Negative Spouse or Partner

by Rena Klingenberg.

One of my earliest jewelry photos - back when all I made was earrings, and I was struggling with photography!

One of my earliest jewelry photos – back when all I made was earrings, and I was struggling with photography!

Readers occasionally ask me what they can do about selling their jewelry when their spouse / partner is unsupportive and negative about everything involving their jewelry business.

So, although I don’t talk about this part of my personal story very often, I decided it might help someone else if I shared it here:

One of the main things that was stopping my own jewelry business when I first started out was a bad relationship with a controlling person.

Like many controlling people, he didn’t like it when my time and attention weren’t focused completely on him.

Making jewelry was something I really enjoyed, but it didn’t involve him – so he became verbally abusive whenever I spent any time or money on it.

He always found ways to pick a fight about my jewelry hobby, and would then turn things around to make it seem that the argument was all my fault for being involved in such a “selfish” activity.

So I’d always wind up feeling awful – which of course smothered any creativity, joy, or hopes I was having about starting a jewelry business.

And like many controlling people, his demands were contradictory – he berated me for not making a good income from my jewelry, but he got furious if I did any of the things that were involved in making or selling my jewelry.

It wasn’t just about my jewelry. While I was in that relationship, one dream after another was closed for me – anything that wasn’t about him was unacceptable.

To anyone who hasn’t been in this type of abusive relationship, I know you’re wondering, “Why didn’t she just dump him?”

And you’re right – I should have dumped him long before I finally did.

But I had grown up in a household that was ruled by someone with anger and controlling behaviors, so it took me a long time to realize that this relationship was abusive, and that no one should have to live with it.

Please read the warning signs of controlling, abusive relationships.

“Controllers” are unfortunately very common – they may be a family member, friend, or romantic partner.

According to the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness, approximately 1 out of every 3 women will experience relationship abuse in her lifetime – and men can also be victims of this type of abuse.

I stayed in this bad relationship for many years, before I finally left it several years ago.

I remember very clearly how free I felt the day I finally left him. I felt like the ceiling had been removed from my life – I could do anything I wanted, with no one stopping me!

It was such an incredible feeling that I stayed up all night, that first night in my new little home, because I didn’t want to miss any of my new freedom.

Among the many opportunities that were re-opened for me now in my new life, I was finally able to really accelerate my jewelry business. And that was when it really took off and became successful.

So when one of my readers asks my advice on how they can have a profitable jewelry business when their spouse is unsupportive and negative about it – well, my answer is strongly influenced by my own experience.

I’m not a doctor, lawyer, counselor, or psychologist. But my advice is this:

If your partner / family member / friend wants to keep you away from the people and activities that are meaningful to you, please consider honestly whether he / she is worthy of having a relationship with you.

If I could save one other person from entering or staying in a controlling relationship it will have been worth sharing this part of my own story.


You are so, so right!!!
by: Carolina Gonzalez

Dear Rena,
you know I’ve been reading Tarot for 19 years – can you imagine how many times I have given the same advice that you are giving now?

The truth is that we are afraid to accept that we are not really loved by that abusive person we have in our life – because as you said, if someone doesn’t want us to go Bigger, Better and Bolder, that person does not love us. At all.

You are very brave talking about your personal issues, and I’m sure this article will help a lot of people see the truth 🙂 – that you are only loved when you are allowed to be exactly who you are.

Thank you, Carolina!
by: Rena

“You are only loved when you are allowed to be exactly who you are” is so well said!

It’s so important to really internalize that truth – it’s something I wish I’d understood years ago.

Thank you for your caring and understanding, Carolina, and for all the other people you’ve blessed with this advice through your readings.

