Third Party Perspective 

Thank you for all the kind words and support you’ve offered. I’ve had a lot to think about since the last episode of Seven Year Switch, and of course like you, I’m anxious to see how things play out next week.
 
The thing that breaks my heart the most about the most recent episode is the way CW spoke to me at our reunion dinner and cut me off. How he didn’t listen to me and allow me to express my feelings. It pains me to watch him discount my feelings and try to silence me. After being away from controlling behavior for two weeks, it was even more shocking to experience it. This got me thinking about how controlling behaviors can creep into a relationship slowly and subtly so that over time you’re tolerating more and more. 
 
Have you been in a relationship that was built on mutuality with equal power only to find out later that subtle forms of control started to creep in? I have definitely dated guys who from the start were controlling, and I ran the other way immediately. I hadn’t experienced the subtle form of control that isn’t so obvious. It’s just as dangerous to the psyche though, and causes emotional anguish. What starts as subtle control, disguised as strength and leadership qualities, and an endearing dislike for being wrong, will escalate over time and turn into overt controlling behavior and an unwillingness to be wrong.
 
When you don’t know about an established control connection that is subtle, it seems more like confrontations or arguments that you can’t ever resolve. Over time in my marriage, I had learned that those “confrontations” happened mostly when I expressed feelings. As a natural instinct to avoid so many confrontations, I tried to keep my feelings inside. Unmuting myself during my time with Eric was the best therapy I could have had. I got to remember what it’s like to not be concerned that what is expressed can be received as an attack and could end in deep pain. How would you respond to someone who feels attacked by your very presence and authentic voice?

Controlling People by one of my favorite authors Patricia Evans has some interesting ideas on how to respond. She suggests asking, “What did you say?” until the “spell” of control is broken. This is effective and also keeps the person on the receiving end from falling into the trap of explaining how he or she didn’t mean it as an attack. Evans points out that explaining yourself only tells the controller that you accept their behavior and his or her anger toward you is rational.
 
It’s hard to trust your own perceptions when you think of your partner as so rational, and so able to see you for who you really are, probably better than yourself. When they continually tell you they love you, you believe what they tell you about yourself and believe that they are on your team.
 
I’m learning and growing even more while I view our switch therapy experiment play back on TV. It’s far more enlightening to watch our relational dynamics as a “third party.” It’s a rare and close look that only Seven Year Switch could provide.
 

5 comments

  • TexasAndy

    TexasAndy

    I don't see how you could stay with a person that would lie straight to your face, and wants to control your every thoughts. I know love causes blind eye syndrome. But I hope you watch the show as a 3rd person, and see the true colors of people.

    I don't see how you could stay with a person that would lie straight to your face, and wants to control your every thoughts. I know love causes blind eye syndrome. But I hope you watch the show as a 3rd person, and see the true colors of people.

  • Nikki

    Nikki

    Rachel watching 'Seven Year Switch' has been so interesting! You seem to be such a kind, selfless, and sweet person. It was so sad to watch CW look you right in the eyes and lie, almost scary as he seemed so convincing! Whatever happens in your marriage just know that you deserve respect, honesty, love and the freedom to use your voice in more ways than for singing. Hope all is well!

    Rachel watching 'Seven Year Switch' has been so interesting! You seem to be such a kind, selfless, and sweet person. It was so sad to watch CW look you right in the eyes and lie, almost scary as he seemed so convincing! Whatever happens in your marriage just know that you deserve respect, honesty, love and the freedom to use your voice in more ways than for singing. Hope all is well!

  • GR

    GR

    CW will tell the experts tonight he isn't giving them a decision. That is a control freak way to end the experiment..on his terms. I know you might leave together but by now I feel you will have had many revelations about what you need for future happiness. Maybe he agreed to intense therapy and change but I highly doubt it. I think your future is bright all on your own. The right person is waiting for you and it isn't CW based on what we viewers have been shown. #sorrynotsorry Good Luck with your music ! Good Luck to CW too.. Everyone needs to find peace from within.

