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Top 12 Warning Signs of Controlling Husbands

By Ben | February 8, 2008

What are the warning signs of controlling husbands?  Here’s my list of the top dozen.  Do you have any to add?

1. Overt physical violence – they shove, slap or hit you; force you to have sex; force you to lie or drop the charges if the police were called.
2. You’re afraid you’ll trigger a violent rage – you walk on eggshells; they intimidate you with weapons; they threaten you, the children, the pets, your favorite things.
3. They make the rules; they control everything – what you do, where you go, who spends the money and what it’s spent on.
4. You feel emotionally blackmailed, intimidated and drained.
5. You’re told you’re incompetent, helpless and would be alone without them.
6. You’re told that you’re to blame if they hurt you.
7. They push boundaries, argue endlessly and withhold approval and love if you don’t do exactly what they want.
8. Their standards rule – your “no” isn’t accepted as “no;” they’re always right and you’re always wrong; their sense of humor is right and they’re not abusing you, you’re too sensitive.
9. They isolate you – they won’t allow you to see you friends or your family, go to school or even work.
10. They control you with their disapproval, name-calling, putdowns, demeaning, blame and guilt – no matter what you do; you’re wrong or not good enough.
11. Your concerns generally don’t get dealt with – theirs are more important so they can ignore your wishes.
12. They control you with their hyper-sensitive, hurt feelings and threats to commit suicide.

In addition to controlling you by making you afraid, they are the sneaky, manipulative schoolyard bullies who have developed adult ways to dominate, abuse and bully.

Many people allow themselves to be bullied repeatedly because they don’t recognize and label the control and abuse as “bullying.”  When you recognize and label their tactics and tricks, you’ll be empowered to resist them.  When you learn effective skills and techniques, you can resist them successfully.

The same list applies to abusive, controlling, bullying wives, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, teens and friends.

Peaceful methods (understanding, tolerating, logic, reasoning, forgiveness) sometimes stop mild bullying.  But you need firmer, stronger methods to stop relentless, determined husbands.

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Topics: Bullies at Home, Coaching, Relationships, Stop Bullies Book | 132 Comments »

132 Responses to “Top 12 Warning Signs of Controlling Husbands”

  1. How to correct your children and say “No” to them | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    April 25th, 2008 at 11:52 am

    [...] unrelenting viciousness isn’t confined to parents; it’s also dished out at work.  It’s as if some people really believe the motto attributed to [...]

  2. Patty Says:
    July 3rd, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Just when I thought I knew all of the faces of control. Evan Stark PhD published Coercive Control! I highly recomend it to all women.

  3. Ben Says:
    July 4th, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Hi Patty,

    Thanks for the tip on “Coercive Control.” I hope you also got a lot from my short list.

    Best wishes,

  4. Vic Says:
    November 5th, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I am searching for all the information I can find on controlling Husband’s. I have read the statements above and some of thing, well alot of them apply to him. He is not physically abusive.
    It’s a mental game with him. I am Isolated and
    alone and getting desparate to live. I feel I have lost myself. I can’t even tell you what I like anymore. The things I loved have been pushed to the outer relms of the universe. We not
    one thing in common. How did I get here?

  5. Ben Says:
    November 6th, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Hi Vic,

    I’m sorry things have become so bad.

    The more important question is: “Are you willing to get the grit – the will, determination, dedication, perseverance, resilience and flexibility – to get away?”

    When you have the will, you can stand up for yourself and find the friends and helpers you need to create the life you want. Once you start moving down that path, you’ll remember what you like and don’t like, you’ll recognize who you want on your island and who you don’t.

    You don’t need his approval and permission. You need your own.

    Of course it’s not easy. I remember the quote from the movie, “A League of Their Own:”
    “Of course it’s hard.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.
    It’s the hard that makes it great.”
    Jimmy Duggan in “A League of Their Own”

    Whenever you’re ready to begin, you can be successful. But you have to get rid of many old rules and get out of your old comfort zone.

    Best wishes,

  6. mary Says:
    February 18th, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    I have an abusive husband plus he is bi-polar doesn’t take his meds. He broke my nose 2yrs ago, does drugs and has walked out of our marriage 8xs leaving financial debt. Get away and find a group like domestic violence to help you find a support person to get you through the tough times.

  7. Ben Says:
    February 19th, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Hi Mary,

    I’m so glad you finally got away.

    A broken nose and walking out eight times is a lot to put up with. It’ll probably be a long time before you can pull yourself out of the hole, but keep at it. Perseverance pays off in the end.

    At least, when there’s space in your life (he’s gone), you have a chance of filling it with something better. If he had stayed, you wouldn’t have the space.

    Please see the case study of Alicia on page 221 of “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks” (http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2008/01/28/how-to-stop-bullies-book-reviewed-in-denver-business-journal).

    Best wishes,

  8. Lisa Says:
    March 29th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    My husband said the other night, You didn’t wear that to Walmart, suggesting I wore it to meet a Male I suppose. He thinks I’m seeing somebody, when I go out to shop or have some Me time. He checks My e-mails & says I can’t be Friends with single Males. he made Me change My password because He says He can’t help but snoop on Me. I have had enough of the games with Him, I’m supposed to talk toa Counsellor again but I’m done. He doesn’t sleep in the same bed as Me, but I’m the guilty party here funny how that works. People think He is so nice, He said to Me the other day You had freedom for 17 Years. I’m ready to make Him move out & pay.

  9. Ben Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for sharing your situation.

    Taking it at face value [I haven't his side or seen what you're wearing :) ], it sounds like you’re both unhappy, the physical side has broken down, he doesn’t trust you, he wants to be in control, his opinion is what counts and he’s not going to change – he’s not the one talking to a counselor.

    You’re pretty clear – you’re not happy with the relationship either, you want to get out of the house and you’re done with him. The questions are:
    1. How to do it well. Are there kids or other things that must be considered?
    2. How not to make the same mistake next time?

    You probably need coaching tailored to your specific situation.

    Best wishes,

  10. Dane'e Heidelberger Says:
    April 7th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    My husband controls everything: the money, things I do, get, things we do around the house, I feel like I can’t have my own mind, I have NO say about anything. He threatens to leave me and calls me names, says he’s a Christian, and is a “Christian leader” but I’ve never heard of a “Christian leader” acting like he does. If we are together and I am talking to someone, he acts like I am stupid, everyone sees how he is, but him. I have heard by a lot of people that he is controlling and have told him that, but he won’t stop. I don’t know what to do.
    Dane’e Heidelberger

  11. Ben Says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Hi Dane’e,

    I’m sorry you’re in such a bind.

    Taking what you say on face value, I think that the underlying problem is not that he’s controlling you (which is bad enough), it’s that you’re trying to get his permission and agreement that he should stop. That’s what keeps you struck and frustrated.

    Forget about winning an argument with him and convincing him that he should behave differently. If he won’t listen to people who tell him that he’s wrong and he won’t go to a coach that tells him he’s wrong, he won’t listen to you. He probably has a group that tells him he’s right. He’s probably not only righteous, but also scared that if he changes, he’ll lose control of his life.

    You need to create skillful tactics and to start applying consequences whether he likes it or not. For some examples, see in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks,” the case studies #7-Jean and #14-Lucy for some examples.

    Get yourself coaching to develop grit and perseverance, and to plan appropriate tactics.

    Of course, everyone’s situation is different. I don’t know how dependent you are emotionally; for example, do you think men should control, but just be nicer controllers? Or how dependent physically – money, kids, illness. Your situation doesn’t change your grit and perseverance, but it does affect your tactics.

    You may be afraid that the end result will be your leaving him and being alone, friendless and broke. That’s a bad scenario, but usually NOT an accurate prediction.

    Best wishes,

  12. Deb Says:
    April 19th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    During my marriage I didn’t fold my husband clothes correctly, I didn’t pick up the house right, I wasn’t raising my son right, my family was not allowed to talk to me when they called, I was not allowed to wear anything to bed, and sex three time a day was not enough, he needed it 5 times a day. I finally filed divorce after he drugged my one night and while I was “out of it” he did many things, including taking pictures. I have been divorced for a year and a half now. My controlling husband is not as controlling, but is still in my life. He has followed me, sat outside my work, tried to turn friends against me with lies about me, tampered with my utility accounts, stolen personal property, tried to make me his “friend” on network sites, and many other controlling things. Women need to understand that divorce does not actually mean the situation will go away. The situation will go on for a very long time. I am still waiting for it to stop, but for now I go to bed alone with pajamins on and love it! At least I get to sleep in peace.

  13. Ben Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Hi Deb,

    I’m so glad that you got away. Good for you!

    A few suggestions:
    1. When you talk about your ex, call him your ex, and add “according to him” after every phrase – such as “I didn’t fold my husband clothes correctly according to him, I didn’t pick up the house right according to him, I wasn’t raising my son right according to him. It’ll help you get even more mental and emotional distance.

    2. He sounds like a perv and a stalker, which means he won’t go away unless you make him.
    A. Find local support from people like yourself who have been pursued by their ex’s.
    B. Get a lawyer.
    C. Document everything.
    D. Get a restraining order.
    E. Find a local cop who’s on your side and will help you get rid of him.

    Most bullies and control-freaks will take your being nice or passive as an invitation to go after you more. They’re like sharks when they smell blood.

    Or read the case study #17 (Alicia) in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.” Alicia was so afraid of her ex that she didn’t want to confront him but found indirect ways to get rid of him. Your call. But get rid of him.

    Best wishes,

  14. Chelle Says:
    April 21st, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    I have a few things to get off my chest and maybe somewhere out there can understand what I’m going through.

    I have a boyfriend who was very charming and confident when we met, we became really good friends in the work place and I just knew we were two peas in a pod…Not even close!

    He changed so much when we actually moved in together. I have tattoos on my arms (something I did when I was younger and wish I hadn’t) and he knew it when we were friends. After we became a couple he expressed to me that I needed to wear long sleeves when I’m with him because a person like him doesn’t get seen with a person like me…what a jerk huh?

    That right there should have made me say goodbye, but it didn’t. Then came the gym. I was a member of 3 coed gyms when we were friends. I moved out of town with him so I needed to find a new gym. He insisted I go to an all women’s gym. I ended up doing it because I didn’t want the headache, but I keep feeling like I am the one that is making all the changes.

    To make a long story short: When he met me I was a successful business woman with my own goals, my own place, my own money, my own car, lots of friends, an active social life… (you get the idea).

    And now I am 20lbs overweight (because the only idea of fun to him is eating). I quit my job to help him out with his business, I sold my car so we could get one with better MPG (in his name).
    I never go out with my friends, or even talk to them anymore, I am flat broke, because he keeps all the money and I have a credit card I can use for household purchases, which he monitors…so technically I can’t spend any money on myself. I sit in the home office for 6-10 hrs a day working for him and even though I do not have to pay any bills, I have to cook, clean, take care of the dogs, do all the household shopping including his errands and work basically for free.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if he was a nice guy, but he has become completely consumed by his work, he’s never home and when he is…I wish he wasn’t. He cusses at me all the time and he’s always in a bad mood. Every little thing I do sets him off and he always says the same thing that he’s stressed. Forget about communication! That just blows up in my face. And he never says he’s sorry about anything, he just acts like it never happened.

    I’m getting to the point where I have tried to change things but they are not getting better…

    What do I do??

  15. Chelle Says:
    April 21st, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Do you think counseling will help?

  16. Ben Says:
    April 22nd, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Hi Chelle,

    Wow. This has gone on way, way, way too long! You’ve become a slave!

    Get away ASAP. Find support where you are. Don’t listen to him. Get a money-making job again and don’t give him a penny. Go to coed gyms, lose weight. Make friends, find allies and supporters.

    I know it’ll take a lot to dig yourself out of the pit you’re in, but it’s worth the rest of your life to do it.

