Controlling Husband and Loss of Self Part 1

By Dr. Coach Love

I love my husband, but as a former corporate executive for many years with lots of authority over many people, he can be very controlling, so much so that I have nearly forgotten who I am. Every little thing has to be his way because he says it is the best way. He takes offense if I offer suggestions or a different way of doing something. It seems that I cannot even have my own opinion. We are financially comfortable and both contribute about the same. Recently, I started my own account and when I told him about it he blew up. He told me to take that money and pay off his bills. His behavior and words get very ugly and he often sulks in silence for weeks when he gets angry to punish me. He often behaves toward me like he is my boss — not my husband and partner. What can I do to regain myself?



Many corporations and military systems rely on an established hierarchy of people for their organizational processes— including decision-making. A common personal relationship problem occurs when individuals, who are in authority or part of a hierarchical system at work, believe that they “outrank” their spouses or intimate relationship partners and become controlling at home.


Rank has no place in a healthy and loving marriage or intimate partnership. When we enter marriage or another type of intimate partnership, we work together and compromise for the good of the relationship, but we also do not give up all of our individual rights. Here is a list of 8 basic individual rights we all have—even when our feelings, ideas, or needs differ from or conflict with those of our spouse or intimate partner.




  1. Hold our own opinion.
  2. Express our opinion reasonably and be heard with respect.
  3. Spend some money as we please.
  4. Privacy.
  5. Take some individual time/ alone time.
  6. Have and express our feelings without criticism.
  7. Be free of fear in our relationship.
  8. Choose whether to have sex with our partner.



When we do not exercise our rights, we can lose who we are. Still, we can consciously  

decide not to exercise our rights; but feeling compelled to surrender or

having our rights taken away from us by our partner can be a sign of a controlling

relationship. Controlling relationships are typically based on consistently

executing the rights of one person at the expense of rights of the other. Controlling relationships generally have little or no compromise.


Which of the 8 basic individual rights listed above do you have and

choose to execute in your marriage? Understand, however, that exercising

our rights, at times, can violate or nullify the rights of our partners. In

healthy marriages, spouses acknowledge both their own and the rights of

their partner. In times of conflict of rights, partners work together to

build healthy solutions.


What do you think? In Parts 2 and 3, I will continue discussion. Review the link listed below for more information and Q&A on controlling behavior and control freaks.


That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



Dr. Coach Love




v      I invite your comments below.

v      E-mail your relationship coaching questions to

v      Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy,

            brevity, clarity, and general interest.

v      Sorry, Dr. Coach Love is unable to offer any personal advice through this blog. This blog is not intended as a substitute for therapy. If you suspect any mental health problems, please seek immediate direct professional services as appropriate.

v      Check out relationship coaching services at



©       Copyright 2009 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

            Contact for permissions.

About drcoachlove

Dr. Coach Love is the author of the multiple award-winning book, The Marriage Whisperer: Tips to Improve Your Relationship Overnight, published by MSI Press, a traditional publisher in California.

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