Women with Controlling Partners: Taking Back Your Life from a Manipulative or Abusive Partner
By: Carol A. Lambert, MSW
Women with controlling partners may sense—but can’t “see”—how their boyfriends or spouses hurt them. Why? Controlling partners use psychological abuse relentlessly, yet that’s not how women experience it. For them, it’s insidious, difficult to recognize, and hard to predict. Controlling partners don’t “appear” abusive all the time. Sometimes, they can be kind and even loving. They mix subtle abuse with moments of caring. This confuses women and reinforces their hope for a lasting, loving relationship.
Psychologically abuse intentionally keeps women off balance and vulnerable. They can’t see their partners’ controlling behavior for what it is¾a mission for power and control in the relationship. All abused women have a unique ordeal, but no matter how different their lives are, they tell the same saga: their partners’ coercive tactics entrap them, and they become captives, or as one group labeled, “domestic hostages,” in their intimate relationships. Eventually, they lose their self, who they were prior to the relationship.
If your partner hits you, you an actually feel the abuse. The pain in your head or back or stomach tells you where you’ve been hurt. But suffering from psychological abuse harms how you feel about yourself and causes, “hidden injuries.” These injuries are debilitating and make it more difficult to function in every day life. You become even more vulnerable to being over powered and controlled by your partner. Most women with controlling partners report negative changes within themselves, but never attribute them to their relationship or partner’s behavior. Some of these changes are:
Fortunately, you can heal and get back your strengths.
Except for not being married, a lot of the stories were so similar to mine. It helped to realize what I was really going through and realize that my effects from abuse actually came from abuse. Realizing what I was going through and hearing other women’s stories brought me back to who I really am.