There are people on this planet who overthink. I am guilty. Before marriage, an older woman told me that a husband is a woman’s first-born child.
I should have let that pass, but, being a first-born, this made me wonder whether that was a compliment or not.
Recently, a friend and I, over a drink, were sighing and heaving about some things about our husbands. Then she said,
“You know, these men, we should consider them our first-born children if we want to stay sane.”
At that time, I laughed, but for the last two weeks since then, I have looked at our first-born child and decided, nah, there is no way I would parent a child who is not decades younger than me.
Our first-born child is a darling for sure, just that, I could never picture her father as a child of mine!
After researching more on the same – told you, I overthink - I have concluded that this expression of a husband being a first-born child is not only ill-advised, but also a form of normalising something psychologists call, trauma bonding.
Calling an adult, a child is enabling bad behaviour, something meant to encourage immature habits in an adult.
When children throw wrappings just anywhere instead of properly disposing, say in the garbage bin, we either blame the parents for not raising their children right, or correct the child.
But when an adult throws a yoghurt container through their moving car, almost causing a major accident as you swerve to avoid it hitting your bonnet, who do you blame?
The wife? The husband? You, of course, are appalled at the irresponsible behaviour. There are adults who are emotionally retarded. They are children stuck in adult bodies.
Children have a lot of growing and learning to do, but when an adult behaves like a child, then there is a problem.
An adult disposing off garbage just about anywhere – this sadly happens more frequently than the sun rises from the East – leaves one with a lot of questions.
Who raised them? Who do they expect will collect after them? And most importantly, who is married to that kind of person?
What other irresponsible behaviour does their spouse have to put up with, or has their spouse concluded that this is their first-born child?
Trauma bonding is a kind of survival mechanism that an abused person develops towards their abuser.
For example, a child can develop trauma bonding towards an abusive parent, because the child is a dependent. They do not have much of a choice.
A spouse, especially a wife can put up with cruelty because they have emotional dependency on their abusive husband, or they feel helpless because of the physical intimidation a man can exhibit over a woman.
The wife who misuses the family finances and believes that she should be taken care of, as if she is an invalid, while the husband breaks his back meeting all the bills also fits the bill of an emotional retard.
Naturally, adults, be they men or women are driven to be self-independent. One key benefit of a marriage is the two incomes that usually will take a family much farther than the struggle of surviving with one.
Therefore, when one of the spouses is not a contributor, but is in fact a larger part of the bill, then that is a sign of immaturity. It shows that he or she is still behaving like a child, a dependent.
The other kind of spouse who is an emotional retard is the one who does not have a life of their own, but are hell-bent on being in your space, needy for attention from you, until you cannot breathe.
I remember a friend whose husband would accompany her to the salon and sit for hours as her hair was braided.
He would then follow her to the chama meeting and hang around like an unwanted fly.
She was always the first to leave functions, including work functions where he would driver her, then sit in the car, broody and incessantly call to rush her to conclude.
That marriage was short lived as she soon realised that she was married to a toddler in a six-foot muscled body.
Just, stop calling your husband a child, first born or whatever.
Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage. [email protected]