Con­trol­ling spouse changes wife’s at­ti­tude

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PAUSE & PLAY - El­lie Tesher

Q -Our daugh­ter’s mar­ried to a con­trol­ling man who’s caused her to change her at­ti­tude to­wards us.

Once mar­ried and ex­pect­ing their first child, they moved away for “bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

But I now be­lieve it was also his plan to get dis­tance from our in­flu­ence.

My hus­band and I have had a happy mar­riage with equal de­ci­sion­about any­thing im­por­tant.

When we visit our daugh­ter she seems tense and is of­ten on her own be­cause it’s said to be his “busy pe­riod.” I think that’s his ex­cuse for avoid­ing us.

She doesn’t seem to have many close friends, just a nanny she re­lies on a lot. She sleeps half the day.

Ev­ery­thing in their life is ex­plained as be­ing how he wants it to be. I don’t think she’s phys­i­cally afraid of him, but she’s cer­tainly not cross­ing him.

She’s even for­bid­den my bring­ing any gifts for my grand­sons (ages seven and four) other than what he thinks is ap­pro­pri­ate.

How can my hus­band and I best han­dle our re­la­tion­ship with our daugh­ter?

Kept at Dis­tance

A-It’s a del­i­cate sit­u­a­tion. Even though be­ing ma­nip­u­lated can be seen as emo­tional abuse, she could counter that she agrees with his ways and pre­vent your vis­its, if you ap­pear

crit­i­cal.

So stay­ing in touch, lis­ten­ing rather than ask­ing too many ques­tions, stay­ing alert to what­ever you see and hear, are cru­cial for main­tain­ing ac­cess to her and your grand­chil­dren.

The young­sters will sense your warmth and car­ing, no mat­ter what gifts you bring.

Your daugh­ter saw your egal­i­tar­ian mar­riage and may one day be fed up with what she’s ac­cept­ing from her hus­band for now.

Mean­while, her sleep­ing through half the day may be sig­nal­ing a grow­ing un­hap­pi­ness, which could lead to de­pres­sion.

So main­tain­ing the re­la­tion­ship now is es­sen­tial.

If you sense her with­draw­ing in other ways – non-com­mu­nica­tive, bouts of cry­ing, etc. – be pre­pared to get to her side, in­sist that she see a doc­tor, and con­sider treat­ment.

Her hus­band may need some of his own medicine by your be­ing as strong-minded as he is, when nec­es­sary to pro­tect your daugh­ter and the chil­dren.

Q -My hus­band and I are a civil-part­nered gay cou­ple in Ire­land. My hus­band's brother moved far away a short time af­ter we started dat­ing.

As far as I can tell, they've never had a good re­la­tion­ship.

But now that same-sex mar­riage has been le­gal­ized, we want to re­new our vows and want my brother-in-law to stand with us.

How­ever, he and my hus­band had a fall­ing out last Christ­mas and they’re not speak­ing.

I re­ally want my hus­band to be happy and have a re­la­tion­ship with his younger brother.

Frus­trated Spouse

A-Talk to your hus­band and ask if the rea­son for the fall­ing out is as sig­nif­i­cant to him as the vow-re­newal cer­e­mony.

It’s un­likely that he’ll say yes, but there may be deeper sib­ling is­sues at play. If he re­sists ap­proach­ing his brother, draw him out.

Per­haps there were ear­lier ri­val­ries, or pre­vi­ous non-ac­cep­tance of his sex­ual iden­tity, or some­thing else which you don’t know of their past.

Don’t ap­proach his brother your­self. Your loy­alty is to your hus­band, and if he’s adamant on not con­tact­ing him, that’s his choice.

Sim­i­larly, if he reaches out and his brother re­jects him, don’t in­ter­fere.

The most im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship re­gard­ing this event is be­tween you two as a mar­ried cou­ple.

En­joy the mean­ing of the cer­e­mony, es­pe­cially in light of its new his­toric le­gal sig­nif­i­cance.

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