Sounds like my story
by: Paula

Sounded like you were describing me! My husband thinks I “play with beads” and doing shows are such a waste of time. These are things I enjoy and find relaxing. I really don’t care what he thinks anymore. We have a 15 yr old son who loves to go to shows with me and knows all the vendors too!

negative spouse
by: Anonymous

my husband is not controlling or abusive he’s jealous because he can’t do some things that I’m good at, I paint pictures he’s never once said said that’s nice or pretty always something negative same way with my jewelry business. He made a comment the other day when I got another jewelry oprder in “I’ll just never get out of debt” in which that one cent comes out of his pocket I pay fro everything involved in my jewelry store, I said to him what, you have not ever bought even a pair of earrings he shut up then. I don’t get him he should be supportive, I’m seventy years old and I’m keeping busy so i can live longer I’m also a hairdresser I work three days a week at that and I have my little jewlry business in my granddaughter salon where I work I have no overhead except to buy and sell and I beleive it will go with avertising and word of mouth it’s slow right now because I’ve only been open about six months but I have convidence I will be sucessful. Any sugestions?

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  1. Kathleen Bennett says:

    Ha! shades of my life. I didn’t realise that that is what it was. Now i am 78, my husband is in a rest home with dementia and I have finally got the freedom to please myself. Which I might add is rather difficult to do; one because I’m not used to it, two because i have missed my husband and feel sorry that he is in this state. I have always worked full time as a fashion designer to help bring up out six children and enjoyed that. now i will get back to designing clothes and making beaded jewellery to go with them. Ilove pearls for weddings, but i would like to try a bit of dangerous Goth!
    Thank you so much for writing about this subject and to Carolina too. Halleluliah.

  2. Kathy Joyal says:

    I am very fortunate to be in a very loving supportive relationship with a great man. He is also a great cook. Really!!! BUT it’s funny…I was talking to a good friend just yesterday about a past long ago very bad (controlling and abusive) relationship. Life is too short…you are the one in control of your destiny…there is always a way out…a solution. We are only here for a short time…make good choices…you can change your life if you choose…love and live long and happy!!!

  3. Kathie L says:

    Dear Rena: The reach of your site/blog/articles is beyond comprehension! You ARE an amazing woman – NOW I THINK YOU ARE EVEN MORE AMAZING THAN I DID BEFORE! Thank you for your insiteful article. I am sure that you helped more people than you realize! I truly feel blessed to have found your JMJ years ago! I’m even extra blessed to have shared a meal with you and your mom! THANK YOU AGAIN!

  4. Hi,
    My husband is wonderfull. He supports me in my new business. He likes photographing and he makes an amazing photos with my jewelry.

  5. Tricia says:

    My parents always taught me to respect other people and never intentionally hurt someones feelings. I once made someone a beautiful jewelry set in their favorite colors, using genuine gem stones. Hours of researching ideas, careful planning and meticulous detailed work went into my gift to this friend. The best reactions I could hope for…..smiles, oooh’s and ahhh’s came from her, each melting my heart, because I could tell she loved it. My work of love was much appreciated.
    As I opened my gift from her I also smiled and made sure she knew how much her hard work was appreciated! All the ooh’s and ahh’s and looks of joy were there to make her proud of her gift created just for me.
    To this day she has no idea that there was nothing at all I truly liked about her creation…except for the love she put in it! The beads she chose were actually the exact same style I put in my “” beads jar that I let the kids play with. The color was one I just never wear. The quality of beads was very poor.
    It was the thought and love she put in my gift that made me smile, not the quality or time or money she invested in it. I’ll never wear it, but I will keep it for a very, very long time! And she will only know the appreciation I have for her efforts.
    There is never a good enough reason to be negative to someone’s efforts!

  6. Thank you for sharing K. Bennett’s post about this subject. I’m sorry about her husband’s situation. I’m also in a long term (57 year) marriage to a controlling verbal abusive husband. Girls of our generation were expected to marry early, produce children, do housework, not work outside the home and be grateful for a husband who supported her financially. When the Women’s Liberation began in the early 1960s it caused no end of problems for some of us. Our husbands first objected, then accepted the fact that we could earn our own money and also provide them with all the goods and services they were accustomed to. The problem was, sometimes we could earn more than they could! That made them very insecure and confused about their role in life. The verbal and sometimes physical abuse started if it wasn’t an already learned habit they learned from their own fathers.

