When there’s a control freak in your marriage what do you do? Do you bow down to the control or create your own boundaries? There are control freaks everywhere. You will find them in your family, in your neighbourhood, at the mall, on the bus, train, flight and even in your marriage. That is where it does the most damage. In marriages of the earlier generation, it was the unwritten rule that the man has to be lord and master, though invariably some women would beat the system by having the upper hand in the bedroom. That would then invisibly hold the reins in every aspect of the marriage. In more recent marriages I see that men and women have an understanding that this will not be tolerated by either of the sexes and thus they seem to work on an even plane. The personality Type A seems to slip into the controlling behaviour patterns more than the laid back chill type person. Let’s take a look at the telltale signs of the manipulative control freak.
Signs Your Partner Is A Control Freak
How can you tell if a partner is controlling? To tell the truth it’s not easy to say if your partner is controlling if you have just come to know them for a few months. There are instances when people have been dating for years but there was no sign of control, it only started showing when the couple got married. Women can be as much control as men. Narcissistic men like to control more and the signs of control can be sometimes subtle, sometimes in-your-face and there at times emotional and psychological manipulation is used to control a partner. The control freak signs are always there you just have to understand those.
1. The controlling patriarch
There is no denying the fact that we live in a patriarchal society and generations of men have grown up on the idea that every decision making power wrests with them. My father had to just clear his throat or click his tongue in slight disapproval for all of us in the family to go on alert mode.
This was because he was the head of the family and his approval was a must. He would just look at my mother and she would go into submissive mode.
This was not too often because she adored him anyway and he was a gentle giant. But we as kids knew not to cross him. He never raised his voice, or voiced any complaint – we just knew what his command was through his body language. He had control over us which was invisible but very much there.
2. The quiet steady hand on the whip
I have seen this in my sis-in-law and her husband’s peaceful relationship. All went well until there was a large family gathering, and there was general excitement, laughter and merry-making.
The minute she saw the menfolk getting ready to go out, presumably to a pub, she would gently call out to her husband in a loving manner and no one ever saw him for the rest of the evening.
She claimed that he was pretty useless in bed after he got drunk. But could that be reason enough to not let him have some fun with the guys? This is an absolute sign that your partner is controlling if he or she is not letting you do something that you enjoy doing on a flimsy pretext. In this case, my sisters-in-law need to control her husband was far more than her understanding of his need for enjoyment.
Read more: Emotional abuse- 9 signs and 5 coping tips
3. The financial controller
My husband was not a miser. In fact, he would go berserk buying the best in the market. He never hesitated in paying massive bills for his friends’ booze in pubs and even loaned people money. However, his generosity did not extend to me. I used to walk around with zero money and once he refused Rs. 40 to buy me sanitary napkins. His logic was that I should have planned for it in advance.
Financial control on a partner is the worst sign of control I would say. In fact, I have seen women who earn themselves and have very successful careers but they have to hand over their money to their husbands and they don’t have the freedom to spend their own money. A husband who is taking care of your money and investing it and you have to ask him before buying a gift for your bestie then beware he is not being cared but he is being controlled. This could even be called financial abuse.
4. The alarm clock
This husband will raise a hue and cry if you are late by a minute, to wake up or to go anywhere, or to get dinner served. It does not occur to him that he can extend a helping hand or share chores. These are extremely dominant people who will fly into a rage if things don’t go their way. They may also be very successful perfectionists. An extension to this is when they are also clean freaks and find dirt in places that you’d never dream of. A friend of mine used to call other people “dirt blind”. They could have OCD and fly off the handle if a plan wouldn’t go they way they please and it could be as simple a plan as a movie show or a shopping spree. But this character attribute is present both in men and women.
5. The career wife
This is a mix of Type A, OCD and a perfectionist personality. You see these control freaks in most high-ranking MNC career wives. They want everything prim and proper at home as they want it in the workplace. Like their desk is kept neat at office they expect the same tidiness at home and when the children or the husband fail to live up to her standards she could, nag, shout, cringe and crib to get her way. She isn’t the kind to let you go unless she has her way. So next time you go to the perfect home of a well-placed woman you never know what kind of life her family is actually having.
Read more: How to deal with a controlling husband?
6. The know-it-all husband
He takes great pleasure in putting his wife down, both in private and in front of his friends. It is a sad state when friends join him in this depraved behavior. If you are a wife who is silent in the face of this control freak, soon things will escalate into domestic violence, because this kind of manipulator needs to feed his insecurity with higher levels of atrocity. He starts of by being dominating but if he is not stopped starts believing his own lies and power and may not know how to stop.
7. The choosy partner
What could feel like love and care in the beginning of your relationship because your partner is choosing the clothes you wear, buying the shoes that suit you, deciding on the phone you carry and looking up the menu for you in the restaurant, could soon start to gag and throttle you. This is a sign of control. Though rampant in many relationships but this is a control that’s subtle and can erode a relationship.
8. The friendship controller
How can you tell if someone is controlling? If he or she is telling you that you should not be friends with certain people from either gender. Yes this is nothing but controlling behaviour. Suhani had become friends with another lady while dropping her son at the school gates. Suhani one day asked her out for lunch and she happily agreed. But the hubby kept calling her every 5 minutes and Suhani could realise her friend was uncomfortable.
After that day she started avoiding her at the school gates and it was only after a year of seeing her FB photos that came only with her family and never with any friends, Suhani realised her friend’s husband was averse to her having any friends.
So he was controlling who she could be friends with.
9. Keep family away
You could have a tightly knit extended family, you could be really close to your cousins and you could be going on vacations together. When your partner doesn’t approve of your family connections and avoids the family functions it doesn’t mean they are shy it could be a sign that they are control freaks. Keeping you away from your family could mean that you cannot reach out to them when controlled. So be aware that your partner’s dislike for your family could have a dark undertone.
10. Take permission
Does your partner hit the roof when you don’t take their permission to go out and buy vegetables in the market or maybe visit a neighbour? Keeping your partner informed is one thing and seeking permission is another thing. If they expect you to ask them before doing the smallest thing then you definitely have a controlling partner. The signs are all too clear.
If you see any of the above personality types in your partner then you must start talking to someone, a friend, a counsellor, or a parent because these are nothing but signs of control. You may be walking into the gravest dangers of losing your freedom and independence and all expectations of enjoying a loving relationship. Control freaks are always suffering from a deep psychological damage or distrust, and need professional help.