    See the case studies of Brandi (#1) and Lucy (#14) in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    Forget trying to change him. Don’t waste the rest of your life.

    Get a great coach-counselor for yourself on only two subjects:
    1. To develop effective tactics to get the controlling, bully out of your life.
    2. To change your internal thinking-feeling patterns so you don’t repeat the same scenario with the next guy. Brandi learned and you can too.

    Be brave, determined and relentless.

    Best wishes,

  17. Boyfriend Bullies and Controls a Willing Victim | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    [...] In one case, when Kate met Carl at work, she was successful with her own goals, place, money, car and an active social life.  At first, Carl was very charming and confident, and they became good friends.  Kate says they were two peas in a pod.  How wrong she was! [...]

  18. Karen Says:
    June 8th, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Hi I hope my story might help someone. I have known my husband since i was 18yrs old. We worked together and his sister and I were friends. I was married at 16 to my first boyfield, so my now husband was just a friend, although I always knew he had a soft spot for me. years later when I was divorced I went out with my now husband, but I didn’t have the feelings for him at that time that I do now, so I ended the relationship. Eventually we ended up back together and he won me over,he was a quiet man, very deep, didn’t say much, but was always very kind and nothing was too much trouble. My sons who obviously had known him since they were little boys, but are now grown up and married, adored him. We ended up getting married and I thought I had met the man of my dreams, but it didnt last. As soon as we got engaged it all started to change. He had never been married before and never wanted to, that I know for a fact. He has hit me, nearly broken my fingers, but the violence has stopped since I called the police. He is very moody and often put himself in the box room for weeks on end and not speaking. I own my own home and have always worked full time, I am very bubbly person and have lots of friends, were he has always been a loner. He told me that I neednt work full time anymore so I took a 2 day job, thats when it really got bad. He often leaves in the clothes he stood in and takes all of the bill and shopping money, he would stay away for 3 weeks at a time, it wasnt about him being with women or anything, that I know,but he goes on drinking binges which he never used to do. He spends all of the money and texts me all of the time, calling me names, putting me down and being very abusive. I have started divorce proceedings as he is putting the home I have lived in for 25 years at risk, with him taking all of the money. Because he house is mine and in my name, he said that my sons should pay the mortgage when he is not there as it is their inheritance, as he calls it. Obviously I love him but cannot take anymore. To anyone out there these people will not change and are unable to change, they will grind you down, just as I have been and you will end up feeling worthless. I am a good person and I have a medical working background, so I have a pretty good idea what I am talking about, I also have friends in the medical field who have advised me that these controlling people will never change. I am at the moment trying to keep hold of my home which he keeps sending me txts saying he is going to see me in the gutter. Please don’t let these controlling people to this to us. I hope my story helps in someway.

  19. Ben Says:
    June 9th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Karen,

    I’m so sorry this happened and has gone on so long.

    I’m thrilled you’re getting a divorce and getting away.

    Since he’s harassing you with text messages and has a history of physical violence, get a restraining order. Keep a record of all the messages (including the threatening ones). Call the police if he continues. I hope you called them when he beat you.

    Be brave, determined and relentless.

    I hope your story helps others see the warning signs.

    Best wishes,

  20. Get Away from a Controlling, Bullying, Abusive Husband | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    June 9th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    [...] Notice some typical early warning signs: [...]

  21. germaine hollan Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 6:55 am

    please give me insite on this im a dirvoice mother of twins lefted their father because he was controlling. and now i taught i found the perfect man at church . he asked me to married him on the second date. and my mistake was saying yes. but we have not married yet and i thank god for that . could you please let me know if i man wont let you change stations at his apt on his tv are ask you where you would like to eat. and tell me how he spent two hundred on grocerys for all four of us. i just dont see no way of spending my life with him. so this friday im ending this. but let me know any options anyone might have

  22. Ben Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Hi Germaine,

    Sounds like you left one controlling man for another. Now leave him ASAP.

    And before you hook up with a third, you should look at what you’re seeing that makes you think you’ve found “the perfect man.” Whatever you’ve been looking at, it’s not good enough. Develop better vision and standards. Whatever you’re feeling, don’t be blinded by poor vision.

    The two books, “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks,” and “Bullies Below the Radar” can help you see the early warning signs of controlling, abusive bullies.

    Best wishes,

  23. germaine hollan Says:
    June 11th, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Thank you ben for those wonderful words and i will lool into those books

  24. Ben Says:
    June 12th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Hi Germaine,

    Thank you.

    Hang in. You sound like a person who can do what she needs to in order to get away and then not repeat the same mistake.

    Best wishes,

  25. Marilyn Says:
    July 7th, 2009 at 2:21 am

    I have been married almost 30 years and whereas my husband started off very calm, gentle and nice he has now turned into some kind of control freak and tries to control me subtedly so that I hardly noticed at first.
    He dictates where we go when or if we have a day out. He earns much more money that me but then when we first married I earnt a good wage and had a very good job. I then went on to have his five children and was a stay at home mum for most of those years. He is now telling me that I said to him all those years ago that when all the children grew up I would work full-time again but that is a lie,he is forever telling me to work full time when I can`t and besides years ago I never ever said that, I am not a very well person most of the time these days and have a lot of health issues. I still work about 12 hours a week and bring in some money to contribute and of course do the housework and sort the children out and we have a fairly large house.
    and if we buy any items that are major it always come out of my savings.
    Another thing he does is with our 15 year old daughter (who is very unruly) when I try to lay down certain rules for her he undermines me by letting her off then. Also when I tell her off about anything he never backs me up thus making me always look the baddy in front of our daughter.
    I have grown to hate the man and he is now denying me sex. Even when we have the house to ourselves he will not remotely get intimate with ne!! He had a heart attack two years ago, a mild one and he has suffered with erectile dysfunction too but nevertheless he doesn`t seem to care enough about our marriage to go and see the g.p. about it.
    He is like a cold wet fish with me. He is a fair bit older than me, 11 years in fact and I wish I had never married him. He tries to control what I put in the shopping trolley in the supermarket and is a nightmare to go shopping with. I would go alone but thats another thing, he has deprived me of learning to drive again whilst we have been married – I failed a few tests before our marriage. I took some medication for depression and post natal depression
    for many years and am off it now, he said that I wouldnt ever be able to drive because of the Valium!! ~I stupidly believed him and even now he won`t let me drive the car, yet he expects me to chip in with my minimal wages whenever the car goes wrong or needs to be checked!!!!
    He is controlling I am sure but he also posesses very “wimpish” behaviour telling me that I didnt give a damn that he had a mild heart attack, patronising me to this day, two years later,
    blaming me and saying
    that I never went to the hospital many times to visit him but I myself was ill at the time and couldn`t afford all the bus fares and of course because of him, I do not drive.
    He also rearranges my kitchen stuff sometimes and throws things of mine away in there without asking me. On our recent Wedding Anniversary he went to work but in his lunchhour he went to see a mate of his rather than coming home to see me. I had made no plans whatsoever to see friends on that day and had kept the day free.
    I used to control all our money and control what went in and what went out of our Bank. He has even took that over now and I strongly suspect that he is secretly putting some of his wages away for a “rainy day” as they seem to be eaten away very quickly these days and he never buys anything extral for the house or anything out of them.
    Also whenever my kids text him or mobile him to ask him favours or whether their mates can stop over etc. he gives a decision to the children without consulting me first and recently he said yes to one of them and it wasn`t convenient
    and I am sure my illness bouts are stress related and hormonal as opposed to anything sinister as the Doctors can`t find anything medically wrong with me.
    I have asked him to leave and he won`t even do that, what on earth do I do??? I don`t want to leave him as I would never settle away from home, besides I want to be with my children.
    - my husband says he is not controlling but I am 90% sure that he is. Any ideas??

  26. Ben Says:
    July 10th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Marilyn,

    I’m going to take what you say at face value – you could get along if you got free from him.

    Underneath all your details, you’re acting as if you believe that:
    1. You need to convince him that he’s a bully in order to have a bully-free life.
    2. You need his permission to do what you want – see where the money goes, spend money, not spend money out of your account, go back to school, learn job skills, etc.
    3. You need to convince him that you’re an okay, worthy person – not a bad, needy, helpless person.

    Well, you can try counseling to convince him or you can get an expert to say that he’s a controlling bully, but my experience is that that approach is a waste of time. He’ll have his evidence about your faults and he won’t change. You’ll never convince him.

    Stop arguing. Right now, he has no incentive to change. Once you say that you won’t leave, you’re stuck forever. There are no consequences he cares about if he doesn’t change — so he won’t.

    Obviously you want him to change or you want out. Forget trying to change him.

    You must plan how to get out or get him gone. Or how to build up your own stash of money and hope he’ll die first. Not a lovely or character-building exercise.

    The price you pay for all the years of acceptinmg his behavior is the pain of the things you’ll lose in order to get away. And maybe you’ll set a good example for your kids by creating distance.

    I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is and wishing won’t make it different.

    Remember: What’s the price of putting up with bullying. Slow erosion of your soul. Create distance before you lose track of your soul. Every other price is small compared to that.

    Best wishes and good luck,

  27. Ann Says:
    July 18th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Hi Ben,

    What do you think of my situation?

    I’ve been married for over 20 years. My husband was very charming when we first met and put me on a pedestal. We were head over heels in love.

    The problem started when he asked about my old boyfriends and what we did. Even though I never had sex with anyone and my husband was the first and only one, he wanted every detail of what we did together and even made me act it out. To make a long story short, I lied about one thing because when I told him the truth, he was besides himself and I quickly told him I was mistaken, so I wouldn’t lose him. He is not physically abusive, but he does manipulate and demean me. He talked me into marrying him even though I wasn’t ready. Sometimes if I don’t agree with him, he would argue for hours until I saw things his way. I’d be emotionally drained after his lectures. He had problems with my side of the family since day 1 – how he “knew” they didn’t like him or gave him dirty looks. I’d disagree and say they treat him like everyone else. He was just so sensitive to everything and read people the wrong way. Everytime we see my side of the family, I am uncomfortable. We’d argue for days about things that were said (that he insists were meant in a different way) and looks that were given to him. He always has a mad look on his face, which is probably what people were looking at.

    He loves to disagree with people and debate everything. He gets a thrill out of it, because he is so good. He is extremely smart and takes pride in the fact that he is right about “just about everything”. I am not good with words like he is.

    On the good side, he does encourage me – he helped me start my own business and he compliments me when I least expect it. He tells me he loves me a lot. But he is in a bad mood almost every day because he has a long commute to a good paying, but stressful job. He told me he will never be happy. He complains about me – that I don’t do a good enough job with my business, I’m too easy on the kids (probably because he’s so hard on them) He’s always criticizing the kids in a demeaning way and can’t understand why they are not close to him. He’s always saying that he kills himself so everyone else can have a life. He’s also said that I’d have nothing without him and nobody can love me like he does. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen out of love with him and dread when he comes home and I try to avoid sex because he over-analyzes everything and takes the fun out of it. Whenever I complain about his demeaning ways, he tells me he doesn’t drink, do drugs or cheat on me and if that’s the worst thing, I should deal with it or leave. My youngest is 14 years old. I’m trying to wait until he graduates H.S. to leave but I don’t know if I can wait that long. He does love us and provide a good life, but I’m not happy and I desire to be in love again. Should I wait since I don’t have it so bad? Shouldn’t I be thinking of the kids first?

    Thanks for your time,

  28. Ben Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Hi Ann,

    The way you describe it, you’ve accepted a life of being defensive, debating and losing, and living with an angry, controlling person who doesn’t get why that drives people away.