    That said, my husband refuses to acknowledge that my jewelry business is other than a hobby. I have had to get my business licenses and other legal setups without his knowledge. I want everything done correctly from the get-go.

    I’m 72 and becoming more and more handicapped due to diabetic neuropathy. Since I’m more limited in going out to craft shows I want to sell my jewelry on line so I can continue to supplement my Social Security. I don’t need to have any legal problems coming back to bite me. It will be bad enough dealing with my husband’s negative comments.

    I’d like to know if there are any other women of my age group who are dealing with this kind of situation.

    Alice from NK

  7. hippolyta says:

    Ah, thank you for this subject, and sharing your story. I am blessed to be free from a controlling relationship and now in a wonderfully supportive one. That trick of how he would “turn things around to make it seem that the argument was all my fault” is so familiar! I totally understand that “just leaving” can be a lot, really a *lot* harder than it sounds. But once you’re free to be who you really are, it’s so much better.

  8. My husband is supportive and has driven an hour with me to go to a bead store and actually liked looking at the beads. My cats however are the jealous ones!

  9. I too am in an controlling relationship with my husband; but here’s the thing, I work and make a good salary, we don’t mix incomes, until tax time and some other things are about to change.

    He started out, supporting me by, building shelves for me in the a spare bedroom, and other things, but that was when he was thinking it was just hobby. Once I started talking about going outside to sell, that’s when the attitude shifted.

    But that is neither here nor there; I just do my thing and if I need to make a change I will, but at this time I happy and in love with making jewelry.

    Everytime, I get around some other people, and I start sharing my love for making jewelry, they give me there jewelry components that they decided to just put aside and not do anything with.

    I am always the proud recipient of those items, when I am making or creating designs, nothing and I mean nothing can touch me, mentally, emotionally or otherwise; I am locked in.

    Rose Barden
    Riverview, Fl

  10. Rose, I’m happy to hear you’re in your jewelry zone! That’s a beautiful place to be – in love with what you’re making and the process of creating it all. A place of peace, strength, and joy in your art. And I love how you view being the recipient of other people’s jewelry components.

  11. Thank you Rena, for sharing your story, so that other will be blessed! 0:-)

  12. Another insightful article, Rena. I’m sure all the comments have hit home for a lot of us.

  13. Rena & everyone. I was in an verbally abusive relationship that was getting worse and worse and I left my husband many times. the last time I was sure it would turn physical, I could see it in his eyes, and I had to leave. He didn’t know it, because I was going to work. I never did, when he found out I was out of state. I was gone for 2 wks., and it shocked him. when I returned he never was ever abusive again. when I started working (both of us agreed)was when the controlling, verbal abuse was at it’s peak. Now for about 20 years life with him is wonderful. I know “it’s” still there inside him, but he never shows it, and is very supportive in my jewelry ventures. sometimes he’ll ask me if it’s worth it, and I just respond that it’s very important to me, I love it and talking with the public. I don’t want him to feel “not important” to me, so I will ask him for his opinion and he’s usually right. I hear him talking with people on the phone and he says, he’s very proud of me. So, even tho we had 20-30 yrs. of that other guy, my new one is soooooo good. I’m 75 yrs. and we both appreciate and need each other. Thank you Rena for giving us all your experience. I love your website and your willingness to share with us. It’s the best site ever and so are you. Thank you Thank you. joan

  14. Thank you for your lovely comment, Joan! I appreciate it very much. I completely understand the unhappy years of verbal abuse and controlling behavior you endured. I’m so I’m glad to hear that your story has a happy ending, and that you’re still going strong with your jewelry ventures! A big hug for you. 🙂

