HerNorm is a community-supported website. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through our links. Learn more.

Controlling Husband: 12 Signs You Have One (How To Deal With It)

Last updated on June 12, 2022 by Sonya Schwartz

Do you think that your husband might be controlling you? 

Have you not picked up on it until now?

Do you want to know to react in this situation? 

If so, read on. This is the ultimate guide to dealing with a controlling husband.

However, before we dive into this guide, it’s important you read the next few sentences carefully. 

Recently, I discovered a powerful online tracking tool that is incredibly discreet.

If you’re worried about your controlling husband doing dodgy business behind your back, it could be incredibly useful.

It’ll show you who he’s been frequently contacting, what online services he’s using, what contact details he’s registered and more.

It only requires a few of his basic details to get started and there’s no way of him finding out he’s been tracked.

Often, a controlling husband is one who is up to no good himself. This tool will quickly allow you to find out whether this is the case.

Scroll down for more tips on how to deal with him.

What Causes People To Be Controlling?

What Causes People To Be Controlling?

There are several reasons why a person may become controlling, and it will differ from person to person. Generally, one of the main reasons that cause someone to have controlling behavior is that they have suffered from some kind of trauma earlier on in their lives. For example, they might have been abused or abandoned as a child. At the time when this trauma happened, they might have not been able to control the situation, but now they are older, they feel a need to control everything so that they don't suffer anymore hurt. By being controlling, they think they can protect themself.

Another reason that a person might become controlling is that they may have extreme levels of low self-confidence and self-esteem. This person might have been put down by someone a lot during their life so far, or they might have a personality disorder that stops them from being able to have confidence in themselves. Therefore, they will try to control anyone they can, to prove in some way that they are above them. They boost their confidence by putting others down, and they feel important that they have power over someone.

If you want to figure out the root cause of your husband's control problem, it's important to take a look at his life before you were around. Has he suffered some type of childhood trauma? Does he struggle with mental health issues? Does he have incredible amounts of low self-esteem? Once you have figured out the root of the problem, you might be able to better understand why your partner feels like he needs to control you, the relationship you're in with him and others around.

12 Signs Of A Controlling Husband

We're going to take a look at 12 signs of a controlling behavior. Each one is a red flag, and therefore if you notice that your husband does any or several of these things, you should be concerned that he is controlling you.

1 . He Criticizes You

One of the most obvious sign that your husband is trying to control you will be if he constantly criticizes you. They will not only be trying to put you down so that they feel like a better person, but they will want to ruin your self-confidence so that you feel like you need them. Your partner's criticism might start subtly - maybe they will start by criticizing the way you do the housework, the way you talk or your point of view on non-important subjects. However, these criticisms will start to get worse over time, and he won't just have a problem with one or two things you do - it will be an array of things. You might find that your husband starts to criticize your appearance, the way you dress, the work you do or even the way you have sex. You might end up feeling like you can't do anything right in your partner's eyes, and you will get criticized for everything you do.

2 . He Makes You Feel Guilty

Controlling people will make you feel guilty for anything you do that doesn't make them happy. They are trying to manipulate you into doing everything the way they want it to be done, and therefore by using guilt when you do something they don't like, they will be wearing you down. For example, if they don't like the fact you catch up with one of your best friends once a week when you come home from seeing them, they might make you feel guilty for not staying home and spending time with them. If they do this every time you come home from seeing your friends, you might get to the point where you find it easier to stay at home with them, and so you give in. When this happens, they have won.

3 . He Isolates You

3 . He Isolates You

Isolation is one of the most manipulative ways a controlling person can get their grip on you. A controlling person wants you all to themselves, therefore they will make sure you are isolated from everyone around you, even those you are the closest with. They might slowly turn everyone around you against you, or they will put distance between you and other people. Much like the criticism, they will start to isolate you slowly, and it will get worse over time. For example, they might start to tell you that your friend is a bad influence on you and that you should stop seeing them if you want to become a better person. As it gets progressively worse, they might even bad mouth you to your own family, or create some kind of drama that means you indirectly hurt your family. They want to be able to control you fully, without anyone realizing it. So, from an outside perspective, they might look like the perfect partner, and therefore no one will realize that they are controlling you. Once you have no one around you to look out for you and support you, they have won.

