Is your husband’s controlling demeanor getting under your skin and suffocating you? A control-obsessed man is all it takes to ruin any healthy relationship. Learn to draw the line when things go overboard.
Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.
– Zig Ziglar
Marriage, as we know it, is a union for life. But what happens when the husband who is meant to share your sorrows and difficulties, becomes the one giving them? An abusive relationship doesn’t essentially amount to domestic violence. It is when one person is indifferent to the other people’s needs, concerns, problems, or wishes.
Most men can be extremely dominant and controlling — should they choose to, making them immensely difficult to deal with. However, men in general are slightly more dominant in any relationship. So, identifying whether your husband is controlling, or simply protective is important. Dealing with such men can be tricky no doubt, but it’s possible nevertheless.
Controlling spouses are known to be over-possessive and insecure. They constantly live in the fear of losing — be it on the personal, or professional front. Constant hovering and supervision is the most common sign in such cases.
- He checks your phone or mail inbox from time to time.
- He constantly messages or calls you every few minutes, or hours to keep a tab on you.
- He throws tantrums at the mention of you spending time with others; even if it is only girls.
- He gets suspicious when you are with your male friends, colleagues, or practically any person you know of the opposite sex!
Most dominant husbands usually disapprove of their wives’ opinions and thoughts on parenting. They simply won’t let you make the rules or decide what is best for your children. You feel helpless and more like a babysitter than a mother to your own child.
- From the school to the daycare, everything is decided by him — you don’t get a say.
- He makes the rules, from curfew time to school grades, or dealing with their wrong habits. He feels he is wise enough to deal with it alone.
Financial control is undoubtedly the most common sign, wherein you are forced to give explanations for petty amounts; sometimes even your everyday expenses. Being accountable is one thing, and not having much to be accountable for is another thing altogether.
- If you both are working full-time, do you still feel it’s all “his money”?
- As a homemaker, do you have to give a lifetime’s worth of explanations to extract a dime out of him?
It could be emotional, physical, verbal, or psychological abuse. Being in an abusive relationship takes a toll on your life. Women live with it and go through hell every day; however, that is neither the solution or a healthy option.
- Have you faced domestic violence or physical abuse?
- Are you emotionally blackmailed into doing things that you otherwise wouldn’t agree on?
- Infidelity is also a strong form of emotional abuse.
Your opinion usually falls on deaf ears when it comes to future decisions. Though your resources or contribution could be the bigger chunk, it’s him who rules the roost.
- Are you a part of important decisions, like which house, or car to buy?
- Does he consult or share his career, family, or future plans with you?
No husband will ever acknowledge that he controls his wife. In his mind, he is simply protecting and looking out for you like a loving husband should! At times, it is just that your man is trying too hard to hold your family together. His behavior maybe controlling, possessive, and bossy but he has the best intentions. Though this doesn’t justify him pushing you around, the advantage here is that chances of him improving are high.
Don’t wait till things are beyond repair; talk to him today and explain how you feel. Men respond better to logical reasoning than emotional talk, so ensure that you specifically demarcate when and where he goes wrong. Give him examples from instances in the past few days; this will help him understand your point of view better.
Rome was not built in a day. After barely putting your point across, don’t expect things to turn around in a flash. He will possibly repeat the same mistake again, a few times at the very least. Be very patient and forgiving every time, but ensure that you point these instances out to him then and there itself — this is the most important step! Remember, it has probably become a habit for him to behave this way and as we all know, the worst habits are the last to let go!
Sometimes, men get too comfortable with behaving this way and don’t put in enough effort to bring about a change. After all, subconsciously he is in a favorable position! Your hubby needs to understand the gravity of the situation. He is probably unperturbed thinking that you are overreacting and would learn to adjust and live with it soon. Put your cards on the table; let him know that it is serious enough for you to walk out of the marriage or get some temporary space and separation. Really mean it, or he might call your bluff, leaving you to deal with this behavior of his, for decades.
If things still don’t change with time, there’s not much you can do. However, filing for divorce is a tough decision for anyone; especially when you have young children. Separation is a good idea in this scenario; it gives both of you enough space and time to think. Chances are that he’ll learn your value in your absence and introspect.
The separation will also awaken him to the seriousness of the situation, reminding him that unless he’s ready to bend, your relationship may well be over. But one should resort to this only when all doors of communication are closed and any attempt of you changing him is futile. Quitting should not be an option for as long as possible.
Another type of controlling husband is a man who simply doesn’t care. He wants a mindless slave instead of a wife, who can be bullied around easily. If your husband belongs to this category, then chances of you improving him are slim. Such men are headstrong, stubborn, and don’t budge easily. However, that doesn’t imply that there’s no hope and you have to endure everything tossed your way.
He can only have control as long as you give it to him. Just because he has behaved this way for a decade doesn’t mean you have to endure it for a lifetime! Be as adamant as him, when it comes to the things he pushes you around to do. The next time he wants you to run an errand for him, Say No. Explain why it’s not reasonable for you to be doing all the work and get back to the task at hand. Stay calm and focused; losing your temper will only give him another excuse for his behavior. Bluntly refuse when he asks for unnecessary details about your whereabouts. But here, you have to be prepared for his retaliation — it could be few days, or weeks before he starts getting used to it. However, in the long run, he will learn to maintain boundaries and have rational expectations.
