Possessiveness and its tragic effects on marriage

Possessiveness in marriage is the desire to dominate or control all aspects of a spouse’s life. It can be in regards to friendships and relationships, jobs, hobbies, or even shows that can be seen on television. It can lead to coercive control of the other person, making the victim fear to oppose such behavior or do what they want to do. Possessiveness is commonly attributed to men. But there are many women who also like to keep their husbands in a grip of vices. The term “pecked” probably reflects this attitude.

A marriage was arranged between an intelligent and lively young pharmacist and a private bank official. Although his features were distorted by Bell’s palsy, the parents did not care. She had a stable job with a good income and this ensured her daughter’s safety. Within a few months, the girl became a sad, taciturn, and distracted woman. Her husband was possessive to the point that she had to tell him about her behavior at work hour by hour. He stymied his progress professionally in different ways.

He was unable to participate in any social activities with his colleagues. Three children followed in quick succession. The girl tolerated her husband’s behavior for ten years. She then ran away and left a note saying that unless her husband went to receive psychiatric treatment for his abnormal behavior, she would never return. One remembers the nursery rhyme to “Peter, pumpkin-eater Peter who married a wife but couldn’t keep her. So he put her in a pumpkin shell and kept it there very well.”

But the girl broke her shell yelling “Don’t you dare lock me up.”

Evidently his facial deformity had given him a complex. He felt that unless he controlled his wife, she would be unfaithful to him or even leave him. He lost her not because of her appearance, but because of her behavior. Timely psychiatric intervention eventually sparked a reunion.

Signs of possessiveness:

• Control a spouse to cower and submit to your wishes.

• Unfounded suspicion of his activities, who he meets and who he talks to. Not only his interaction with the opposite sex, but even female friendships are suspicious.

• Frequent phone calls to verify your activities.

• Socializing with friends is totally prohibited.

• Selfishness without regard for the likes or dislikes of your spouse.

• Spy on their movements through private detectives.

Reasons for possessiveness:

1. Insecurity: Growing up in troubled families, the deprivation of love in childhood, the desertion of parents may have created deep-seated insecurity. Therefore, he wants to hold on tightly to his ‘possession’.

2. Lack of trust in the spouse.

3. Inferiority complex: a spouse may be better educated and better qualified. You may have an important job and receive a fabulous salary.

4. Borderline or acute personality disorders: Those with schizophrenia or bipolar disorders are prone to insecurity and possessiveness.

5. Egocentricity and selfishness. You cannot think beyond your own comforts.

6. Jealousy can be covert or overt.

7. When love becomes addiction, the object of love becomes obsession.

Effects on the victim:

– Frustration and resentment against the intimidating spouse.

– You can retire socially or vocationally.

– Self-loathing and loss of self-esteem.

– Depression.

– Desire to escape the clutches of the spouse.

How to prevent possessiveness:

The two most important elements required for a stable marriage are love and trust. This requires a proper understanding of the different roles of spouses in a relationship. Individual differences must be respected. Although the betrothal prevails over some individual rights, it should not destroy all individual rights. Everyone should have the freedom to develop personal skills and interests. Spouses should be allowed to have friends of the same sex.

Scott Peck calls the inability to appreciate the separation of the other narcissism.

“Love is separation,” he says, “the genuine lover perceives the beloved as having a totally separate identity. The genuine lover fosters this separation and the unique individuality of the beloved.”

Each individual needs physical and mental space to function at full capacity. One spouse cannot be an extension of the other. There must be time for friends and time for hobbies. However, there must be a mutual agreement on how much time can be spent on separate activities. The time they spend apart does not separate them from each other. Every little absence of the beloved makes love grow.

“Separation improves the marital relationship,” says Scott Peck.

Generosity enables members to genuinely enjoy the success of their members. They should encourage and support each other.

How to overcome possessiveness:

• Discover the root of your insecurity. Do you have an inferiority complex about your background or your job?

• Are you afraid of losing your spouse’s property? Communicate your feelings and fears to your partner and clarify the matter. You will discover that your fears are unfounded.

• For any relationship to survive and grow, there must be mutual trust and open communication.

• Overcome selfishness and give your spouse room to grow.

• Remember that possessiveness is a terrible form of abuse. It cannot be called love. “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (I Cor. 13: 6).

• Although marriage is a legal bond, it does not mean the slavery of the spouse.

• Seek professional help and advice.

Tips for Victims:

– Don’t expect others to fight your battles. Confront your spouse and regain your distinctive identity.

– Do not tolerate abuse in any way. Better to end a destructive relationship.

Author / philosopher Khalil Gibran leaves us with this thought:

“Let there be gaps between your union and let the winds of heaven dance between you.”

Relationships take time to develop. They must be strengthened and nurtured by love and patience, commitment and trust. Possessiveness leads to manipulation through intimidation, coercion, or even seduction, so that the offender can get away with it. Someone compared manipulation to witchcraft. Whether husband or wife, one does not have full authority to control another.

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