4 . He Makes You Feel Bad When He Does Nice Things For You

Controlling people will often buy you gifts for no reason or go out of their way to help you with something. It might sound like a nice thing they are doing - but don't be so easily led astray. Controlling husbands will regularly treat their wives to presents, or they will make a special effort with housework jobs so that they can use it against their partner. You might think that a beautiful piece of jewelry is a lovely present, or coming home to a freshly trimmed lawn is wonderful, but it will come back to haunt you. After they have done something nice for you, you will have to be extra nice to them. Therefore, in a controlling marriage, this means you might have to spend time away from your friends for a while, make sure you give them your time 24/7 or get them something too. In fact, a gift from a controlling person never comes without strings attached - there will always be a price.

5 . He's Jealous

A controlling person is also an incredibly jealous type of person. Your spouse will be verbal and open about their jealously, so you will definitely be able to tell. They might feel jealous about others checking you out, or even that another guy liked your post on Facebook or photo on Instagram. If you notice your husband acts jealous one time you might not mind - surely if your husband acts a little bit jealous because you probably think that it just shows how much he loves you. However, over time you will start to realize that the level of jealousy your husband is showing towards others around you isn't normal - it's controlling and possessive. He also won't just be jealous of others checking you out, but he will be jealous of any person that is spending time with you when he isn't.

6 . He Wants To Know Your Finances

6 . He Wants To Know Your Finances

Someone that wants to be in control doesn't only want to be in control of your emotions and what you do, but they also want to be in control of your finances. In a controlling relationship or marriage, your partner will keep track of the finances, and might even block you from knowing about them. He might start to take over the finances slowly, but it could end up with him having all of your account information and checking how much your spending, and what you're spending your money on. He might criticize the way you spend your money and make you feel guilty about it. In some controlling relationships, the person in control might even give their partner an amount of money per week or per month to live off.

Is it like pulling teeth getting him to spend time with you?
The key to solving is understanding men on a much deeper emotional level. The number #1 factor that causes men to behave this way is actually relatively easy to change with a few subtle things you can say to him.

Take this quick quiz to see if he actually likes you!

7 . He Gaslights You

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, and a controlling person may use this technique, to allow them to have a full grasp of their partner's emotions. If your spouse causes you to question the things you have done or the feelings you have, he could be gaslighting you. For example, he might completely change the way a situation happened and make you feel crazy because you swear it happened differently. He will challenge your sanity and question you so much that he will eventually wear you down to a point where you don't even believe yourself anymore. You might end up in a state where you have to rely on your partner to tell you how you feel and what happened in situations because you feel like you're crazy. If it gets to this stage, then the controlling person has won - you have to rely on him, and it makes you even easier to manipulate further.

8 . He Threatens You

Controlling people have threatening behavior a lot of the time to make you feel like you have to do what they want When you think of threats, you might think of someone threatening to hurt you or even kill you. This can happen in a physically abusive relationship, but in a relationship with a controlling husband, these kinds of threats aren't likely to be used. Instead, a controlling husband might threaten to hurt you in other, more emotional ways. For example, they might threaten you any one of these things - they will spread a lie to your family and friends, they will take custody of your children and leave, or they will cancel a holiday you were supposed to go on. A controlling partner might even threaten to hurt themselves - this is used a lot of the time, especially if you are going to leave them. A lot of people will stay in controlling relationships because of the fact they think their husbands will harm themselves if they leave. This is a form of extreme emotional manipulation.

9 . He Loves You, Conditionally

In a controlling relationship, your partner might only show you love in return for something. In a normal marriage, you shouldn't really have to put too much effort in for your husband to love you - he should love you simply because he loves you. However, when you are married to a controlling man, he will ensure you know that he will only show you love when you are doing something he wants you to do. For example, he might show you no love or affection if you haven't spent time with him all day, but as soon as you take care of him, he will shower you with love. He might also make you work for his love and affection by saying things like, "I would love you so much if you took the kids to school in the morning instead of me." You want him to show you love, so you will probably oblige. He is always making you work for love and this isn't the way a healthy marriage works.

10 . He Spies On You

If your spouse is controlling you, he will want to know where you are with every move you make. He also probably won't trust you, so he will spy on you, follow you or constantly ask you where you are and what you are doing. If they are spying on you you might not even be able to realize - they might be tracking your movements physically, or they might have even put spying software on your phone. They might look at your search history, look through the contents of your phone or log in to your social media on their phone. All of these things aren't typical husband behaviors - he is invading your privacy. If you do find him in the act of either spying on you or looking on your phone, he might try to cover his back by giving you a sad story about how he was once cheated on and wanted to make sure you weren't being unfaithful. This is wrong. He should trust you.

