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Married To A Control Freak

Question:

I am married to a control freak. I am a homemaker. My husband won’t allow me to use the clothes dryer or our food-freezer or hot water to wash clothes in. He won’t allow our children to take baths—just showers. But, he has a pond in our back yard and thinks nothing of weekly filling it up with 45 minutes of water running from a hose. As a child, I really enjoyed taking baths over a shower and so does my son. I have skipped taking a shower, so that I could “justify” my son being able to take a bath. I LOVE to garden, but just last week he threw a tantrum when I put mulch down around the yard. He was angry for my not calling him at work to talk about where it would go. When he comes home he has to cook his own meals, because he doesn’t like what I make. The entire family must go to bed at 9:00p.m to 10:00p.m He says that any noise in the house when he is trying to sleep keeps him awake. So, everyone must go to bed by the time he does. The list goes on and on. If I had $25,000.00 I would leave him in a heartbeat. I love the man, I just can’t live with him. My husband can be a very kind man. He refuses counseling though. We’ve tried 3 times. Our children are in elementary school. I know they are at school all day, but I am a committed homemaker who has no interest in getting a job. I enjoy the home and am old fashioned. So, I cannot seem to support myself financially and be Miss Career Woman in order to leave. I don’t want my kids coming home to an empty house. And yes, I am scared too. I am in a horrible Catch-22. But, matters are worse than the little information I can give here. I am starting to “fall in love” with another man. A friend whom I don’t see that often. But when I do see him, we talk and talk and I feel like love is pumping through my heart again. I can clearly see how affairs begin. I doubt I would cross the line, however, because people only get hurt when either party is married. I can’t help praying however that something would happen that would bring us together. What can I do — for me and not put my children through another divorce? Thank you.

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Answer:

Life is a tough thing and sometimes you need to make choices. You’ve got choices in front of you but you seem to be paralyzed. You’re living with a maniac who has hemmed you into a corner where you can’t do anything right at all. You’re upset about this (which is the healthy response), but unwilling to do anything about it (so it would seem) because you are afraid to leave the comfort of your homemaker role. In a more ideal world, your husband would not be insane and you could be a homemaker and everyone would be happy. But your husband is insane, and you are unhappy, and you are not going to get happier so long as you continue to submit to his insanity. If you want the freedom to act on your own will, you’ll need to stand up to this man. You may also need to go out and get a job, leaving your homemaker role behind you. You may even need to leave him. He is not likely to support any of your efforts to have increased autonomy, however. Rather, he will probably view you as treasonous. You’ve got very tough choices and you will both win and loose whatever you do. At the end of the day, you’ll need to choose a path that you can live with most comfortably. Please seek out counseling on this matter, either through friends, relatives, clergy, professional therapist, or battered women’s shelter (seriously! – your husband’s actions are abusive and you are practically a battered woman). Counseling might help you to sort out your options and to have the support to make the changes you need to make. Good Luck, – Anne

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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    You hace cited no mental illness but instaed have chosen to call him a "maniac." You have performed no physical examination on the subject but have given advice. For all you know, the subject could be suffering from hypoglacemia. Do you actually have a medical degree?

  • Jane

    I'm in the same position and currently applying for jobs so I can leave when necessary. It is tough with school age children who are happy at school. All I can say is get training for a job while you have time to yourself all day, maybe you can sell some stuff on ebay or in the classifieds to pay for the classes at your local community or trade college (e.g. medical assisting, paralegal, dental assistant, Office computer software and typing lessons). It's easy to get attached to your home and surroundings, neighbors etc. I know these are tough choices. Good luck!

  • Anonymous-2

    I have lived with a control freak for over 20 years now. You need no such degree to understand, just to live it. My children are now teenagers and although I have been able to protect them from this si far it is now getting out of control. Like the first person my husband is a great provider and a (caring?) husband but only on his terms. I am also a homemaker and love the job but it is often thrown in my face even though he would never give me the slightest chance to go make a career for myself. I have had enough but where do I turn?

  • JJ van elburg

    I agree with the writer of 27th Dec that your answer seems unprofessional and rather judgmental, and in my opinion offers no help but rather increases the stress levels.

    Very often 'control freaks' are very aware of their own short comings or - if not ready to admit it yet - feel there is a big issue there. In my opinion the only answer is compassion and patience to help him see that he is determining the life of the other family members to a point where there is no joy for them in it anymore. The need for control comes from insecurity and a sense that the world comes apart if things are not 'taken in hand'. If you are somehow able to find out where this lack of security comes from he might feel less need to control your lives. Telling him off doesn't help though you do need to protect your own needs!

    I do think counseling and behavioral changes might help him to let go of some of his controlling habits, but it will always be a fragile balance.

    I wish you good luck!