    So, if you want to go down the path of trying to change your interactions with him:
    1. Break the debating game: For example, say to him, “If you want to go through life angry and winning debates, that’s your choice. I just don’t find that attractive. Your kids don’t find that attractive, even though you’re a good provider.” And walk away. Don’t debate whether you’re right or your feelings are reasonable. Say it a hundred times and turn away each time.
    2. Tell him you need couples counseling – repeatedly.
    3. Change yourself so you don’t get talked into doing things you don’t want (for example, telling him about old boyfriends [you know better than that], marrying him, how your family looks at him). Life is not a debate with the best arguer winning. You hold to your standards and feelings without justification to him according to his standards.

    If you’re done with the marriage and are merely debating whether to leave now:
    1. Change yourself (#3 above).
    2. Stop complaining: say “I don’t like this. If you don’t stop, there will be consequences.” And then have consequences.
    3. Think that no matter what you do, there will be many lessons and consequences for the kids. Some consequences are economic, some emotional, so are examples of their mother and father as a models. You choose which lessons you want to emphasize as your choice. And you’ll get chances when they’re 18, 28, 38 to say, “Here’s what I chose.” Then don’t defend your choice. Simply state it. You’re kids will understand differently at different ages and experiences.

    Even more ideas and tactics are in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks” and “Bullies Below the Radar.” Your husband does use debate as part of his being a Stealth Bully.

    It’s your call. There are no rules of right-or-wrong. Remember, a fundamental part of your problem has been endless arguments about right-or-wrong.

    Best wishes and good luck,

  29. Jen Says:
    July 26th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I really need help. I am 19 and have a 17 month old boy. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 months and moved in with him after only a month.
    When we first met, he was great. He was always there for me, told me he wanted me to quit my job to make me a stay home mom, and wanted me to move out of my parents to start a family. After I moved in, he started pin pointing everything wrong about me, always afraid someone will hit on me, always wants to spend every second of every day he has with me, always wondering what I’m doing when he’s gone, gets mad when I take the time to put on makeup because “that’s the time I could be spending with him”, checking my clothes to make sure they weren’t “revealing” (I’ve always dressed appropriate anyways). I appreciate that he loves doing surprises for me and loves spoiling me, and that’s why I feel like there’s two sides to him. A side I love and a side I absolutely hate.
    He wanted me to lose all contact with my sons deadbeat dad, and I did so it would make him feel like more of a father. Then he said we didn’t need any friends right now cause he “Only needs me and all my friends were bad friends” so we deleted everyones number just to make him happy.
    Now he’s starting on my family, he hates them and thinks they try to make me feel guilty for everything and they don’t appreciate that he took me and my son in. I tell him no ones family is perfect, but he tells me no ones own family treats an outsider badly like they’ve treated him (just because they didn’t “welcome him with open arms”) and they’ve told me they’re concerned for mine and my sons well being.
    Its expecially hard for me because I feel so alone,with his work he’s gone for 3 weeks and then home for 1 week – and no family or friends to talk to, just him. When we argue (which is at least once a week) he can get really violent. He’s called me every name in the book, pushed me, slapped me, thrown things, cut up my clothes for no reason, and damaged property. But when all is said and done after the fight, I’M the one comforting HIM because he cries and says he’s an awful person and I deserve much better because I’m such a nice person. But then he says “if you wouldn’t have been stupid then he wouldn’t have had to freak out”. Its especially hard because he is very smart and knows what to do/say to make me happy or to make me feel guilty. Its always a guilt trip game for him. And after our fights he apologizes and admits it was wrong and he feels bad, but says there’s nothing to do but move on.
    I need help because now he wants to get rid of my family for a while because he can’t stand them always being nosey. He wants to “focus on just us” and he says that’s his last option is to get rid of them for a while. I feel so helpless and numb.
    I love my family and know they’ll always be there for me, but I feel like that’s the only way to make our relationship work is to get rid of them for a while.
    I especially want to make this relationship work because I do love him. I love staying home with my son and he calls my boyfriend dad. Also, when we aren’t arguing, he is the best boyfriend I’ve ever had, being the biggest sweetheart to me and would do anything for me and my son.
    Is it all in my head? Am I overreacting? I have no one to talk to about it. I really need an outsiders opinion please before I break down and litterally go insane.

  30. Ben Says:
    July 27th, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Hi Jen,

    Glad you’ve seen the signs now, before it’s too late. He fits the warning signs doesn’t he?

    He’s typical in loving you nicely to get you and asking what makes sense and sounds like love and wanting to be together. And then, once he’s got you, you get to see the other side – his needy, jealousy, control and isolating you.

    To give him a chance, take a stand now before you hate him and won’t give him a chance. Don’t wait until you have more kids or you’re 30 years older. Tell him no more isolation. Your life and future depend on that. Later, you can decide by yourself what you want to do about which members of your family. Be very specific about the actions you want you want him to start doing – full-time.

    He has to grow up and become the side of him that loves you the way you want do be loved. You don’t have to win a debate; you just have to insist on the side that feels good – because you want it. Reward that side and have consequences for the side that hurts. He’ll resist at first, but if he wants you the way you want to be wanted, he’ll change. Promises are nice, but only behavior counts. Sounds like good practice for raising your son also.

    If he ever touches you or repeats damage to your clothes and house, call the police immediately. He has to know that you’ll act. Unless there’s a penalty, the chances are that he won’t improve. Rule of thumb: Ask for what you want. You’ll get what you put up with.

    Be very, very calm when you talk with the police and make sure they make a record. There are support groups almost everywhere. Find one. Let them teach you how to get the police to believe you and get on your side.

    Don’t make just any old relationship work. Make only the relationship you want work. If he doesn’t want to be part of that relationship with you, create distance now – no matter how difficult it is. It’ll be easier now than later. You’re not his therapist. Having the side of him that treats you and your son the way you want only part-time isn’t enough for either of you. You need a full-time love, who loves you the way you want to be loved.

    Find people who have been through this to talk to. I coach over the phone, but I’m expensive in the short-run [and worth it :) ] and he’d probably have to know where you’re spending the money.

    Take a look at your part in who you’re attracted to. Your part is in mistaking his need, jealousy and control as love and in responding positively to them. And then putting up with it, while hoping for the best. Now you know better.

    Good luck and best wishes,

  31. Sammy Lucci Says:
    August 18th, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Umm.. Why was the article not titled “Top 12 Warning Signs of Controlling Spouses”? For the record, I have a *very* controlling wife.

  32. Ben Says:
    August 23rd, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Sammy,

    Sorry your wife is like that. Care to tell your story?

    I wrote about controlling husbands because most of the people who read and comment are women. But maybe your story will stimulate more men to recognize what’s going on and stop the bullying.

    Best wishes,

  33. N. Says:
    September 16th, 2009 at 11:15 am

    My husband and I have been together for 5 years now. He is controlling and isolates me from friends and family. I can’t talk to ANYONE anymore without him thinking I’m either cheating or planning to something behind his back. I feel lonely and depress at times. He says he trying to change and when our fights get out of control he says he’s trying to change but I’m not and it’s because of me that he acts that way. He checks everything I wear, my phones, emails, etc. He is driving me insane and I feel like I’m slowly losing who I am…myself.

  34. Tesa Says:
    September 21st, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    My husband is very insecure and is very negative about everyday things. When we first met we worked together and I was getting a divorce. After about 6 mos, we he changed and we were already living together. He drank all the time and I ended up calling the police on him twice! We were expecting our first child and I thought it would bring us closer…boy was I wrong! He thought I was cheating on him with my ex…and so he said we should try to get pregnant again so he coudl make sure the baby is his.
    He has always been verbally abusive to me and our 2 children. I have another child from my previous marriage as well that he is (in my opinion) mean to. He treats everyone around him as subordinate and is always thinking that people are disrespecting him. He is always mad at his family and I cannot even talk to mine!! My parents hurt my feelings a ways back and he will not let me talk to them at all.
    I wanted to go to a counselor to talk about our problems and he doesn’t want to go to this particular one because this counselor sees our oldest son as well…(as a family setting) It think he just doesn’t want someone to think he is a jerk when he is putting out the image that he cares about my son. I hate this…he doesn’t want me to go see this counselor by myself…wonder why!?
    He is always getting on my son for his grades at school…keep in mind that my son just came to live with us full time in a new state, new school, new house rules…etc. And my husband expects WAY too much from everyone around him.
    Sex life?? what does that mean!? He has diabetes and says that I make him feel bad when I try and butter him up for some love. He has a hard time getting aroused and says it’s from his diabetes…maybe so…but he won’t do other things for me…and says that I am a nympho is I ever try and ask him to do anything else.
    He calls our kids names…and says he is just joking. He loves to pass out sugar-coated insults. I in the last 2 years have become really resentful of his behavior and find myself acting angerly with him and saying rude things back to him becuase he has hurt me soo much! I know it is not healthy, but I cope this way to avoid the hurt he is putting on me. I have come close to leaving him many times..but then I feel sorry for him and or he says he will change.
    But will it ever really change? My kids are young and see us argue all the time. Our youngest one acts the same as his father…and guess what…he gets into trouble for disrepecting. Well, he only does it becuase daddy does it to everyone! The teachers at school think my son has learned behaviors as well.
    Just need some advice on this…my life is so complicated and I don’t have much friends. If anyone on here would comment back to me and keep a line of communication open so I could look forward to some kind of friendship I would appreciate it. It’s good to know someone who has gone through this kinda of stuff. Thanks for listening.

  35. Tesa Says:
    September 21st, 2009 at 2:55 pm


    I can sooo relate to you..

  36. Ben Says:
    September 21st, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Hi N,

    I’ll be straightforward – you seem to think that:
    1. You have to change the way your husband thinks and that you can do that by arguing.
    2. His opinion is true and it’s your fault unless you can prove to him that he’s wrong and he admits it.

    You’ll never succeed. Forget about his thoughts and focus on his behavior. He must change his behavior or you’ll vote him off your island.

    His excuses (that it’s because of you that he acts the way he does) don’t matter. Promises to change don’t count; only behavior counts.

    Don’t explain, don’t argue, don’t yell and don’t needle him (of course, you do know how to needle him). Stay calm and talk straight.

    If he doesn’t change, have stepwise consequences leading up to him off your island.

    Of course I’m speaking as if you’re not cheating and you’re not a bully yourself. If you are, he’ll be lucky to be voted off your island. :)

    See what Lucy did in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    Hang in. Have courage. Get coaching. Be persevering.

    Best wishes,

  37. Ben Says:
    September 21st, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Hi Tesa,

    I’ll be straightforward.

    Your husband won’t change and you’ve dug yourself a big hole. You must be brave and strong and persevering. And you can dig yourself out. Your children need you to get out and get away from him. They need a better model of what an adult is and what a father is.

    His feelings and excuses don’t justify his behavior. They don’t matter. The only thing that matters is that we honor the responsibilities we’ve taken on. In his case, husband and father.

    You face an all-or-none choice. If you stay and feel sorry for him, you’ll destroy yourself and your children.

    Don’t ask for his permission or agreement. Vote him off your island.

    What’s the price for putting up with bullying? Slow erosion of your soul.

    I hope that’s clear and straightforward. I know it’s not easy. I know it’s hard and might take a long time. Get the coaching and support you need. Keep a spark of hope burning brightly.

    After you’re free you can have sympathy for him from a distance.

    Once you’re free, you’d better improve your own taste. What did you miss when you were dating him? What did you accept that should have warned you to get away before you got too involved?

    Best wishes,

  38. Tesa Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Thank you for your honesty and straighforwardness- I need to see things from a clear and non connected perspective.

    The comment of “His opinion is true and it’s your fault unless you can prove to him that he’s wrong and he admits it.” I know his opinions of me, our kids and other people he is always nit-picking at are not true. He has anger issues and a huge lack of self control. What bothers me the most is that he pushes his thoughts on to me about our kids or my son, or even about myself. And if I do not agree with him, then he is hostile and blows a fuse, slams the bedroom door and yells out obscene enuendos and rude hurtful words.
    He expects way too much from our kids, he micro manages them and expects me to follow suite…and if I don’t, then I am the enemy.

