt owe him anything at that point, not even an explanation. You said At the time our relationship wasn't even serious. I lived in a different city and he was very blase' about "us" and I think he only visited me three times that year while I drove to visit him about 2/3 of my weekends. I do not believe I am exaggerating DO NOT LET HIM CONVINCE YOU THAT HE IS THE VICTIM HERE. You are the one being controlled by him. His claiming to be that hurt for something that happened 7 years ago before you were married is nothing more than his drama to lay more guilt on you!


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

I think some people on this thread are projecting.

Look, if I was in a marriage where my husband had slept with some woman before we married and LIED to me about it and then seven years later I find out that he lied AND that he's STILL in contact with that person - I would be suspicious too. And I would be hurt - VALIDLY so.

I probably would not snoop - but let's get real here, I've read tons of messages from women who'd go snooping through email to check and see too. I doubt some of the posters here would call those women controlling. Even if those women were wrong - which they would be. So is the OP's husband, but he's not the only one who is/was wrong.

The OP was WRONG. Period. She slept with another man - probably as a way to get back at her husband (when he was not her husband) because she felt like her now-husband wasn't paying her enough attention back then. And then she lied about it.

That's childish.

It's even MORE childish to start communicating with this other guy NOW! I know that people are perceptive and I bet your husband picked up on your confusion around this man - even if he didn't know that something really had happened, he's probably no dummy and that may be why he snooped. It's definitely not an excuse - but we don't know that the husband was simply a snooper then - apparently he's only started snooping recently unless I misread.

In all fairness, the OP doesn't seem like the type to be able to really cover something like that up - just as controllers can leave 'red flags' hanging out - people who've slept together can sometimes just give off flags too.

So, the OP needs to go into counseling - because she's having an emotional affair with this other guy and her husband would have a right to be upset about that - because I don't even think the OP recognizes what she's doing there.

Now, if the husband has no right to be the victim - NEITHER DOES the OP. It's possible that the husband is being controlling - but I'm ASTONISHED at the FUROR of posters on this thread who seem to be trying to paint the OP as a victim (wait, no I'm not - after lurking and seeing how certain posters typically attack the male side in nearly every instance - some even going so far as to accuse people of being trolls because the woman in that situation actually looked like the guilty party - imagine that).

I wish people would leave their agendas at the door - the OP isn't a victim either - she's simply placed herself in a position where she doesn't have any moral high ground - and neither does her husband. It's a situation where his worst tendencies are coming out and SO ARE HERS. It is what it is and they BOTH need counseling.

And no, I'm not a man - I'm a woman - but I think that some moderation is needed in this situation - they both need counseling.

When/if you look at the situation out of context, the husband does appear controlling - but we don't know all of the facts. Neither does her 'group' - I wonder if her 'group' even knows of her emotional affair? Their marriage has problems on multiple levels, but the main issue appears to be trust. The husband is wrong for snooping - but then again, the wife is wrong for carrying on emotional affairs with this other man. That emotional energy should be devoted to her marriage. If she doesn't want to do that then she needs to step out and away from the marriage - honestly. Not on the down low like she's been doing.

The husband only recently found out about her sleeping with this man long ago - not only that, but that the wife lied about it. This isn't trivial and I'm saddened at the attempts of some on this thread to paint the husband as a controlling zealot in some effort to minimize the betrayal the husband probably feels - compounded by the fact that the wife is still talking to this man and basically having an emotional affair with him. No, it doesn't make him a victim, but neither is the OP.

They both have issues. They both need counseling - the husband needs to learn that you don't build trust by trying to control the other person (you don't get trust that way, but fear) and the OP needs to learn that you shouldn't put emotional energy that should be reserved for your marriage into another man - even if you aren't sleeping with him.

They need to learn how to communicate in a way that builds trust. Part of that will involve some self-sacrifice.

It *could* be that the OP went to this other guy now because her husband is smothering her - but then he just clings harder. But that doesn't make her right either. It is what it is.

Please - both you and your husband need counseling together - and separately.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

phoenics: some of what you have written is pretty much what my counselor has said. She didn't exactly call my behavior childish, but she did say that I was an adult and I needed to behave like an adult woman; I do see, now, that how I behaved was immature. I was an immature 23 year old and now I'm a less immature 30 year old.

DH and I are in counseling and I think it's good for us.

My husband has never smothered me w/attention, rather I think I've had to try very hard to get the attention I get from him. Hanging out w/the other guy, years ago, was (initially) an attempt to get DH (then boyfriend) to pay more attention to me b/c when I told him I wanted to see him more he just told me all the reasons why he couldn't and hoped I would understand. Maybe the reasons were valid, but I lacked the confidence/self-esteem or whatever it would have taken for me to just acknowledge that he wasn't meeting my needs and end it. Instead I started spending time w/the other guy, who I really liked hanging out with and got along with, and it eventually led to sleeping together, which I hadn't planned, and I ignored my own feelings that had developed for the other guy and I decided to move back to the same city as my boyfriend and try to make it work, but I never felt I could be honest about what had happened w/the other guy. I think it was crazy, my behavior. I think I wasn't thinking clearly or really listening to my heart or anything. I was lost, just out of college, very unhappy. But I can't change how things went or what I did, I just have to try and do what is right at this point.

