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#391079 - 03/27/12 10:25 PM Compliance. DANGER AHEAD!
herowannabe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 386
Loc: USA
My survivor husband and I had an "AHA!" moment today, wherein we recognized a deep-seated, destructive auto-response of his coupled with my fatal ignorance of the behavior!

We'd bought a few trees to bring home and were loading them into the truck. My beloved was in the truck bed with the trees laying down and was starting to secure them with rope. I said, "Oh, hon...you can't lay them down to get them home! All of the dirt will come out of the pots"! He said, "What? You want me to stand them up for the drive home"? I said, "Well, yeah, don't you think so? We'll just have to go slow...", and I proceeded to load other stuff into the truck cab. When I finished, he was just finishing up securing the trees, which he'd stood up in the bed. Off we went.

After about 1/4 mile drive, of like, FIVE MPH (!), he said, "There aren't going to be any buds left on the trees by time we get home". I said, "Well, should you lay them down like you were going to do"?, and he said, "Yeah", and pulled over, laid the trees down and secured them.

As he did this work, I thought how I should have kept my mouth shut; that he had been right, the trees needed to be laid down. Then I thought, WAIT A MINUTE! He KNEW the trees needed to be laid down, so WHY did he stand them up without a whimper of protest? He just made extra work for himself by not doing it the way he'd wanted it done in the first place! WTH???

When he got back in the truck, I asked him why he'd stood them up, that I wouldn't have thought twice about him ignoring my thought, or telling me he preferred doing it his way, etc. I went on to tell him I felt bad that he'd just done extra work, when he had been right all along. I asked did he think I would be angry for not having him act on my suggestion?

And he replied, "Old habit...I've always just complied". WOW!

I asked if that didn't make him mad, especially when he knew that what he was complying with was the wrong way/wrong thing/wrong suggestion, etc. He said he just figured that when it was shown that the other person had been wrong, that that would show 'em!!!

Wow!

So, I thought to myself, exactly how long can a person "comply" before he explodes OR implodes?

Today's event was a perfect illustration of how he's "complied" in our marriage. In my defense, just like today, I've never barked orders or whined to get my way- typically, I just voice an opinion or make a suggestion. In ten years of marriage, I don't remember him ever challenging me on anything! Things just kind of got done the way I'd suggest. I NEVER sensed anger or frustration in him over "complying", so I came to see the dynamic as just the way we worked together. I didn't particularly like or appreciate it.

Now in hindsight, I see how I got to a point where I was the only one ever making plans for us, or speaking for us or deciding how to pay the bills, etc. I've resented him not caring enough to voice an opinion on anything. I've resented feeling like I shouldered the responsibility for disciplining kids, how we set up our home, if we get a pet or not, where we'll go for a holiday or who we'll have over for a party we'll host, etc.

Once, I was complaining about the horrible mess that was our 16-year-old daughter's bedroom. I'm the step-mom, which means my orders to clean a room are met with frost and darts. I wanted my beloved to instruct his daughter to clean her room. Instead, HE CLEANED IT! I was so upset that it was easier for him to do the work himself than to "make waves" by telling her to get the room cleaned up. This left me feeling like a b**** because I felt guilty that my complaining caused him to do more work. Then I got angry because my expectation that our daughter should clean her room wasn't out of line, but was actually responsible parenting.

And the biggie: he made a comment (just one!) that he didn't want our grandson's mother moving back in with us, but when I pressed the importance of helping her, he fell silent and said nothing more. Before she was back here for a week, they were inappropriately involved. (Stomach churning, chest tightening, heart heaving, hate myself for being so stupid...).

Wow! So, what have I learned?

I will not allow him to just "comply" with me on anything ever again until I've reminded him of his tendancy to be passive. I hope he will remember that once his "compliance bank" is filled, he will act out...and it will NOT be good. I will encourage discussion about the subject at hand; maybe my idea is good, maybe his is better! I see that we need to ensure neither of us just "roll over" because the other one will wind up being "rolled over"!

Wow! Regrets, but learning...!

Does this speak to anyone else, survivor or supporter??? Does anyone have any additional insight for us?

