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

  • Aldo says:

    Been there, thank you for your kind comments on the article, for your agreement about seeking direction from God, and for your testimony on how it has changed your life for the better.

    May God continue to use you in helping people to turn to Him and to trust Him in your similar situation.

  • Been there says:

    I have been there before and I actually really like Dr. Ginger’s advice. I also wholeheartedly agree with the comments about seeking direction from God. That is how my life changed for the better. I am now very happy. I have also come across a great resource that I wish I would have had years ago when things were really bad, but I still find it useful; maybe you will too. Check out http://www.narcissismcured.com God bless!

  • tqGOD says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for your comforting prayers.
    Keep up the good work.
    God bless

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Lee, sorry to hear about the difficulties you are facing at this time. Perhaps you would like to connect with one of our online private Mentors via email. Here is a link to request one if you would like: http://powertochange.com/experience/talk-to-a-mentor/

    Lee, I came across this website that may be of help to you. It is Largo Florida Shelters and Services: http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/city.cgi?city=Largo&state=FL

    Also, here is a link to Florida’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence: http://www.fcadv.org/ Perhaps they will be of assistance to you as well. I have seen abused women reach out to this organization and have seen how they have literally turned those women’s lives around by giving them a safe haven place to stay and teaching them the tools to safely move forward.

    Lee, Do you believe that God is with you through this situation? That He is watching over you and will provide for your needs? many years ago when I did not know what else to do or where to rest my head…the Lord showed up on the scene and changed my life forever more. I believe He will do the same for you too.

    Even thou you stated do not pray for you…I can’t help but to pray at this time on your behalf. There is power when hurting people reach out for help and someone comes along and prays on their behalf.

    Father God, I pray for Lee today. I ask that You would help Lee transition through all that she is going through at this time. I pray that You would provide for her immediate needs such as shelter, a vehicle, and safety. I pray that You would arrange to have the right people come along to help Lee find an affordable car so she can go to work. We thank You for all that you are doing and will do in Lee’s life. In Jesus’ name, Amen

  • Lee says:

    Don’t just pray for me, take off a day to help me find a used car under $500. down payment. Then a room to rent or shelter. (don’t have a lot of money saved) hopefully close to work at brian Dairy Road in Largo, Florida. In the past 7 years , been isolated from friends, and lost all my immediate family (I’m in my 50’s)over the last six years. Lost contact with my distant family over the last 40 year. He is a very insecure, angry person. I have to be discrete. Thank you for letting me share, vent & cry out for help.

  • Aldo says:

    Sharon, I agree with Debra. The best thing you can do now is pray for your husband. Ask God to bless him. It will be like heaping coals of fire on his head, which means that conviction will come upon him, and he will realize how good he has it now. I don’t doubt that God will turn your husband’s heart around to see something in you that he has never seen before.

    By the way Sharon, do you have a “born again” relationship with God through having accepted and received His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If not, you can have that now.

    Here is a suggested prayer. Remember, God is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart.

    “Dear God, I admit I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus Christ, Your Son, died in my place, paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Him as my personal Savior and Lord. I commit myself to You, and ask You to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and take control, and to help me become the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You Father for loving me, forgiving my sins, and for giving me eternal life, in Jesus name, Amen.”

  • Debra Stringfield says:

    As I was reading your comment, again, Sharon. He might be up under financial pressure. So, I encourage you to pray and ask God to remove the financial pressure off of his life.

  • Debra Stringfield says:

    I would just like to encourage you to seek God in prayer for His Direction. And to spend some consecrated time (1 hour or more), in praying for your husband. And every morning, Plead the Blood Of Jesus over you and your husband and children.

  • Sharon says:

    My husband yells at me all the time. He says it is so nice when I leave for the day. Tells me he can’t help me with anything, like medical bills, etc. he says your on your own. I am going to leave to get back my sole. I am told what am I doing with you.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Johnny—
    God constantly intervenes in the lives of humans, both men and women who are in physical harm’s way. Jesus protected the woman caught in adultery from being stoned to death by the Pharisees (John 8:1-11). Jesus protected his disciples from drowning during a storm at sea (Matthew 8:24ff). God protected the apostle Paul from dying in shipwrecks, stonings, beatings, and snake bites. God protected Queen Esther from being killed by the King when she arrived unannounced in the palace (Esther). God intervened to save the apostle Peter from death and brought him safely out of the prison (Acts 12:1-19). He continues to work that way today. At least twice that I know of he intervened to save me from death or I wouldn’t be posting this today.

    He has also intervened in YOUR life Johnny—by sending Jesus Christ to die for the sins of disobedience YOU’VE committed—lying, stealing, lusting, using His name in vain, and denying Him. At this very moment, he holds your life in His hand. He could stop your heart before the next beat. It is only because He is merciful that he hasn’t done so already; but sooner or later, you too will die.

    Yes, there are terrible atrocities committed by sinful man every second of every day. If God were to judge every one of them right now, there would be no one left on the planet. However, every person, including you, will one day be judged for everything they’ve ever done against a Holy God. Nothing will be forgotten. Every evil deed will be brought to light. No one will escape eternal judgment. It’s obvious from your post that you are NOT ready for that judgment day.

  • Johnny G says:

    The [expletive removed] with that [expletive removed] religion crap! That stuff was made up maybe a couple of thousand years ago. Debra needs to go a lawyer first. Get into a ‘safe house’ where other women go to leave their abusive and controlling men (and women) spouses. Make sure the kids are with you. Because, if you have children, these controlling nut cases will take the children and threaten you. Women do the same to men. Let’s face it, if there really is any sort of spiritual being out there, do you really believe that being is going to physically help you? Never did it before.

  • Kate says:

    Thank you Debra for your prayers and encouragement. We certainly need the Holy Spirit to fill us, to teach us to pray, to guide us and teach us to be wise.

  • Debra Stringfield says:

    Was praying, and felt impressed to also encourage you, to ask the Holy Ghost for help… He will help you to see and understand.

  • Debra Stringfield says:

    I’d like to add to encourage you to pray and intercede for your husband on a daily basis. Love you, ladies…

  • Debra Stringfield says:

    I pray for all the ladies on this website. That they will arise to be all that God called them to be. You are valuable, you are precious. Ask God to help you to focus on your life, and what He has called you to do. As you do, Our Lord God will take care of your marriage. The enemy wants to stifle you and make you feel stuck. I pray that the Holy Ghost will place an anointing of release over your lives. I encourage you also, to do a study on the Blood and Cross of Jesus Christ. As you do, I encourage you, to every morning and evening to Plead The Blood of Jesus over your family. There is Power In the Blood….

  • 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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