It has been a while but The Modern Day Fairy Godmother is officially 4 years old! Thank you to everyone from around the globe for your support and feedback over the years.
I write a lot from the perspective of being in a relationship because I am in one. However, what if you are one of those fortunate people on the outside looking in? It is no easy feat.
I come from a family who only believes that abuse manifests physically. I do not care what they say: emotional abuse is still abuse. More often than not, emotional abuse appears in the exertion of control. These situations are no longer like the ones on Maury where someone orders the person to call them “master” or bow to them. Instead, it becomes evident in little remarks that may seem harmless at first but then have a cumulative effect. This level of control weaves itself subtly into their lives and when they realize it, it could be too late.
I have been in controlling relationships and I also have been the friend that has had to break it to someone that their significant other’s behaviour wasn’t healthy. Contrary to popular belief, the people who enter controlling relationships are not insecure. They are strong leaders who are admirable in their character and confidence. However, they are ONLY insecure in their love lives.
I have lost a
friendship sisterhood over me being honest about her boyfriend. Although I do miss her at times, I do not regret telling her because I would have been a bad friend if I never did. I cannot guarantee that by you confronting your friend, it will go smoothly. I can only tell you the best possible way to get your message across.
Start when they are not talking about their significant other. This is important. When they are ranting and complaining about them, it is so easy to join in and let them know that they are controlling. Don’t you notice that the minute you say this, they get defensive and act like they are the only ones that are allowed to complain about Mr./Ms. Dead-Wrong? That’s why it is best to let them rant and then tell them your feelings another time. Sometimes, people do not want advice but just a listening ear.
Avoid adjectives and if you need to use them, do not be too blunt. By saying that Mr./Ms. Dead-Wrong is controlling, you are opening yourself up to abrasiveness and conflict. One word I like using is “overprotective” or I even use verbal forms, such as “they like to exert a certain sense of control in their lives”. You allow them to feel like they are in a safe space and are not being condescending or demeaning.
Ask questions and rephrase their words. Listening is key and if you are just yelling at them, you are also being the controlling one. Let them express their feelings to you and then rephrase into a question. For example, if your friend says that their significant other does not accept them for who they are, you can ask “Do you want to be with someone who does not accept you?”
Remind them that it is their decision. They are an adult, you should act like one too.
The Modern Day Fairy Godmother