If you see the following signs of a controlling husband, you really need to do something about it. I know that's probably a scary thought, but if you are in an abusive relationship then you need to put an end to it because your abuser will not.
If your partner is controlling, then you are not in a relationship of equals. There is a power imbalance and, unfortunately, in many situations this power imbalance has been deliberately created by the manipulator. I say this because many people believe that people who are controlling do so because they are anxious, insecure or have had a rough childhood. These ideas however, don't take into account one of the main reasons that people control others. Some people control others for the sake of control, that's what drives them.
These people have a personality disorder, otherwise known as psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists.
Studies in the US have shown that 80% of people who are court-ordered into therapy for anger issues in the family courts actually have a personality disorder. That's a frighteningly large number.
The thing is, if you are in a relationship with a psychopath or narcissist, you really want to know that. Dealing with these people means different rules, a different way of thinking, different behaviours and an overarching need to protect yourself. Why? Because their relationships are based on coercion and exploitation. If somebody is deliberately and actively controlling you, abusing you and taking advantage, then that's what you need to deal with.
So let's have a look at the signs of a controlling husband you need to pay attention to.
He is always right. You are always wrong.
Anything that goes well he takes credit for. Anything that goes wrong is your fault.
He can make you feel good and he can also make you feel awful. Since you got married, he makes you feel bad much more often than he makes you feel good.
There is lots of criticism from him about a wide range of topics.
He makes you feel bad about yourself. Even if he's talking about something you said or did, he makes you feel stupid or worthless.
He makes comments about your friends and family with the result that you spend less and less time with them.
Whenever you have guests over for dinner, he makes things very uncomfortable or starts arguments and again the result is people stop coming over.
You seem to have trouble getting through to him. Somehow, he can't seem to see things from your point of view. It doesn't matter how often you try, he doesn't get it. The fact is he does get it, he just doesn't care.
He is allowed to criticize you but you're not allowed to do the same.
He does not forgive you but you're expected to forgive him every little thing.
He claims he doesn't remember things he says and does but he has a fantastic memory for things that you have said and done.
He makes you feel guilty a lot.
You are afraid of him.
He has a vicious temper. And he loses it for the smallest things.
He threatens you over various things. He may even threaten to leave if you don't behave the way he wants. If you've ever said you want to leave he may make vague threats about suicide.
Whereas initially his care and love seemed unconditional, now it's very much conditional. You can't have what you want until you do something for him. If he does anything for you he makes it clear that you owe him, and not just once but over and over.
He keep score, holds a grudge and always has to be the best. Life is a competition for him and he is prepared to win at all costs. If you do get one up on him you just know he is going to retaliate at some unexpected moment.
While initially he may have wanted to know everything about you and your daily activities, who you were with, what was said, what you did and so on, later in the relationship he will be totally uninterested.
All this information he gathered about you is often used against you.
He spends a lot of time doing his own thing, often in a different room away from everybody.
Some controlling husbands even disappear for days on end without telling anybody where they are.
While he may know every single detail about you and your past, you realize that you actually know very little about him.
He can be the life and soul of the party but a complete tyrant behind closed doors at home. You see him out in public laughing and joking with people and generally making a great impression. You remember that he treated you like that at the start of your relationship. Now you seem to be married to a completely different person, one who is grumpy, irritable and demanding. You wish you could have that nice person back again. The difficulty is that the nice person doesn't actually exist. It was an act, a show, to trap you. Once he realized he had control over you he didn't have to put that mask on any more and the tyrant you're living with is the real person.
He expects to have access to your phone, email and so on. You don't feel right about asking for his passwords.
He accuses you of doing all sorts of things. You may have realized he's the one actually doing these things. His accusations force you into defending yourself, because they are not true, but it also means you don't have time to ponder and reflect on what he's actually up to.
It doesn't matter how often you tell him what you want, he doesn't let you have it.
It doesn't matter how hard you try, how much money you spend, how much care and attention you give, , how much energy you put into something, it's never enough.
You have the same arguments over and over again. He is relentless in pushing his ideas on you.
He makes you feel indebted to him in many ways.
He set impossible tasks for you. And then criticizes you when you don't achieve them.
You feel there is something wrong in the relationship but you can't quite put your finger on it.
He keeps telling you that you're the problem but you have suspicions that he is the one actually causing problems.
You spend your life crashing around from one crisis to the next.
You are realizing that you're taking care of every one of his needs while yours are not being met.
In fact, your whole life revolves around him. He has made himself your purpose in life.
