• R. L. Mosz

Novel Blog Three

Controlling Behavior

In my novel-in-progress, The Other Ones, the protagonist, Damon Devereaux, extracts himself from a controlling ten-year marriage. The story begins after he’s already left his wife and revisits the domineering behavior in flashbacks.

His every move comes under the scrutiny and regulatory action of his wife, Bristol. As time passes, his health worsens due to unrelenting stress. Unbeknownst even to himself, a slow boil is simmering in his unconscious mind until the day finally arrives when he erupts into a tremendous episode of rage.

He’s arrived at a deadly crossroads, which necessitates his leaving immediately. Life with Bristol is destroying him piece by piece. He packs his bags and departs forever.

Damon’s character strives for peace and avoids conflict. After he escapes his marital cell block, coworker Lila, eerily reminiscent of Bristol, emerges to take her place. A spiritual life and death struggle begins anew, but this time he realizes a disturbing fact about himself—that he refuses to believe the truth about the people he loves. He loves heedlessly, and as a result, ends up blindsided.

By the end of the novel, he no longer views himself as an innocent victim. With both Bristol and Lila, he'd chosen to ignore the red flags. He begins to assert himself.

The difficult aspect of controlling people is that they cannot be trusted with one’s personal welfare. They crush spirits and erode self-confidence. We’d like to care deeply for one another. It can seem contrary to our natures to erect a fortress to keep a loved one out. It's a sad state of affairs when to let your guard down around certain people is tantamount to your own destruction.


Saturday morning he decided to garden alone and headed down Hemlock Road for the emporium to pick up some mulch and clippers. As he cruised along the deserted country road, the memory of another gardening project and a trip to an emporium filled his mind.

He and Bristol had been on their way to the emporium to buy wood chips for a landscaping project when the first obvious hint of trouble in their marriage surfaced. In the midst of their yard work, they’d run short, and Damon started up the jeep, still in his gardening clothes.

Bristol slid in beside him, having changed her slacks. She glanced over at her husband with a dubious expression.

“You’ve got a hole in the knee of your pants.”

Damon nodded. “Yes, I know. They’re my gardening clothes.” He began to back out of the drive.

“Aren’t you going to go back inside and change?”

Damon glanced over at her, assuming she was pulling his leg. “Are you serious?”

“Yes, I am. Go back and change.”

He laughed. “I don’t feel like it.”

“It makes you look impoverished.”

“Bristol, we’re just going to the emporium.”

“It doesn’t matter. It makes us look poor.”

“But we’re not poor. And no one cares how I look. It’s just a little tear in the knee.”

“I want you to go back and change.”

“It’s extremely unlikely we’ll even see anyone we know there.” Damon felt his good mood evaporate and tension begin to build.

. “You shouldn’t be going out like that.”

“It’s no big deal,” he assured her.

“It is a big deal. Turn around and go home and change.”

He fell silent as she continued to harangue him. It was sinking in that she was serious. Trepidation filled him, and he began to wonder, for the first time, if his wife might be mentally unstable. That or she was unbelievably bull-headed.

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