Living with a controlling husband can make your life a living hell. Youwant your marriage to work and would do everything in your power to keep the peace. But at what cost? You live with a permeating feeling of guilt and powerlessness all the time.
It’s essential to recognize that a healthy marriage should empower both partners. In the following discussion, we’ll delve into some common signs of a controlling husband, along with strategies for addressing such behavior while preserving your self-esteem and happiness.
What is a controlling husband?
What is a controlling husband anyway? How do you know if he is just looking out for you or trying to micromanage your life in the name of love? A controlling husband tends to take charge of every aspect of your life and relationship, leaving you to feel totally out of control.
If that sounds like your husband, you must be asking yourself, ‘How can you live with a controlling husband?’ ‘ Can a controlling husband change?’
Well, first things first, let’s look at the signs of a controlling husband first, and then we will take you through the ways to deal with him effectively.
Even though he vowed tolove you unconditionally, such a husband only offers love with ‘strings attached.’ He only loves you when you do whatever he says.
He refuses to listen to you and dismisses your point of view without giving it a thought.
He slowly destroys your self-esteem and makes you believe that he is the only person you can and should depend on.
He doesn’t take you at your word and gets suspicious about you.
He tracks your whereabouts, messages, and phone calls, often without your consent.
He uses hurtful language, belittles you, or engages in name-calling.
If your husband shows most of these behaviors, it isn’t all in your head when you keep thinking about how “husbands controlling wives” feel.
How having a controlling husband impacts you: 7 ways
Emotional distress: Imagine feeling like you’re walking on eggshells all the time, never knowing when your husband will get upset. This constant stress can make you feel anxious, sad, and even hopeless. It’s like carrying a heavy emotional burden every day.
Isolation: Think about how important your friends and family are in your life. A controlling husband might try to keep you away from them, leaving you feeling lonely and disconnected from the people who care about you.
Limited independence: Picture having dreams and goals but feeling like you can’t pursue them because your husband always makes decisions for you. This can make you feel stuck and unable to be your true self.
Self-doubt: Imagine being criticized and put down by your husband regularly. Over time, you might start doubting your abilities and second-guessing everything you do. It’s like a constant voice telling you that you’re not good enough.
Financial dependence: Think about how it feels to rely on someone else for money. A controlling husband might control the finances, leaving you without access to funds. This can make you feel trapped and powerless.
Physical health: Stress can take a toll on your body, leading to headaches, trouble sleeping, and even making you more susceptible to illnesses. It’s like your body’s way of saying it’s overwhelmed.
Loss of identity: Imagine losing touch with who you are because your husband’s control has shaped your thoughts and actions. It’s like losing your own voice and becoming someone you don’t recognize.
13 practical ways to deal with a controlling husband
How to deal with a controlling husband without making the situation worse?
Being married to an over-controlling husband can be very trying. The constant criticisms, spying, and gaslighting take a toll on your mental health. So, if you’re wondering how to handle a controlling husband, keep reading.
We’re going to take you through 10 effective ways to deal with a controlling husband.
1. Keep your cool
When you’re dealing with a controlling husband,it’s hard not to argue. He tends to get on your nerves, and you don’t want to bow to his unreasonable wishes. Well, you don’t have to. There’s another way around it.
You should try to stay calm and patient when dealing with him. Instead of getting in his face, ask him gently if he has considered your perspective.
Dominant husbands are unlikely to respond well if you treat them the way they treat you.Be the bigger person here.
2. Figure out the causes behind his controlling behavior
In order to deal with a controlling husband, it’s important to know what makes a person controlling in the first place. Did your husband lose a loved one in an accident? How was his childhood? Was it traumatic? Were his parents controlling?
Does he have ananxiety disorder that makes him want to control you? Figuring out what’s causing him to behave this way is the stepping stone to dealing with a controlling husband. With love and empathy, you might be able to get him to stop being so controlling.
3. Openly communicate with him
Once you identify the problem, you can understand where he is coming from. Then you should try to talk to him about how hisbehavior is damaging your marriage. Just a little reminder: he might totally blow you off and get angry.
After all, he isn’t willing to let go of control. Most controllers aren’t even aware of their controlling nature. So telling him, ‘You’re dominating your wife, and you should stop right away,’ won’t work.
You need to be respectful and gently remind him of the times he came off as controlling. Tell him how’d you like him to behave instead. He won’t magically transform into someone else overnight. Buttalking to him openly about the issues is a good starting point.
4. Take charge of your life
It’s easy to lose yourself when your husband constantly criticizes your every move. You might be thinking, ‘My husband is too controlling. I should avoid doing things that I like because it upsets him.’
Take control of your own life. Do you want to quit your job and go back to school? Do it. You want to learn something new, but he wouldn’t allow you? Go for it, anyway. Don’t let your passion die just because your husband controls your life.
