My husband controls my life and I want to leave

Written by Dr. Ginger Gabriel, Ph.D., M.F.T

controlhusbandMy husband controls who I have for friends, what kinds of meetings I go to, what I should wear to cook breakfast in. I’m thinking of leaving him.

Advice: You really do have some choices before you move out. You can give your husband the choice of being controlling or of being frustrated. The reason we get frustrated in our lives is that things we want to happen don’t, and we get frustrated. You might stop letting him control you. For example: you might wear something else to cook breakfast in. He yells {the normal way to try to control is to use intimidation} at you, and you respond sweetly: “I’ve thought about your request that I wear high heels to cook in, and even though I enjoy making you happy, I’ve decided that I’m more comfortable in these pants and tennis shoes.” He says: “If you loved me, you would wear what I requested. You’re just selfish.” You could say: “I love you and I think I’ll wear this.” If he is prone to violence, have the phone near by to call 911 if he threatens you physically. If he hits you, call the police and have him arrested. It’s against the law to hit women for not wearing what you want them to. Then I’d get counselling and join a support group, to help decide if this marriage can be saved.

On the other hand, he might decide to start respecting you when you decide to start respecting yourself and taking yourself seriously as a person. When controlling people don’t get their way, they will end up frustrated. Some people don’t have a high tolerance for frustration. Those people do not make good candidates for a strong relationship such as marriage.

A controlling person will not change without your first making some decisions about the quality of your and your children’s lives, and without YOU making some changes.

Dr. Ginger

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116 Responses to “My husband controls my life and I want to leave”

  • Chris Chris says:

    Wendy…i am sorry to hear about your situation. 1 tim 5.8 is clear that its the mans responsability to provide for his household. you can stand on that verse and not have to back down from it or be coerced to feel bad when you have done nothing wrong. leave the ball in your husbands side of the court. let him decide if he wants to provide for his family or not. as you continue to trust christ, you know you cannot fail nor fall…lord hold Wendy up in her stand of faith. lead her by your guiding hands and let her never be ashamed of her hope she has in you jesus amem!

  • Wendy says:

    I am finding things really hard because my husband of 19 years has become extremely controlling. He took my bank cards and expects me to use up all the savings to feed and clothe our five children. He just got angry at me today because I wouldn’t give him my tax return. I need this money to feed the children and I. He earns almost a million a year and has plenty for himself so I don’t see why he has to have what little money I have in the bank as well. What I struggle with is that I want to be a godly wife and have put up with his critical and controlling ways for years but right now I just can’t see how I can keep going and still be godly. I will not leave him because that is not biblical and yet I feel like I am going stir crazy putting up with his rudeness etc. It is as if he wants me to leave him. God has not answered my prayer yet but I am walking in faith that he will. I read an article about putting up boundaries and tough love but there are other articles that say just keep showing love. It is so hard.

  • Chris Chris says:

    debra…sorry to hear about your situation….it would seem that your husband either cant or doesnt want to fulfill his marital obligations to you and is in even restricting you from living a normal life yourself. we know that God did not intend marriage to be slavery. there are many times we will need to exercise patience but within the parameters of a true marriage. first, i would suggest that you be sure you have a personal relationship with God through jesus christ since all life starts there. you can find out how to do that by clicking…knowingjesuspersonally.com or by clicking talk to a mentor above. in order for our lifes problems to be resolved, we do need to have God personally involved in our lives. that way, you might be also to lead your husband into having his need for christ resolved also. you might find walkingthechristianlife.com also helpful in your marriage situation. i pray jesus would become alive to you since he truly is and that you would see the hope of your calling comes from heaven to your life here on earth, so that your life becomes alive again in christ for your good and for the good of your husband in jesus name amen!

