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August 21, 2018

THE TEN ‘I’s THAT BREAK THE HOME (12)

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MIND AND BODY with  Rev. Fr. Vincent E. ArisukwuEFFECTS OF INTIMIDATION IN MARRIAGE

Married life with an abuser/intimidator is characterized by constant criticism over matters of small consequence, blames, false accusations, threats and malicious humour. According to the Psychologist Steven Stosny, Founder, Compassion Power in Washington D.C., “this behaviour is designed to make you feel unworthy, fearful, ashamed and mentally unstable”. The effects are numerous:

 

TENSION/FEAR: Any marriage relationship characterized by intimidation is filled with constant tension. Intimidation makes the victim fear his/her partner. Since the relationship in this case is one of master/servant, one party is always in charge, the other is like a personal aide. Many wives today simply dread their husbands, some husbands also fear their wives. They are not themselves because the husband/wife could become infuriated at the slightest provocation.  The man’s actions cannot be predicted and as a result the wife avoids him. She is always apprehensive, and some times gets scared at the arrival of the husband in the house. Discussions are not palatable, meals are not shared. The children are even more appreciated than the legitimate marriage companion. Such wife dares not appear in the presence of the husband’s visitors except on strict invitation from the husband oftentimes to serve kola and then disappear. She does not have her own visitors at all because that would mean invoking the wrath of the “Oga” in the house. Some wives are also always the first to entertain their visitors and often dominate discussions even when it shouldn’t concern them. They derive joy making their husbands play second fiddle.

 

INDISCIPLINE: The book of Proverbs says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, stupid are those who hate correction” (Prov. 12:1). The intimidator is always incorrigible and shuns correction. He lacks discipline. He is ruled by arrogance and only follows the instincts of his impulse. The intimidator feels he knows everything and acts without consultation or the contribution of his/her partner. And because the partner fears the intimidator, she is scared to make inputs even when there is a looming danger in the house. Ideas are not dissected together. Projects are not carried out together. Each person operates from his/her own convenience. The home is a bit chaotic.

 

PRETENCE: It is difficult for marriages built on intimidation to be real. The victim of intimidation is always pretentious. He/she does not open up fully to the partner while the partner does not include him/her in his/her projects. He/she only tries to please the intimidator. Oftentimes wives who are victims of intimidation in marriage find themselves telling lies, so also husbands. They resist saying what they do for fear of the consequences. They paint pictures that will make their man excited even for the wrong reasons. The emphasis here is to satisfy the partner even if that means cooking up stories. The relationship is characterized by pretence.

 

UNFAITHFULNESS: Every woman wants to be appreciated and for that reason would not want to be with a man who always frightens her. Most women who suffer intimidation in the hands of their husbands always look for a way out. The reason is that they have the feeling of being unloved. The consequences are dual in nature: First is that such a woman creates a lot of imaginations in her head. She imagines that she cannot appeal to her husband in so many ways. She can fall prey to any act of love and care from another man that tickles her fancy. The second is that such a woman also imagines that the husband derives his own satisfaction elsewhere since it becomes difficult for her to believe that the reason for abuse from the man is unfounded. The question is, “Why can’t I please my husband? What is it that he needs I don’t have?” On the part of the man, when he loses sight of the point of attraction in the wife and concentrates on scolding and harassing her, he himself can become a victim of sexual attraction outside of the marriage.

 

LOW ESTEEM: Any wife who undergoes intimidation in the hands of the husband can easily develop low esteem. This is because her suggestions are seen as inferior by the husband and often not accepted. Some times she feels she is in the house merely to cook and prepare domestic affairs. Even in the company of her fellow women such persons hide and shy away from taking up responsibilities because of the uncertainty of the husband’s reactions. There is no need accepting responsibility because the man of the house may not allow her to move out freely to accomplish such. She cannot open up either to her fellow women since that would mean washing her dirty linens in public. So the way out becomes to hide and possibly avoid any occasion that would expose her to being appointed to positions of service or leadership among her peers. Nothing also kills a man psychologically as when he is made to feel that he has nothing to offer. The resultant effect of intimidation is a feeling of low self esteem.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Intimidation in marriage can result to domestic violence. For instance, in many domestic cases, husbands and wives who have been victims of years of mental torment at the hands of their domineering mates may shut down emotionally and begin to display aggression. This is as a result of accumulated tension which unfortunately explodes at the wrong and unexpected time. Domestic violence can easily be the consequence of inability to accept abuse and intimidation from one’s partner.

 

LOSS OF AFFECTION:  One of the signs of abuse in marriage is alienation of emotional affection. Once a person becomes a victim of intimidation in the hands of his/her spouse, he/she becomes disgusted about the relationship. A man cannot love a woman who continues to intimidate him, so also a woman cannot love a man who continuously abuses her. In some marriages the man feels he knows so much that he regards the wife as completely empty. He does not only disregard her contributions but consciously derides, flaws and denigrates her in public. Some men suffer humiliation in the hands of their wives especially when their powers to perform have waned. This power includes both financial ability as well as sexual prowess. While some women suffer intimidation from their husbands for certain superiority syndrome, some women intimidate their husbands for some unpronounced reasons. In any case however, intimidation leads to loss of marital affection.

 

LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN CHILDREN: Families with history of tension in the homes usually produce children with some form of complex. Psychologists have discovered that children from such background suffer  psychological and mental instability in their relationships with others. Owing to their unstable backgrounds most of them are always filled with suspicions and mistrust. Some manifest great elements of timidity and lack of self confidence. They feel threatened by the environment while some become highly incorrigible as a result of the conflict- driven environment they emanate from.

 

BREAK UP: The holy writ says, “No one is made secure by wickedness” (Prov. 12; 3). Most marriages that have broken up today are as a result of intimidation. This is because no man/woman would want to live in bonded slavery in the hands of another. Freedom is a natural gift to humanity, and invariably everyone wants to have his/her freedom. It becomes unthinkable when marriage is made a prison yard, when marriage becomes an avenue for exploitation. It becomes ridiculous when marriage becomes only a means for making a person realize his/her emptiness and irrelevance. Marriage which in its true sense should be an opportunity for filling a gap, a lack of one by his/her beloved partner unfortunately becomes a tool to ridicule and intimidate one’s husband/wife  This makes the marriage union suffer break ups.

 

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