11 . He Doesn't Listen To You

11 . He Doesn't Listen To You

If your husband is trying to control you, he will shut his mind off to anything you say. He won't let himself listen to you or even try and understand your point of view, especially when it comes to conflict between the two of you. If you try to speak to him about his behavior, he will probably brush it off and try to change the subject pretending that he didn't even hear you, or he might get extremely angry so that you feel like you have done something wrong by trying to bring it up. Even in normal conversation, he will probably talk over you and not let you express your opinion. This might be relevant when you're around other people too. He might try to belittle you in front of others, and dismiss your opinion. This will make you feel uncomfortable and unsupported, leading to lower self-esteem.

12 . He Wears You Down

The goal for someone controlling is to wear you down so much and lower your self-confidence and self-esteem so much that you feel like you need to rely on them. They will make sure they are the only person left in your life, so you will have to put up with their manipulation and do as they say, otherwise you will be alone. So, if you have a controlling husband, you will notice that he constantly criticizes you, make you feel like you're not good enough, threatens you, takes you away from your friends and family. If you don't catch on to the situation quickly enough, you will become so worn down by it that you give in and you act in the way that he wants you to.

How Can You Deal With A Controlling Husband?

How Can You Deal With A Controlling Husband?

Now we've taken a look at some of the signs that will be showing within your marriage, and some of the personality traits that your husband might be exhibiting if he is controlling, it's time to take a look at how you can deal with controlling people.

1 . Reach Out To People

When you think that your partner is trying to control you, it's crucial that you reach out to the people around you. Your husband will be trying to distance you from your friends and family, but you need to make sure you keep them close, even if your husband doesn't know about it. If you feel comfortable speaking to someone you're close to and trust, it's a good idea to open up to them about the situation you are dealing with. They might be able to offer advice or at least a comfortable and safe space for you to express your feelings at this time. Don't let your spouse ruin the relationships you have spent years building, and especially not your relationship with your family members.

2 . Talk To Your Partner About Their Behavior

Although your partner might not listen to you or take your opinion into account, it's useful to be open with them. You need to tell them, while you still have self-esteem and you're strong, that you won't stand for this kind of behavior. You can tell them how they make you feel, and maybe it will break through to them that they are hurting you. It might be useful to suggest that the two of you attend marriage counseling. Tell your partner that you want this relationship to work and you want to help him.

3 . Set Boundaries

If your spouse is still listening to you, or their behavior has got better after therapy together, it's useful to set boundaries. You need to clearly state the kind of things you will and will not tolerate from your partner. Your partner might be able to understand what is suitable, and what things he shouldn't do. Try to come to a mutual agreement of how the marriage should be - it will help. If your partner isn't cooperating with you and doesn't want to listen, you can internally set these boundaries yourself. You can decide what you won't stand for, and as soon as your partner shows this behavior, you know that he's gone one step too far.

4 . Decide If You Want To Keep Being Married To This Person

If your partner's behavior isn't improving, and he isn't willing to seek help from others, then you need to make a decision. Do you want to be in a relationship with this person anymore? If you're not sure, it might help to set a time limit, to see if things are improving or getting worse.

If you are worried that your partner will be, or is becoming increasingly emotionally abusive or physically abusive, it's best for you to leave. You shouldn't have to deal with an abusive partner. In a more serious abusive situation, it can help to speak to a professional that can help you to leave the relationship with the support you need.


I really hope this article has helped shed some light on the issue of controlling relationships, and how you can tell if you are in one. If you are struggling, ask for help, and do not let this person take control of you. You have the strength to get through this.

Did you like this article? If you did, let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you.

Do you feel like all you think about is him, but he only thinks about himself?
This doesn't mean he doesn't like you. You have to understand how he is wired. Once you do, you'll find there is a subtle thing you can say that to him that will drastically change how he shows his emotions towards you.

Take this quick quiz that looks at whether he actually likes you or not!

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

19 comments on “Controlling Husband: 12 Signs You Have One (How To Deal With It)”

  1. I really like this article. That's description of my former partner. I just ended 2,5 years long relationship with controlling alcoholic. It took me the whole year to leave. I had to fight with myself and with him, in emotional sense. I became so dependent of him that I gave myself 4 deadlines until I was able to end it. I lost my self-confidence and belief in myself. Everything I did was wrong for him. Amongst others, he used to send me endless messages with a lists of bad features of my character, made a list of things he done for me, highlighting how ungrateful I am, and saying goodbye every month and begging me back. By constant gaslighting manipulation he ruined my belief in my mental health suggesting always that something is wrong with me and I need psychological help. But in the past before I met him I spent couple of months discussing my life with psychologist and she said I am completely normal good strong person, this opinion gave me strength to believe in my common sense. He demanded from me more and more, isolated me more and more, I ended depressed and worn out. I gave up my friends and hobbies for him. I felt guilty when I was spending time with anybody else not him. One day my daughter started begging me to end this relationship and it was a red light for me that the situation is worse than I thought. She gave me strength to end it. He is divorced three times, his controlling must be the reason. Loneliness now is horrible but at least nobody tells me how bad person I am no matter how much I do to this person. My simple advice would be - just escape, it's very damaging and waste of time. It's very difficult if not impossible to change controlling person. Good luck to everyone who has to deal with controlling partners.

