Controlling Spouse

Early Signs Of A Controlling Spouse

When you get to know someone who has to put up with a controlling spouse, the first thing that often comes to mind is wondering how such a situation ever managed to come about. There are those people who don't mind being controlled, at least to some extent, but most of us don't. The military isn't a good example, even though a person has to submit to an element of control, especially early on. The difference is of course that in the military control has a worthy and honorable purpose, in a marriage control does not.

Most of those who find themselves married to a controlling spouse probably didn't have the slightest inking that things were going to work out that way, or they never would have married the person in the first place. If there were signs before the marriage took place, the feeling may well have been, "I can change him/her."

One of the primary reasons a spouse may attempt to establish control over his or her partner is a fear of being controlled, usually the result of being brought up by a controlling parent, or living with one or more controlling siblings. The one sure way not to be controlled is to do the controlling. At least that's the theory.

Signs To Watch For - So, what are some of the things to watch for if someone appears on the way to becoming a controlling spouse? Bear in mind that all of us exhibit one or more of these signs at one time or another. Also, someone could well exhibit more than one of these signs without actually being controlling, but a controlling person will exhibit them often, if not constantly.

A controlling spouse often is suspicious of his or her mate and this suspicion often leads to a lack of trust, often on the part of both parties. Sometimes a controlling spouse will show a fear of impending doom or catastrophe, often blaming the spouse for allowing things to happen that might just trigger that catastrophe.

Keeping At Arm's Length - One sign of a controlling spouse, or one headed in that direction is that of acting disrespectfully, or at least not showing respect. A controlling person is often ill at ease being close to others, in the emotional sense, and works to keep at a distance. This fear of being close can of course destroy much of what a marriage, and a family, is built around, love, affection, and closeness.

A controlling spouse is often a perfectionist, or if not a perfectionist at least is unwilling to let anyone else, particularly his or her mate, make decisions. The controlling person wants to be the one making decisions, and if they turn out to be the wrong ones, or bad ones, someone else will always be blamed.

One-Sided Commitments - A controlling spouse often fears making a commitment, yet expects others to do just that. The controlling person may use work, a hobby, or other activities, including excessive TV watching, which require minimal commitment, as a means of escape, meanwhile expecting his or her partner to remain faithfully committed to the marriage and to child rearing.

Lack Of Respect Is A Killer - Perhaps the most dangerous of all of the above is exhibiting a lack of respect. Respect is something a partner in marriage has a right to expect. It won't be there all the time. We all fail in that category from time to time, but it has to be there most of the time. When married to a controlling spouse, a person is made to feel an obligation to do things that will earn respect, something that is unlikely ever to happen unless the situation is changed. Disrespect breeds further disrespect.

If signs point to a partner becoming a controlling spouse, it's best to nip things in the bud,  making it plain that cooperation and mutually working out problems is the expectation, and submission to, or quiet acceptance of, a controlling spouse is not an option.