Do you have a controlling wife? Many people complain about their wife wanting to wear the trousers, so to speak, but when is it pathological? At what point does it become abusive? How do you measure that? What are the things to look out for that let you know that you have a serious problem because of a controlling wife?
Most people think that they would know if they were in an abusive relationship or not. When asked how they would know, many respond by saying that they would 'just know'. So if it's so easy to spot an abusive relationship, how come so many people end up in abusive situations for years and years?
The vast majority do not understand mind control / manipulation / coercive influence and the belief that they would never be caught themselves is very dangerous. It means that a good manipulator will be able to bypass what little defense is in place and basically take over that person's life and the victim will be unable to mount much resistance. Before they know what's happening, they will be subjected to a lot of psychological abuse with seemingly no way out.
So let's have a closer look at abusive relationships of this type.
Manipulative or controlling people have to hide their true nature when meeting new 'targets', otherwise people would run a mile from them! But they don't just hide things, they invent things about themselves, too, pretending that they are the perfect match for the target in front of them.
These types are typically good at reading people and they quickly size people up, working out their wants, needs, desires, fears, strengths and weaknesses. They then present themselves as somebody who can provide what the target wants, needs and desires, while allaying any fears and providing strength for the target's weaknesses. So in effect, the victim believes they have met someone who understands them, who is very pleasant to be around, who is providing exactly what they need in that moment, someone who they want to be with, someone they could marry and have children with. And it's very easy to take the next step in the relationship, and the next one, and then to commit fully.
And so the charade begins.
Once there is commitment on the man's part, the woman begins to change. Things that previously were acceptable are no longer so. There are more demands from her. Things have to be a certain way.
Sometimes the change is so gradual that the man doesn’t realize things are changing. Sometimes there may be something so jarring that the man has trouble believing that his wonderful girlfriend (or wife) would do such a thing. It seems so out of character that it is excused away because, after all, things have been so good up to that point.
After the marriage (a huge commitment) there are more and more manipulative behaviors introduced by the controlling wife
Here are a list of things to watch out for, in no particular order...
These are just a few of the things that go on with a controlling wife. Some may be easy for you to spot, some may require a bit of thought because of the way a controlling wife changes your perception and thinking. It may help to go through the list with a trusted friend because outsiders can often see things that you might not be able to. There is a more comprehensive list on the page about mental abuse.
Many a controlling wife fits the profile of someone with a personality disorder. This means they are psychopaths, sociopaths or narcissists. I know this is a very strong statement and if you hadn't considered this already it can be a quite a shock. Most people have notions of what a psychopath or sociopath is and even their controlling wife usually does not fit that notion. So let's have a closer look.
A psychopath is someone who basically has no conscience and a huge ego. They have no conscience because they do not have normal emotions. There is no guilt, remorse, fear, embarrassment. love or guilt. In other words they never feel bad for anything they do. They do not feel other people's pain. They do know the difference between right and wrong, they just don't care!
Add to that the sense of entitlement and you get someone who believes they are special and superior and have a right to anything they want. And they are prepared to do anything to get it.
So they don't care how much they humiliate, upset or abuse another person to have the world be the way they want it to be. It doesn't bother them in the least if they destroy another person's life. This includes their kids. They will use the kids in all sorts of ways to get at the husband with not the slightest consideration of what damage they may be doing to their own children.
A narcissist is similar but they want adoration, compliments and recognition of their specialness from those around them.
I say the narcissist is similar because like the psychopath, (also often known as a sociopath), they both use mind control techniques to control and dominate their spouses and indeed everyone that is around them.
Read more about psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists.
I understand that to accept that a controlling wife might be a psychopath or a narcissist is a big step to take. However, if that controlling wife is actually a psychopath then you need to pay attention because dealing with a psychopath is a special situation that has it's own particular rules and considerations.
A controlling wife that is a narcissist or psychopath will be controlling your behavior, your thoughts, your emotions and the information available to you.
A controlling wife will heavily influence where you go, who you spend time with, your food, your sleep, your clothes, your leisure time, the rules you follow and will even give you punishments that take up your time. There will typically be tasks for you to do as well that keeps you busy all the time (with little or no time to stop and reflect on your situation).
Your thinking is influenced by her criticizing your ideas, your beliefs and your opinions. A controlling wife will redefine what certain words mean, often without your realizing, so that these words trigger certain ideas for you. She will provide rationalizations and justifications for her controlling actions in such a way that you accept them and your thinking becomes more aligned with hers. The way you perceive the world shifts so that you have reasons and excuses for the way she is and in some way these reasons and excuses seem to be acceptable within your perception of reality. For example, her angry outbursts are justified because you believe you have done something to upset her or you believe that the reason that your own parents criticize your wife is because they refuse to listen to her point of view and that means they are trying to control you. Even if you have doubts or conflicts, all these things seem to somehow fit together.
A controlling wife will have you on an emotional roller-coaster, although you may not be fully aware of how much she is controlling your emotions. She knows how to put you down, she knows how to make you feel good. She can do either at a moment's notice. And she has no qualms in making you feel bad/stupid/inferior/worthless for whatever reason. It's typical that a man is actually afraid of a controlling wife but it's not until the man gets some space to assess the relationship that he realizes how much fear there was. And there is also lots of guilt. A controlling wife will make you feel guilty for all sorts of things, who you are, what you do, your family, your past, your friends, your hobbies... And there are often phobias, which are very strong irrational fears, such as a phobia of not being able to cope without the relationship, a phobia of never seeing the children again, all of which are specifically set up to keep you trapped in the relationship.
