Have you ever noticed how some people will throw a deaf ear at your plea for change and your cry for help…just because. And then, the more you speak, the less you are heard. It’s as though they want you to believe that no matter how you ask what you seek, it will not be forth coming…just because.
Take Andy and Rebeca, for example. Andy has a habit of engaging restaurant servers into conversations about matters unrelated to the meal at hand. On this one evening, he was chatting with Rebeca in a back and forth banter over a recent physical assault/encounter of theirs.
Rebeca sees the waiter coming and politely asks Andy to refrain from talking further about their different perspectives on this experience. Andy clearly hears her request (repeated many times), but that doesn’t stop this man’s lips.
The waiter walks up and Andy blurts out the very thing that Rebeca begs Andy not to discuss at the table in front of this stranger. But even worse, Andy not only spits it out in his uncensored style, he poses it as a question asked directly to the waiter: “Is it rape, if you…”.
So now, Rebeca sits in the wake of her request for privacy in a public place. And she is met with having to digest her sense of embarrassment and awkwardness over Andy’s flaunting this difficult, painful experience.
When Narcissistic Disregard Rules the Moment
The exchange between the waiter and Andy looked a bit like buddies at a frat party spitting sexual innuendo, indiscriminately. Rebeca is pathetically withdrawn over her partner’s refusal to respect her wishes, coupled with the blatant crudeness of the discussion itself. Her partner and the waiter are laughing over such a sexual scenario and she is almost crying.
While driving home, Rebeca informs Andy of how she felt when he blurted out the very thing she begged him to refrain from sharing with the waiter. She had hoped he would hear her so as to avoid this kind of discomfort in the future. But instead, what he heard was an opening to “set her straight.”
Andy informs Rebeca, “If you are embarrassed, this is your problem.” I should not have to change my behavior because of this problem of yours, Andy claims.
Now, take a step back and image being Rebeca. You certainly know that your embarrassment is yours. You also know that you do not seek to share highly personal matters of this nature under these circumstances with strangers in public restaurants. And now you know that your partner refuses to factor your experience and requests into consideration. You are suddenly aware of your limited options.
If you recognize roadblocks in your interaction with your intimate partner, seek to understand the control dynamics of intimate partner violence and the relevant psychopathology of narcissism.
For information on interrupting common classic domestic abuse dynamics, visit http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/spousal_abuse_tx.php. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.
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© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention