Divorce claims anywhere between 40 and 50 percent of all marriages, but just because a marriage stays together, that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing for the parties involved. Take, for instance, the phenomenon of the controlling spouse. As Huffington Post puts it, “A healthy relationship partner supports you in having your own life, interests, and outside friends without feeling guilty or intimidated. Be wary of a spouse who wants to know who you talk to, where you go and how much money you spend daily.”
This is sage advice, but the problem for many married people is that they don’t realize their spouse is controlling until they’re locked into the marriage — sometimes with children — and they feel like they’re in too deep to get out.
It can be hard leaving a marriage, but if your spouse is controlling, you should consider it. Here’s why.
1. Controlling people are often deflecting their true nature onto you.
If your spouse is too controlling over money, it could have something to do with how he mismanages it. If she doesn’t trust you around the opposite sex, it could be because she cheated. If your spouse doesn’t want you to have friends of your own, it’s because he or she isn’t secure in the relationship. Don’t be made to pay for someone else’s foibles. More often than not, that’s what excessive control is all about — guilt and deflection.
2. Controlling people devalue you as a person.
If they don’t trust you to have your own life, they are essentially telling you that you are not a trustworthy person. That you are lucky they found you and kept you from destroying yourself, essentially. No person deserves that type of devaluation. Don’t let your spouse torpedo your self-esteem by making all your decisions for you and keeping you shut off from the outside world. You’re better than that.
3. Controlling people are hard to change.
Controlling people are difficult to reform because they often will not listen to reason, and it can be difficult summoning the courage to confront. And if you are able to confront them, there are no guarantees that it will do any good. If there is love there, you may owe it to yourself to try. But don’t stay in a marriage and accept the status quo. You owe it to yourself more to realize your worth as a person.
Do you have a controlling spouse, or were you able to escape one? What advice would you share?