Breaking a Cycle of Control and Manipulation

I know I can live in absence of h.. My learning is how do I break the flustered scenarios when h is controlling me. I want to break the cycle, but peacefully.

Honey, if you are going to go part of the way, you might as well take this the whole way, and break this childish midlife spouse of his need to control, and manipulate you. ๐Ÿ™‚ You recognize it, and when you recognize bad behavior, then you can start taking the actions needed to break the pattern/cycle you’re seeing.

Allow me to explain:

There is no “peaceful” way to break a cycle of control, and manipulation. I’ve never seen a time of peace that wasn’t battled and fought for by someone who believed in themselves, and believed this was a necessary aspect. There are people who think to convince others that one can negotiate for a time of peace, but as we all know, there is no negotiating with an emotional terrorist (immature midlife spouse) who is out to control every aspect of a left behind spouse’s life.

To give a good analogy, I think I remember reading somewhere that the more ground that was given to Hitler, the more ground he claimed, and controlled as his own. People wanted peace, but Hitler wasn’t about to let the situation be peaceful. This situation escalated, and eventually led into the Holocaust that made a huge mark in history. It’s also like my mother used to say, “You give them an inch, they’ll take a mile,” which simply means if you give way, without standing your ground, you’ll get taken advantage of if you don’t protect yourself.

You’re going to need to make up your mind to break this cycle using change that will trigger emotional unrest, then deal with that unrest using boundaries to protect yourself, stand firmly, and become strong enough to deal with the emotional storm you know is going to come. Being forewarned is always forearmed, because the controller and manipulator always seek to deny the change of situation that if held, will eventually lead them into learning they aren’t always going to get what they want, when they want it.

I was never able to negotiate anything with my husband when he was deep in his crisis. He refused to “hear” me, “see” me, or even “feel” me. As far as he was concerned, the only reason I was there was to ‘serve’ him, and for him to control and manipulate me. That was wrong, because I was not his child to raise, I was an adult. Though confrontation of that kind was scary for me, too, I had to make up my own mind to make that Stand I knew was right for myself, let go of the outcome, and tell him how it was going to be.

The stand I made was about me, and the stand you’ll make, when you choose to make it, will be all about you. Your husband may try to convince you that you’re “hurting” him, you’re not being “fair” to him, and you’re “worrying” him–but don’t go there with him. I realize that calling home is a consideration to let someone know where you are in case something happens, so people will know to where to look, BUT consider where your husband is–he’s deep in a major midlife crisis, and his “concern” only extends to his childish need to control something. You’re the closest person to him, so he’s controlling you to meet this childish need inside of himself.

Time to grow up, Buster Brown, and start acting your age instead of your shoe size. This is an adult world, not a playground where bullies rule the day. It’s amazing to me how many people still act as if everybody is on a playground, where control, manipulation, and even bullying takes place.

When it was me, I was afraid, but determined that I wasn’t doing this anymore with him. God was strengthening me, and letting me know this was something I was going to have to face and overcome. I don’t know if I spoke about it before, and I probably have, but my husband controlled and manipulated me consistently throughout the years that led into his midlife crisis. God let me know that it was time for me to Stand, and let my words and actions speak in such a way that let him know he was at the end of the line, that he was not going to control, nor manipulate me ever again.

Yes, he fought me–he wouldn’t have been deep in the grip of serious immaturity if he hadn’t put up a fight. Growing up involves change, is painful, and nobody wants to grow up, but he had to after he tried every antic he could think of to force me to back down from him. Oh, but honey, I refused, because my future emotional growth that was ongoing depended on me standing my ground with him.

When it was clear I was serious, and he knew he was losing control of the situation, and of me, I stood and watched him spin out in a tantrum that was designed to see if he could terrorize me, and bully me into backing down. It’s not funny, but I look back, and sometimes I laugh, because a grown man pitching a fit like a small kid is the funniest sight you’ll ever see if you’re not the one involved in it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I laughed much later on, but right then, it was serious business.

The tantrum didn’t work, I held my ground, and though he didn’t stop poking me for a couple of days, in time, he figured out that he had two choices–he could choose to change in response, or walk away in reaction. What else could he do? I had nothing to lose, and even as I stood, quivering on the inside, I saw just how immature he really was. After I calmed completely down later on, I have to admit, it wasn’t very attractive to me. When I saw him begin to change, it an emotional victory on my part, was won.

It didn’t mean I didn’t have to repeat my stance on how I was and was not going to be treated by him, but I never did see another huge tantrum like that from him.
I did have to learn to stay on guard, learn the actual script (I called them “mind games”) associated with a controller and manipulator, and in time, I had it all down. I was no longer afraid of him, because quite frankly, he had way more to lose than I did, when I really sat down and thought about it.

You grow into a place of knowing, for yourself, what you will and won’t tolerate from people in the way of behaviors. You wouldn’t allow someone besides your husband to act this way against you, so why would you allow him to do this? It’s a good question to ask yourself as you’re considering the pros and cons of what you’re about to do. Believe me when I say there are more pros than cons. ๐Ÿ™‚

Midlife spouses are notorious for using angry outbursts, tantrums, and acting in ways that are designed to trigger fear in the left behind spouse. What is it all for? Why, it’s for getting control of a situation, of course, to then manipulate it for their own benefit. This is a major issue that they didn’t overcome in childhood, so the inner child, that never matured in this area, is back again to see if what didn’t work then, will work now. The players are different, this time, but the immature issues that beg to be outgrown are the same. Food for thought.