  • Debra K Dove says:

    I have been married for 18 years to a former military man. He had a ruptured aorta valve making him more dead than alive for hours. I was told he would have brain damage. The longer the years go on, the worse it is getting. He doesn’t love me. He tries to work very hard to make up for it, is with me 24 hours day and night. I gave up a very good job because he didn’t want his wife to work. Do you have any suggestions? Today he is with the
    VA people on the van going to a doctor appointment. The first thing I did was start crying, realizing he never even kissed me good bye.
    Debra

  • Chris Chris says:

    sadlostinloveme….so sorry to hear of your struggles in your marriage. on the one hand i hear your sorrows but on the other, i hear the blessings of God having blessed you with 4 children. the bible tells us that we cant change ourselves. our human fallen nature will never arise above being that, human and fallen. however there is hope to change through faith in someone much higher and greater than we are and that person is jesus christ. i encourage you to now stop trying to change yourself and let jesus do the changing you need. by being connected to christ, him living inside of us, we have the ways and means to rise above our weaknesses and tap into the supernatural flow of Gods river of life that he wants us to experience. why should we continue living in defeat when christ has provided us victory at the cross and through his resurrection? for more information on knowing jesus personally log onto…knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. . .i pray now that you would see your personal need for christ in your life, yield your life to him and let him bring the changes inside that you need to have a harmonious spiritual and married life in jesus name amen!

  • SADLOSTINLOVEME says:

    READIN EVERYONES CRAP ON HERE IS SO HURTFUL BECAUSE ITS EVERYTHING THAT IS HAPPENING IN MY LIFE AND I HAVE BEEN SAYING THAT HES MESSIN WITH THE INTERNET I GET ON AND MUCH MORE AND IM CALLED A LIAR AND NOW I GOT ON HERE AND EVERYTHING THAT IS SAID IS JUST BY CHANCE WHAT IS GOING ON IN MY LIFE. WTF

  • SADLOSTINLOVEME says:

