By: Megan Bird
As we go through life, from childhood to adulthood, we are continually learning the different meanings of control. We learn how to control our lives, self-control, our manners, and our pets. One method of control that can become detrimental is the control of others. This takes us to the use of control within relationships.
A relationship between two people is made up of self-control and mutual respect for one another, among other things. When the element of control greatly favors one side over another, it creates the environment of an abusive relationship. This abuse does not always come in the form of physical abuse, but that of emotional abuse.
A boyfriend takes his girlfriend to school one day. Instead of dropping her off and coming to pick her up at the end of the day, he waits. He waits for her in the school parking lot for seven hours until she is ready to leave. Why does he wait? She is safe at school, she has limited to no temptation to be unfaithful there. The reason is due to the boyfriend’s incessant need for control in the relationship. His need for control comes from his own insecurities, not his girlfriends. Her insecurities only give her the ability to withstand the control.
In some instances of control, it can regulate every aspect of a partner’s life. What they wear, where they go, and what they do. No matter how innocent it may be, the slightest rebellion against this control can cause the controller’s insecurities to flair, which then can lead to emotional or physical abuse. This is not a problem for adult relationships only, but can be seen starting in teenage relationships as well.
As we work hard battling physical violence, we must remember those silent attackers, like emotional abuse. Just because a man does not hit a woman, doesn’t mean he isn’t abusive. Control is powerful, and the only control there should be, is the control of our own lives.