  • tammy fivecoat

    living with a controlling man ,is always a threat to your security ,u probably ask your self questions like , if i leave him can i support myself , can i take this forever , am i happy enough to stay, when will u crack and piss him off and threaten your own security well if you dont try to become self supporting or win the lottery then you will always be trapped in your situation if u take a chance and try to become self supporting u might find u can make it ,but if u dont try your stuck in a circle that has no end till u decide to break the circle if u fail thier are lots altunitives for abusive relationships that help women in these situations , but if u make on your own oh what a powerful women u will be

  • Dave

    I am not an MD, but I have researched this from a cognitive science perspective. I am ABD with a PhD in organizational development.

    Below is my take on what I am reading..

    It seems that the real question is who is in control. The definition of a control freak is often ill defined. I chose to be married to my wife who is what I call a control freak often called a perfectionist or over protective mother or just an opinioned worrier.

    Mental states of individuals that exhibit certain patterns that are called control freaks are often created by over anxiety and fear. They usually have low self awareness but are overly aware of their surroundings and they can also suffer from low self esteem. Their real intent is to protect and they become over protective and unreasonable as they feel things must be done their way in order for everyone to be safe....sometimes they are right and sometimes not.

    Unfortunately most times they are right because they are excellent observers…when they point things out incessantly it often makes the individual they are married too feel like their worth is lessened and they can suffer from low self esteem which can set up a conflict and resentment.

    In my case I am the male and have chosen to stay in this relationship no matter how miserable it becomes, and considering the advice from other that I need to get out of it I chose not to, because in my opinion most women have a bit of this in them by genetics . At times when I have had enough I vent and then feel remorse for not being able to control my emotions.

    When this happens it gives the control freak more control as they play the poor pitiful me I was only trying to help (even if it was by being sarcastic and demanding their way which is the right way)….Now this creates a dilemma for the one who thinks they are normal and now must either choose to leave or stay in the relationship.

    My advice to the woman that wrote the email over 10 years ago…is to consider what is more important … the family they have , a career they think they can have, or another shot at explaining what is actually going on in the relationship from a scientific point of view.

    Blaming misunderstood behavior on an individual and giving advice to abandon the individual is called scapegoating…a biblical concept and practice that has been given up a long time ago.

    Hope this helps…

    if not please let me know if there is a better way, I could sure use the help too… someone once told me a simple way to be smart was to think of the most stupid thing you could possibly say and not say it….

    Kindest regards

    Dave

  • Anonymous-3

    I too am married to a control freak. He lies and he makes up stories to get people to see his way. I have never been on my own. I want to leave so bad. I have a job and can support myself, however, my daughter has issues and he plays upon my daughter, and tells her things that are not so. He has no boundaries. If he wants something and you say no--he will take it. He is selfish and an ex natural resource police officer. Deep down he is a coward who plays on the weakness of others. I can only say I loathe him. He even beat me one time when I would not co-sign for him. His credit is bad and his word is no good.

  • Laraine

    When my husband was employed by a bullying boss (now there's a control freak for you!) he took it out on me with verbal and psychological abuse (which, mercifully, stopped when he finally found other employment) and he exhibits other control freak symptoms--for instance, I can't get irritable with him without he loses his temper. I can't lose my own temper without causing an even worse temper tantrum in him. He will throw things around and even deliberately break them. He has always been like that. Now we have his older sister--20 years his senior--living with us (in a granny flat attached to our house) and her first exhibition of control freakism was to ask where I sat at the table and then promptly seat herself there! I cook her dinner for her she otherwise looks after herself. She persists in telling her brother things are "too much for him" and offering to help, or urging him to take a rest. It wasn't until I saw this second piece of odd behaviour described as that of a control freak that I realised the reasons for all her odd behaviour. Most people will see her as a sweet, softly spoken old lady with impeccable manners. And in the 80s I couldn't work out why my FIL chose to live with us, after the family decided he couldn't look after himself any more, when I had to work and he had two daughters who didn't. Now, of course, I know his reasoning: if his DIL was as bad as his wife and daughters, well at least she was out of the way during the day. He didn't take into account the time when he would need someone home with him and there wouldn't be anybody. After all, the mortgage wasn't going to disappear, and wasn't even going to lessen without my income!

  • Anonymous-4

    You're in a situation that most likely won't change for the better. It's unfortunate that you can't convince him to go to counseling. The first thing that comes to mind is the children. They suffer each time there's a divorce..it's not easy for them. Yet on the other hand, it's not healthy for them to experience the controlling behavior either. Staying married is probably the best thing to do as long as he is not physically endangering your life and your children's lives. You're the balance in the situation for your children. Being unfaithful will add more issues to your already complicated situation. I would leave it alone. The more conversation you have with the man friend the more love feelings you will have for him. Since you're married, you should leave the man friend alone. If you need to talk to someone, it's probably best to talk to a female friend to vent or share feelings. I think the main focus should be all about the children and what's best for them...not what the adults want.

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