The bright lights of love can sometimes turn dark. When helpfulness from your spouse turns into demands and shelter from the storm becomes isolation, things aren't what they should be. Here are seven signs your spouse is controlling you and you don't even know it.
1. Your finances
If your spouse handles all the finances and keeps you in the dark you may secretly be in a controlling situation. You should have full knowledge of the ins and outs of your household. It doesn't matter who is the breadwinner and who does the bill paying, if this important financial information is being withheld from you, you are at a great disadvantage. If your spouse only lets you spend a small allowance and keeps a tight hold on the rest of the money, you are also being controlled. You should always have access to money for an emergency, and you shouldn't have to ask for money to buy something you need.
If your spouse tries to keep you at home by limiting your access to transportation, money or even friends and family you have found yourself in a controlling situation. Sometimes you may be technically free to roam where you want but when you get home, you know your every move will be questioned. A controlling spouse may hide his desire to always keep you in his side by making leaving the home more trouble than it's worth. Your husband may ask a million questions about where you were, what you did and who you were with. He may even accuse you of cheating or lying to him. Being paranoid and suspicious is a red flag of a controlling spouse.
3. Your body
A controlling spouse may attempt to alter your eating and exercise habits, as well as monitor your weight. He'll pick and poke at your trouble areas, or openly talk about your body in private and in front of others. He may even reject you because your body isn't satisfactory to him anymore. Some of these attitudes could be based on improving health and wellness, but the tone of his remarks is to degrade you or change you into the "perfect "woman he wants.
4. Your appearance
He has lots of input on your wardrobe, how you wear your makeup and hair, how sexy or demure you look, and puts the emphasis on what he likes instead of how you feel. If you feel your outward appearance has become more important to your man than your feelings or self-expression, he has too much control.
Your spouse is controlling if they constantly monitor, correct and criticize your behavior. You likely can't speak, eat, drive, cook or raise your kids without hearing about how you're doing it wrong, could do it better, or need to do it how your spouse wants you to. Over time you'll become defensive and withdrawn or reserved and unsure. You're probably in the habit of looking to them for cues; If you need constant approval your marriage is in bad shape.
6. Your status
A controlling spouse will be too involved in your education and social status. Controlling men tend to encourage their wives to pursue lower education, have fewer career goals and maintain a lower social status than him. Controlling women may do the opposite; degrading her husband's current education, job and pay to chase a high level of prestige and status. Either way, what you want comes in second to feed the other's ego.
7. Your opinions
Controlling spouses always make sure their opinion is heard and have little interest in yours. If you peacefully disagree with your controlling spouse they may accuse you of starting a fight or not supporting them. They can also become verbally abusive and call you names. Disagreements should never challenge your intelligence or integrity.
You spouse can pass off controlling behavior as protection. He'll tell you it's for your own good, he has the experience and knows better, and it all comes from love. But control actually comes from fear. True love means accepting and allowing freedom in a relationship. If your spouse is controlling, attempts at independence are often met with resistance, suspicion and accusation. Pay attention and address your needs so you both end up happy.