A controlling wife will also control the information available to you. She will keep you away from any source who will try and tell you the truth about her. That includes her own family members, her ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands, and even your own family and friends that she knows she is unable to influence and hide her true nature from. These people are seen as competition by the psychopath or narcissist and must be kept at arms length whatever the cost.
Why are people emotionally abusive?
So what do you have if you have a different way of perceiving the world, a different set of emotions, a different way of thinking and making decisions and a different way of behaving? You basically have a different person, a different personality.
Have any of your family or friends told you that you have changed since marrying this woman? Have they pointed out that you are no fun anymore, or that you don't spend any time with them? Or maybe they have said that you are hen pecked, pussy whipped or that you have had your wings clipped. What they are describing is this new personality that they are seeing. They may not call it a new personality but they are noticing significant changes in you.
The new personality is actually a false personality or pseudopersonality. It has been imposed on you by the manipulative, controlling wife and it's the effect of the extensive and profound control she has over you.
This pseudopersonality is basically programmed by a psychopathic wife or narcissistic wife to be the kind of person they want to have around them. She wants somebody who puts her first, somebody who gives in to her wishes and desires. She wants someone to take care of her every need, doing the things she can't be bothered to do. She wants someone who is dependent on her, someone who can't get away. She wants someone who believes what she says, who doesn’t answer back or challenge her and who will do as they are told. She wants you to make her the center of your universe. She wants you to make her your purpose in life.
And she cares not a jot whether it ruins you or not.
You would think that she would want to keep a good thing going, but psychopaths don't consider future consequences much. They are much more interested in instant gratification. Think 4 year old in an adults body.
Characteristics of an abusive relationship
We have seen how much a controlling wife can influence and dominate another person. They go to the point of changing you at your core, at the level of identity. This is an enormous level of control and influence, especially when you consider that much of it is done outside of your awareness. You believed that you were getting into a great relationship and instead what you got was a pseudopersonality and years of abuse and being taken advantage of.
Ok, so now that you are beginning to understand this much, where to from here?
Well, as I mentioned, there are special considerations that we have to take into account in order to know what options are available. These are important ideas that should never be overlooked when dealing with psychopaths and narcissists.
- These people know what they are doing. Your controlling wife acts nice and friendly in public and acts like a despot behind closed doors. This is not random. She doesn't mix up the situations or forget which way to act. It's all done deliberately.
- She is not going to change. There is no treatment for psychopathy/sociopathy. And besides, if you thought you were superior to everyone, that you were always right and your way of thinking was the only way, would you think that you needed to change? No, of course not and she doesn't either.
- Your pseudopersonality is programmed to defend her and to be dependent on her. This often causes problems such as contradictory emotions or thoughts that contradict emotions. For example, you may be very angry at her but be worried that she is not taking care of herself, or you may want to be with her but feel anxious at the thought of her coming home soon from work. These contradictions are very disconcerting and cause problems while the pseudopersonality is in place.
- The pseudopersonality does not disappear on it's own simply because the victim leaves the mind control environment. It was installed with very powerful influence techniques and was reinforced over and over, often for years. Believing that you were making your own decisions also means that the pseudopersonality will last for years (decades) if it is not purposefully undone. It takes work and time on your part to undo the pseudopersonality.
- Trying to 'manage' or deal with a psychopathic, controlling wife is a complete waste of your time. Psychopaths don't follow the normal rules. That's why it's called antisocial personality disorder. You can try all you like to manage or manipulate them, but they are so much more callous and devious than you could ever be.
- Psychopaths make up their own rules and they won't tell you when they have changed the rules either. If you are married to one, you will have had years of experience of this! Once they realize that they are losing control of you, they will only get worse in an attempt to regain control. If you try playing nice and play by the usual rules, you will lose.
- Divorcing a psychopath is, in effect, getting into a power struggle with one. Remember their motivation is power and domination. They often use money and sex to increase their power. In a power struggle with them, you can expect them to play dirty. Very dirty. You need to be prepared for that.
- Getting away from them is the only sensible way out. I know that if there are children that it is more complicated. Staying because there are children is often a big mistake. The children are much better off after a separation because when they are with you, they are in a safe environment and you can teach them what normal, healthy relationships are all about. They will have pseudopersonalities, too, and these need to be undone as well. The danger of having a pseudopersonality is that it makes you, or the children, very vulnerable to being caught by other psychopaths or narcissists. This is why children of abusive parents get caught in abusive relationships themselves later in life, and it's NOT because the children go looking for abusers. This is a myth and it's called 'blaming the victim'. I don't believe that anyone seeks out an abusive relationship, consciously or unconsciously.
Working with an expert in this field to make sense of what was done to you as well as undoing the pseudopersonality and reestablishing your own personality is worth it. You go to a solicitor for legal advice and a doctor for medical advice. Thinking that you can sort out something like this on your own can aggravate the suffering and open you up to more abuse.
You need to know what the end goal is and what to do to get there. You also require some way to assess if you are actually getting to where you want to go. The thinking of the pseudopersonality is so distorted and limited by the psychopath that it is, for all intents and purposes, impossible to undo a pseudopersonality alone. Getting professional help will save you time, money and heartache.
You can read more about mind control, how to detect a sociopath, controlling mothers and their daughters, what it's like in a marriage to a sociopath, life after a psychopathic relationship and divorcing a narcissist...
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