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


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

  • Aldo says:

    Callie, it would seem that you have a real dire situation on your hands, but in reading your comments it is very difficult to distinguish what the root problem is. I’m sure there is the other side of the story which I have not heard making it close to impossible to form an opinion.

    First, if you have not done so already, confess your own sins to God, and accept and receive His Son Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Second, I would make your situation a matter of intense prayer. Third, both you and your husband agree to see a qualified Christian counselor.

    You see Callie, Jesus is the answer to all your problems, whether they be big or small, financial or habitual, domestic or physical. He wants to be your redeemer, your healer, and your deliverer. He wants the very best for you, and your loved ones. Turn your life over to Him, and trust Him to bring about what He knows is best for you.

    Callie, if you would like to chat one on one with a mentor just click on the Talk to a mentor button at the left bottom of this page. She will be happy to talk to you concerning whatever issues you choose.

    I pray that God touch you with His Holy Spirit and give you the wisdom to make the right decisions.

  • callie says:

    I thought that one day god would show me the way to get my husband to forgive and forget the wrongs we committed against him and just let life fall where everyone could be happy. I even felt if he tried hard enough he could find being happy was just a place in his mind he could retreat to and let everyone do their thing. He could just work a few years then when everyone saw he had been cooperative at least that long we could continue in our life from that point.
    Instead year by year the resentment built on both sides, Politically my husband took the dead opposite of everyone else. socially the community meant less than dirt. He thought the leaders in the community were dictators, that used their positions to make his life a hell when he wanted time off. a different shift. a vacation at any time that was not such lousy weather could not even drive any where. he always wanted the same ones I took. Usually in may or june. which always meant that someone else would loose out on hopes of june weddings, trips for kids to ceder point, Disney world. Or honey moons all because he wanted the time off his seniority would give him.
    It became a hell to talk to him about the needs everyone would hammer me with begging me to get him to please consider a vacation from January the 2nd to February the 14th. Then things started being a habit after the first two years, I would tell him that we could start a sex life in another one or two years if he remained cooperative so I was not, constantly being yelled at about why couldn’t I get my husband to shut up and accept his place, After all I was the one t6hat controlled the bedroom, just keep him on a string a few more years.
    In 2001 that string became badly frayed after 16 years, After a brain Surgery in July 2001 he woke up without ant thing but resentment, He was not going to listen to any one. That October I said things like please good things come to he who waits the life he was being forced to lead was getting tiresome. People were just getting tired of the constant yelling and begging him.
    Then the thing we feared most his absolute Refusal to cooperate. Even the threat of being hurt physically failed when he put four grown men in to a trauma care in critical and grave condition on our front porch one morning. It was the most terrifying scene I ever witnessed. I heard the young man wanting the job my husband was taking by bid tell him he was taking his name off if they had to carry him in bleeding to do so. I thought four against one there was nothing my husband could do but comply, I had already offered everything he wanted except this job , I had begged him to just wait until the next. time a new job came up just don’t make trouble this last time, He told m he did not care if I was willing to normalize our sex life, he was not falling for this stupid promise one more time, he did not care that his father wanted this. I even said I had guarantees that everyone would stop, trying to get him to not take time for himself when he wanted. I even said I would let him go in 2003 to Ireland on the same vacation trip then. I had put everything on the table to get him to back off and he told me to drop dead. Then that next morning the second the man that wanted the job touched my husband.. My husbands training in two services took over, He has told me the second that was tried in his opinion deadly force was now authorized, And he just about killed all four with his knowledge of martial arts. Four against one offered targets of opertunity it did not take 60 seconds to ruin all four men and kick the front door in on me breaking my ankle.
    I have been told by many including our courts, that my husband is not the one that was to blame for the now 35 peoples he’s badly hurt including his own father. We are for putting him in the place that he was more a slave than my husband.
    In every instance that someone was hurt. He was defiant, he refused something that somebody desperatlly felt they had to have. Just to wait until thing could be figured out how to be stable and include him.
    Since the MRSA in his spine happened its been setback after setback in trying for just a little time to think about how to get him his needs and wants without causing other problems, It started with his return from rehab in 2013. The day he came home was an insurance decision. I had promised that evening to his father and his best friend as a fourth at a fund raising dinner. When they delivered my husband home on a very cold day in February. His father had thought to avoid trouble refusing to go get him that the center would keep him until we went to get him. I heard the Door open and close as I was completing getting ready to go. When I went out to see who came in, I was expecting his father or his friend to be there.
    I ran into this man with steel gray eyes, telling me good He had not been out to any evening dinner in 31 years The gray eyes were the indication he was angry they were normally hazel. This time I told him I had promised the evening to his father, mother and his fathers best friend, he then started telling me why should they come before the hundreds of, promises that I made him over the last 31 year, he said what was it. just wait a little long and we could have the life in peace I wanted, he said, now I was going to live up to my promises to him before any one else, I said after being married 31 years what was his hurry we could meet after the event I was going to and lay out a timetable, to try and allow his inclusion, let him have something he wanted he could do now he was crippled, I said just a few more hours and we could figure something out.
    He was not giving a few more seconds, Said we had stolen his life already and as of that second he was the final judge and arbitor in his life. As far as he was concerned we were all bugs under his feet. I took for the door scared out of my wits. I was going to scream for help when my dress was shredded. I was backing up begging him to wait things did not have to happen like this. I knew by this point what was going to happen if I could not get him to stop every hit just made him come on harder, I was crying and pleading to stop. And when he finished I was hurting and sore, No protection was used, I was thinking how could somebody that once loved me be bought to this point of resentment anger and rage, He handed me the phone and said the number is 911, told me not to clean up for the kit leave my shreded cloths where they were. I just went in and looked at the phone as I put a dressing gown on. I heard my husband tell his fathers best friend that unless he had a warrant and a badge he was to go to the event by himself. I heard his fathers friend get mad and say get out of my way crip then let me go and a scream of terror.
    I heard a car screech to a stop in the drive, his father was saying come help with his hurt friend. the only thing I heard from my husband is I hope he bleeds out.
    I had a son In Decenmber 2013. My husbands idea of cooperation is I don’t care what you want I want it different. and if you don’t like it go die.

