15 Signs Of A Controlling Wife And How To Deal With Her

In a healthy relationship, both partners have an equal say in all matters, especially those related to decision-making. However, if you have a controlling wife or husband, the balance tilts on one side, and one partner becomes more dominating.

Keep reading this post if you feel your voice is not being heard and you think that she is manipulating you. Here, we tell you the common signs of a controlling wife, the effects of living with one, and ways to deal with the situation.

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15 Signs Of A Controlling Wife

Fulfilling your wife’s demands out of love is one thing and following her orders is another. Here are some signs to help you understand how your wife can be controlling and dominating.

1. She criticizes you too often

First, she has a problem with the small things you do. Then, she starts finding faults in almost everything you do. She says she is correcting you to ensure you do not make a mistake when in reality, she wants to control everything you do. She is demanding, criticizes you for making you feel conscious, and offers advice so that you know what she wants you to do.

2. She wants to know your whereabouts

She is overbearing and calls you several times a day to keep a check on you. She asks questions about your whereabouts and your work. She might even repeatedly question why you are spending more time at the office or your friend’s place. Also, keep in mind communication is key. So if you are coming home late without communicating this or gone most of the time, she has a right to ask questions and wonder what is going on.

3. She snoops on you

Snooping on you is a sign of a controlling wife

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When asking you questions does not seem enough, she ends up snooping on you. Following your social media, checking your phone, and keeping a tab on your expenses are a few ways to find out what you did when she is not around.

4. She thinks she is always right

Irrespective of the topic or logic, she is skilled at arguments and knows how to end up winning every discussion or debate you start with her. She does not give up unless you concede and declare that she is right as always.

protip_icon Point to consider
Does she decide your outfits for casual and formal occasions? Does she want you to have only same-gender friends? Is she overly protective? If yes, know that you have a controlling wife.

5. She makes you feel guilty

If you have done something wrong in the past, she uses it to her advantage, especially if you have wronged her in any way. Then, she reminds you of those mistakes to guilt-trip you and give in to her wishes.

6. She makes you feel indebted

A wife is a supporter, capable of bringing a big change in your life. When a controlling wife does something that helps you tremendously, she does it to keep you in her debt. When needed, she reminds you of her favors to make you act as per her wishes.

7. She plays the victim card

It does not matter if she has done something wrong. Her manipulation skills are good enough to convince you that she did it for you or because of you. She knows how to turn the tables and present herself as the victim and make you the villain. Keep in mind you will each be wrong at times, so make sure to find a balance in this and understand that if there are times she says she is hurt, it does not necessarily apply to this because she is manipulative.

8. She keeps you away from family and friends

A controlling wife keeps you away from family.

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Did you notice that you have been meeting your family and friends a lot less than before? Your wife probably blocks you from seeing others. She meets her folks and friends whenever she wants, but you do not get to go out as she somehow manages to control your contact with them.

Hilary Tsai, a blogger, discusses how a controlling partner, whether a wife or girlfriend, can isolate individuals from their friends. She shares, “Without meaning to be sexist, every time I’ve lost a friend because of a jealous and controlling partner, it’s been a woman not allowing her husband, boyfriend or best friend to talk to other women. I’m not saying this is always the case, but it has been my experience. In college, I knew a few cool guys who I was friendly with. We would talk and joke (not anything remotely romantic), but I would notice that their girlfriends would get pretty frosty with me for no apparent reason, and I’d eventually see less and less of the guys. Me being a person who hurts for friends and doesn’t feel comfortable with most people, this has always felt like an unnecessary loss (i).”

9. She feels jealous

She fears losing you. So strong is her insecurity that she becomes jealous of every woman you talk to. In fact, jealousy is one of the reasons why she turns oppressive. She tries to control your interaction with others so that you stay with her only.

10. She is obsessive

Have you ever opposed something strongly but eventually gave in because your wife wouldn’t budge? A controlling wife has to have what she wants or she will make life tough for you. She is insistent and tries every tactic to get what she wants from you.

11. She threatens you

When everything else fails, she threatens you with serious consequences. She gives you an ultimatum to do something, or you have to face some unpleasant situation.

12. She has a foul temper

Point out her mistake, and she gets into a screaming fit. Tell her you can’t do something that she wants, she will abuse you and curse you for being negligent towards her. Her anger gets the better of her, and you fear her reaction to avoid an argument.

13. She brags about herself

One way to control you is to make you feel inferior to her, so she brags about her family background or achievements. She does this to make you feel lucky to have her in your life so that you feel obligated to please her.

14. She does not respect your privacy

A controlling wife keeps you under her thumb

Image: IStock

Just because you are married, it does not mean you have no right to personal space or privacy. But a controlling wife denies you that. She does not believe in giving you some time by yourself. She doesn’t want you to stray, so she tries to keep you under her thumb.

15. She treats your rights as favors

A controlling and uncompromising wife offers you basic love and respect only if you are willing to do her bidding. Be it a good meal or some other help, you get it only if you do something in return for her, like buy her something expensive or run an errand for her. Her love is conditional and hardly ever free.

What Causes A Wife To Be Controlling?

