13 Signs You Have A Controlling Husband & How To Deal With Him

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Behind every successful woman is a man who believed in her potential when the whole world stood against her. A partner who supports your dreams and pushes you to be your best is a blessing. Unfortunately, not every woman has a supportive husband, and worse still, some have controlling husbands.

Living with a controlling husband can be a traumatic experience for every woman. A controlling husband always wants to impose his authority on his wife. He doesn’t consider his wife an individual and fails to identify her space.

If you have such a controlling husband, it is time you have an open conversation with him about his behavior. And if he doesn’t mend his ways, you may consider parting ways with him. In this post, we list the signs of a controlling husband and tell you ways to deal with him.

13 Signs of a Controlling Husband

1. He isolates you from friends and family

It may appear subtle, but your husband may start complaining about how often you talk to your friends or relatives or why he doesn’t like your best friend. He may also try to turn you against your loved ones. His main objective is to tear away your support group so you don’t have people around you to rely on. It is more like taking away your strength.

2. He criticizes you

If your husband criticizes you even for the smallest of unwarranted things, then it is a warning sign. It may initially appear that he is trying to help you be a better person. Your husband may also try to rationalize it by suggesting that it is not a big deal when he tells you how to dress, speak, eat, decorate the house, have opinions or even vote. But no matter how small criticism is, if it’s a common point of conversation, then you may lose your confidence and feel the need to be validated or loved by your husband.

3. He makes you feel unworthy

If your husband makes you feel less attractive, tries to prove his professional and personal accomplishments, or compares you with their exes, then be careful. He would want you to feel grateful that he has chosen you. This results in a situation where you would work harder to make him happy, letting him control you somehow.

4. He stops you from achieving your goals

Your controlling husband may try to thwart you from achieving your personal, professional, or educational goals. He may compel you to lose confidence to pursue your aspirations and belittle your plans as silly. He often uses you as a weapon against yourself by invoking self-doubt. For instance, you may want to go to law school, but he may insist that you aren’t good enough.

5. He is unwilling to hear your point of view

You may notice that a controlling husband does not value or readily dismiss your views and opinions. You are interrupted while you are trying to make your point. For instance, when you are having a conversation with your husband, he may try to dominate and control it so much that you can’t ask meaningful questions or have a two-way discussion. Even your feedback on anything is dismissed as being invalid.

6. You have upsetting sexual encounters with him

The controlling relationship may not be limited to discussions or choices but may also seep into your bedroom. You may feel uncomfortable or see a pattern that you do not enjoy. If you consistently feel upset or uncomfortable after your sexual encounters, then it may be a red flag.

7. He presumes or proves you guilty

A controlling husband will try to make you feel that you have done everything wrong even before you realize what you have done. In their belief, you are guilty until proven innocent. For instance, when you walk to make a conversation but he is already angry and decided that you are at fault. From having lunch with your friend without him knowing to put away his clothes, you will be assumed to be a part of some wrong-doing. Additionally, he will constantly remind you not to repeat your errors.

8. He makes you earn good treatment

Your controlling husband may trust others more than he trusts you. Therefore, to ‘earn’ trust or good treatment, you would have to keep him well informed about your whereabouts, share your passwords, or keep him informed of your day-to-day tasks. If earning trust is not inherent in your relationship and is rather worked up to satisfy your husband, then your relationship dynamics may indicate a dominating husband.

9. He uses threats

Some controlling husbands use veiled threats, physical or emotional, to show fear and dominance. For instance, you are threatened to cut off your finances or privileges or access to your family or children to manipulate you emotionally. He may also threaten to self-destruct or harm themselves to gain control over you.

10. He offers only conditional affection or care

If you notice your husband saying, “I will love you more when you bring more money,” “you should lose more weight to become more attractive to me,” or “if you can’t put an effort to make dinner for me, then there is no use of this relationship,” then he is trying to make his love conditional. Such comments will make you feel not valued, especially when they are made in front of people you know and care about.

11. He keeps a score

A husband will keep a scorecard of every action in a controlling relationship. In a relationship wherein one person is dominant, it is about holding grudges, demanding a favor, or being patted for a good job. It is their way of having the upper hand over you instead of being there for each other.

12. He uses guilt as a weapon

A controlling husband is skilled at manipulative behavior to make himself feel good and the wife guilty. He can provoke your guilt consciousness even for the smallest of things or day-to-day activities. This often leads to the wife losing the power or detesting herself, giving more control to her husband.

13. He spies or snoops on you

If your husband is controlling, he feels that he has the right to know everything about you and your day-to-day activities. He would want to know even more than you know. So, he tries to snoop out secrets to use these against you. He checks your phone, email, and bags—a clear violation of privacy to justify their actions of catching you ‘red-handed.’

6 Ways To Deal With A Controlling Husband

Here are a few tips to try to make it work with your controlling husband.

1. Try talking

If you feel that your husband is controlling, try to calm him down and talk to him about his behavior. Communicate the words that hurt you as there may be a chance that he does not realize the impact of his actions. Try to figure out why such behavior is a childhood issue, any traumatic experience, or a personality disorder.

2. Connect with friends and family

Your friends and family members are your strength. So, try and reconnect with them to know what you are going through and support you when you need it the most. Don’t be afraid to catch up with them when you want. Most importantly, try to build a network to find solace or instant support.

3. Take good care of yourself

You must take care of yourself and your mental health. Notice your feelings and keep a check when you feel anxious, stressed, or depressed. Try things such as meditation, spending time on your hobbies, taking plenty of rest, eating right, reading, exercising, or painting.

4. Make boundaries

If your husband is controlling, set boundaries and don’t put in unnecessary pressure. If he still tries to ignore your limitations, let him know and understand the consequences. Most importantly, stick to your boundaries.

5. Take control of your life

It often happens that people who have a controlling husband lose themselves in making the relationship work. It is, therefore, important to take control of your life. If you want to learn something new, meet friends, buy something, follow your passion, change a job, or even pursue education, go for it.

6. Consider therapy

If you still have not gotten out of controlling situations, do not shy away from seeking professional help or counseling. Talking to a therapist can help you identify what led to such behavior in your relationship or what strategies you can try. Even if ending the relationship is the best way forward, the therapist can help you cope with the situation to help you rebuild your confidence and self-esteem.

In a healthy and stable relationship, there is always a balance of power that helps partners be there for each other and grow together. However, a more controlling or dominant husband can change the relationship dynamics to make the other feel vulnerable, less confident, and anxious even about day-to-day activities. In such cases, identify the cause of such controlling behavior, try communicating your feelings, seek support from your friends and family, set boundaries and consider counseling. Remember to prioritize your wellbeing and happiness even if it means starting your life afresh.

Key Pointers

  • A controlling husband can take over your life completely and make you feel underconfident and unworthy.
  • Isolating you from friends and family, criticizing you on petty issues, and dismissing your point of view indicate you have a controlling husband.
  • Talking to him about his behavior and taking control of your life are ways to deal with him.

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Donna Murphy

(BSW, MSW, RSW Cert. Ad.Ed)
Donna Murphy is a social worker and operates a private practice in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In her 15 years of experience, she has seen individuals and couples transform their lives when they begin to make changes within. As a result, Donna has undertaken a writing project that will assist people in first understanding themselves and second changing their lives for... more

Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship articles, where she deals with both the rosy and the grey side... more