The Crusader and Mr. Hyde: A Most Unhappy Couple
- Monday, May 03, 2010
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She could have passed for a Wall Street attorney, the way she took on Mr. Hyde---the shadowy, mean-spirited personality of her otherwise wonderful husband. So focused on his angry, controlling outburst, I nearly overlooked this aspect to her otherwise gentle and caring personality.
I've been increasingly impressed with how frequently men exhibit this "dark" side to their personality. Leaders in business, the church and even their families, many men have a ‘Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde' complex, where the majority of time they are generous, caring, dynamic and charismatic. They are elders in their church, active fathers and wonderful husbands—except when they slip into the shadow side of their personality. These men challenge their mates, of course, but often successfully manipulate marriage counselors as well.
But, what about the shadow side of the women married to these men? I call them Crusaders. These women, hooked by the secretive, angry and dominating shadow side of their husband, can be equally destructive.
"He makes me so mad," Lori said bluntly during a recent counseling session. "He lies and I can't stand it. It drives me crazy."
Her husband Ken, shrugged with disgust.
"I don't lie," he said angrily. "She just doesn't like what I tell her. When I say something she doesn't like, watch out. She comes after me like a Pit Bull."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, I tell her something she doesn't like to hear, like how much time I have to spend on a project, and she goes ballistic. If I have fifty dollars unaccounted for, here she comes. She becomes a private detective, checking my calendar, quizzing me about my day, looking for ways to trap me. She gets into my checkbook, looking for some way of attacking me. I'm not going to be controlled like that."
"But, he's not telling me the whole truth," she said emphatically, leaning forward. "I can tell when he's spent more than he admits. I know when he's exaggerating something. He says one thing and does another. I can't just ignore that. Why can't he just be honest with me?"
"I don't make you account for every minute of your day," Ken said defensively. "You have no right to make me account for every penny. I make more than you do anyway! And how dare you call my office and ask my secretary twenty questions."
"See what I mean?" she said, looking to me for help. "His attitude stinks."
I watched and listened as Ken and Lori locked horns in a needless power struggle. Was Ken really deceptive, or was Lori overly focused on incidental aspects of his behavior? Was there some secondary gain obtained by her "Crusader-like" attack on him? Watching her in action, I could see where Ken would be threatened by the intensity of her inquisition, increasing his Mr. Hyde qualities. Certainly, their behaviors reinforced each other, creating incredible division and leading them to the brink of divorce. Something had to be done. I've talked about how to approach Mr. Hyde in previous articles. Now let's focus on a role wives often embrace: The Crusader.
First, like Mr. Hyde, The Crusader is not trying to be this way. I've found these women most often are reacting to some aspect of their husband's behavior. While they may have some predisposition to being controlling, their sense of justice gets hooked when they feel manipulated or duped in some way.
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