    I GUESS I REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY EXCEPT THAT. I WANT A LIFE WITH MY HUSBAND THAT TELLS ME HE WANTS TO HAVE ONE WITH ME, BUT IT DOESNT SEEM LIKE HE DOES. IM IN LOVE WITH HIM AND WANT TO CHANGE, BUT SCARED IF I CHANGE IT WILL JUST BE SO HE WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE WITHOUT ME AND KNOW IM OK, WHICH I CANT SEE EVER BEING THE CASE. HE IS MY ONLY SKY AND THERE IS NO BLUER ONE THAN THE ONE IVE SEEN AND HAD WITH HIM. i WILL BE MISERABLE IF I HAD TO LIVE WITHOUT HIM. i DONT KNOW HOW TO LOVE OR TRUST AND ALL I HAVE DONE IS BE A DEMISE AND HEALTH RISK TO HIS LIFE. HE SAYS HE DOESNT WANT ME TO LEAVE AND HE LOVES ME. HE SAYS THINGS NEED TO CHANGE AND I HAVE TO STOP ACCUSING HIM BUT ITS SO HARD BECAUSE I HAVE PUT HIM THROUGH SO MUCH, HES BEEN FED UP AND I FEEL LIKE HE DESERVES SOMEBODY SO MUCH BETTER AND HEALTHY AND HAS ALREADY FOUND THEM. HE SAYS I TWIST EVERYTHING HE SAYS AND IM STUPID AND THAT HE DOESNT LIE TO ME AND HES NOT A LIAR AND I NEVER SHUT UP OR DO ANYTHING ON MY OWN BECAUSE I FEEL HE WANTS AWAY FROM ME TO BE WITH A OR THE PERSON HE DESERVES. IM IN LOVE WITH HIM AND REALLY HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING HES STILL IN LOVE WITH ME EXCEPT TO BELIEVE WHAT HE SAYS PLUS THINK OF ALL THE HURTFUL THINGS THATS BEEN SAID. SO ITS BEEN TO SCARY TO TRUST IN HIS LOVE AND DECLARATIONS THAT HE WANTS ME HERE. I FEEL TO MAKE HIM HAPPY SO I STOP RUINING HIS LIFE WOULD BE FOR ME TO LEAVE BECAUSE WE BOTH ARE HURT AND LOST. BUT THATS NOT WHAT I WANT TO DO. I WANT MY MARRIAGE. BUT IF IM A JOKE TO HIM ALREADY BY THE WAY I HAVE BEEN THEN WHAT GOOD AM I TO THE MARRIAGE ANYWAY. I DONT KNOW WHAT HE WANTS IN A WIFE NOR WHAT HE EVEN LOVES ABOUT ME. HE WILL ONLY SAY STOP THE ACCUSATIONS. YET I FEEL THAT HE TEST ME WITH HIS WORDS TO SEE IF I WILL ACCUSE HIM. MY MARRIAGE AS A WHOLE IS A MESS AND THOUGH I PRAY IM NOT A SAINT NOR A RELIGIOUS PERSON. IM VIOLENT AND HURT AND THE VIOLENCE WORSENS WHEN HE HURTS ME WITH HIS WORDS IN RETALIATION OF MY ACCUSATIONS. MY WHOLE LIFE EVERYONE LEFT NOT LOVED WASNT HEALTHY, WASNT STABLE AND TAUGHT ME NOTHING. IM IN FEAR OF LOSING THIS MAN OF MY DREAMS AND IM IN TURMOIL CAUSING TURMOIL. I HAVE NO FRIENDS OR FAMILY TO SPEAK WITH FOR ADVISE. I DONT WORK AND FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS THIS MAN HAS GIVEN ME A WHOLE LIFE WITH A FULL CUP AND I CONTINUE TO SUBJECT HIM TO BY PROBLEMS AND ISSUES AND QUESTIONS AND VIOLENCE AND NEVER LASTING ACTS OF LOVE OR SELF RESPECT. I HAVE TOLD HIM I WILL CHANGE AND HAVE YET TO DO IT. I WILL TRY BUT IT DOESNT LAST. I HAVE FAILED BEING A MOTHER TO MY 4 CHILDREN, BEING IN CONTROL OF MY SELF AND CONTINUE TO RUIN MY LIFE AND THOSE THAT I LOVE WITH MY BAD CHOICES TO BE UNHEALTHY AND SMART. HE CONTINUES TO GUIDE ME BUT THE I HAVE AN UNHEALTHY LOOK ON MANY DIFFERENT THINGS AND THINGS I FEAR I DONT KNOW BECAUSE IM SCARED I HAVE ALREADY LOST HIM. I REALIZE THAT IF I DID THEN LETTING HIM GO IS THE HEALTHY THING TO DO, HOWEVER I FEEL THAT IF THATS THE CASE THEN HE NEEDS TO TELL ME AND NOT CONTINUE TO TELL ME HE LOVES ME AND WANTS. ONLY SAYING THATS HOW I FEEL BECAUSE ONCE AGAIN I HAVENT BEEN ABLE TO BELIEVE IN WHAT HE TELLS ME WHICH IS HE DOESNT LIE. I NEED HELP, BUT HATE COUNSELING, HATE MEDS AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SO CONSUMED WITH UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS AND THINGS THAT I FAIL TO BE A REAL WOMAN. IF THERE WAS A SCHOOL TO LEARN HOW TO BE A WOMAN THEN I WOULD GO, BUT I TAUGHT MYSELF EVERYTHING WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY NOTHING OR I WOULD KNOW WHAT TO DO AND REGARDLESS OF LOOKING TO HIM FOR THE HELP AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO HELP MY SELF I WOULD DO WHAT IT TOOK FOREVER TO KEEP SELF RESPECT, RESPECT OTHERS, LEARN LOVE AND TRUST, AND BE ON MY WAY TO SAVING THIS MARRIAGE. IS IT WRONG TO THINK, MAYBE HE DOESNT WANT THE MARRIAGE SAVED AND THATS WHY IM THE ONE WHO HAS TO DO THE CHANGING. WHERE DO I GET THE MOVTIVATION AND DESIRE FROM TO WANT TO SAVE THIS WHEN SOMETIMES ITS AS THOUGH ITS BEEN DAMAGED, PAST POINT OF REPAIRING, AND SEEMING AS THOUGH IM ALONE. HE STILL PROVIDES TELLS ME HE LOVES ME AND STILL REASSURES ME WHEN HE SHOULDA BEEN DONE WITH ME YET ON THE FLIP SIDE ALOT OF OTHER THINGS AND THINGS THATS BEEN WORDED ARE GIVING ME THE IMPRESSION THAT HES A CHEATER BLAH BLAH BLAH. I NEED TO LEARN TRUST WHERE DO I FIND TRUST. AND HOW DO I FIND THE MAN THAT FOUND ME. THANKS TO ALL

