When Opal was dating her husband, she’d felt sorry for him. He’d been raised in such a poor, restrictive environment and he’d suffered so much, he didn’t know how to behave nicely. He fought at the drop of a hat because he was sensitive to slights, to attacks on his honor, to people he thought would take advantage of him.
He’d been taught to rule women, especially his wife. He was continually negative, bullying and abusive; he didn’t know any better. But she knew he didn’t mean her harm, he loved her and she loved him so much she was sure she could teach him to care for her.
Thirty years and three grown children later, Opal felt like a failure.
She hadn’t been able to rescue him from the conditions and events, from the results and effects of his upbringing. She thought that meant she just didn’t love him enough, she hadn’t found the right communication tools, she hadn’t filled his emotional needs. She’d failed.
It wasn’t his fault; he couldn’t help himself, he meant well. She thought he suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome or was on the autism spectrum. She felt terribly guilty and ashamed. She had no self-esteem.
Finally she allowed herself to see the choices he made.
She saw he always controlled his temper around other people, listened carefully to what they wanted, did favors for everyone else, adjusted his schedule to please them, worked hard to make everyone like him. He chose to be wonderful to them, male and female.
However, he chose to control her every move and to take his unhappiness out on her.
He had different rules for her. He never wanted her opinion and was angry when she offered it. He ignored her suggestions, never remembered what she liked, left her stranded when he felt like doing other things, expected her to clean up after him, never allowed her to do anything unless he’d ordered it.
Opal saw it was totally his choice; he wasn’t forced to act that way because he didn’t know any better.
Mental or emotional deficiencies had only been her excuse to accept his way of treating her; to pretend that giving up her life made her a good person; made her a good wife, helped her rise above.
Since he never suffered consequences, he had no incentive to change. He’ll use any excuse or justification; he’ll never admit he was doing anything wrong or mean (especially, not intentionally)
Opal can’t prove it so why does it matter?
When she’d thought he was created and forced by his upbringing to be uncaring, she’d felt sorry for him and allowed him to continue tormenting her while she tried to figure out how to teach him better. It wasn’t his fault so why should he suffer any consequences?
But when she saw him as choosing to treat her like a slave or scapegoat, she got angry. She didn’t want to keep sacrificing her body, mind and Spirit while waiting for him to learn.
Opal saw her future as soul-crushing.
When she looked ahead at the rest of her life, she saw she was in a life and death struggle to determine who was in charge of her future; him or her. As long as she stayed, he could think he was fine; he’d done nothing wrong and she was just too sensitive and controlling.
He’d get worse with age. That was sufficient motivation for her. Well, that and finally deciding to become a model for her daughters. She decided to be responsible for her future, not for serving him the way he wanted.
Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation. The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:
Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.
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