Coercive Control, and my subsequent troubles with trusting women.
I know this is a controversial topic, and because of that, I will start with an explanation of my intent in writing this article. This article is NOT a slight on women, or a justification for any of the feelings I have had, but is a self reflective piece on why my experiences have caused the distrust I feel. For context, please read my very first post, which somewhat covers the issue: https://thevillaboysfromaston.blog/2019/04/02/why-i-started-all-this-my-experiences/
I’ll start with someone who should be the most important woman of all: Moms. Most people will probably associate their mothers with love, affection, a comforting influence and likely a teacher of life lessons. Mine provided the opposite.
Growing up, my earliest memories relate to my mom shouting the house down at my dad. We had a door at the bottom of the stairs, which she bolted, to keep me out of things.
Next thing I knew, she left. She’d found another bloke, who no doubt she had been seeing for some time. When she left, she told my dad that he should be the one to look after me, and then was gone.
Being the sort of bloke he is, my dad insisted on me having a relationship with my mom. This is a tough decision that I massively respect him for, as while in hindsight he may have decided differently, it’s what seemed best at the time.
So from then on, I spent 50% of my time with my dad, and 50% with my mom and her new partner. (Long story short, the two of them didn’t last particularly long, and she moved again to live by herself, my still spending half my time there with her.)
Throughout this whole time, we had an incredibly rocky relationship. I spent the majority of my time worrying about every move I make that could possibly anger her, as “anger” on her part was never on a scale, but more a switch, ON or OFF, and any small thing could tip that.
A solid decade of that definitely affects things. When she met her current husband, things calmed down for a while, but inevitably it got worse again. Not only was there the anger aspect, but the controlling of every part of my life. Everything I did was under scrutiny. What I have experienced is something that I now know is called coercive control.
Ironically, if you google coercive control, all the support is from Women’s charities. The assumption seems to be that this is a form of abuse directed at women, by men. This isn’t true. It can go both ways.
Anyway, this all culminated in a massive row just before my GCSEs, so I must have been 16. I had FINALLY lost it, and moved out. This eased things somewhat, but to this day, things are far from perfect.
So, to the point of this story! How these experiences have affected me. It really came to the fore when it mixed with all of the emotions that come with being a teenager.
Upon self reflection, I’ve noticed a pattern. It’s become obvious to me that something I struggle with, is women who I perceive to have control or power over me. Not in some twisted bigoted way, but in an anxious, fearful way. Sometimes though, that has developed into a totally disproportionate and unwarranted anger.
The main thing that springs to mind, which is something I’ve joked about previously, is my relationship with my school teachers. For example, I had an English teacher who was perfectly nice, but used to deal with disruptive students by allowing it until it became too much, and then shouting at them. That used to trigger something in my brain that caused me to get incredibly angry. I had to stay after class multiple times having been an argumentative little sh*t, although she didn’t seem to be able to understand that I wasn’t trying to be difficult, and she was genuinely angering me. Obviously that’s not her fault, but in my opinion, it wasn’t my fault either. At this point, i think it’s important to add that I didn’t have the same issue with male teachers, ever.
I also had an art teacher who I struggled with. It didn’t help that I hated the subject in the first place. My lack of effort definitely meant she took a dislike to me, again, somewhat understandably. This however, did cause me some issues. If a disruptive student caused any problems, somehow, I seemed to be blamed. If someone took the piss while she wasn’t looking, it must’ve been me.
This seems stupid, but to me it was an injustice. An injustice and an abuse of power by yet another woman who thought she could treat me like a piece of sh*t. I know that’s bizarre thinking, and I know it’s irrational, but it’s how I felt. Anyway, that ended with me suddenly flipping over the edge, throwing a table across the room and leaving. That sort of tantrum is massively out of character for me, but again, something deep down triggered that response. On the plus side, I never had to do art again, although somewhat sadly, because the art teacher was now slightly afraid of me. That’s not a nice feeling.
As I can sense this dragging on, I will give only one last example. My driving test, or should I say tests. I’d been a confident driver, and my instructor was convinced I’d pass first time. It wasn’t to be, but that’s not the point! The first time I did my test, I had a female examiner, and I fell apart the second she got in the car. I put it down to the usual nerves, although I’ve never been nervous for a test before. Needless to say I failed. Second time, again a female examiner, this time a different one. Again the fear, and again I failed. The third time, having done no more practise, I had a male examiner. I passed comfortably.
While this may seem a coincidence to some, I don’t see it that way. I can see parallels. Being shouted at, by a female who had power over me, triggered something. I felt it. Being accused of things I hadn’t done, by a woman in control, left me deeply and uncontrollably furious. Handing control of the small aspect of my future life, that is driving, to a woman, gave me a fear I’ve very rarely experienced, and never in a test scenario.
While all of these experiences can be put down, to an extent, to circumstance, for example test nerves, or annoyance at perceiving to have been unfairly treated, my point is that these feelings were amplified. They were amplified to an irrational level.
I’ve spoken before about how I don’t trust people, but here I’m explaining why I have always struggled to trust women in particular. I know that this is wrong, it’s unfair, I fully understand that. Unfortunately it’s something I have to come to terms with, and try to overcome.
If you’ve managed to read this far, I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and opinions, whether you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said! I’d also like you to ask any questions that come to mind at all, as I want to help people who may have similar experiences, and also make sure I come across as intended.