    I do believe in supporting my husband and backing him up…however, I will not do so if he is being absive to others. I can’t support that kind of behavior.
    His tone is awful, it literally sounds like he is always annoyed and irritated when I talk to him or when he talks to me. I have calmly talked to him about this and he says this is the way he talks. And it’s not true, he talks to other people differently than he does me.

    Here is an example, when I was looking for a job, I told him that I was going to get an interview with this really good company. He sounded irritated and said “and your point is…” Well, my point was that I am a stay at home mom and with not much experience in the work field, I was wanting to share my excitment and was needing to hear some good response. I did tell him this and he said that he isn’t a cheerleader. The contrast to this is that a friend of his got a new job and they spent 1/2 hour on the phone talking about it then my husband bragged about it to me. I just smiled and said that is wonderful. (I supported his happiness about his friend.) And since when is having a personal cheerleader..meaning someone coaching you and being happy for you when good things happen such a bad thing??

  39. ramona Says:
    September 27th, 2009 at 8:34 am

    my husband and i we have known eachother for 5 years now but married for almost 2 years now . u see he is very much older than me im 23 and he is 50.i really love him and want our marriage to workout but he is very controlling ….my probelm is i tried my very best to please him but nothin i do really pleases him. im not allowed to wear any pants nor anything without sleeves…i am not allowed to have friends..i cant even wear makeup nor go to the salon ..i feel like dirt sometimes he is not physical abusing me but he does it verbally…since we r married only once he took me out …he never surprise me …meaning i never get a present for not even my birthday or aniversary nor valentines day ..all special ocassion i spent at home like a normal day of my life.. i have to massage him everyday and he does nothin for me ..when i wake up im the mornings the frst thing i see is a bottle of massage oil…he is tellin me to go my and get out of the house but u see he doesnt want me to work so i dont have a job and i am alone i dont have anyone to turn to nor a place to stay …the onyl friend i have is my pc but when im on the pc he always wants to know what im doing im not allowed to have a facebook account either i just feel like committing suecide but i try not to think of iti relly want to leave him i made up my mind to but i dont have a place to go and no money he doesnt even give me any whenn i want some personal things like pads i gotta ask him to buy it for me

    i really need help!
    please for some advise

  40. Ben Says:
    October 3rd, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Hi Ramona,

    Stop being his slave. Stop being a guydoll. I’ll assume that you’re really fine and have been good to him.

    Your tactic – getting him to please you by pleasing him first – hasn’t worked. You haven’t pleased him enough and never will. Give it up and try a new tactic.

    Don’t accept his control. Your life is your island. You get to vote on who stays and who goes. He doesn’t get to vote and he doesn’t get to decide if your reasons are good enough. “Because I want to” is the strongest reason in the world.

    Get a job, get friends, save money – become independent. Find someone worthy to love. You’re young, you have time. Dedicate yourself to the rest of your life.

    See the examples of Lucy and Brandi and others in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    Good luck,

  41. Ben Says:
    October 3rd, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Tesa,

    What I meant to say was that “HE THINKS his opinion is true and it’s your fault unless you can prove to him that he’s wrong and he admits it.” Stop arguing and trying to justify your standards and what you want in a husband. The most powerful reason for doing anything, especially clearing him out of your life, is “Because I want to.”

    You’ll never get anywhere arguing with him as long as he thinks you’ll stay and put up with him. He’ll never believe threads to leave. He’ll only believe final divorce papers.

    Remember: What’s the price of putting up will bullying. Slow erosion of your soul. And your children’s souls also. If you stay, they’ll learn to be victims alternating with being bullies, because they see that bullying wins.

    Don’t need anything from him. You won’t get it. Get what you need from someone else. Clear space on your island so someone who is good to you can come on.

    It’s your vote about who you let on your island. He doesn’t get to vote and you don’t have to put off acting until he decides that your reasons are good enough.

    I know it’s hard, but there it is.

    See the examples of Lucy, Jean and others in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    Good luck,

  42. Stop Bullies: Will Knowing Why Bullies Keep Abusing Us Help Us Stop Them? | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    October 4th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    [...] who want to stop bullying in their love lives or in relationships with their siblings, parents and [...]

  43. chelle Says:
    October 10th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I have been married to my husband for 11 years and I’ve got some issues with him. I’ve got 2 kids that is 10 and 6. We have moved an hour away from my home town to his home town about 5 years ago. I feel and my friends and family feels that my husband is controlling. I have so much to talk about with him and don’t know where to begin. I need help on finding myself without others getting involved. I had a reallity check for a while now and I don’t know what to do. I just don’t love him like I used to love him. The big issue that I have is that if I don’t give into him and have sex with him he makes a big deal about it. He thinks that I am cheating on him. I haven’t ever cheated on him. I spend alot of time with my best friend because she enjoys doing things with me. As to where he plans stuff for himself only. He has a full time job and he takes on-line coarses for college and he also is involved in church and does alot for them. He even coaches flag football and even upwards basketball. He also goes the the gym to work out after work 3 days a week. When someone asks him to do something he will do it for them. But when I ask for him to do something for me and try to make plans with him he has always told me that he is too busy and got to do this or that or we have no money but then he doesn’t like for me to do any thing with my best friend. I used to pay the bills for years and he got tired of not having any money cause i would always pay the bills and not leave much for us to spend for the next 2 weeks. Now he has control of the checking account and bills and alot of the bills will not get paid in time nor get paid at all. I feel that sometimes if I don’t do what he wants then he will get angry with me and then choses to fight with me. So I usually do things for him to keep the peace. Within the last few years I have not planned for him to go any where with me because I always know that he has no time for me. I always have to ask him what he has planned for the week or weekend so that way I know rather to take the kids with me. He expects me to do things that I don’t want to do and that’s usually something to do with the church or something that will make him look real good as a family thing. I used to count down the years when my oldest one would turn 18 cause then I would divorce my husband. But then I had another kid and just accepted the way our marriage is and was. But now I want out of this marriage but am afraid of moving and leaving him with the mortgage because the property was given to him 6 years ago and we put a house on it. I love my house and the area that I am in and I also miss my home town. My best friend can’t stand the way he treats me. He will sit at the computer all day and all night and not acknowledge me being here. I have tried to sit in the room with him while he is on the computer and he gives me attitude and says “WHAT” really hateful. If he’s talking on the phone he will go to the other room and close the door. He doesn’t go to bed with me when I go to bed unless he is expecting for me to do something for him sexually. If I just ignore him then he gets angry with me and starts yelling at me and wants to know why he can’t touch me. But he only touches me when I am asleep. He has threaten me several times that I am going to lose him and take the kids away from me. He has called me an unfit mother 2 times out of the 10 years and that has went straight through me. I am not an unfit mother I keep my house cleaned and make sure the kids get their bath and make sure they are fed. I don’t have the discription to be an unfit mother. I love my kids very much and they are a part of my life. The only thing that I am thankful for in this marriage is my 2 kids. I would not trade them for the world. He has pushed me down on the bed years ago. The first and the last. He had picked up a hand full of rocks and was going to throw them at me when we were dating. He has taken my keys away from me and threw them so hard that the rings on the keys were bent. He has told me to leave and not come back several times. I got tired of hearing that from him so I started packing and when he seen that I was going to take up his offer then he started being a big baby and started unpacking my close. I want to leave so bad. I want to get out of this relationship but am afraid to make the change. I think about my kids first. I don’t want them to go through life of having 2 different homes. If it wasn’t from them then I would have left along time ago. I seen this side of him before I married him but was stupid to carry on with him. By then I had already had my dress and inventations ready and didn’t want to waste the money that my mom had put into the wedding. Some days I feel like he is my father because of me having to get permission with him for this and that. He makes the decissions and what he says is what it will be. If I suggest something on how things will get done then he says something different and it has to stay the way he mentioned for something to be. I am just so lost and confused with myself I don’t know what to do and where to begin because we have faught so much over the years and he keeps telling me he is going to change. He does for a while but then he goes back to being the same jerk he was before. Maybe I should have wrote a book for you. Just please help me.

  44. Ben Says:
    October 12th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Hi Chelle,

    He won’t change; he has no motivation to. The longer you let it go on, the worse it will get. And what’ll you do if you get pregnant again.

    1. Stay for the next 12 years. But think of what you’re teaching your children by staying, which will count much more than what you say. You’re saying that bullies win and women take it. I think that avoiding that lesson is more important than their having two homes.

    2. Make careful plans to get away. It’ll be difficult but then you’ll be free while you’re still young.

    Often, people who really want to get help, pay me for phone coaching, but maybe there are places in town where you can get help and support, even though it might get out.

    See the study of an independent person, Jean who made it work to stay in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.” But note all the other studies of people who didn’t give in. Also see the study of Grace in “Bullies Below the Radar: How to Wise Up, Stand Up and Stay Up.”

    Best wishes,

  45. Lexi Says:
    November 6th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    First, let me tell everyone how I got into my current situation. I was born and raised in New Orleans so needless to say I was here for Katrina, the worst storm to ever hit LA. At that time I was living in my own apt., working as a nurse, raising my two boys, and very independent! Well, after the storm I lost everything, had to get a new job where I was sexually abused by a doctor there and finally had enough and quit. So, no job, no money with two kids, My ex husband who I have been divorced from since 1997, took us in and we have been here ever since. After a year or two he began thinking we were a couple again. We sleep in different rooms, I had/still have a boyfriend and want to leave. After knowing me for so long, he knows my soft spots and uses them to his advantage. He isolates me from my friends(women)and Does not “Allow” me to have (men) friends. He follows me everywhere I go without him, usually finds me, calls my cell phone and screams at me to “get my ass outside, NOW” and for some reason, I listen!!! Everyone says how nice of a guy he is, but they don’t have to live with him, he goes to work, I stay here and that’s just how he likes it. If for some reason I go out during the day, he calls all damn day, while I am home, not one call! Ok, the latest story…my friend, a women, had free tickets for the new orleans hornets game and asked if I wanted to go. I said yes and called “him” He works close to where the game was and actually told me he was going to stay at work until he could follow my friend and I home from the stadium. My 15 y.o. son was home and “HE” get off of work at 5pm, the game didn’t end until midnight…he actually stayed at work until midnight so he could control where I was and make sure I wouldn’t go anywhere else. This is just a little story of how he follows me, there is way too much more to write. How do I get out of this without hurting our son?? My son doesn’t want to move because all his friends and school, so I would have to leave him here with his crazy dad. It breaks my heart so I stay and take the shit because I don’t want to leave my baby! Please help!

  46. Ben Says:
    November 9th, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Hi Lexi,

    Sorry, that’s a lot dumped on your plate.

    I’ll be straightforward. You’ve dug a big hole and it’ll take you time to dig steps so you can climb out. That means making a lot of good decisions consistently. You’ll find case studies that relate in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    And you said how you got there – “for some reason I listen.” Stop Listening. Stop drifting in and out of situations that will inevitably turn out bad for you.

    Don’t let fear rule you. Fear-based reasons and excuses always lead us to make the wrong decisions. You have to stand up for your future and take risks to have a chance to make that future possible.

    For example, no matter what you tell your son when you accept his father’s bullying, he’ll see that bullies win. You’re letting his father teach him how to abuse women and get away with it.

    He’s not your baby, he’s 15. You’ll never be able to help him if you stay. If you leave and make your life good, he’ll have a chance to see things straight. He may grow up good and seek you out, or he may be weak and choose to be like his father. You can’t control his decision – free will – and you’ll never help him by staying.

    I know it’s hard. But we all had ancestors with the strength, courage, determination and grit to survive much more than we face today. Tap into that strength. Take charge of your body and your space. No more bullies. Nurses know where to kick doctors for maximum effect when facing sexual abuse.

