A great deal of this article is subjective and based on anecdotal evidence. While attending college I often overhear other women talk about their husbands or boyfriends. (It is not eavesdropping when someone is having a conversation directly behind you or on either side of you. It is especially not eavesdropping when someone’s “indoor voice” can be heard from ten feet away in a busy hallway.)
More often than not, they were complaining about their husband or boyfriends, who were not very supportive of their education goals. Instead, the boyfriend or husband seemed to be trying to sabotage their wife or girlfriend’s efforts, either passively not being very helpful (expecting the significant other to maintain previous schedule, belittling the significant other’s goals, refusing to take over some of the chores or other responsibilities and so on) or by aggressively disapproving and ordering their wife or girlfriend to stop going to school.
More often than makes me feel comfortable, I would see that some of these women would stop showing up to class.
I do not understand letting someone else have this much control over your life. I also do not understand deliberately sabotaging and disapproving of someone else’s efforts to get an education. A third thing that I did not understand was the way that the woman’s friends would accept as a given that the (male) partner of the relationship was going to feel threatened by the idea of their wife or girlfriend going to school. A possible fourth thing was that I could not understand why the woman did not leave the relationship.
It seems to me that this much controlling behavior is a pretty clear sign of abuse, but on the inside, it might just look like business as usual. If you are not completely confident (and there are a lot of people who are not) being told that you lack whatever quality it takes to get a specific kind of education might seem like good advice. You would not know you were being belittled. You would not understand that the person telling you that you could not do something was simply trying to keep you from doing something you wanted; something that the other person did not want you to do.
I am not sure what a guy expects out of a relationship with a woman, so I am not sure why a guy would want to sabotage his girlfriend or tell her that she cannot go to school. Is it insecurity? Is it a fear that his wife or girlfriend might decide that she does not like him anymore? Why would you want to create the kind of anger and resentment that can come from not supporting your loved one’s goals? Please do not tell me it is because of cultural expectations that the guy should be supporting the girlfriend or wife, because what I see is a total failure to provide that support as being the problem. Sometimes, cultural expectations should be rejected because they do not fit the situation. Sometimes they should be rejected because they are harmful and stupid.
In high school, I remember attending a lot of classes and seminars on abusive relationships. They give you a list of warning signs, but it does not seem like the seminars or lists really take. I think that they might have given me a false sense of confidence that I would be able to avoid an abusive relationship, because I ended up in one anyway. The experience gave me the ability to see how easy it is to fall into an emotionally abusive relationship without realizing it. (From the inside, it seems perfectly normal.)
Let me repeat a few of the warning signs of an abusive relationship. It is a bad sign if you are being railroaded into a relationship with someone. (Claims of love at first sight should be taken with a grain of salt to begin with.) It is a bad sign if someone is highly suspicious of you and tries to control whom you see or talk to and what you do.
If someone blames you for their actions or their anger, if someone is highly critical of you, if you feel isolated and trapped because of this, these are not good signs. If you are constantly at fault and constantly to blame then this is not a good situation to be in, if you are being physically harmed, it is a very bad sign.
If someone is not helping you, if someone is not supporting your goals, then you should leave that person. This might be a little simplistic as advice goes. Advice that is more complicated might be to get counseling and if the counseling does not work, leave that person.
(The flip side of this advice is that if you are being told that your behavior is controlling and you are sabotaging someone else’s goals you should consider actually listening to what that person is telling you. This way, you do not get dumped, or at least, you know what is going to happen as a result.)
Controlling Relationships Sec. 16 “Warning Signs You are Involved with a ‘Controller'” Mental Health CE.com
Abusive Relationships “Healthy Relationships Involve Respect and Trust” TeensHealth
Jacob Mabille “Signs of a Controlling Relationship.” HealthGuidance