    1. Wow. Funny you say that. I am currently going through all this. Especially the long text messages telling me all the bad things I’ve done and how I’m such a horrible person, selfish and ungrateful. How I always disrespect him. Pretty much everything I do wrong. And he’s an alcoholic. He does something nice for me but I have to pay the consequences later. Today I came to the realization that he is controlling. I can’t take it anymore but I’m afraid to end it because every time I try, he threatens to tell my family how I am and taking me to court for our daughter. It’s getting worse. In public he yells at me. It’s bad!! I want to leave but I am afraid he’ll try to take our daughter.

  2. Im sitting with tears in my eyes cause everything said in this whole article is what I've been going through for 6years and everyday up till today I'm still in this miserable marriage I've tried so many times to leave and after reading this article it's clear that i need to get out asap so I'm asking if there's anybody out there that can help me please, i want to be Independent and myself again so please help me anybody

  3. My husband likes to push me around and tell me what to do alot. I have to ask him about how i should spend my money, or what i can buy or how i should talk to people. He is very close to his family and always insists that i talk to them,call them home and effectively "maintain" the relationship with them. If they are not happy with me, then i have to ensure that this bridge is fixed even if it means that i have to fall on my knees to do this. I tell my husband that we are a team and if his family is not happy with me then he also has to stand next to me and try to fix it, rather than leaving me as a standalone and moving to their side. I try not to voice my concerns alot as any thing i speack quickly turns to an argument with him. He does not let me finish the sentences and jumps to conclusions. Recently he blamed me for him not having good relationships with his family or friends because i am dumb and cannot handle relationships. He said this is the reason his family and friends dont respect my opinion because i cannot handle relationships. I am heart broken. What should i do.

  4. I am so proud of myself, after dating a controlling man for only one weekend, I recognized his controlling behavior and left his house, blocked his number and I haven't looked back. No wonder he has never been married. He was a very short man and I think he was very insecure.

  5. All but 1 of these sums up my situation. My husband is not a control freak when it comes to money I handle all the bills. But he does alot of gaslighting, emotional abuse and is extremely jealous. I have no friends, I try to talk with my mom and he must know what we talked about all the time. 9 years of marriage and the day I said I do I put 110% in the marriage while just finding out that he has never trusted because of my past that had nothing too do with him. I am not allowed to see friends without him, can't go too the grocery store without him, cant even shower without him coming in. I have expressed my feelings to him and all he does is says he's sorry and he will work on it but here we are 9 years of marriage and it's still the same bs!He is always angry and when I ask him what's wrong he says nothing, but the moment I get mad or upset he pushes and pushes until I tell him and than he throws in my face every thing he has done for me that day. I know I need to get out and I have all the typical excuses in the world, no money, no car etc. I did start a secret bank account just to put money aside for when it's time to leave since I have 3 boys that depend on me. No one knows the situation, I don't have any privacy to even talk to anyone without him knowing the discussion. Any advice any suggestions or even just a friend to talk too would be so appreciated.

  6. I have been married for 20 years. Got married when I was 18. Reading this just opened my eyes to realize my husband has been doing this from day one he has even threatened to kill his self but it is starting to affect my relationship with my youngest daughter. I am at my wits end cause I don’t know what to do about it

  7. Fifty years of being married to a controlling man. I have sacrificed my happiness for this relationship. He just is getting more abusive. He says ugly things to me and blames me for any little thing that happens even when I know he was responsible. I have paid dearly for staying in this relationship by adopting self-destructive behaviors. I feel like a failure in my life. I’m depressed and feeling so guilty. This has now given way to feeling numb and not caring anymore. I knew the minute I said ”I do” it was a big mistake. I just stayed too long. What a wasted life. My mother was a narcissist and I was a highly sensitive person. I think I had the Cinderella complex. I was ripe for the pickings. And my hope sprung eternal. Now I have no doubt I am just a big coward and afraid to stand up for myself. I accept blame too readily. I’ve been through years of counseling. I think I must be the world’s greatest imbecile. They say confession is good for the soul.

