He was the sweetest thing when you were dating. He was a wee bit possessive but you found it really flattering then. But as soon you tied the knot the possessive boyfriend became a controlling husband. He snatched away the whole aspect of decision making from you – from your clothes to finances – and you were left wondering, “How do you live with a controlling husband?”
Ideally, both the spouses are entitled to lead a balanced quality life. But sadly, this is not the reality in households which are imbalanced by the control-dynamics.
Related Reading: 13 Signs Of A Controlling Woman To Watch Out For
What Is A Controlling Husband?
If you tell your friend that you are dealing with a controlling husband you might be asked this question, because unless a person has been in a controlling relationship they wouldn’t know what you mean by a controlling husband.
Here’s an example. Susanne dated Stew (names changed) for six months before they got married. She found it really endearing that Stew insisted she spend all her spare time with him. But when they got married he kept insisting the same. Susanne gradually realised Stew started throwing tantrums if she made any plans with her friends. She couldn’t hit the pub with her colleagues after a hard day at work because Stew insisted she should be home before him because he “wanted to see her as soon he got home.”
He always complained that she wasn’t making him her priority and was being selfish. But Susanne realised it was Stew who was a selfish husband and the noose of control started to suffocate her.
What causes control issues? The seeds are of control are sown in childhood. If people have toxic parents they could become controlling in their own relationships. Childhood abuse can make people controlling and also low self-esteem is responsible for control.
In such an imbalanced marriage, typically a man takes the role of a controlling spouse and disturbs the healthy couple dynamics. Through this article, we are trying to dissect in detail the signs of a controlling husband to help save many more problematic and toxic marriages.
What Are The Signs Of A Controlling Husband?
A controlling husband never comes with a warning. But, there are certainly some warning signals that exhibit the toxic personality in its initial days. Let us dissect such signs that strengthen the chances of him as a manipulating and a dominating husband.
Related Reading: How To Get Out Of A Controlling Relationship – 8 Ways To Break Free
1. He controls under the garb of love
In the initial months/ years of marriage, husbands are very expressive, loving and caring for their wives. After spending considerable time together, such a husband actually starts manipulating situations through mind games like gaslighting and controls his wife’s actions.
Jealousy tags along such a relationship, which becomes toxic for a marriage in the long run. You may like the initial bit of possessiveness as ‘love’ in your initial days. But when it gets prolonged for almost every cause and reason, this becomes a choking and irritable experience presenting your husband’s unwarranted influence and control in life
2. He makes grounds for your financial dependence
If you are looking for the early signs of a controlling man then this is one. A wife’s financial independence is a big blow to their patriarchic views. So initially, such a husband tries to establish firm grounds for you to leave your job.
At times, he may also keep you in the dark about monthly incomes, savings, and financial inflow.
Limiting the monthly household allowances also gives them a control over a woman’s struggles. He could even indulge in financial infidelity. All these facets are a big blow to a woman’s financial condition, and one of the most solid reasons to stay in an abusive relationship
3. He cuts off your support system
To ensure that you become weak and vulnerable, a partner who is dominating would try to cut off all support including friends and family. This is an absolute sign of a controlling relationship.
A toxic husband is jealous and possessive about his wife. He sees her family and friends as the biggest threats to his marital relationship. He may complain that he doesn’t like your best-friend/s, or you should not contact your cousins more often. His main goal is to strip his off wife’s support system, leaving her unguarded, exposed and vulnerable in human relationships
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4. He constantly criticises your conduct
It may start small, but has dreaded effects. Here, we are not pointing towards positive criticism by a husband, but referring to a pattern that touches every bit of a woman’s personality, including her dressing sense, make-up and hairdo, managing household tactics, or even cooking.
This not only questions your efficiency but puts the entire blame of wrongdoings in a marriage on you. The effect of a controlling husband on a marriage is terrible.
5. He threatens to leave you
Whenever there is a fight he threatens to leave you. He says the most hurtful things to you when you have a fight and you are sometimes left wondering if he loves you.
But the very next moment he asks for forgiveness but that does not mean he allows you to be who you are. You have to eventually dance to his whims.
6. He mocks your passion
If you are managing kids with family and balancing your personal passion like crocheting, or painting, he may mock your creativity and independence through toxic gaslighting pattern, which is again a strong sign of a toxic partner.