  • Chris says:

    anna….sorry to hear of this situation…the bible is not just about prayer. it is about action also. 1 corinthians 7.10 to 11 allows for seperation in cases of great duress which sounds like your situation. if you sense the need to get away for a while to perhaps help your husband to come to the marriage bargaining table so to speak to talk about changes he needs to make, then do just that. God is not in favor of marriage vows being broken which sounds like your husbands situation but be sure jesus is your lord and savior, otherwise this temporary earthly misery will most likely never come to an end without his help. you can log onto knowingjesuspersonally. com or click talk to a mentor above to be sure of your own personal relationship with jesus. no one is too far from jesus reach, not even your husband. blessings to you!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Anna, I am glad you felt able to tell your story here. I want you to know that you do not need to suffer alone and in silence with the abuse of your husband. There are many people and organizations who will stand with you to protect you and your children from his cruel threats. If you go to the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at you will find instructions how to access those organizations and how to make sure your husband doesn’t know that you are looking for help.

  • Anna says:

    I got with my husband when I was 15 , I am 20(almost) married and have 2children for him he’s 23. My husband tells me he doesn’t want me scared of him and wants me to have and enjoy my life.. but I beg to differ. I’ve been slapped by him , he threatens me all the time when angry and tells me how he’s going to leave me.. I’m scared of this guy! When I was pregnant with our daughter he nearly choked me out and then laughed and said he was only joking .. but at the time I was terrified. Yes I fight him back but only when he slapps me, he gets mad and calls me a [expletive removed] etc in front of our 3year old son.. I yell back at him nd he tells me I should watch the way I speak before he punches me out. I am scared of him, I have no friends and every time he makes guys friends who have gfs they are not good enough to be my friends (he says) so I stay inside all day and all night.. taking care of our kids he barley sees. He doesn’t like me having a relationship with my mom because she Wants me to leave him. Oh and I’m the blame for everything even if he misplaced his shirt.. He finds a way to blame me. I don’t want a prayer because it doesn’t work .. I stopped believing when my husband makes me feel stupid for in the past loving god. Can’t pray for someone who acts like a demon.. He even says stuff like he wants to kill everyone in my family and he wants to punch all my teeth out and feed them to me. I kid you not I’m not even joking.. NO one talks to me so NO one knows and if I ever let someone know he will attack me for speaking our business… HES CRAZY