  15. Hi Rena, This is amazing to me to hear so many women have been through it, I have wanted to say something to you about my situation for a while for some reason and now I know why. I’m in the middle of a divorce with a man much like you described and it’s been the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. He has always been emotionally abusive but I started seeing that it wouldn’t be long before it was physical, it was getting closer and closer. I tried to put a stop to it, to wake him up to it to no avail. So I told him if he wasn’t going to stop then he needed to leave. It went well for several months and I started to feel very good about things, and then of course, it started again. He was so amazing when I met him, he was charming and kind and attentive and I thought how lucky I was to meet someone like him. But once he had me, and knew it, it quickly turned into pure hell.
    About four months ago, I told him I was done with him and the pain he dished out and that I was going to file for divorce and I did it, hoping against hope that he would realize what he was doing and be willing to try to fix it. I was bluffing at the time more or less. But after he took off for a week giving me the silent treatment once again, he came home and was nice a few days and then said he didn’t want to divorce, that we could work on fixing things. But he did nothing to change. Then he said, well, I guess we might as well divorce because I don’t love you. I asked him if he ever really had, and his answer was, “Well, I tried to.”
    I believed him all those years when he said he loved me, but now I realize that all he wanted from me was the land I own. He has built it up a lot over the years but during all that time I never put it in his name at any time. But now he is fighting me for all of it and everything on it. He thinks I should just walk away and let him have it. He says he will buy me a place somewhere else. Funny thing is I was ready to do it, just to get away from him. But you know what? While I was packing things and deciding what to keep and what to toss and all that, I did a lot of thinking about how badly I would miss this place and I saw how much work and effort I had put into it and realized that the only things he did around here were things to make his life better. Nothing more. And it struck me that I was leaving my home, my labor of love and really the only thing in this world that is important to me, and I was doing it to please him…yet again, he was most important. And I did an about face and told him that if anyone was leaving, it was going to be him. I am not running from this, I am taking a stand and I am not leaving. I have pets buried on this land and I scattered my Moms and my brothers ashes here and I have planted every tree and cactus on the place. I built my nursery by myself, and everything else out here that I needed. He never did a thing but fight me every step of the way to make me feel useless. I built a sign for the beginning of this property, a ranch sign and I hand chiseled the lettering into it hitting myself a million times with the hammer, with not even an offer of help from him and then when it came time to hang it he always had something more important to do. It sat so long that I had to refresh the paint on it three times, and still no help. One day after I had cleaned it up again and oiled it and freshened the paint I asked him what it was that made him just determined not to help me hang it, and he said, it just wasn’t a priority for him, he always had other things more important. After ten years, he couldn’t find the time? What made me so dense all these years to think there was any hope for a decent relationship with this man? I guess like you, I was raised in a very dysfunctional family and this felt normal to me, I don’t know.
    So, a long story short, the divorce is getting close but he won’t leave. He is staying in the shop and I can’t prove to anyone that he is what he is. Once the divorce is final I can make him leave, but I already know that it isn’t going to be easy. You know what the worst part of all of this is? Not one of my friends believe me, they just can’t believe someone so sweet and softspoken can be as bad as I say. I haven’t had a soul to talk to for almost four months because they all think I am causing this. And he is staying in the shop up there not because he wants to be near me, but because he uses it to make everyone feel sorry for him. I never asked to go there, it was his choice, but he can keep an eye on me that way and keep anyone else from getting close. If I didn’t know him, I probably wouldn’t believe me either. Now he has cut off any money, or any help of any kind, so here I sit, waiting for it to be over when I know the worst is yet to come more than likely. But I’m not walking away, I am not running and I am not going to let him have this place, no matter what he does. And if anyone made it through all this, Thanks for listening, it’s such a relief to say all this finally.

  16. Pam, I can so relate! And so sorry to hear what you’re going through. Keep strong and don’t let that master manipulator get away with it. Hugs and prayers for you. It will be so worth it when everything is over and he’s out of your property and out of your life.

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