What is it within you that is so afraid of standing up to this midlife man? That’s something only you can answer, but I’ll tell you something. God will meet you there to help you stand strong, and help you overcome your fear of what this man might think to do. I have been there, too. ((HUGS))

True courage is shown when you choose to step out in spite of the fear you feel. People who go into physical battle, have a very real fear of getting killed, but because it’s something they know is necessary, and has to be done, courage is then born, because they are choosing to step out in spite of the fear they felt. And that’s what you need to do. Learn to look at the situation in a reality you’ve not considered before, and learn to see it through the eyes of courage, instead of the fear that’s been driving you all this time. ((HUGS))

I saw an entry in the search engine sometime back that read, “I set boundaries on my midlife spouse, and the situation became worse.” That was the gospel truth, because changing a pattern of behavior that denies a controlling person the “Self-given” right to control and manipulate a person, or a situation, almost always triggers a tantrum.

Immature people don’t like being told no, and immature people don’t like being shown they’ve lost that “other” control they’ve always took for granted, because really, you’ve allowed him to take this upper hand, take your emotional power, and you need to get it back under your own control.

He has to learn, the same as you do, that he does not get to control you without your emotional permission. It’s a hard lesson for a midlife spouse to learn, but it’s necessary because mature people already understand that wanting “other” control, and doing childish things to get full control is not for them to have. They have to learn that other people are there with them, because they choose to be, not because they have to be.

When you dropped off the face of the Earth, and didn’t contact him, you triggered his insecurities, his abandonment issues, and you triggered a fear that you might not come home. That is the basis of his controlling and manipulating behavior, and no midlife spouse ever likes the emotional tables turned on them. When this happens, they gear up for a war, and that weapon used in this major emotional war always involves intense anger, spewing in confusion, and loss of control tends to also trigger the vindictive nature they use in such a passive aggressive way to see if they can return the “favor.”

You see, it’s OK if HE does these things, but in his mind, it’s NOT OK if you do what he does. This is where a “double standard,” also known as “one set of rules for me, and another for you” tend to apply. He’s not your parent, you are not his child, but this is how he’s treating you, and this cycle needs breaking because this is a major part of your growth.

Yes, he’s going to get angry, and he may possibly threaten you with leaving, a divorce, and he might seek to “punish” you by giving you the silent treatment. But, honey, don’t you dare cave in once you make up your mind to step up to the plate and begin the fight to break this cycle of childish behavior in him.

Once you make up your mind to break a cycle, you let the outcome go, and understand that the outcome you are fighting for, is for you, not for that midlife spouse. Like most of the midlife spouses who are so bent on controlling their environment, their situation, and the people in it, your husband is the most secure in himself when he has control of everything.

But this “false” security, on his part, never lasts because if you did everything he wanted you to do, he would find something else to torment you with. The unrest is within HIM–it has nothing to do with you at all. He is unable to live in peace, so using appeasement to try and get peace isn’t going to work. It never does when dealing with an emotional terrorist.

Whichever childish issue that is struggling within him, is tormenting him in this way. Children aren’t comfortable with change, and their response to change, is to seek to control it. Children have to learn that change is beyond their control, and they can either reject it, or accept it, but either way that change is going to happen anyway.

That’s the attitude you have to take into this, because I already figure he’s going to fight you about changing the situation, removing control from his hands, and putting it right back in your hands, where it belongs in the first place.

We need to learn to overcome our own fear of people getting angry when we choose something they don’t like, they don’t want, and/or make a change they don’t want to accept. Controlling people have this idea that they know what’s best, right down to the point of making decisions for their spouses, without their knowledge, and without their consent. I don’t doubt you’ve been subjected to this kind of behavior, too, but it’s a serious mark of disrespect toward you.

He doesn’t see you as a separate person from him. He sees you as a part of him that can be controlled, and this is a codependent trait in most marriages. In order to break free of this kind of tyranny, you’ll need to create a problem for him, and one that he will have to figure out how to emotionally adjust to.

That is what happens when we set boundaries, make changes, and seek to thwart the actions of someone who is determined to control every situation, and manipulate it to their own advantage. I know it’s hard, because I’ve been there, too, but if you want peace, you will have to build your strength, take a deep breath, and just step into this change you’ll make for yourself.

What he might do or not do, I cannot say, but from what you’ve described, you’ll have your hands full with his fighting you. However, whatever you do, remain calm, cool, and collected, and remember he’s only a man who puts his britches on the same way you do—one leg at a time.

IF he threatens physical violence, do not hesitate to warn him that you will call the police, and put him in jail if he touches you. Do NOT back down, no matter what happens. That’s another way he might try to regain control of you. Physical violence is never an acceptable way for an immature person to fight change that is designed to hopefully trigger them into growing up.

This man has a lot of growing up to do, but if you don’t start growing for yourself, and exercise these lessons on him, he will not grow on his own. He will do whatever you allow him to do, for as long as you allow him to do it.

Your mental and emotional health is more important than trying to appease an emotional terrorist who isn’t going straighten up on his own–it is going to take change on your part, which usually triggers a fight that may lead into throwing a tantrum on his.

There is always the chance he might walk out, but you have to also accept that possibility, too, because in the end, you can’t control anyone but yourself, your actions, and your reactions.

It’s not easy to stand firm in the midst of an emotional storm of this magnitude, that is designed to break a controller and a manipulator, but you can do this–I know you can. If I can do it, and survive it, I know you can, too.

I hope this helps.

((HUGS))

Since 2002, Hearts Blessing has been a pioneer in the area of knowledge and information written about the Mid Life Crisis. The owner and author of https://thestagesandlessonsofmidlife.org she writes articles that help people learn more about this confusing time of life. The main goal of this site is to help people know and understand that no matter what happens, every situation works out to the good of those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose. :)
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