    Be strong! Or all will be lost. Prioritize and make the most important ones realities.

    Find local groups that will help you.

    Good luck,
    Best wishes,

  47. sandra Says:
    November 12th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I know how you feel my husband is the same way.
    I have been dealing with this for the past 17 years.He won`t let me do anything by myself.I have
    filed for divorce once.He told me to forgive him
    that he would change but he hasn`t change.Now he controls my children.I have a 16 and 15 teenagers
    they are not allowed to go out with their friends.If they use the phone he unplugs the phone.I think he really needs help.He is very controlling.I have told him that I had enough of this.He tells me that he won`t give me the divorce.That I won`t take the kids away from him.

  48. Ben Says:
    November 13th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Sandra,

    He may need therapy or brainwashing to become the way you want but that’s not going to happen.

    You got to the point of filing for divorce and then gave him one more chance. But you forgot the next step.

    He learned that he could talk you out of things.

    See how Jean uses filing for divorce in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    Prepare yourself. Don’t believe what he promises. Believe what he does.

    See a lawyer. Get a coach.

    Get local support for women controlled by stealth bullies.

    Best wishes,

  49. Struggling but strong Says:
    November 29th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    This is a great blog– I just posted a comment on another of your entries, and then I looked around some more on the blog and found this entry which hit home even more. My husband fits so many of the warning signs.

    1. Overt physical violence – He’s never hit me or anything like that. On a great many occasions he has poked me unexpectedly, sometimes leaving a bruise; or he has pretended to punch me and then laughed about it.

    2. You’re afraid you’ll trigger a violent rage – I’m always afraid of his bad temper.

    3. They make the rules; they control everything – This is very much the case .I feel I have to ask permission to live my life.

    4. You feel emotionally blackmailed, intimidated and drained. He has threatened suicide if I leave. I think this is blackmail.

    5. You’re told you’re incompetent, helpless and would be alone without them. He always points out how I’m incompetent at various small tasks.

    6. You’re told that you’re to blame if they hurt you. When I have pointed out the bruises he’s caused from poking me, he says I must be anemic. If he pokes me or tickles me and I say “ouch,” he always says, “that didn’t hurt.”

    7. They push boundaries, argue endlessly and withhold approval and love if you don’t do exactly what they want. This one really hits home. He argues CONSTANTLY. All he wants to do is debate me. He will ask my opinion on something, then argue about why I am wrong.

    8. Their standards rule – your “no” isn’t accepted as “no;” they’re always right and you’re always wrong; their sense of humor is right and they’re not abusing you, you’re too sensitive. Oh, this one hits home, too. If I say “no,” he’ll argue or make me feel guilty until I acquiesce. When he makes one of his “jokes,” for example, calling me a name, calling me “fattie” (I’m not overweight) or one of his racist jokes, and I tell him it’s not funny, he tells me I need to lighten up and I am too sensitive.

    9. They isolate you – they won’t allow you to see you friends or your family, go to school or even work. In subtle ways he has isolated me from my family by being rude to them.

    10. They control you with their disapproval, name-calling, putdowns, demeaning, blame and guilt – no matter what you do; you’re wrong or not good enough. He makes me feel guilty all the time. If I get home from work and don’t immediately go and give him a kiss, he points it out.

    11. Your concerns generally don’t get dealt with – theirs are more important so they can ignore your wishes. Yes.

    12. They control you with their hyper-sensitive, hurt feelings and threats to commit suicide. Yes, he is extremely sensitive; no matter how gently, if I point out something he did that hurt my feelings, somehow I’m the one who ends up feeling guilty. And he has threatened suicide if I leave.

    I want to leave him. There is no good reason I haven’t. I am just afraid and I feel weak.

  50. Ben Says:
    November 30th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Struggling

    Yes, you do have him pegged. He’s textbook. Those are the signs of a bullying control-freak, aren’t they?

    Get free before you’re broke and have kids. If you have kids with him, guess what tactics they’ll learn to control you?

    Stop arguing with him. Love and life aren’t debates to win or lose. Find someone who loves you without debates.

    Wish this bully well and from a great distance.

    Beware, he sounds like the type who’ll blame you as an excuse to try to take everything you have. Get a strong lawyer.

    Get an on-going coach to deal with each issue and each hesitation while (not just before) you get free.

    Read the cases of Brandi and Lucy in How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.” Read about Grace in “Bullies Below the Radar.”

    Also, refer to my response to your other post at: http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2009/06/09/get-away-from-a-controlling-bullying-abusive-husband/

    Your future is calling to you. Have courage, strength and grit.

    Best wishes,

  51. Mimi Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    I wanted a copy of the list of bulling behavior at the beginning of this article and I got 17 pages of mostly repetitve behavior. this is a waste and I’m very sorry I asked for the first page and will not do this again.

  52. Ben Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Hi Mimi,

    Sorry, that is so weird. That never happened to anyone before. It’s always copied like it looks. The list should be right there in the article.

    Stay cool. I’ll email you a copy of the article.

    Best wishes,

  53. D. Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    The situations posted here are so reminiscent of mine. I have been married for 17 years to a man who is at one moment syrupy sweet and the next psycho controlling. Everything came to a head a little over a year ago when he found out I was having an affair. I had had my fill of his moods and control over my so I went to the extreme and did everything possible to make him want to leave me. When he discovered what was happening he lost it and begged me not to go. We attended counseling for a few months and even renewed our vows. His behavior over that time was suspiciously nice. Just the past few months I have seen a regression to the man I knew was always under there. He still doesn’t trust me, still wants to dictate what I wear, won’t let me talk to or hang out with friends and most of all since I am excelling in my career (teaching) he is jealous of the time required to do a good job. We have three girls 7,10 and 13. I am terrified to leave, unsure of what he would be capable of doing. He has said he cannot live without me and I am his only reason for living. Like the other men in the stories he is a great boss at his work and is liked by everyone, they have no idea of his personality at home. I have a way out, I am just too scared to make it happen. Does he still have that much control over me? How do I take that first step? I called a lawyer the first time and it all backfired on me. What should I do?

  54. Ben Says:
    December 18th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Hi D,

    I think the key for you is hidden in your sentence, “… so I went to the extreme and did everything possible to make him want to leave me.”

    Take charge of your own life. If you’re done (affairs are one of the signs) then you be up front and straight. Don’t act like a jerk in order to make him hate you. Your kids will think you’re a jerk also. You take the initiative and leave.

    Get a good lawyer. Get a good coach.

    Read “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    Best wishes,

  55. Joy. (less) Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Never did i imagine i would be married to such a controlling man. I can’t go out not even to a grocery store, can’t text anyone but him. He constantly calls me a fat b**** or worse. He tells me to lose weight all the time when i know i’m fine. I’m in the military all by myself until he joins me a couple months from now. I’ve told him that his words hurt me especially about me not being able to produce a child he says maybe my body was not made to have babies just to please other men. I’ve really cleaned up that last statement it would not be proper to say what really came out of his mouth. He degrades me, he says he’s only like this because we’re apart like when i was in training previously it was really hard i’ve been good to him, be faithful but i feel like he’s pushing me away he has been physical and made threats on my life what hurts the most are the words he says to me about me. I don’t know who i am anymore. He says we’re better when we’re together but it’s not true he has shown me how mean he can get. He tells me not to think cause i’m stupid. I’m not allowed to have goals he says he regrets that he ever encouraged me to join the military. I work in a male dominant career field i can’t do anything about that but i love the person he used to be i don’t know who he is. what do i do?

  56. Ben Says:
    December 26th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Joy(less),

    Let’s see if I’m missing something here. Your husband is controlling, he calls you a fat b**** or worse (it doesn’t matter whether you are or not – do you want to be spoken to that way?), he degrades you, he pushes you away, he’s mean, he tells you that you’re stupid, he calls you things you can’t write here, he’s been physical, he’s threatened your life and you don’t know who you are anymore. Oh yes, he also has excuses that make him feel justified.

    What’s not to get here? Do you think it’ll get better as you get older? As you have kids?

    What are you doing with a person like that? Don’t argue, don’t debate, don’t listen to his BS justifications. Get as far away as possible before it’s too late. Get friends – even in the military – who think much more of you and who wouldn’t treat anyone that way.

    Look for love under different rocks.

    Best wishes,

  57. Rude Valentine,Valentine Film Says:
    January 24th, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Good list of those signs. This will serve as warning to those would be victims of love.

    How can you prevent your partner from controlling you upon knowing these signs?

  58. Ben Says:
    January 28th, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Hi Valentine,

    When I’m coaching people, we need more details to design a plan that fits you and your specific situation.

    A generalization would be; “Just say ‘No.’”

    “Create an island of song in a sea of shouts.” Rabindranath Tagore

    Retrain your partner. That’s where the specific tactics come in.

    See “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks” for many case studies, especially those of Lucy, Brandi and Jean.

    Best wishes,

  59. heidi Says:
    February 2nd, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Boy these signs are right on the dot for my husband. He denies it all of course. I am so tired of his controlling. I think it sets him off more cause I wont let him control me anymore.Took me awhile to figure that out!!! Thank God we dont hav kids.I do fear him hurting my animals and belongings just to get back at me. I hope it doesnt happen.Luckily he moved out for the third time. How do you point this out to them??!!!

  60. Ben Says:
    February 3rd, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Hi Heidi,

    Good for you – don’t submit.

    Let’s see if I have it straight. You are so tired of his controlling. You don’t have kids and you fear for your animals and belongings. He moved out for the third time.

    Why aren’t you changing the locks and getting a restraining order and a divorce?

    Don’t point anything out to him. His problem is not that he’s ignorant. His problem is that he’s a controller.

    Your problem is that you’re still letting him on your island. Get him off your island and get someone you’ll be happy with. Find true love with someone who’s great to be with and doesn’t control you.

    Best wishes,

  61. confussed Says:
    February 11th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    I have been married 16 years. He has always been controlling even before we got married. I was leaving him, then I found we were expecting. So now we have two kids and its been 16 years. I think he is getting worse. I read all the signs and he fits most of them to a tee. I just need to learn how to seperate my heart and ny head and leave, but i can’t becasue I think “think” being the word, I think I am still head over heals in love with him, but I am also sarting to hate him. he does not treat me nice ever! He never tells me I love you, or I look nice, it is constant verbal abuse. I am a child of divorce so I swore I would never do that to my kids, but I want someone to love me the way I have loved him all these years. Is it out there? Or am I fooling myself for thinking it is? I want out, I want a nice guy, I want true love! but I need some kind of support and I live in a small town with none. He wants to know where I am who I am with all the time. He checks my cell phone and monitors how much I go out with the girls. I have to just leave but I can’t bring myself to do it. Where should I start?

  62. Can Grandparents Stop Controlling Sons-in-Law? | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    February 11th, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    [...] of the saddest cries for help I hear is from nice, kindly, well-meaning grandparents whose daughters have given in to their controlling husbands.  Their daughters don’t come to visit and don’t bring the grandchildren, they schedule visits [...]

  63. Ben Says:
    February 12th, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Hi Confused,

    You’ve describe the same situation that lots of women and men feel.

    When you say, “Head over heels,” you’re really saying head over spirit. Don’t let your heels rule. You’ll only crush your spirit. Support your spirit. Empower your spirit.

    Set an example for your kids. Right now you’re teaching a son to bully and control his wife, and you’re teaching a daughter to accept being controlled and bullied by her boyfriends and husband. Don’t set that example.

    Kick him off your island. Make room for the nice guy you want.

    I know it’s hard.

    “Bullies Below the Radar” is the case study of what it took for “Grace” to bring herself to the point of acting. There are also some examples in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.” From what you’ve said, you’ll need expert coaching to design a plan that fits you and your situation.

    Call me.