  • Laura says:

    Katie!!!!!!!! I’ve been where you are. No one can tell you to go. You have to believe in yourself first. It sounds like your ready or at least very close to being able to leave and actually STAY GONE.that man is sick mentally. It is sad yes and I know part of you loves him but know that nothing will change……ever… will only become worse…trust me. Please trust me. I went through the exact same thing. Your story was my story..and eventually I did leave. Even when I had nothing. Got to the point where I WANTED to start over..from scratch..with nothing. And it’s true that what doesn’t kill u makes you stronger. Seek financial assistance from the government and move in with your mom and kids . The hardest part is packing and leaving.but once your gone you get that feeling deep inside and u know it was the right decision. I left when my husband was at work to avoid any violence. And went back with my can do it….love yourself

  • Chris says:

    katie…so sorry to hear of your situation!….surely this isnt marriage what you are living but rather you have been taken hostage by this man. jesus has an abundant life for you, just walk out the door, he has it opened for you spiritually. do not be afraid. fear is never from jesus. do not fear the threats of your husband either. jesus is the one whose words endure forever, not the words of a worm of the earth. move in the power of the spirit as you seek jesus to truly be the only lord and savior of your life. if you arent sure you know jesus savingly, log onto or click talk to a mentor above. i am praying now that through the power of the holy spirit you can rise up and walk in the integrity and authority of jesus promises to you and no longer let this man make you his slave any longer. remember, slavery ended over a hundred years ago and it ended when jesus died to set you free as well. blessings now to you!

  • Katie says:

    I’m having issues in my marriage. Been married 5&1/2 years. From the beginning he was really controlling. Made me quit my job. Sold my car, took all the money I had. I thought he just wanted to take care of me and get me a better job. I had 2 kids (twins) from previous relationship. I have a lot of health issues and he promised to take care of me if I married him right away. After 3 weeks we were married. My health has deteriorated substantially in the last 5 years… He won’t let me have any friends, doesn’t want me to see my family… I literally sit in my room all day and all night. I’m horribly depressed! I have no money, no job, no car, nothing. He controls everything. Doesn’t even want me to say hi to neighbors or anything. I’m losing my mind. I swear he’s brain washing me and he’s a liar. I catch him all the time lying about stupid things. I grew up strict Baptist. I now Don’t go to church and my 2 kids are staying with my mom because of my health and we have hit hard times. He gets mad if I make eye contact with anyone. I can’t live like this anymore! Only have my 3 year old to talk to. My mom wants me to leave. I’m scared to do that because of my health and because I have nothing. Not to mention our 3 year old. He takes good care of me… Gets my medicine and takes me to hospital when I need it… Buys me things I need but I have to ask for everything. I haven’t driven in over 5 years. I don’t know how much more I can take but I’m scared to leave… He has threatened me that he will take my youngest and call CPS and all these things. Said he would ruin my life. I’m so lost.

  • Chris says:

    ishita….so sorry to hear you are struggling….there are times in life where we realize we are not happy but if we will seek Gods will instead of seeking happiness, then God can give us the true happiness we are really seeking through him. only God our father through his son jesus christ can show you what to do in this situation but he would have you give it and your life to him so he can direct you about it. you, like we all, need to have a close and intimate relationship with our Creator since he knows what are the best plans to take for our lives. if you would like to know more about having a personal relationship with God please log onto or click talk to a mentor above. i am praying you find the inner peace you need through receiving jesus today. i know your life will never be the same as you do!

  • ishita says:

    My husband has been controlling my life for past six years. Now I am tired and depressed. I have a two year old. I live in USA as a dependant visa holder. But now I want to go back to my country but my husband is not letting my child go with me. What should I do? Please help me

  • 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 God bless!

  • tqGOD says:

    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:

    Lee, I came across this website that may be of help to you. It is Largo Florida Shelters and Services:

    Also, here is a link to Florida’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 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:

    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… 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 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!

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