How to deal with a controlling husband?

Kanika Sharma

Every now and then women end up with husbands who are dominating and try to control all facets of their lives. Arranged marriages often do not provide women with enough time to interact or know their significant other. Even in love marriages, women tend to overlook the nature of their husbands in all their emotion and love. An UN study states that 60% of Indian men are violent and abusive to their wives.

Ideally, both the spouses are entitled to lead a balanced and a quality life. But sadly, this is not the reality of Indian households which are imbalanced by the control-dynamics. Did you know? 80% of the Indian women need permission from their husbands to visit even a healthcare center, which is shocking diktat. This showcases that a woman has a limited control over basic decisions of her life. This also exposes the sham of so-called patriarchy on which Indian marriages are based.

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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 not just in our cuntry, but also worldwide.

What are signs of a controlling husband?

controlling husband : Image source

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: Top 15 signs of a selfish husband

  • 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 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
  • He makes grounds for your financial dependence: 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 dark about monthly incomes, savings, and financial inflow. Limiting the monthly household allowances also gives them a control over a woman’s struggles. 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
  • 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. 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
  • He points out constant criticism in 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 & 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
  • He threatens to leave you: In the Indian context, a married home is the only home for a woman. Threatening to leave her, turning her back to her parents’ house are the signs of being in an emotionally manipulative relationship
  • 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
  • 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 make him a control freak

Related reading: 15 signs your spouse takes you for granted

How to deal with a husband who is controlling and dominating?

How to handle : Image source

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.

  • Stay calm while handling husband’s control 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
  • 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 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
  • Be vocal about the harm of controlling 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
  • 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
  • Cooperate with each other professional relationship sessions: There are plenty of marriage workshops in India that can help you resolve issues in your marriage. 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
  • Find out the reasons behind their dominant 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?

Overcoming an 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.

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