  • Chris Chris says:

    edwinna…i regret to hear of your marriage difficulties. it does sound like a difficult situation. perhaps you could persue what you believe the lord would have you to do without initially leaving and seeing if he could accept you doing what you want to do on your own. perhaps taking just one step and not two would be a better approach since the bible does encourage wives to not leave their husbands. who know how God could still move in your marriage situation? perhaps focusonthefamily.com would have some marital insights that might help you as well. i pray jesus would guide you in your lifes decisions. that he would assist you with his grace and help you to know the way wherein you should walk to please him above all things and fulfill the plan he has for your life in his name amen!

  • Edwinna says:

    I’ve been married for 20 years to a pastor that is 2 years younger than me. For the past 3 years Ive been contenplating leaving
    because of his neglect and contoling ways. He wouldn’t let me work until he couldn’t handle it on his own. Now, he wants meto take a job where I can’t advance or make a living for myself. I’m planning on going back to school to better myself so I can leave him. My sons are in college and now is a great time for me to leave. I left for 2 days but didn’t have money to stay away. He said we can’t afford counseling so it can’t be fixed so I’m working on leaving. I’m tired of him and no longer love him.

  • Chris Chris says:

    Elisa…i am sorry to hear of our marriage situation. one thing we know but may not realice when we marry, is that we are not marrying perfection and therefore the relationship can become difficult at times. how God wants the women to handle that is found in 1 peter chapter 3 where peter advises the wives to live out their Christian faith before their husbands and God will be in charge of changing them. so many times, we as mates try to change our spouses and its like hitting ones head against a Wall. the husband goes unchanged while the wife continues to suffer. however if we follow Gods instructions on how to deal with undesireable situations in the marriage, then we can be sure of his blessing upon our lives. God loves a willing and obedient heart. God will give you wisdom also on how to deal with your situation. read the book of proverbs to gain valuable advise on how to live life successfully even when we are joined to people who are not as wise as they should be themselves. check out the 5lovelanguages.com for help in maintaining a positive attitude towards your husband. . . i pray now that jesus our great lord and shepherd come to your heart, confort you with his presence and show you how to live happily above all circumstances while you rest in his amazing love for you. a love no man on earth will ever be able to match or duplicate amen.

  • Elisa Alexander says:

    My husband is very controlling

  • Kate Kate says:

    Hi Lesa, not sure what you mean?

  • Lesa says:

    excellent issues altogether, you simply received a new reader.
    What may you suggest about your submit that you simply made some days ago?
    Any positive?

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Ladies,
    My heart goes out to each of you and the difficult situations that you are in. Having grown up in that kind of home, I realize just how painful it is. My first suggestion is always to see if your husband will go for counseling, but in many cases, a man who needs to be in control and who is emotionally and verbally abusive doesn’t see that he is the problem.

    But something needs to change so perhaps as the author of this article suggests, it needs to be you. Stand up for yourself. Respect yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be controlled. If you have a pastor or someone to talk to, reach out. See a counselor yourself for some help in dealing with the situation. And set some boundaries in your relationship, not just for yourself, but your children for those of you with children.

    We also have a great team of online mentors who would love to walk the journey with you. Just fill out the form on this page and someone will email you. http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/

  • supriya venu says:

    Be aware while taking life decisions dear
    God bless u…

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up anyone who is struggling with this situation in there lives, that you will comfort them bring them help in Jesus name Amen

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