    Best wishes,

  64. confussed Says:
    February 12th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Thank you for the reply back. I have never looked at it that way, very enlightening about my spirit being crushed. I think that is exactly what he has done. I also have a son and duaghter so you were right on with that also. So where do I start? Should I read one of the books you mentioned? Or call you first? I have alot of emotions to work through. He will accuse me of everything under the sun when I make a move. He always tells me Nobody gets divorced unless someone is having an affair. I told him not always, but I guarantee he will accuse me of it and make my life hell! So I need support big time if I am going to do this.
    Thanks for your help!

  65. Ben Says:
    February 15th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Confused

    Glad you can see the effect on your spirit.

    I think you start on the path of talking and reading at the same time. You’ll get books faster if you order from my web site. And call me at 3093-458-6616.

    Since there are kids involved, don’t do anything external until we’ve created a plan you can carry out.

    But you should know in your heart and spirit that once you go down the path to divorce, it’s very freeing. His opinion doesn’t matter any more. He’ll think you’re having an affair, but you don’t have to debate, argue or convince him that you’re not. You’ll have to show the kids you’re not, but not him.

    Won’t you feel great not having to argue with him or get his agreement or permission?

    Best wishes,

  66. Gloria Says:
    March 3rd, 2010 at 11:19 am

    So many of these messages are familiar to me. Several years ago I met a man who I thought was ‘the one’. When we began to live together everything changed. He became increasingly controlling and mean. I was not to see anyone of my friends unless he came along so I had no private time to myself. He had to tag along to everything I did. He was insanely jealous to the point of driving his fist through a wall. If I was overly polite to a male waiter or any male for that matter he told me I was a whore. He opened my mail and followed me. He then began to restrict my time with my children. Then he hit me. That was the end but it took a physical blow for me to finally wake up. My self esteen had been so eroded that I felt trapped and basically stupid. One day when he was out I packed what I could and ran for my life.
    To all the women here who are in abusive and controlling relationships know this..at some point he will hit you. Abusive behaviour only escalates and it will only escalate if you let it. You have to find your way out. I had often told myself, where will I go, what will I do. Go to family or friends, move far away if you have to but go. Don’t think for a moment that you can’t be strong. You are worth more than you know.

  67. Ben Says:
    March 5th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Hi Gloria,

    Thanks for sharing your story and words of encouragement. You know what you’re talking about!

    Good for you for getting away. So many people put up with the bullying, abuse and brutality for years before their spirits finally explode and make them get away.

    There’s often a “Last straw” experience that finally changes our whole internal worlds and we simply must get out in order to draw a deep breath again. Grace, in “Bullies Below the Radar,” and Brandi, Lucy and Alicia, in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks,” are only a few examples.

    Sometimes, isn’t it easier to make a plan after you’re away? The more distance, the better in order to help you recover yourself; your strength, courage and determination. So you can recover the future you want to create for yourself.

    Glad you can be a model for your children!

    Best wishes,

  68. Sarah Button Says:
    April 12th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    My ex husband is a very unhappy and insecure man who suffered his fathers bullying behaviour and at the age of 40 still does. He is a talented and intelligent man who has suffered and wilted in his fathers shadow. However as a consequence he has mimicked his fathers destructive and cruel behaviour believing this as his only strength; when in truth his intelligence and humour would be significantly more powerful. After many years together and 3 children later plus for me a scrape with death (I had non hodgkins medistinal lymphoma)and was given 8 weeks to live having given birth to our third child 1 month prematurely.
    I filed for divorce because I could see that the way my ex husband treated me was having a profound effect on our children and not only did it have an effect on their behaviour towards me but also how they viewed marriage and the role mummy and daddy played.
    The main reason my ex husband was attracted to me – apart from the physical(I worked in marketing for cars – such as land rover, range rover, jaguar etc.) was my independence and strength and the fact that I had excelled in a man’s world. These were ultimately the traits he grew to resent and criticise! I have found that this is a common complaint as a cause of the breakdown of relationships – I loved my ex husbands arrogance and complete confidence, it made me feel safe. However when I had children and was financially vunerable all of his arrogance was focused on me!I do not want another parent/authoritarian I want a friend and lover. I can only find female friends and male lovers! Sadly I am not a lesbian, although I seriously considered trying to be one. No offence meant! I love women, I just really enjoy sleeping with men.
    Sorry I have gone off on a tangent! I could envisage my girls accepting their boyfriends behaving towards them the same way my ex husband did towards me, plus seeing my son treating any girlfriend in that way would make me ashamed and feel like I had failed as a parent. I am not a crazy femanist but I believe everyone deserves respect and consideration(whether you agree or not), I would rather agree to disagree than cause unecessary conflict. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
    As a consequence of life’s experience’s I have become very unemotional and cynical with the exception of my children who are my life and joy!
    My mother is a manic depressive who rarely showed emotion and although I love her dearly I feel sad for what she missed out on being a mother. I have tried to be and do everything my mother didn’t or couldn’t. I am completely aware I am the polar opposite of my mother, but felt I had no choice. My mother doesn’t drive, cook, socialise, take care of her appearance and my father indulges her behaviour. My sister (Terri) and I have been independent from a very young age(we were both sent to boarding school at 11 years old – we lived in Zambia), although this is an advantage it is also a curse as it makes you incredibly independent and self sufficient. I am exceptionally close to my sister and with time and experience become closer. She is everything I am not and vice versa, but I know I trust her implicitely and love her despite all of our differences. She drives me insane but if we disagree we just let it go! I learn from her different opinions, even if I think she is wrong. I want the same relationship from my partner! Is it possible? I want to be girly and romantic, but I am practical and unemotional. Ironically men find my behaviour attractive and behave as if I am playing a game, however I don’t subscribe to ‘The rules’ game playing to land your man! If that is the way he operates you will spend your life playing games, and that is too exhausting on top of which men are not pets, if that is what it takes to find a husband you are better off without one! I think what I am asking is am I strange to want to find a partner who is not only a really good friend as well as a lover not forgetting the fact that I am completely superficial and want a handsome man – my granny told me I would marry a handsome prince!!! Honestly how many of them exist? And if they do I am at least 10 years too late! Plus all of my indisgresions would be made public! Oh the shame! I apologise for my self indulgent rant however I cannot confide in anyone in my incestuous community and it would be nice to have an outside opinion.
    I constantly question my decision to divorce

  69. Ben Says:
    April 13th, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m so glad you got away.

    First about him: When we’re kids our choices are very limited. But when we mature/become adults we have a choice, or many, many opportunities to choose differently than the examples we grew up with. In my experience, people like your ex don’t change until they bottom out and lose everything … repeatedly. Each time is an opportunity for them to get it.

    For example, see my blog post: Getting over parents who wound their children

    You chose to be different from your mother. Good for you and lucky for your children.

    Also, you stated the number one reason why most people leave those bullying situations: to be models for their children. Hope they learn.

    I know that “Everyone is entitled to their opinion.” And one of our best choices with people whose opinions and behaviours are like your ex’s is to get them out of our personal space. That’s different from the disagreements you may have with your sister.

    I don’t waste time generalizing about men and whether statistically you have a chance. Instead, stick with your standards and seek-find a wonderful one who wants you as you are … and fits your criteria. That’s not strange. That’s the call of your Spirit to you. Honor that call!

    Don’t let today’s moment of loneliness darken your future or make you regret clearing your space. You’d never have an opportunity to fill your space with someone wonderful if that bully was squatting in it.

    For example, see the studies of Brandi and Lucy in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    You may have to get into a larger community in order to find a person who fits.

    Keep your spirits up.

    Best wishes,

  70. Renee Says:
    May 10th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I am a 33 year old woman and just started seeing a 36 year old male. We met off of a dating site. He contacted me on a Thursday and met on that following Sunday. He seems like a guy who has his head on straight, been in the military, a police officer and now works a high profile job. When we met in person we met at a restaraunt and he asked me what I wanted, of course I explained to him I wanted a good man then he asked me if I wanted a relationship. I told him I wanted to get to know him and see what happens, that answer was not good enough for him so I basically said I wanted to get serious with him when deep inside I did not know yet. Well when he calls me he is always questioning me where I am at, did I talk to any men that day and when I answer him the truth he does not believe me and will make accusations that I am going to cheat on him. I just went down last Thursday because he lives 2 hours away and spent 2 nights in a hotel. We had a great time but it did not take much for him to get snappy with me. For instance I have a tatoo on my back with my ex’s name on it and when he saw that he instantly got pissed and I tried to explain to him that that was my past. He was constantly asking me if I really want him and I replied always with a “yes”. The lastnight I stayed he had to goto work a late shift and we were suppose to see each other sometime that night but he had to end up working almost 20 hours. Well I did not hear from him for a while before leaving and I was concerned as any female would be and he got pissed with the text messages I was sending him. I call him when he tells me to call him and god forbid if I do not answer the phone which has only been maybe 1 or 2 times I get questioned and whatever answer I give him I am a “liar”. He will call me and not talk long and tell me he will call me back and then I will not hear from him for hours and I told him if I did that he would be interrogating me. I live with my mother and stepfather right now and my stepfather is a controller and has to know everything I am doing and is very negative to this idea of me seeing this guy. Well I tell this guy the things my stepfather tells me so now I got told today that he cannot handle it and gave me an ultimatem of leaving my parents house and coming to live with him or it is over with and I have only known him for almost 2 weeks. He told me my stepfather is controlling me and he can’t handle that. I goto school fulltime and told him that I cannot just transfer in the middle of a quarter and he does not believe me, and that if I really cared for him I would go down to be with him. Not only does he question everything that I do, but he thinks I go out to the bars, he mentioned to me lastnight that most girls have treated him like shit and I told him since they treated him like shit that I have to pay the price for what they have done and that that is unfair on my behalf. Anytime I say something to him serious or meaningful he snaps back and tells me that I am stupid, dumb, I am living life as a “lie”. I had mentioned to him that he was scaring me and that I thought he was controlling, now he is telling me I am trying to control him and that it is scaring him, and by all means I am the last person who would control someone. I am lost for words and have never been treated like this! My gut instinct is telling me something is wrong, but I find myself wanting to keep talking to him, constantly apologizing to him when I feel I have done nothing wrong…….I am LOST here in Ohio!

  71. Ben Says:
    May 12th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Hi Renee,

    There’s something going on in you that requires an expert coach to help you with.

    If I get it straight, you have a control-freak step father and you’re two weeks into dating a boundary pushing control-freak. But you’re 33, not 15.

    The first time he pushed for the answer he wanted about what you were interested in, and you basically told him what he wanted to hear, you lost. You told him he could keep pushing your boundaries and you were so what – desperate, needy? – that you’d tell him what he wanted. He knew that he could push the next boundary you had.

    As soon as you answer a controlling interrogation (he is a police officer) you’re under his control even if you have a good answer.

    Do you really think you can change him or that you’ll ever please him?

    You need a good coach to help you start following your gut instead of the part of you that keeps “wanting to keep talking to him, constantly apologizing to him when I feel I have done nothing wrong”.

    What you’ve “LOST here in Ohio!” is yourself, your gut. Better find that. You know what happens to lost girls who drift into someone else’s control, don’t you?

    Read the studies of Brandi and Lucy in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.” Get away now and never see him again or you’ll end up like Alicia, afraid for her life.


    Best wishes,

  72. Joshua Says:
    July 4th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Hi, Ben I came to this website because I want to know how not to be controlling? I believe I can be and do want to avoid it at all cost. I am in a relationship that is important to me, and I have been finally “tagged as controlling”. I’m refreshing myself on what controlling is in others minds, because I feel as if I’m being led to think that I am crazy. Furthermore, though I am confident in myself, I want to be as open minded as I can be. Again I don’t want to be controlling, I am asking for advice on how not to be.