Wishing us all wisdom...and the patience needed when wisdom arrives a wee bit too late! >.<

herowannabe
_________________________


For I know the plans I have made for you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11


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#391085 - 03/27/12 10:51 PM Re: Compliance. DANGER AHEAD! [Re: herowannabe]
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 678
Loc: NJ
I wonder if it is "PASSIVE" or more "PLEASER" behavior. You just described my 17 year relationship. I think PASSIVE implies a preference for compliance. Whereas pleaser implies compliance, but with a growing sense of resentment.

I learned to stop asking and resented having to make decisions alone. And he resented not being able to decide, ask or well, simply DEMAND.

My feeling about my husband is that his self esteem relegated him to the pleaser role. He was incapable of believing that I liked him for him - so he made sure not to create conflict or friction or ask for too much. This way I would like him (for what he did for me or how well he complied).

We just bought a new car. It is his car. He had to pick the color. In the past, he would have said whatever you want. And I would have thought, but it is your car?? Why is this on me? This time, I said whatever you want. It took him three days and he finally said I think white. I said, cool. He said really? I said yup wink

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#391088 - 03/27/12 11:07 PM Re: Compliance. DANGER AHEAD! [Re: Esposa]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3319
Loc: back in the USA
This is so revealing - both of you!

Here's my take on it from the "Male Survivor" side - just a snip of a post on that forum:

***I’ve been feeling lots of anger recently – because I feel like I am “always” taken advantage of – and I let it happen. I get pretty down on myself – like ever since my earliest years I have been conditioned to submit to abuse and therefore have been used in every other way as well and have no control over what happens. Last week I blew at 3 or 4 different times (very out of character for me!) when other people were demanding that I give in to their lack of planning and responsibility and wanted to make me take the brunt of it and accommodate them at great inconvenience to me. I didn’t “go postal” and I still have my job, but I know I need to work on more controlled and appropriate ways of expressing myself instead of either totally stuffing and acquiescing OR unleashing the “Incredible Hulk”! There must be a middle way... right?***

People used to think i was such a nice guy cuz i "always" did whatever they wanted. But inside i either felt like "what does it matter what i want or think or feel? it's too much hassle to disagree so just make em happy and maybe they'll like me." Or else i was seething from being waslked on "AGAIN!" - but too insecure to let it show.

Lee
_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#391107 - 03/28/12 01:04 AM Re: Compliance. DANGER AHEAD! [Re: traveler]
GoodHope Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 413
I haven't figured out how to get my husband to speak up yet Hero. It's frustrated me for years. Worried me because without trying to be, I know I can be dominating and my father is the same way. He doesn't run over my mother as much as he doesn't slow down to let her process her way. I didnt want to be that way. I ask, I reiterate how I'm fine w whatever he decides, cuz I am. There are only a handful of things I would feel tge need to hunker down on (all kid related). Nada. Now that I know this is a CSA related issue, I'm paralyzed. Do I do what I did in the past--ask 3 times then do it my way since he won't say? Do I ask 10 times? I've been reassuring him for a decade that if we don't agree, we will still be fine as a couple. The internal dialogue I have with myself now frustrates me more than ever now.
_________________________
Wife of a survivor

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#391117 - 03/28/12 01:31 AM Re: Compliance. DANGER AHEAD! [Re: GoodHope]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3319
Loc: back in the USA
Sometimes it has helped me when my wife offers me alternatives - like a multiple choice. It is easier to pick one if i don't have to come up with the idea all alone. or articulate it. afraid of choosing the "wrong" one. a while back it was fatal if she asked my opinion and then disagreed. like - why did you even ask if you already knew what you wanted? and there were too many choices she wanted me to be involved in - broccoli or green beans, discount store or supermarket - today or tomorrow? it was exhausting. Sometimes i'd be to distracted by my own internal dialogue to even hear, much less decide. Gradually, i've been able to get more practice in making decisions. Sometimes i can even initiate a decision - like let's go to XYZ restaurant tonight!