    CW will tell the experts tonight he isn't giving them a decision. That is a control freak way to end the experiment..on his terms. I know you might leave together but by now I feel you will have had many revelations about what you need for future happiness. Maybe he agreed to intense therapy and change but I highly doubt it. I think your future is bright all on your own. The right person is waiting for you and it isn't CW based on what we viewers have been shown. #sorrynotsorry
    Good Luck with your music !
    Good Luck to CW too.. Everyone needs to find peace from within.

  • GR

    GR

    Rachel, Did you & CW ever have a dialogue about why he felt the need to be dishonest about lying to you about drinking with Danielle. His excuse that you are fragile is ridiculous. You are a strong woman not a shrinking violet. That should have been taken as an insult! I hope he apologized and felt ashamed! The viewers obviously only saw what was shown to us. It left us worried for you and thinking you were once again duped into staying with a man who will control you and mute you into eternity! Please let us know how you are doing and if both of you continued to seek marital therapy.

    Rachel, Did you & CW ever have a dialogue about why he felt the need to be dishonest about lying to you about drinking with Danielle. His excuse that you are fragile is ridiculous. You are a strong woman not a shrinking violet. That should have been taken as an insult! I hope he apologized and felt ashamed! The viewers obviously only saw what was shown to us. It left us worried for you and thinking you were once again duped into staying with a man who will control you and mute you into eternity! Please let us know how you are doing and if both of you continued to seek marital therapy.

  • Lindalinecm

    Lindalinecm

    We have a lot of similarities right down to career, personality, and husband choice. I've been in similar shoes as yours. All I can say is STAND YOUR GROUND!!! One of the best things I did was I started arguing all the time with him about everything, and if there was something I knew he wanted me to do around the house for example, I intentionally didn't do it, or I even did the opposite. This showed him that the world didn't stop when his neat-freak preferences were disrupted. He really just lived in FEAR of everything falling apart unless he had it all tightly controlled. It sounds counterintuitive, but once he found out I wasn't going to be his mouse anymore he backed off. I also threatened and got really close to leaving. Boy, did that bring about a huge change in him too, positively. I had to become his equal in terms of strength. I also had to separate myself from him emotionally in order to do that. We are rebuilding slowly in a healthier way. (By the way, when he stares at you with eyes wide and lips pinched on the show while he lies to you about the drinking thing, that look also looked like he was AFRAID of what would happen if you lost control.) Living with men like this is extremely difficult, but at the same time they're so good at so many things that make them a good husband... All I can say is when he says, "No, we're not going to do that..." yada yada yada, I would say, "Oh yes we are!!! I want to do that! So we're going to!" Even if it's not something you really want to do, just to teach him that he's not always the boss. Good luck!!! :-)

    We have a lot of similarities right down to career, personality, and husband choice. I've been in similar shoes as yours. All I can say is STAND YOUR GROUND!!! One of the best things I did was I started arguing all the time with him about everything, and if there was something I knew he wanted me to do around the house for example, I intentionally didn't do it, or I even did the opposite. This showed him that the world didn't stop when his neat-freak preferences were disrupted. He really just lived in FEAR of everything falling apart unless he had it all tightly controlled. It sounds counterintuitive, but once he found out I wasn't going to be his mouse anymore he backed off. I also threatened and got really close to leaving. Boy, did that bring about a huge change in him too, positively. I had to become his equal in terms of strength. I also had to separate myself from him emotionally in order to do that. We are rebuilding slowly in a healthier way. (By the way, when he stares at you with eyes wide and lips pinched on the show while he lies to you about the drinking thing, that look also looked like he was AFRAID of what would happen if you lost control.) Living with men like this is extremely difficult, but at the same time they're so good at so many things that make them a good husband... All I can say is when he says, "No, we're not going to do that..." yada yada yada, I would say, "Oh yes we are!!! I want to do that! So we're going to!" Even if it's not something you really want to do, just to teach him that he's not always the boss. Good luck!!! :-)

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