I'm 58, male and been married for over 28 years during which time I have experienced many of the symptoms described as 'controlling behaviours' on this website. This has led to constant rowing. Generally speaking I'm fairly easy going and will try to avoid confrontation but my wife just goads me until the cork pops. I'm not proud to admit that when the red mist comes down I can be childish, with lots of screaming and shouting. It's frustrating because I know that once I start shouting I've already lost the argument. A typical situation that has occured many times is: I would come in from work (I was a senior HR Adviser before I retired) feeling like I just wanted to relax.
She: "What's wrong with your face?"
Me: "Nothing, I'm just tired after a hard day at the office"
She will then keep on at me insisting that there must be something wrong and then the abuse would start. "You always do this, you never do that etc. I would try to ignore it, even retreat to a different room but she would follow me and keep up the tirade. Then the cork would pop and I would slip into the childish mode with name calling and another row would ensue. Over the years I've put up with being belittled, compared unfavourably with others; "So and so does this, that and lots of other things but you're just a Council worker." I took voluntary redundancy / early retirement last year which enabled us to pay off the mortgage etc and still have a sizeable sum of money in the bank. From the start she kept telling me about others who's marriage has ended up in divorce after he retired and she seems to have focused on that ever since until it's reached the point where it's very probably going to happen. Over the years I've tried many times to discuss differences to find a new way forward. As an HR Adviser I've been trained in counselling, conflict resolution and similar skills but none of that works with my wife. Whereas I'm always willing to listen to the other person and compromise if necessary to reach middle ground my wife has only one point of view: Her way or prepare for another row. She is extremely volatile and I'm always wondering when she will kick off next. Everything is my fault. I could be at the far end of the country and she would find some way to say that some mishap was my fault. It's reached the stage where I dread coming home or when she's out I dread her returning. If we split up now I'll be left with virtually nothing. She expects me to move out and leave the house to her. It's got where I feel I'd rather live in destitution than spend the rest of my days treading on egg shells.
I willingly admit I'm no angel and that during rows I've said things that I regret and which could equally be viewed as abuse depending on the context. In my defence I have to say that my poor behaviour is in response to her continual attacks. I don't set out to cause arguments! I'm totally opposed to violence though and would never resort to physical abuse