This is in response to a recent post on MeMe’s blog. I tried to leave a comment there, but a message came up saying my comment was too long. Well, it was, I admit. So I’m posting it here; maybe it will help someone besides MeMe,or if nothing else give everyone a good chuckle:
During my last marriage I was in therapy for a short while. I was supposed to be seeking help for childhood issues, but my marriage kept getting in the way. I told my therapist during one session about how it drove me up the wall that my hubby was so controlling, even in little things. For example, he refused to drive to the nearest corner store for a gallon of milk, unless I went along. This was a trip which took him all of 10 minutes, and with my Chronic Fatigue I was not always up to leaving the house. He didn’t care about that, though. He’d always insist that I ride along.
“What would be his reaction if you said no?” she asked, in her clever way of trying to get me to think this through for myself.
“Well, on the few occasions that I actually refused what he wanted, he sulked all evening, making snide remarks, calling me names, mocking me for being so sick and tired all the time.”
“Hmmm. And how does he treat you in general?” she prodded. “When he does get his own way, for instance, does that help matters any?”
“Uh, no,” I admitted somewhat sheepishly. “His manner towards me is always snide and unpleasant. It’s just worse when I cross his will.”
“So in other words,” she said, summing it up for me in case I missed the point she was hoping to make, “no matter what you do he mistreats you?” I agreed that this was so. “Then it seems to me that you might as well do what you want.” I must have had a stricken look on my face, for she paused to give me a reassuring smile before continuing. “Look, if no matter what you’re in the dog house for something, you may as well do what you want. At least that way it’s not a total loss for you. True, you’ll have to deal with his snotty remarks and sulking if you take a stand—but you have to do that anyhow. This way, if you do what you want you’ll at least have that satisfaction.”
This set in motion a whole new train of thought in my feeble brain. Not long after this therapy session, I was the one running to the store for milk. Hubby suddenly decided (he was “in his cups”, as the British call it, at the time) that NO wife of his was going out at 9pm for milk. I told him he was mistaken, grabbed my keys, and ran for the door.
Knowing he would follow, I jumped in my Honda and promptly locked all the doors and started the engine. He ran up to my window and began shouting at me to let him in. I smiled serenely, very much enjoying the calm which washed over me—especially compared to his drunken hysterics.
Rolling down my window about a half an inch so he could hear me, I informed him that I was about to back down our sloped driveway. To which he responded by throwing himself on the hood of my car, spread eagle. I had his drunken mug plastered against my windshield, but no bother. He had been warned, after all.
Shifting into reverse I tromped on the gas, much to his horror. His screeches gave me great satisfaction, especially when I (oops!) jammed the brakes a bit too hard at the bottom of the driveway.
Flinging himself off the hood, he approached me, visibly shaking.
“You could have killed me!” he screamed, flailing his arms. “Do you know that?”
I merely gave him a demur little smile, a fluttery wave of the hand, and off I went to finish my errand.
What, you may well ask, was the outcome of this little drama? My therapist had prophesied that if I began standing my ground, one of two things could happen: either hubs would begin respecting me, or the marriage would get even worse due to his unwillingness to relinquish control. True to her prophecy, the marriage floundered within the next year. Hubby simply couldn’t handle a wife with a mind of her own.
As for the whole nasty car incident, well I did warn him I was backing out of the drive. Sometimes hubbies need the discernment to know how far they can safely push a wife, especially if she’s a redhead.
(I don’t recommend this kind of approach to a hubby’s controlling behavior if he is prone to any kind of violence.)
(I know I’ve used this graphic before, but it’s so appropriate for this post!)