Since Mike walked out on Vanessa at Thanksgiving, a lot of thoughts have been rolling around in my mind, the principal one being, why didn't I see this coming? I have become somewhat educated on the psychology of relationships in recent years. Between following investigations of spousal murders and delving into suicide survival groups, quite a bit of information has come my way.
Looking back, I can now see that Mike displayed some controlling behaviour that I did not recognize as such, at the time.
One thing that should have been a huge red flag was the fact that it took him a very long time to allow Vanessa to display anything of herself in their home. She could buy nothing that contributed to the decor without his approval, and anything he considered "girly" was O-U-T out. V and I assumed it had to do with his first marriage...he told her his first wife was a total nutter. I was picturing her decorating their home with silk flowers and mauve lace, and could understand Mike having an aversion to that.
Still, for him to have to approve every lamp, picture or towel, and for all these things to be required to have a distinctly masculine bent, shows that he was not willing to allow her a real place in his life.
Damn, hindsight is terrific! In all the reading I've done about controlling men, that particular expression of the phenomenon hasn't come up, and I just didn't see it in that context.
When it comes to my own family, I am much too blind.