Joe Beam, Ph.D.
Damage or destroy a relationship
What can damage or destroy a relationship? A few years ago, I read the book, The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck, a psychiatrist. This led me to his other, less popular book entitled People of the Lie. In that book, he states that real evil, not the little mistakes or naughty things well all do but real evil, is when one person needs to dominate and control another person. And actually I think that’s true.
You see it in marriages all the time. One person is dominating it, controlling or at least trying to control the other person. It’s almost like one becomes the parent and the other becomes the child. The dominating person treats the other person that way to make themselves feel more confident and superior.
Usually, it is the male in the relationship, but not necessarily all the time. Whatever the weaker spouse says, the dominating one will put them down. For example, she may say, “I like our new neighbors.” He may say, “They’re awful. Are you an idiot?” Or she may, “I think I’ll vote for (insert running candidate’s name here).” And, he says, “Don’t you read the papers? Don’t you look at the magazines? How would you vote for him? That’s ridiculous!” No matter what the weaker spouse thinks or feels, they are put down and ridiculed for their opinions.
A dominating spouse will tell the other how to think, how to feel, how people view them negatively, and they will isolate them from other people. Two things important things to understand:
- Emotions are always true. If someone walked in the door right now, and they told you that one of your children had been killed an automobile accident, you would instantly go into grieving. If an hour later, someone else walked in and said that it was a case of mistaken identity and your child was not dead but alive, would that mean that what you felt for that hour wasn’t true? Of course not. It would be true. So literally, you feel is true. Therefore, if you tell your spouse that he/she shouldn’t feel that way or that he/she ought to feel this way instead, it implies that you aren’t accepting your spouse for who he/she is. Accept your spouse and love them for who they are. Otherwise, you can damage or destroy a relationship
- Treating your spouse like a child is abusive. When you become the dominating spouse, you become like a parent your spouse becomes like your child. This makes the marriage unbalanced and wrong, like with incest. In marriage both partners should be equal.
Controlling another person’s thoughts, emotions, and actions, is just real evil. It is essential that you take control over yourself and don’t allow your spouse to treat you that way. It’s important to be aware of when your spouse is treating you poorly. Picture it this way: if two hands come together and one pushes too hard, one is going to get hurt. In marriage, there should be a mutual push. This means that you both push the same amount challenging each other and clinging to each other. That means, that if you spouse is controlling you, destroying you emotionally, destroying you mentally, and destroying you spiritually, you have to find the strength to push back. Otherwise, this will damage or destroy a relationship: yours.
Now if you’re afraid of him or her, know that there are people that you can go to get help. If you are afraid, your emotions are true, and it’s vital that you follow those emotions because there are people that can cause extremely damaging hurt. And in a situation where you’re afraid, you have to get the help that you need.
But, otherwise, you can stop the control when you decide to, like an adult. You can say, “I hear you, I understand you, and I can even see your point. I just don’t agree with you. And I’m not going to agree with you. I am an independent human being, and you are not going to make me think like you think and you are not going to make me feel like you feel.” In other words, don’t let another person dominate you. Stop them. You’ll be stronger for it. This is how you avoid either you or your spouse from inflicting damage or destroy a relationship.
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