Unfortunately, I had a pretty traumatic childhood. My parents were always fighting, and I was faced with trying to decide what to do about my own personal feelings. When I got older, I knew that I needed to do something to relieve the stress that I was feeling even many years later, so I started focusing on going to counseling. My first few appointments were a little nerve-racking, but the counselor worked hard to make me feel comfortable. I was really impressed with how gentle and kind she was, and I felt really great about the progress I was making. This blog is all about benefiting from counseling.
When you get married, you might notice that your spouse begins acting in ways that you weren't expecting. For example, they might be very persistent that things go their way. While you want to accommodate their needs, there's a chance that they may be overly controlling, which could lead to serious problems.
Why Spouses Are Controlling
So your spouse likes to choose dinner or always wants to watch their television shows. Is this necessarily a big deal? Probably not, but there is a chance that these kinds of behaviors could grow worse over time or indicate a person who is excessively controlling or dominating. To identify whether your spouse is a controller, ask yourself these questions:
While spouses will obviously disagree from time to time or want things their way, a dominating or controlling spouse will act out if you try to go against what they want. Unfortunately, this can often lead to abusive behaviors.
Controlling Behaviors Can Turn Abusive
It might seem like you can cope with a controlling spouse or simply adapt to their personal needs. However, controlling behaviors are problematic because they often turn from a control of their surroundings (such as choosing furniture) or actions (like where you eat) and can quickly turn into more severe and problematic behaviors.
For example, a controlling spouse may suddenly develop abusive behaviors, such as yelling, screaming, or using cruel language at you. They may also hurt you financially by removing assistance, especially if they are the only one who works. Even worse, they may get physically abusive to control your actions. This is true of both men and women, though statistics show more women are abused than men.
Can The Relationship Be Saved?
If your spouse is emotionally or physically abusive, it's best to get out of the relationship as soon as you can. However, if your spouse is just showing some warning signs of controlling behavior, relationship and marriage therapy may help out. A therapist can identify why they are so controlling and help you move through the process together.
Remember, though, that you can't change a person or even make them want to change. They have to change because they truly want to, and people with controlling personalities often have a hard time letting go and trusting others. Therapy is still worth the effort, but be prepared for a struggle.