Threats – a wrong relationship tool

A very common practice in quite a few households – giving threats. A husband threatening his wife to walk out of the house during a fight or a wife threatening to harm herself if she cannot have her way. Threats to commit suicide are common as well.

Are these people serious about what they say? Do they mean it? I was seeing a couple last year who had massive differences with each other. The husband always threatened to walk out of home, work, car – depending on his location at the time of dispute. The wife and the child always went through the routine ordeal of pleading, begging and cajoling him to stay back. It had become his regular behavioural pattern. Once on their way somewhere, they had an argument. With his anger going through the roof, he threatened to stop the car and leave. He was at his predictable best. The wife was so fed up with his frequent tantrums, that she just asked him to scoot. The husband couldn’t believe his eyes and ears. He didn’t know what to do or where to go. His inflated ego got the better of him and he had no other option but to step out – with no one to stop him this time. Without waiting a second, the wife got behind the wheel and drove off. He learnt his lesson.

Another couple had a different kind of problem. The wife had somehow always managed to do things her way – through temper tantrums, emotional blackmailing etc. Finally, it reached a point wherein the husband could take it no more. He started opposing which naturally didn’t go down too well with her. Suddenly she felt powerless and that led to strange behavioural patterns in her. She had terrible mood swings. Wouldn’t eat for a day or two. Wouldn’t lift a finger to do anything for the eight-year-old son and would remain in bed for hours. All deliberate to get back her control and attention. The son had to depend on the father at such times. If it was a holiday, things were manageable. But on working days, the son would call up the father from home and tell him about the mother not being in a good mood and not tending to his needs. The husband’s futile attempts to explain to her that the son didn’t deserve to be dragged into their differences, got him nowhere. Once at work, he received a phone call from the son saying the mother was leaving home. He rushed home. The first thing he told the wife was to leave – immediately. She was aghast since wasn’t expecting this kind of a reaction. She thought this would change him but it backfired. Was clueless as to what to do next. She was told that he and his son had enough. She had no right to make the son insecure by her frequent emotional outbursts or withdrawals. She didn’t leave and had to mend her ways.

When it gets beyond the pale for either spouse/partner, it’s a wakeup call. It is a real test for the distressing partner’s intentions. Whether the threats are empty or are genuine. From day one, this should be nipped in the bud.  Nobody should relent or succumb to such unreasonable behaviour. Definitely not threats! It only adds fuel to the fire. The more you feed them, even with the best of intents to maintain peace it only encourages them to continue. Please don’t be threatened even if it means a threatened relationship.