    I would say I have been somewhat in a happily married status for the last three years. My wife and I met as two independent people successful and happy.. We both had long drawn out conversations about what we wanted in a relationship. We both were open about what we felt our deficiencies were upfront and how to overcome them. I don’t think we have ever had a magical moment, we both don’t believe in sparks, but we just kind of… well, grew into a darn good relationship come to think of it.

    Our dilemma, however, as complex as I can make it is simple. My wife has been through a life of pain, growing up in a family plagued by incest; being raped by a close friend of the family at the age of 15, with relatives present. I believe was wrong, never want a child of mine to go through that. She kept the child, married twice to men she sought love from, had three others along the way. I know and love them all dearly, we are all in good relation. And yet through all that baggage, after four years of the single life I find myself humbled to say she married me.

    I am in the service, so our only moments apart was obviously to war, during which time our relationship stayed very much intact through frequent calls and writing, emails, love boxes, the whole works. Before, during, and especially after the deployment we receive good amounts of counseling on gradually rebuilding the relationship and letting the balance of life kind of restore itself with gradual efforts and time. She obviously paid the bills and took care of about everything while I was gone. I did what I could over the phone, or through slow moving mail. We made it.

    Yet, I feel life has never been the same after the independence she had while I was gone, which she has stated to enjoy; and though she appreciated me, she really doesn’t want to continue in the relationship. Wow! Even with all the classes and counseling. You know my parents who too went through a shockingly violent divorce, I was shocked to say the least. I didn’t see it coming.

    I said that because I made a vow that if I were to have problems in my relationship that I would find a peaceful way to resolve it, I was eight when my dad and mom split. They were both loving, and church going Christians, but when they split there was much thunder and lightning, and they never got back together. Whatever it was they hid it well, because now that I am older even the closest of family do not understand why… I have asked both of my parents and they have failed to give me a clear answer. They just kind of fell apart.

    I don’t want to go through that. I just want my wife to be happy. The thunder and lightning isn’t necessary, it felt horrible as a kid to experience witnessing it after my parents hid it for so long. If my wife wants to go, then I hope she’ll go peacefully.

    When I came back from overseas she was obviously grateful at first. I told her of my wishes to start school and to be more involved in church and my community, which before I came back we had discussed and I only followed through with what we had decided together to do. Some things we did together. Some things like attending college and giving bible studies, she openly prefer for me to do with trusted elders in the faith. So I did.

    So there I was (I’m sure you knew that was coming) :) … I’m in class and she text me saying where was I, as though I had never told her. I text where I was. She denied the fact and said she was outside the building looking for my vehicle. She happened to be at the wrong building, I’d admit. But undoubtedly she was stocking. I stepped out of class called her, but to no avail. I was yelled at and hit after being isolated. She knew she was wrong and continued to stock me after I showed her the right building.

    Financially I have found no solution to find a healthy balance. When we first met I felt secure and free from worry because she being financially stable had five cars of her own, her own place and decent job. She enjoyed plenty of time with friends which I loved and still do encourage her to do, and she does. Yet, she doesn’t share the same understanding for my family and friends. She often has talked bad about them. Sometimes I feel hurt by what she says, but realize that she is “entitled to her own opinion”. I don’t choose sides, but I do spend time with her even if we are doing nothing important at all, instead of going to important, once in a lifetime events like our first female cousin getting married which was a big thing for my family. She could have, but wouldn’t come, though she was openly invited. She did however go to a graduation, but the whole way she teased me annoyingly of how embarrassed she felt and she even disappeared a few times and I had to embarrassingly look for her in a huge crowd, my family noticed, but I played it cool.

    She openly prefers that my friends stay non-existent outside of work and very limited in church. There is no respect of sex surprisingly as I found my only friends are male who from time to time invite me to spend a night at the movies, most of who are married or in a relationship as well. As it turns out this is not good for her. She has called me gay in front of my friends even attacked me violently after I came home from an event which she knew I was going too. I was scared the whole time I was gone knowing what was “going” to happen when I got home. When I returned the house was completely dark, after I seeing my friends off I entered the house and was verbally and physically assaulted.

    We are away from home, I have been through all the counseling I feel I can handle, but am taking more. Being in the military I have been as open and honest as I can with my superiors. I am in a strict school so to take the appropriate time off and give the attention I need to counseling and possible legal issue isn’t the best as I am on the verge of graduating and moving back. This being weeks away, it would be the best time to settle these issues with hopefully better resolve. I just need to “focus on graduating” as this is a pivotal point in my career.

    I have taken this time to finally, as I have been counseled, to be honest with my family and friends about our situation, being careful not to put her through embarrassment. This has provoked more wrath, but I know it is the right thing to do. I have gone to the pastor and relayed in private that I don’t want to embarrass her, but just want peace again. I am becoming exhausted and don’t want to be harassed any more. There obviously is much more. Lately I feel as if she is setting things up for me to be looked as the manipulator. Though all that have come to me about it without much help at all can see her for who she is or is becoming. I realize that I cannot change her. I change what I can in me to keep what is left of a healthy relationship.

    I take my wife out as much as I can afford and she’ll let me. She tells me openly that she loves me in bed, and loves the fact that I am there for her, but that I still don’t love her enough, “and all her friend say the same” apparently as she says. “You don’t love me like all the other husbands”. That didn’t bother my self confidence, yet she, knowing how I feel about my father, has begun to say “you’re no better than all the men I’ve been with, “Just even more abusive!” And for the life of me, even every counselor, pastor, mentor in the service, friend, hers even, even our own son’s and relatives, neighbors, even when I look in the mirror it isn’t there.

    I take what she says seriously to say the least. I am not going to let it rip me apart, but I want to solve this reasonably, and play it safe. I;m Getting help, realizing that maybe what she really means is she wants to be friends again, which quite possibly could be true. Though I have been open to this, yet she through out the idea of burning our house down and getting me court-marshaled, even doing serious bodily harm if I “walk out on her”. I say that because all I have asked is for her to get help, yet she says I want to leave her.

    I don’t feel stuck, but man she’s good! Wounded but intact is my hope knowing it is quite early in the relationship. I love her unconditionally, that means even if I have to leave her I will still love her.



  73. Ben Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Hi Joshua,

    You are living in the belly of the whale.

    From your story, your wife has real problems; her actions are being run by her past. She probably learned that the only hope she had of getting what she wanted was to fight to the death. She probably doesn’t need to do that with you.

    Your lives are very different from when you were courting. You’re dealing with daily life after the honeymoon wears off. That’s totally different from before and calls for totally different ways of dealing with each other. And it can be totally thrilling and rewarding.

    You need to graduate and get on with your career. The money will help your family.

    You two need counseling. She needs to tell her side, but not to the elders or anyone connected with the church. She knows that they can’t be neutral so she won’t listen to them.

    You’re now on a course to go your separate ways. Whether it’s stormy or quietly polite is less important than getting it resolved.

    Don’t accept her assassinations of your character. Figure out what behaviors you’d call “controlling” in which situations and see if you do them.

    Never allow bullying behavior on your island. That’s more important than any other value.

    Good luck and best wishes,

  74. Linda Says:
    September 23rd, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I think I have a controlling husband, and I say THINK because he makes me feel unsure and even wrong about my own thoughts and feelings. Are controlling men very clever in the way they can turn things around enough to make you genuinely believe that YOU are the person who is always wrong and not them? I even find myself questioning my own morals after an arguement. He recently gave me 400 pound to spend on myself, we don’t usually have a lot of money to spend, so of course, I became quite excited about this and spent most of it on things for myself. When he found out he went beserk, calling me selfish that I should have bought myself things, when there was stuff in the house that needed to be bought first. You see, when I buy things, I always have to lie or be secretive about it, and it makes me feel deceitful, but his reactions have made me that way over the years. I never go out with friends, rarely buy myself clothes or jewellery etc, if I do, it’s for our children and my wage is the highest of the two, as a qualified nurse. I work 36 hours, and he 20. He complains that I don’t do the housework enough, and when I do, it’s not to his standards. When I tell him that I increased my hours in order for him to work less so that he can do more in the house, he becomes angry and shouts. To be fair, he does the housework, mows the lawns, cleans the cars etc, and makes sure our teenage children and I have holidays, but he seems to constantly be reminding me of “what a good husband and father he is” in order to emphasise the fact that I am a lousy wife and mother. I am not a bad mother, I am very loving, but he jeers at that, and sees it as a weakness. He never compliments me and constantly criticises me. If I go out with a friend (once a year… if even that) he emotionally blackmails me by saying that our 14 year old daughter misses me etc…. Anyone who cottons on to who he really is, he tries to cut them out of our life. If he buys me anything, like recently for my 40th birthday, he is constantly throwing it back in my face, with the “You’re never grateful, I go without and you have everything” That is not true. He bought himself an Xbox, plays on it for hours at a time, buys games for it, buys militaria from Ebay, collects Action Man, Star Wars memorabilia and other things besides. Basically, he has the freedom in our relationship which I feel I have never had. He can buy himself anything or do anything without question, ME however… that’s different. But why is it that sometimes, he can manipulate me into believing that I am a really bad person? And he has an answer for EVERYTHING. Even family of friends (huh… the few we have) ask for HIS opinion on anything when they call, even when it’s things that a woman would normally sort out. Even they have no confidence in me. He also calls me derogatory names. I don’t know what to do. He is the sort of person with which you can never win. He loves to play the martyr and the “good dad”, but he exploits it in order to make me look the failure.

  75. Ben Says:
    September 27th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Hi Linda,

    I’ll be straight forward…and assume you’re okay and not all the bad things he calls you.

    Yes, you’re being controlled. You’re not allowed to do things, he puts you down and you’ve already started to question your own judgment.

    Don’t give in and don’t argue. Just because he’s certain that he’s right and righteous, doesn’t mean he’s right. Or nice or caring. We all have to learn to hold our own opinions in the face of a better debater.

    Just do what you want and walk away when he tries to argue. That will break the game. Don’t subject your opinions, ideas or judgments to his reasoning or approval.

    But you’d better prepare to have your own money and stuff when you decide to divorce him. Better do it while you’re young enough to enjoy the rest of your life without him.

    That’s just like Grace in “Bullies Below the Radar: How to Wise Up, Stand Up and Stay Up” and Brandi in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.” Learn what they did. If you order both books from my web site, I’ll send them priority mail to you.

    Best wishes,

  76. daughter Says:
    October 14th, 2010 at 5:26 am

    hi ben! after reading the other comments it felt like my problem wasn’t that much of a problem but i figured i had to tell someone so i wouldn’t go crazy trying to find answers of why i felt i was being bullied, the thing is my dad remarried and never told me and my other siblings about it until we came to america last year to live with them, at first everything seems fine we accepted her cause we didnt wanna worry or stress out our dad by trying to rebel against them or anything so his wife started telling other people that she’s our real mom and forced us to lie to other people about it we just turned a blind eye and did what she asked of us then after that she told us that she really didn’t wanna marry our dad and she only did it so she could stay in the u.s and that our dad was the only one who was so inlove with her etc. she also said that she didn’t wanna marry him because of “us” his children cause according to her we were too many, i was confused of why she said that because she has more kids than my dad i was annoyed but i didnt tell my dad about it i just ignored everything that she said but that didn’t stop after that she started bad mouthing our mom in front of us and started spreading lies about her so i told her that everything she said wasnt true and whomever she heard it from was a liar but that woman just wouldn’t stop she started telling lies about me to my dad making up stories about me but i never confronted her about it until my dad talked to me and told me that his wife said that i neglected her new born baby, such a liar! i mean she doesnt even appreciate that im only taking care of her baby as a favor to her and my dad oh god after that i didnt say anything cause i know i would only get in trouble if i fight with her and if i confront her about it she’d lie straight to my face so i figured why empower this bully right? so i just didnt talk to her nor look at her for days and my dad got mad at me because she said i was disrespecting her so i apologized because my dad talked me into it and somehow i felt guilty. so we made up and weeks after that she was mean to me again and would constantly criticize me and yell at me even if my father was around. so finally last week i couldnt take it anymore when she yelled at me out of the blue i called her a bitch straight to her face and then walked away but she came after me and wanted to argue more and have a scream fest till she brought up my mom again and i lost it i screamed at her with all my might and she was totally stunned all she had to say was that she would report me and my sibling to 911 i was clueless of what she would accuse us of til my aunt told me that she said we were out of control that we were making all sorts of noises ugh such a liar! so when my aunt was trying to find out what happened and trying to fix the mess i said that we felt that we were being bullied and the my dad’s wife said that it was only in our heads so i asked her if she meant that we were crazy and if were just imagining things that we were being mistreated. we tried talking to her and explaining our said but she just sat there looking all smug and arrogant she even denied all the things that she said and even justified the reason why she’s bad mouthing our mom is cause according to her we aren’t close to our dad and were drifting away from him. the entire conversation was for nothing she didnt wanna accept that she did something wrong she’s putting all the blame on us she even said that our minds were polluted so finally she has succeeded cause she threw us out of the house while our dad was away for work and now she’s holding over the baby on my dad’s head saying that if our dad lets us come back home she would leave with the baby, isnt she trying to make our dad choose between us by saying that? i dont know how to deal with this i still want to see my father and be with him you know but he’s torn and doesn’t know what to do im pretty sure he’s gonna choose her thats why im heartbroken and so is my brother.

