Controlling a person by refusing to use the person’s name

This is a sad story. It is horrible.

I know a couple, let me call them Kenny and Mary. They were married a long, long time. Kenny never called Mary by her name. To other people, Kenny would refer to Mary by the words “her” or “she”. After many years of enduring this Mary finally went to a psychiatrist and asked about it. The psychiatrist told her: “By not calling you by name, it puts him in control. That way you have no identity.”

That way you have no identity.

Recently I met up with Mary. Kenny passed away long ago. Mary told me the story. I was particularly moved by what the psychiatrist said: “That way you have no identity.” That’s awful. To treat a person like they don’t exist, not worthy of even acknowledging their existence … what a horrible, horrible thing to do to a person (especially your life partner!).

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