A controlling husband would not leave a stone unturned to doubt your capabilities and mock you at the first opportunity.
7. He spies on you
He thinks he has a right over you and wants to know every detail of your life. Be it checking phone conversations, logging on to your emails or tracking your internet history, such a man will spy on you in different circumstances.
Maybe he is insecure or has trust issues that makes him a control freak and you are left thinking, “Why does he want to control me?”
Related reading: 15 signs your spouse takes you for granted
How To Deal With A Husband Who Is Controlling And Dominating?
How do you live with a controlling husband? Living with a dominant spouse brings a disproportionate control over a marriage. This poses a lot of challenges for a married woman and erodes the quality of her life.
To avoid such complexities in life, here are the subtle, yet effective ways through which a woman can express herself strongly and bring to notice the controlling and dominating equation in a marriage.
1. Stay calm while handling husband’s controlling behaviour
Many believe this is akin to surrender. Well, our Bonobology experts don’t think so. In fact, this is a reverse psychology at work where you can turn things in your favour without husband’s disrespect.
Subtle expressions like, ‘I agree with you, but have you considered this fact?’ work in the favour of wife at times
2. Control and change yourself
Don’t blame yourself for your partner’s dissent. Instead, take charge of things and happiness in your hands. Maybe, take up a new hobby or an activity to regain that lost confidence.
Remember, you can only change and control one person – you. So, why not use it as a bettering technique and experience improvement in life.
Take a new course, improve your skills and prepare your 2.0 version for a better life ahead, with or without your husband.
3. Be vocal about the harm of control on you
Upon experiencing spousal control, try to talk and introduce them to the potential damage to the marriage caused by his constant scrutiny. This will help you both come on one page and resolve the conflicting issues with cooperation.
Communication exercises can help you communicate your needs and feelings to your partner better. A controlling husband might see reason but it depends on how you try.
4. Express the hurt caused by their controlling nature
Heart-to-heart talks on how your husband’s constant criticism has corroded your confidence will introduce him to the ill-effects of emotional abuse.
At this stage, if he truly loves you, he will try to empathise with you and take the next step, i.e. professional consultation.
5. Co-operate with each other at professional relationship sessions
There are plenty of marriage workshops that can help you resolve issues in your marriage. Marriage counselling can help you understand each other better and he could understand how his control is ruining your relationship.
If you have feelings, trust, and faith in your love, then these workshops improve the quality of life and rectify all the wrong things in your relationship. Marriage counsellors can help your spouse become more understanding to you and your needs.
Related Reading: 6 Ways Bitterness Creeps Into Your Loving Relationship
6. Find out the reasons behind their dominating nature
Love heals the deepest of the wounds. You may have to pad up the professional therapy consultations with your love. Try to find out if your spouse suffered from the deeper trust or emotional issues in the past. Maybe a bad breakup or a bitter divorce made him take control of all the things in a marriage.
Understand the issue from his perspective, and help him overcome the challenges by providing a relationship security. This might look tough on the surface, but once you overcome this phase, then it will surely reward you with a better, improved version of your husband.
How to get out of a controlling relationship?
The effects of a controlling husband on a relationship are terrible. Overcoming emotional abuse by your husband is not an easy task. When all the positive interactions and professional interventions fail, it is time to rethink whether being in this relationship is detrimental to you or not.
If your husband only blames you for all the wrongs in a relationship, or thinks you are not good enough to sustain the quality of marriage, then you must check the signs of being in an abusive relationship.
If you feel that the dominating nature of your husband is a sign of emotional, physical and verbal abuse, then it is the right time to walk out of marriage and seek a divorce. This way, you will end the consecutive serial hurt and toxic influence in your life.
Remember, you are not a puppet to be controlled by your husband only. A marriage is all about the balance established and maintained by both husband and wife. If a dominant partner takes entire control in his hands, it disturbs the relationship dynamics, making a marriage toxic and unhealthy.
After analysing these above-mentioned parameters, we hope you have got the right perspective on how to deal with the subtle signs of your husband’s controlling nature and help your marriage. But if you feel you need a personalised counselling, then do contact our Bonobology relationship expert panel with your dominant spouse problem and get a right perspective on your relationship woes.