Lee
_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#391119 - 03/28/12 01:41 AM Re: Compliance. DANGER AHEAD! [Re: GoodHope]
Jim1104 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/16/11
Posts: 407
Loc: Louisiana, USA
I know how you feel Lee. In my case, guys, growing up, I was the peacemaker and people pleaser. Compliance was my middle name. Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out how to die without making it look like my fault.

What did it get me? I lost myself. Instead of standing up for myself, I acted out to release the pressure. All the time, I told myself that I was doing everyone a favor by being the nice guy. B.S.

Hero. You and my wife could really have a long talk over this observation. I may show her this. You just described me perfectly. You just described what she has said to me many times.
_________________________
Jim
Male/USA

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#391144 - 03/28/12 04:58 AM Re: Compliance. DANGER AHEAD! [Re: herowannabe]
phoenix321 Offline


Registered: 09/26/11
Posts: 912
Loc: USA, FL
Originally Posted By: herowannabe
As he did this work, I thought how I should have kept my mouth shut; that he had been right, the trees needed to be laid down. Then I thought, WAIT A MINUTE! He KNEW the trees needed to be laid down, so WHY did he stand them up without a whimper of protest? He just made extra work for himself by not doing it the way he'd wanted it done in the first place! WTH???


Good A-Ha Moment! No offense, but I laughed at the bolded statement and thought, "She's definitely a wife. Women criticize themselves first then unload on the husband for listening to them in the first place for doing it their way, which was wrong." Truth is, only a woman could have figured out that A-Ha moment. If you weren't there, he wouldn't have. Thanks for the unintended laugh. hehe You're awesome, Hero. xoxo
_________________________
Phoenix

A guy opens the front door and sees a snail on his doorstep. He picks up the snail and throws it across the street in a neighbor's yard. A year later, the guy opens the front door and the same snail is on his doorstep. The snail says, "What the f*ck was that about?"

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#391156 - 03/28/12 08:03 AM Re: Compliance. DANGER AHEAD! [Re: phoenix321]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
Yep, totally get this. I was born with a compliant nature (at least I think I was) and then had it utterly demanded and forced on me by a mother who made everything all about her. Her idea of parenting was to get her kids to think and act exactly like her. Didn't work so well.

But now I struggle with the whole compliance thing. I understand the his self esteem relegated him to the pleaser role. He was incapable of believing that I liked him for him - so he made sure not to create conflict or friction or ask for too much. This way I would like him (for what he did for me or how well he complied). thing completely. That was definitely me completely.

I've also done then whole... ok we'll do it your way and you'll see how utterly f-d up your idea is... thing as well. Except I definitely reach a point of boiling and lose it. We've had some holes in our walls to prove it and even pulled a whole door off it's hinges once.....

Anyway.... feel a little sheepish sharing those things, but yes the whole compliance thing makes total sense to me. I think at some level all men will come to a boil in that situation. It's just how that steam is let off if you will. Some get angry, some run to addictions, some act out.

Oh, and the answer to the question that someone will probably ask is, Yes, I do feel the whole compliance thing as a child led to a whole hell of a lot more abuse than probably would have occurred if I wasn't forced to comply in all things by my mother.

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#391176 - 03/28/12 11:37 AM Re: Compliance. DANGER AHEAD! [Re: JustScott]
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 678
Loc: NJ
Shared this thread with my husband. He agreed - and added that during his affair he felt like, SEE? This is what you get for all those years of bottled resentment. So I see exactly what Scott is saying....

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#391187 - 03/28/12 01:34 PM Re: Compliance. DANGER AHEAD! [Re: Esposa]
Dan99 Offline


Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 100
Loc: Washington DC
I suspect a lot of survivors can relate to being the compliant partner. And I suspect a lot of spouses wind up married to survivors because they sought out a compliant partner. It makes healing and recovery, while maintaining a marriage, very challenging. I suspect it's why many survivors wind up divorcing.

A marriage that starts out with one set of expectations and roles has to be very solid in other ways to survive the wrenching that goes on when one or both partners break out of those roles.
_________________________
Work like you don't need the money;
dance like no one is watching;
sing like no one is listening;
love like you've never been hurt;
and live life every day as if it were your last.

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