By: Natasha Archary
The battlefield of power and control in relationships is often what causes many couples to implode.
In an ideal world the power dynamic will have an even 50/50 split. Maintaining an equal and shared bond between two people who compromise.
Establishing who wears the pants in the relationship sets the tone for how the other partner fits in.
It boils down to who’s “in charge” in the relationship.
On Kaya Drive this Wednesday, Sizwe and team wanted to know if listeners were controlling or have dated a controlling partner.
Leading the discussion, Sizwe advocates for positive control. When a partner is looking out for your best interest and is trying to control aspects of your life which will benefit you.
The common perception is that the person who earns more controls the relationship as pointed out by Keneiloe Huma.
Sizwe however, disagreed sharing that there are many couples where the woman controls the partnership despite the man bringing home the bacon.
The quest for control
Often, a partner will not be aware that they are being controlled. It starts small, with requests to change habits that do not match your partner’s lifestyle.
Before you know it, there’s an imbalance of power, where one person feels helpless and like they do not have a voice in the relationship.
The need for control stems from a number of factors, which include past trauma, infidelity, emotional intimacy issues and toxic behaviour.
In a patriarchal landscape like South Africa, most men demand that their partners submit to them.
While this is gradually changing as women are now more independent and self-reliant, many still allow their partners to make decisions for them.
Battlefield of power
Once the power shifts to one person, the relationship is not a healthy one. It signals the start of an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship.
A partner who controls the finances in a relationship takes the control to toxic extremes. Limiting the other person’s independence and dictating what they can and can’t spend on.
It forces the other person to be completely dependent on the partner in control.
Not all controlling partners exhibit signs of abusive behaviour. But if you can’t express how your partner’s controlling nature makes you feel, it’s generally not a good sign.
Take back control
- Introspect and ask yourself why you are allowing your partner to control you
- Assess the future of your relationship and what you’re willing to tolerate
- Communicate with your partner and find common ground
- Assert yourself and your opinions and stand by them
- Recognise the signs of abuse and call it what it is
Also read: Kaya Drive: Marking your territory