According to him, you’re not good enough at anything — it’s a mindset, not an opinion. So it is pointless trying to gain his approval or appreciation. In fact, that works to his benefit. His spiteful behavior is keeping you on your toes and getting his job done. That definitely is not a motivation to change! Try to behave as an equal rather than an inferior; do things if they need to be done and not plainly because he wants them done. Seeking his appreciation just feeds his ego and worsens your problems.
While the above two categories of husbands are annoying, at some level they are level-headed. Their behavior is demanding and irrational, but at least sensible from a selfish person’s point of view. Now, there are men from certain religious sects, who are convinced that their marriage comprises them and a female, who is merely there to do the chores and give birth to his children. His very idea of marriage dates far back to the stone age, and so he feels that everything he does or says is a hundred percent correct!
Bossy by God’s Word?
Some husbands abuse their wives with the excuse that it is simply how the Lord planned men and women to be! For some odd reason, he has established that as your protector and breadwinner, it is his absolute right to abuse and control you.
It is almost impossible to change such a man. You are not merely trying to change his actions, you are contesting his entire belief system. The solutions to this case are very limited. You could attempt talking to him, but it is not likely to get you very far. Another option is marriage counseling. Here you will have a third person review your marriage, so you can convince him to at least hear someone else’s take on it. Again, chances of it working are slim but it is definitely worth a try. Unfortunately, for such difficult marriages, it usually boils down to either separation or divorce.
He is loving, sweet, and gentle. Several years of being married to him and you probably can’t remember any instances of him shouting or arguing. In every fight or disagreement, he is the calm, resolved, and sensible one who puts you down. The perfect devil in disguise!
He gets into an argument and steps back as the noble one. Only to behave as the “better one” later by reminding you of your rash behavior. He claims to trust you completely, but just “happens” to arrive where you are unexpectedly. Such men always hide under the pretext of being the loving and caring one, conveniently shifting their mistakes and the blame onto you. He is just as bad as any other controlling husband, but he will never openly accept it. Some of these husbands, not necessarily all, fall under the following two categories:
He is forever disappointed and discontent with the relationship as a whole. He is antisocial and stays reserved; initially, he can easily come across as the perfect “family man.” However, with time he will easily be hurt by you talking to other men, or socializing with other people. This kind of a husband emotionally blackmails you to get his way.
To deal with someone as two-faced as him, you will need to master his very game. Be calm and composed when you get into an argument. Simply discard his point in one sentence, leaving him little to argue further on. He will either be forced to give up the charade, or will have to lose the argument altogether. Either way, you stand to gain.
A small ratio of such husbands are the regular adulterers. Their sly behavior helps them get by unnoticed many a time. When confronted, they apologize endlessly, convincing you of their “good intentions.” However, it is only a matter of time before the cycle begins all over again. There is no easy way to deal with such a husband. Give him a chance to clean up his act or walk out. There is no point waiting around, because habitual adulterers rarely mend their ways.
As a wife, you are the best judge of whether your husband is capable of change. On a subconscious level, most women are aware that they’re in for a lifetime’s worth of such behavior. Then why exactly don’t they step out instead of enduring endlessly? While saying it is fairly easy, to walk the talk is a lot more complicated.
A child needs both his parents; undoubtedly one of the prime reasons why a woman chooses to stay in an unhappy marriage rather than breaking it off. It is important for the child to be with his/her father; however, having a happy childhood is equally essential. Staying with both the parents is meaningless if the love and bonding of a family is missing. Constant bickering and fights between parents can scar the child’s psyche forever. The environment a child grows up in defines him or her as an adult. If the only way to provide your children that loving and nurturing environment is as a single parent, then it is about time you separated from your husband.
If you are not financially independent, then taking this step is all the more difficult for you. Fending for yourself and meeting the needs of your children can be difficult, especially if you have been a homemaker in the last few years. A good percentage of women quietly endure a bad marriage from the fear of not being able meet their expenses. Though that is a huge and legitimate concern, what is the assurance that your husband won’t file for a divorce a few years down the line? If he did, you wouldn’t have an option but to pull through somehow. One can always fight through financial problems and manage to land on her feet. If you step up to the challenge, you buy yourself freedom, peace of mind, and a normal and healthy childhood for your children.
While the above two factors are theoretically very big concerns, most women forget to consider their own involvement. Every marriage has its ups and downs, and irrespective of how sour things have turned in the recent few months or years, the feelings will last for a long time to come. Unfortunately, this is the inevitable part in case of a separation; there’s not much you can do to make it easier other than being strong and mentally prepared. It is crucial to not let your emotions take a toll on you because post the split, it is you who will have to take charge and be responsible for everything around the house.
The key note here is to try to make it work with your husband. A broken marriage will hurt you for life and of course, there is nothing more important for your children than a complete and loving family. That being said, if things are falling apart with no sign of improvement, no one should have to be a part of a hurtful and meaningless relationship. It is never too late to start afresh!