5. Stay close to your friends and family
It doesn’t matter how much your husband hates your best friend, don’t stop seeing her. Go visit your mom, even if it sends him into a frenzy. You shouldn’t let him isolate you from the people who have always been there for you.
How do you stop a controlling husband from making your life miserable, you ask? You need tosurround yourself with positive people. Explain why you need to see your girlfriends every once in a while.
Make plans with them, and don’t let your husband stop you from showing up at your friend’s party.
6. Don’t hesitate to ask for help
How often do you feel scared of your husband?Does he seem abusive to you? Abuse doesn’t necessarily have to be physical. It can be verbal, mental, and psychological as well. Make it perfectly clear to him that you won’t tolerate any kind of abuse.
If he doesn’t listen to you and keeps getting violent, let your friends and family know about it. Even if your over-controlling husband promises not to do it again, keep an eye out and don’t let him walk all over you.
7. Set boundaries that stick
You must be thinking, ‘My husband is trying to control me. How can I set boundaries when he doesn’t bother listening to what I’ve got to say?’ First, you should try to talk to him calmly and try to explain the things you won’t take anymore.
If he ignores you, you should still set the boundaries and give him consequences to make him understand how serious you are about the limits you’ve set. However, withholding affection or leaving the house frequently won’t change anything if he doesn’t want to correct his behavior.
In the video below, dating and relationship coach Renee Slansky discusses why boundaries in a relationship are important and shares tips for setting healthy boundaries. Check it out:
8. Stop giving him power over you
It might not be as easy as it sounds. But you should try to take control of your life and relationship. Stop letting him control you. If you’re financially dependent on him, get a job. Don’t let him destroy your self-worth. Take care of your mental and physical health.
Whenever he tries to make you feel small, stand up for yourself. If he doesn’t try to recognize and correct his controlling nature, be brave enough to give him an ultimatum. Tell him you’ll move out if things don’t get better. Don’t be scared to follow through if push comes to shove.
9. Give couples therapy a try
What if your husband doesn’t bother trying to correct his controlling behavior even after your consistent efforts to make him see how his actions are ruining your marriage? In that case, it’s time to involve aprofessional.
It doesn’t matter how he feels about therapy; try to make him understand how seeking professional help can improve your relationship. Throughcouples therapy, both of you can feel heard and sort out the issues with the help of a licensed therapist.
10. Be brave enough to leave
There’s nothing wrong with going out of your way to stay with such a husband. It doesn’t make you look weak. Rather it shows how strongly you uphold your vows. However, you need to remember that some people simply can’t and won’t change.
If, after trying your best to deal with such a husband, he still can’t see any issues with his actions, let alone fixing his controlling behavior, walking away from thisunhealthy marriage might be your only choice. It doesn’t mean you failed your marriage.
Self-reflection is like taking a moment to have a conversation with yourself in your mind. It’s when you think about your feelings and what’s happening in your relationship. It helps you understand how you truly feel and what’s important to you.
12. Seek legal consultation
Legal consultation is like seeking advice from a professional who knows the rules and laws. When you talk to a lawyer or attorney, they can explain what you can do to protect yourself and your rights if you’re facing serious problems in your relationship.
13. Achieve financial independence
Financial independence means being able to handle your own money and not depending on someone else, like your spouse, for everything. It’s about having control over your finances so you can make choices that are best for you.
Commonly asked questions
Understanding the difference between caring and controlling behavior in a relationship is essential for maintaining a healthy partnership. Let’s address some common questions on this topic.
What is the difference between caring and controlling?
Caring involves genuine concern for your partner’s well-being and happiness, while controlling behavior seeks to dominate and restrict their freedom. It’s about the balance between showing love and respect for your partner’s choices.
Why is my husband so controlling?
Controlling behavior can stem from insecurity, past experiences, or a desire for power. It’s essential to communicate openly to understand the root causes and work together to address them.
Is being controlled abusive?
Yes, controlling behavior can be a form of emotional or psychological abuse. It can harm a person’s self-esteem and well-being. Recognizing it early and seeking help is crucial.
Is my husband controlling in nature? How to know?
Signs of a controlling nature include a desire for excessive control, jealousy, and making decisions without consulting you. Reflect on your interactions and consider seeking professional guidance if needed.
What are the characteristics of a controlling husband?
A controlling husband may exhibit traits such as jealousy, isolation, criticism, intimidation, and the need for constant supervision. Recognizing these signs can help you address the issue and seek support if necessary.
For an equal power-sharing
There should be an equal balance of power in ahealthy relationship. If you’re married to a person who doesn’t understand this, it might be hard to feel in control of your life. But, with open communication and counseling, it’s possible to regain a sense of control and feel happy again.
If your husband is willing to change and accept responsibility for his actions, it’s possible to fix the unhealthy power dynamic in the relationship. Otherwise, considerindividual therapy to work on improving and maintaining your emotional health.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships Read more and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.
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