He actively stops you from having what you want. If you are happy about something, a new purchase, a success at work, he ruins the moment.
He twists and turns everything to be about himself. If you are sick, for example, he complains about how it affects his life.
He makes you do things you don't want to do. It can be small things like staying up later than you want to or running errands for him, or bigger things like taking drugs and doing stuff in the bedroom you're not comfortable with.
Sexual encounters with him are off in some way. It may have been great at the start but now it's all about his gratification, or he may even no longer have any interest. This is often a reflection of the overall state of your relationship.
He may have cheated on you. More than once.
He makes you doubt yourself. You end up asking him what to do or what to say.
You may have realized that your moods depend on him. If he's in a good mood, you can relax. If he's in a bad mood, things are unpleasant for you.
In fact, in many controlling situations how you think about yourself also depends on him. If he's okay with you, then you're good. If he is being critical or demanding, then you feel you're a bad person.
Sometimes you think you're going mad because you can't make sense of what's happening in the relationship.
You are afraid to tell other people about what's going on in the relationship. It may be that you're afraid that he will find out. Sometimes you don't even know why you can't tell other people. You just feel that you would be betraying him.
He makes comments about your clothes, hair, body, food and drink to the point that you modify your behavior to please him. Of course, he doesn't bother changing anything about himself to please you. He always has reasons and justifications for why he can do as he pleases.
He withholds information.
He distorts information to make it more acceptable to you.
Most of the housework is left for you.
The child-rearing is left to you. He has no trouble barking instructions and giving you orders but he doesn't get involved in the nitty-gritty.
Getting up at night to look after the children is down to you. He won't let you sleep in the next day either. He basically keeps you sleep deprived.
He may tell a lot of stories about how good he is, about how successful he is and about how he always gets things right. They may seem like an exaggeration but nobody ever calls him out on them. Later on in the relationship you realize that many of these stories are lies and distortions but you're not allowed to say anything, either. Absolute loyalty is expected.
If you have thought about leaving him, such thoughts are often terrifying. You know he's going to be livid and make life very difficult for you. Some people are afraid of leaving because they feel they may not be able to survive outside the relationship.
Signs of a controlling husband - some suggestions
The following signs of a controlling husband will be obvious to you when you look back over your relationship.
You've been trying to negotiate for years but you haven't actually got anything you wanted. So it's time to stop trying. People like this don't change. They are not going to start doing what you want all of a sudden.
The same thing with telling them that what they are doing upsets you. There is lots of advice about how you should sit them down and tell them exactly how the things they say and do are distressing to you. The fact is that they do these things because they know it upsets you. They already know. Again, simply telling them they upset you is not going to get them to miraculously change.
You've given them lots of chances, over time, and they still haven't changed. Giving them one more chance is a waste of your life. They have stolen enough time from you already. It's time to move away from them.
You have accepted excuses for their bad behaviour for a long time. Sometimes they give you the excuses and justifications, sometimes you justify it to yourself. The trick here is to stop paying attention to justifications and pay attention to the actual behaviours. What they are doing to you is bad, hurtful and abusive. This is what you need to respond to. The best response to abusive behaviour is to move away from it.
There is lots written about how you need to set boundaries with a controlling husband. You've been with them for years. You know that he is much better at destroying your boundaries than you are at putting them in place. When you try to set boundaries with these people they see it as a challenge. They have nothing better to do than to destroy them as soon as possible. They call it antisocial behaviour because they don't play by the normal, polite rules of society.
You're also told to build up your confidence, to do things to help your self-esteem. One of the signs of a controlling husband is that he destroys your self-esteem on a regular basis. This is step one in the breaking down of your personality so that he can better control you. Simply trying to restore your self-esteem is not going to work. The damage he has done goes much deeper.
Going along with this is the idea that people tell you that you just need to be yourself, to stand up for what you want. If only things were this easy!
Do you feel that you have lost yourself in the relationship? Do you often think to yourself that you don't know who you are anymore? Well, there's a reason for that. Not only has this man destroyed your own personality, but he has installed a false personality, a pseudo-personality in you. He has basically turned you into his slave. You can read more about this idea in these articles about narcissistic boyfriends and narcissistic husbands.
One more suggestion. Get professional help. You've been trying on your own for years to sort this out and it isn't working. And talk to your family and friends about it, too. You need lots of help and support right now.
You can read more here about the signs of a controlling relationship, life after dating a psychopath, dealing with controlling people, how to leave a controlling husband and how to divorce a sociopath.
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