I've kind of reached the realization that whether or not DH is a serious controller or just a small controller or whatever, if I am being controlled I am allowing it to happen. My counselor, independent of our marriage counselor, is trying to get me to behave in an appropriately assertive manner. I think my lack of personal assertiveness is why I'm having a lot of the problems I'm having.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

"DH and I are in counseling and I think it's good for us"

If you are in counseling together and are coming out of the sessions feeling good, your husband is probably not a real controller/abuser type. From the cases I've studied and Dr.'s I've talked to, counseling will almost always back fire in abusive type relationships unless sessions are done separately. I think Evans even talks about counseling/counselor problems in her book. I know this is working backwards to arrive at a possible conclusion...but a true abuser would probably be controlling and abusing you in sessions (usually without the therapist's knowledge) but you would feel severly frustrated and/or defeated after sessions if this were the case. The fact that you seem to think the session are going well is a good sign.

Be sure to note, there is a difference between a controller/abuser type of person and someone who merely will take the lead with another if given the opportunity. If you don't tell him you like channel 4 news, he may turn on his favorite, channel 5 everyday instead. If you don't tell him you hate his favorite restaurant, he may still take you there thinking you like it (even on your b-day). If you don't tell him not to smack your behind or that it hurts, he may still be doing it thinking you get turned on....that's not control/abuse....it's lack of communication. I'm not saying this is what is happening, I'm just guessing his 'controlling' nature isn't really all that abusive.

And, I'm not sure who phoenics was talking about but I have noticed a man hatred thing on many threads. I know I may like to play the devil's advocate but I really do like to think what the other side of the story may be thinking when offering advice. There are always two sides to every story. People aren't all bad or all good. I find it odd how many times these men are just 'damned to hell' without knowing or even being open to the fact that there may be another whole side to the story. I'm not talking about this specific post; just posts in general. Just, the other day, I was thinking to myself after reading a thread, man, some guy (or guys) must have really done something awful to her (a poster). Her man hatred tone was just so strong.

Good luck to the OP. Hope the counseling continues to help.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Carla,
How is it that an abusive/controlling situation is so difficult for a therapist to spot? I mean this is a big problem in alot of relationships, so it looks like they would be trained to see red flags. I was involved for a short time in what I think was a controlling relationship, and I'll admit I didn't see the signs until I had fallen for the guy, by that time there is a physical relationship as well and it is so easy to keep going back. It is my opinion that if a man is like this, change in very unlikely(his 2nd wife left for the same reasons). On the other hand that type of non-physical abuse is very difficult to explain(I hope this makes sense), during that time I was an emotional mess.


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Many controllers/abusers are Jekyll & Hyde con artists, & they're *very* good at what they do.

How many times have we all seen the news where some shellshocked neighbor says, "but he was such a *nice* guy"?


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

I would guess that some controller/abuser types are con artists and able to hide behavior, but for many of them it's not about acting or changing moods, but it's about their behavior seeming so subtle to outsiders that it is often hard to spot.

Think about it; it may be hard for a counselor or a friend to pick up on emotional abuse in many cases. Say for instance your complaints are...
My husband always makes me wait for him when we go out or,
He always walks out of the room when we are arguing,
He calls me names a lot or,
He tells my friends I can't cook dinner and I keep the house a mess, etc...(sometimes abusers actually do like to attack victims in front of friends and family)

Each little behavior seems so petty and small and everyone can relate so nobody really thinks anything all that abusive is going on ... It even seems unworthy and not worth mentioning by the victim until/unless you see consistanct across the board abuse. Most victims are even afraid to speak out in couple sessions due to fear, or they may even think the complaints sound petty. And many counselors, since they are often trained to have couple compromise, suggest victims religuish even more control to the controller--which is about the worst thing that can be done in a controlling siutuation. Many counselors (especially older ones) have simply not been trained in emotional abuse. They may know about physical/alcohol abuse, etc... but emotional is harder to spot unless you put a video recorder in a house and then it very quickly becomes very easy, and painful to see. (Just like the Ballwin phone call...Just think if the wife tried to explain the phone call in a counseling session it would have probably been written off as nothing).

Emotional abuse is a type of utter consistant disrespect for the victim that is often hard for others to imagine at least the extent it is being done. The abusers chauvinistic and degrading type personalities are not always well hidden, but really don't seem all that abusive to most outsiders unless they know what to look for. Their personalities don't necessarily change, but the intensity of the abuse often becomes much harsher in private. You "could" guess that Alec Ballwin is an abuser, whereas Tom Hanks probably is not. It is that easy, sometimes. Abusers will usually tend to knock woman in general and aren't really usually considered "nice" people (although they do have friends and seem normal, etc).

Again, I am posting the link I did above with some examples and again I note everyone can fall into abusive ways from time to time. Key is...how consistant and how many different things the abusers does... and how the abuser is trying to make the victim feel...beneath him/her. It is all about quality and quantity and, not a bad mood, but a desire to degrade.

Here is a link that might be useful: Abuse


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RE: shame/guilt and control?

Thanks Carla for the link, that makes interesting reading.

I did wonder about Baldwin, he seems to be holding a major resentment towards his wife, and they have been separated for years. Sad.

Popi


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