I have an uncontrollable instinct to gaslight my wife. I’m not sure why, but often my first instinct is to point out the negatives in every situation. I more often compliment and show her love, but I can certainly tell that my negative impulses are affecting our relationship. I have serious ADHD and I struggle with a processing disorder. I sometimes get very frustrated and need space or I throw a fit. I hate it for myself, but I really hate it for my wife. She means the world to me, but our relationship will continue to grow bitter if I don’t start to change my negative habits. From what I’ve studied my impulses tend to come from an overwhelming need for power, and statistically I’m much more likely to be physically abusive to her. I know for sure that I will not physically abuse her, so I don’t necessarily fall into that category, but I do feel the need to force my opinions on her to change her behaviour. In other words, I’m a control freak. How can I change? Anonymous
Thank you for your question Anonymous. That you are reaching out for help and acknowledging there is a problem is a great first step to change. You have enough insight to see what you are doing, and you acknowledge the harm that it can cause. These are major steps in the right direction towards change.
Often when we feel unsure of our own abilities to cope in the world or do not trust others, we try to find ways to make the world more predictable. One way to do this is to try to use your power to control others. Gaslighting, throwing a fit and forcing your opinions are examples of using your power to control others.
Seeing a psychologist or other mental health professional could help you to address your difficulties in relationships and learn skills to build more trusting and satisfying relationships.
The Equality Wheel can give you some ideas for the type of relationship you should build with your wife. Coercive types of control have been linked to an increased risk of violence so it is important to address the areas you are concerned about both because of this increased risk but also because your behaviours will be difficult for your wife to deal with.