Your wife’s need to control everything around her could stem from some underlying mental health issue. She must have faced betrayal or abuse in the past that left a lasting impact on her and affected her mentally. Leaving it untreated may have led to the development of a mental ailment that needs to be identified and treated accordingly.
It could also be that your wife does not like to depend on you or does not approve of the way you do things, and hence prefers taking matters in her hand to ensure they are completed properly. For instance, you want to buy a leather couch for your living room but your wife is adamantly against it as it does not go with the pastel blue color scheme of your living room. It could seem minor from the surface, but if it keeps going on, you may soon be under the bus.

The other thing to consider is, have you done something in the past to compromise her trust and turn her dictatorial? If so and it has not been dealt with or handled, this could be the root issue and needs to be resolved (i.e. an affair, an addiction, or getting caught lying).

Effects Of Living With A Controlling Wife

Living with a controlling wife can shake your confidence

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Living with a controlling wife can affect your self-esteem. Her frequent criticism, unnecessary fights, constant reminders of past mistakes to make you feel guilty, stubborn attitude to make you compromise, and numerous threats to make you anxious can all affect your self-esteem. Such a toxic marriage may make you question your ideals and beliefs, which can shake your confidence.

It can also make you lose interest in romance and faith in marriage. Her conditional love and moody behavior can force you to suppress your desires, which can eventually make you bitter and pessimistic. Her passive-aggressive tactics and emotional abuse might make you resentful of her and lead you to infidelity and even separation.

How To Deal With A Controlling Wife?

Your wife is not a bad or insensitive person. But some of her insecurities could make her control you. Here are some ways to deal with her controlling side.

1. Speak with her

The first thing to do is to have a word with your wife. Tell her how her behavior affects you and can spoil your relationship. She may get defensive, but calmly make her understand how her controlling ways negatively affect your marriage.

2. Make clear boundaries

Establishing boundaries is one of the crucial steps in stopping your wife from controlling you and preserving your privacy. You need to point out when she oversteps her boundaries and politely ask her to step back.

3. Change your attitude

If you know the reason behind your wife’s controlling and rigid nature, try to understand her behavior. It does not mean you submit to her dominating ways, but in arguments and fights, you can try to be calm and tackle the situation so that you are not treated unfairly, and your wife does not feel offended.

4. Lead by example

Demonstrate the behavior and communication pattern that you expect from your wife. If you want to rebuild your relationship, start by filling the communication gaps and instilling respect and trust. Moreover, make genuine efforts to improve your relationship with your wife, and she might follow suit.

5. Encourage independence

Encourage individuality while being married. So instead of being overly dependent on your partner, give her the freedom to be herself. Give personal space for self-development, making friends, or following hobbies or interests to disarm the urge to control. Overall, it may balance the dynamics of your relationship.

6. Seek professional help

Seek professional to help make your relationship healthy

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Lastly, if everything else fails and you guys cannot find a happy medium, then seek guidance from a professional. A good counselor can help tap into her deep hidden insecurities and find a way to hold her controlling and bossy ways and also explore your role, as no one is innocent in a dysfunctional relationship.

7. Get out of the toxic relationship

If every single attempt to change your wife’s controlling streak fails to bring about any change, then it is time you choose yourself over a negative relationship. Her frequent criticism, commanding nature, jealousy, and dominating behavior can take a toll on your health, so it is better to distance yourself from a toxic marriage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a controlling wife change?

It is not impossible to change a person’s behavior, but it may require the willingness, motivation, and patience to consistently work towards it. As controlling behavior stems from various underlying issues, discussing and addressing them may lead to a positive change. Also, looking within and changing yourself will help you learn new strategies that may carve a better path for both of you.

2. When is a man controlled by his wife?

People with trust issues often have the urge to be controlling. For example, if the man has been unfaithful and betrayed his wife, she may become suspicious of his actions and start questioning his intentions and motivations.

3. Is it possible for my wife to be controlling in a healthy way?

Although most people identify controlling behavior with negative connotations, a partner, including a wife, can healthily display certain dominating traits. Remember that a healthy balance of control necessitates awareness and consent from both parties. It shouldn’t cross the line into compulsion, manipulation, or disrespect for the other person’s autonomy and feelings.

4. How can couples therapy help if one partner struggles with controlling behavior?

Couples therapy can help address the controlling behaviors in your partner by identifying the underlying issue, providing a safe space for open and detailed communication, and working towards building a healthy and stable relationship.

You may have a domineering or controlling wife if she criticizes you often, makes you feel guilty, or constantly pretends to be a victim. Being with such a possessive partner may harm your physical and mental health. You may experience low self-esteem, loss of peace, and lack of love. To manage this issue, you should first understand what causes your wife to behave this way. She may have a mental health issue or have been through a bitter experience. Once you understand the cause, talk to her, share your concerns, and create healthy boundaries. However, if the situation does not improve, seek professional help and focus on self-care.

Infographic: Effects Of A Controlling Wife On A Husband’s Behavior

Constant criticism and dominating behavior are common attributes of a controlling wife. Although it might seem like not-so-harmful nature, it could have unfavorable effects on the husband. The infographic below tells you more about how a wife’s controlling nature could impact her husband and marriage.

what a husband experiences around a controlling wife (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • A controlling wife may criticize you often and find fault in everything you do.
  • Manipulations and playing the victim card can also be a way for a wife to control her husband.
  • A controlling wife may think she is always right and not give up unless winning arguments.


Feeling trapped in a marriage to a controlling wife? There are few other things that men find emasculating. Learn how to take back control and create a healthier relationship with your wife.

Personal Experience: Source

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