How to Deal with a Controlling Husband

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

My 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.

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. 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.

Are you being abused? Read Caroline’s story: “Living with the Enemy”

11 Responses to “How to Deal with a Controlling Husband”

  • Elkay says:

    Sharon, since you are on this web page, perhaps you need help in dealing with a controlling person in your life, possibly your husband. We would like to try and help and invite you to reply with more description or to hit the Talk to a Mentor button near the top right of this article, briefly describe your situation and someone will get back to you in confidence by email. There is no cost for this so please seriously consider it.

    May I pray? “Heavenly Father, you have invited us to come to Your throne of grace to find grace and mercy in our times of trouble. Sharon needs help and so we come to You asking that You intervene in her life in whatever way You know to be best so that she can experience You and Your love and be healed. This is our prayer in Christ’s name. Amen.”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi RD, I want you know that you are not trapped in a relationship that is destroying your soul. There is hope for change. There are many resources today to help both those who are in a relationship with controlling person as well as those who are using fear and anger to control others. One of those resources for you is National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Follow the link to their website and you will find information to assess your relationship and identify the ways in which your husband is acting in an unhealthy way with you and the children. There are also links to local resources for getting help.

    You do not have to go on feeling like your soul is dead. Please reach out and ask for help.

    Let me also invite you to connect with one of our mentors by email. There is no cost and I know you will find a mentor who cares and will walk with you as you look for help. Just fill out the Mentor Request Form at and a mentor will be in contact with you soon by email.

    Let me pray for you: Dear Jesus my heart breaks as I read about RD feeling of being trapped by her husband. I pray that You would protect her and the children from his anger. I pray that You would guide RD to find help for herself. I ask that You would get her husband’s attention and help him to realize how damaging his actions and words are to his family. Bring him to a place of true repentance and would he look to You for transformation. Amen.

  • Rd says:

    There’s no solace in realizing the one controling us is sometimes the only hope we have in togetherness in this vast world and they “know” it.. Almost the same way a deadly spider looks at its prey in its web and knows it’s not going anywhere…
    People go through more than 50 years like that so I don’t have any hope at all with my 16 years and 2 kids…
    He will control and i’ll rebel for a week/ 10 days and things will go back to being the same…me compromising and him imposing how “correct ” he always is…
    Perhaps there are worse things in life and this is not the end of life… Well foul language and mean words never killed anyone…my soul is already dead…

  • Aldo says:

    Imelda, I truly feel for you and all the other women who find themselves in the same place. The best advise I can give you is to make it a matter of prayer, and cast all your burdens upon the Lord Jesus, for He cares for you. Quite often, God will not change the other person or the situation, but will change you and bring you to a place of joy and tranquility.

    Another thing is to get involved with a Support Group either at your church or some other organization. There is strength in numbers. Let’s pray.

    Heavenly Father, touch Your daughter Imelda with the comfort that only You can give. Grant her to be filled with the “joy of the Lord.” Fill her continually with Your precious Holy Spirit, and use her to minister effectively to other women who are in the same situation as she, in Jesus Nmae we pray and agree, amen.

  • imelda miller says:

    I’m sorry for all this women,who were sufferring,including me.May God helps us all.I kept asking and blaming myself,why I got married in the first place.The best thing I learned though is to lean on God.I even learned to be happy in my own private thoughts. I wish I have own money too.I can’t believe at 45,I can still cry like a baby:)

  • Aldo says:

    Emes, there is help available to you to see you through to a Godly and morally right solution to your problem, if that is what you desire. has mentors and many resources that will help you deal with the situation you are in.

    If you would like to make them available to you, please go to the below website. You may have to Copy and Paste it into your web browser address bar.

    I pray that God gives you the wisdom to make the right decision.

  • Emes says:

    I wonder what happened to Evelyn? I’m lying here , can’t sleep, all the years and the insults going round in my head, wishing God would take my husband or that I could win the lottery so I could go . Just then I came across this site and this comment. I’ve also read lots of web pages and realise what a controlling person he is all the insults. Mad with myself for it all . Remembering one day one of my daughters said ‘you shouldn’t put up with it, I will put off going to university for a year to help you through. How brave she was and why didn’t I do it? 8 more years of insults since then.

  • Brenda Miller says:

    Evelyn, I am very sorry for the pain you are so clearly experiencing in your marriage. If you would like to talk with someone privately about how to move forward with your extremely difficult situation, please feel free to click on the following link and ask for one of our online mentors to contact you privately and securely to help you with the wounds in your relationship with your husband:

    I pray that you are able to find resolution, Evelyn, that brings love, joy, peace, and hope to your heart.

  • Evelyn says:

    What is it that makes men so weak that they think they have to control their Spouses? Can’t seem to figure that out.

  • Evelyn says:

    I’ve been in this “marriag” for 47 Years and I still don’t know my way out.
    What’s wrong with me? Why do I allow him to control me? I am very Unhappy and I don’t know how to break away. Winning the Lotery would be a HUGE Help.
    Somebody help. I can’t do this anymore. I’m 65 and going on 66. My heart is still young and I just want to Live and be Happy and be Free. Since when was that a crime?

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