  8. My husband told me i ruined my body with stretch marks after having our child, said noone would want me,noone in the right mind would talk to me, said my upbringing was bad bcuz my mum and dad got divorced,he swears non stop, he put me down all the time infront of people, he said he can not love me as ive got a bit of a belly and im not excersizing, said i laugh loud and it needs to stop, im a complete embarassment for him!
    When in actual fact ive done better than him in life so hes just jealous and always in competition with me! He loves it when im down he feels higher than me!
    I qualified as a nurse at 18, baught a house at 19 on my own, passed my driving and got a car at 18,i became i interpreter aswel,then a driving instructor, then baught another house, and had a baby too...come on..i did great..but hes a jealous freak..who is a failure

  9. I’m reading this article with such a heavy heart and tears rolling down my eyes because everything being said in this article seems so accurate about my husband, it’s been 10 months since our marriage and slowly I’m losing all my sanity, I have never been this lowest in my life, I have cried so much during this whole period of my life and I feel like there’s no one I can reach to, I just feel so much isolated and crazy within myself for everything, I feel like a dead person inside and I don’t know what I can even do😣

    1. I hear you. I am feeling the same way as you do. Been feeling like this since the beginning of my marriage. I have been married for 3.5 years now, still do not know what do to and be more and more unhappy every single day. I have no feelings left for my husband.

  10. I'm going through this now, 30 years I've been married to a controlling man, I tried to leave once and it backfired where he tried to turn my children against me by saying all the things I'd lied about in our marriage were my fault! I had to lie to him in order to be able to do things. Now since then 5 years ago I don't have my own money or debit cards, he doesn't allow me to take pain relief for my arthritis as he says I'm a druggie! I sneakily used to smoke till he caught me and that's why I'm not allowed money but he says its for my health that's the reason he doesn't let me out of his sight because he's looking after me. We moved to a different country where we have no family and very few friends just ones he's picked for us.I could write a book on all the thing that's happened but he says everything that's happened I'd down to me, I've made him this way by lying to him. Is it me? Do I deserve this?

    1. You have read my mail! I too don't have a debt card. My check goes into HIS bank acct. I'm not allowed to have a bank acct. He pays bills does all the shopping, cooking and makes the kids ask him if they can go somewhere not asking me as he's head of the house. We are not allowed to say we don't feel well as to him it's all in our heads and when we do say we don't feel well we're claiming the sickness when we shouldn't be claiming it as the Bible says we are healed by his stripes. He portrays a God fearing christian but behind closed doors he a monster!

  11. Everything I read here is about me. Me and my husband found out that we had infection, he bought drugs for us. I drank mine and he's not serious with his medication. He still expects me to open my legs for him and he ha not treated himself properly. I refused to open my legs for him, he got angry and started criticizing me. Each time we're quarrelling, he likes to beat me or hit me hard. I gave him just one kid and he's asking for more. I'm scared to give birth to more children because I'm still contemplating whether I should stay in the marriage or leave. He only shows me love when we are in peace. He hates listening to me. He calls me abusive names even in the presence of his mum

    1. It's a trap, don't fall for it! Your husband knows you're considering leaving the marriage.

      My ex-husband did that...he wanted more kids, I fell for it and it was a trap.

      I'm back at square one in my second marriage but no kids together. Told myself I wouldn't end up in another relationship like this but sometimes we don't see the signs because they look different in every relationship. And it's definitely true that it starts out subtle but increases as time goes on.

      I've been in my current marriage for 5 years but together for maybe 17-18 years. Living together for 15 of the years. No money, brake line went in my car 2 weeks ago. He controls everything... doesn't want me doing the shopping. He'll love me when I have a job again. I have become depressed. He grocery shops inconsistently. And the threats, he's cancelling car and medical, eye, and dental insurance if I don't have a job by oct.

      Leave, save yourself and have more kids when you meet someone who will reciprocate your love and treat you well.


  12. All their ridiculous rules all the pickiness..nitpicking and criticizing every detail of our lives.. I too have a 39 year marriage to a control freak.. because of my faith in god I stay.. but god wants us to be in a life with peace.. I have read every article about their behavior and how it stems from a difficult childhood and anxiety..well we pay the price for that.. to keep the peace we let them rule our lives..... my husband is stingy with money and a bully and an unapologetic coward...basically it’s his way or the highway...sadly my father was that way too...find escapes and peace.. anyway you know how..marriage is 50/50 not a dictatorship..if men don’t treat their wives as the weaker vessel helping her.. not being harsh with her .. their prayers will not be answered.. avoid them as much as possible..god will see god will punish them...be aware.. don’t let your daughters marry such jerks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Copyright © 2015 - 2022 HerNorm.com