  77. Ben Says:
    October 18th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Daughter,

    I going to take all you say as truth. Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution for you. I’m sorry.

    You’ve tried all the things good people try to give a bully a chance to change. But predators never change; they “misunderstand,” take things wrong, blame on you and attack even more.

    For example:
    1. You tried to ignore and be sweet, and it didn’t change her, it only made her nastier and bolder.
    2. You tried to confront from a position of no leverage or power and she attacked more.

    She won’t change; she can’t be reasoned with. No matter what you do she’ll blame and attack. You’ll be damned if you do something and damned if you don’t.

    Unfortunately, you also can’t change your dad. He’s weak. He won’t see; he won’t learn from you. My experience is that he’ll learn only years from now if at all. And he’ll learn when she does terrible things to him directly. And it’ll take other people to help him see the truth.

    You can’t change that. You can only do two things: one is to keep your heart open and try to love him when he comes to apologize and make amends. If he comes only for your sympathy, then beware of him no matter how pathetic he is because she took everything from him. He’ll only try to take advantage of you.

    All tactics depend on your situation – how old are you, when can you become financially independent? I’m assuming you have no power and control and it’ll take years to get career skills and money.

    The second and most important thing you can do: Keep a fire burning in your heart as you set yourself up to get away as soon as you can. Become invulnerable in Spirit as she makes your life horrible.

    Fly low: that’s one of the success strategies in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks”. See the case studies of Jake and Doug.

    Good luck and best wishes,

  78. nicole Says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    i dont type good so i cant make this long. I married a man 17 yrs ago and I had a great job doing nails. I had a baby and he insisted I stay home with our baby, which I thought was nice. Nail buis. is not like it use to be. He keeps all the money, car, takes children to school, goes to grocery store.. I am without a car , money, self esteem, no education, (except ged)I had a hysterectomy, bladder tact, ect. and he wont pay for meds. or doc. visits. I gained 40 lbs cause no hormones and very depressed. He says I look disgusting to him, cause I am fat and I cry alot. I dont know how to leave, he says please stay out of my house and dissappear.. he says if i died he could not feel remorse, just relief. He buys and does everything for my son but care for me… his mommma. We dont love each other anymore and he waits to wait untill our son is 14 so he will live with him, not me. I would do and give anything for my son, but I always feel sick and I DONT BUY HIM NICE THINGS LIKE HE WANTS. I hate my husband and my mind dont work the way it use to.. I use to be beautiful, slim, happy, out going and fun..then I got married. I do not know how to get him out, he wants me to go, not him. My son dont want us to divorce, of course.. and my son told me he wants to stay with daddy and see me on the weekends cause I have no money and I am no fun cause I never laugh or smile. “I am so scared I will lose my son” if I dont get my hormones in order and a car and a job. This is hard to do all alone.I’m very lonely. I will never , ever depend on a man again. I may start liking women…or be alone with good company. I wish I had family to help me get a lawyer. I knew when I came home from hospital from surgery and I had to plead with him to help me with food and water and changin cloths, which he didnt do. I knew I could not let myself grow old with him. I would be dead for days before he noticed. While I was sick He had an affair with a 21 yr old girl who came here from estonia russia on a visa to sale children books.I am bitter and I dont want to be,how do i get out with my child.

  79. Mia Says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Hi came across this website while in search of some suggestions for my situation with husband of 14 years and our one 12 year old daughter.
    My husband has been a subtle and an outward type of emotional verbal abuser. (he and siblings were abused while growing up by their mother, physically & emotionally and verbally, him the worse and he won’t go to counseling he’s been there and done that he says and thinks he knows as much as they do anyway, one sibling has gotten therapy and has even highly suggested he get help too but he stays silent about it and won’t even attempt it. He has called me some really bad names, just like recently just because I had misplaced my set of keys and in front of our daughter angrily calls me a F–g B—h, another time it was I was a F–g Zero. He has used stonewalling, ignoring and putdowns and denial of saying or doing it. He has told me he thinks about committing suicide but then he’ll say he wouldn’t go through with it (he owns guns). He doesn’t like talking about our problems as he takes that as me saying I’m shaming him and or that he’s a failure, and he says he doesn’t take shaming well, you don’t shame him. He gets angry for reasons that I don’t even know why nor will he talk about it. I know he’s had some bullying going on at his job directed at him but that has only been in more recent months and you’d think he’d understand what he’s put me through and says he knows how he’s treated me similarly but with no apologies as it’s always about him and always about his job. Our daughter has grown up in this and now she some times says or does things similar to her dad towards me. He hasn’t always treated her right either but seems to forget and even so she’d rather stay and live with her dad. I’ve tried talking to her about all of this with us leaving our home and divorcing her dad to move closer to my family in another area but she doesn’t want to go and leave her friends and her school. She doesn’t like for me to talk about it either and will get mad at me for wanting her to understand what’s going on before anything happens. I’m anticipating her father getting irate and more unreasonable as he doesn’t want us to divorce. He will want to win, he’s always up for competition and a challenge and to make someone else look bad so he doesn’t and has told me I would get nothing, What he wants me to to do is just to up and leave if I want to go without talking about anything. I don’t want to fight I just want things to be done fairly and peacefully. But I don’t know if I can tolerate his looming behavior as I’m so drained from our situation of many years. He doesn’t give me but very little money and I have to ask him for things and he’ll some times just take me and get me what I need so I’ve had to sell things for anything I need. Now I’m in a dilemma with our daughter, I don’t want to leave her but I don’t want to force her to go either, she’s a lot like her dad and can be pretty mean verbally, what should I do? (Sorry if this is long, I tried to make this short but there is a whole lot more to this story)

  80. betty Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I came across this site hoping to find some answers about my husband of 19 years. we have 3 kids two over 18 and away at school on 16 and at home. I know my husband is a bully. Not sure all the reasons why. We have been to marriage counseling and also I have been to indivdual counselling. He has been to a couple of indivdual sessions but won’t stick with it. And I am preparing to leave. He is not aware that I am preparing to leave but realizing our relationship is not good he has began to act like the caring attentive husband. I had thought this was an act but I am wondering now. I did not want to make the counselling a stipualation of my staying in the marriage but now that he is not going I don’t think he will change wihout some outside help. Should I stick with my plan?

  81. Ben Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Hi Nicole,

    I have to be straightforward with you.

    Sorry, but you gave up everything, step by step, including yourself. Now you have to get yourself and your life back. It’ll take time and determination and perseverance but if you don’t, you’ll keep going downhill.

    You need to get away.

    It sounds like you’ve already son your son. He votes for things. He’s already been bought. So now you have to save yourself. When you have your life back, maybe your son will vote to be with you again.

    Start with a safe house in your area, even if your son doesn’t want to go. Or if he’s young enough, take him. You need a window of opportunity so plan ahead. Don’t worry about the future. Think only of the next step. First a safe house. Then a job and then meds. Or then meds and then a job.

    Get away!

    Best wishes,

  82. Ben Says:
    December 6th, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Mia,

    I’ll be straightforward. Stop worrying about his feelings and start thinking about what you’re teaching you daughter by staying – no matter what you tell her. You’ve already let her go a long way down a bad path. Better show her a better example soon, before it’s too late.

    Stop debating and arguing with him. Stop accepting his reasons and excuses and justifications for his behavior. You know where things are. Act, whether he likes it or not. Don’t wait for his permission or willingness to solve his internal problems.

    Actually, given the way he’s treated you, I wouldn’t expect him to understand. You daughter is beginning to choose the person she sees winning in the relationship – her dad has control. I’m glad she has enough spunk to want to win. But she needs a better example from her mom about how his behavior actually loses.

    You’d better set an example for her before she’s old enough to really vote.

    If you go into it with “I don’t want to fight I just want things to be done fairly and peacefully,” you’ll lose. Just as you have all these years. This is a fight. You must be willing to fight for what’s right…and for your daughter’s future.

    Get a good lawyer now and plan ahead. Get work and get some money squirreled away.

    Best wishes,

  83. Ben Says:
    December 12th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Betty,

    Sorry this took me so long to respond.

    Counseling is not a result; it’s merely a process you hope will get a result. The reasons why he’s a bully don’t matter compared to the damage he does when he bullies. He doesn’t need understanding in order to change.

    At this stage you don’t have to figure out whether he’ll stay changed in the future. You need clear descriptions of behavior he must do or else he’s off your island. Then you can decide to stay with him if you want, until the first time he falls back. His behavior will tell you whether he’s changed.

    I suspect that you’re really worried that if you give him another chance and later he reverts, you won’t have the strength to kick him out. Or you’ll be too old to enjoy the rest of your life.

    An example of how to keep your promises to yourself is the Bull’s-Eye technique used by Grace to leave her bullying husband in “Bullies Below the Radar: How to Wise Up, Stand Up and Stay Up.” Or read the technique Jean used to change her husband in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    I think that the main consideration might be the example you’re setting for your children. Will your sons learn that bullying gets them what they want? Will your daughters learn that women are supposed to put up with bullying?

    You need an expert coach to help you design a plan to fit your specific situation.

    Best wishes,

  84. betty Says:
    December 12th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I have given him clear descriptions of behavior that must change and he has not followed through. Instead he has attempted to do other small things that I have asked for in the past, I feel to get around doing the things that would not be bullying behavior. I am so frustrated. I hope my kids don’t think that is the way to behave. So far the blessing has been that he was so wrapped up in his world while they were growing up I have done most of the parental duties. They are all doing well in their endeavors. His bullying behavior is gear toward me and he doesn’t do it in front of anyone. I’m sure there will be a lot of questions when I leave from others because he doesn’t act like that in front of others.

  85. Ben Says:
    December 13th, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Betty,

    Sounds like you’re ready to make the break — so do it.

    Get a lawyer beforehand, plan ahead and be prepared for an ugly fight.

    Immediately after you make the first step, tell the kids so they hear it first from you. Talk to them about why. You may be surprised about how much they know and what they say. Most kids keep score of what the see and guess, not what their parents tell them.

    About the questions from other people:
    1. Write 1-3 sentence cue cards about what to say to each person. Be honest – just decide how much information to give them.
    2. Imagine each person and write a response. After writing for 10 people, you’ll end up with just a few types of responses.
    3. Don’t wait for them to ask; approach them as soon as you’ve made the first steps. Be the first to talk with the important people.

    Find allies and supports, and maybe an expert coach. Ignore the nay-sayers.

    Best wishes,

  86. sarah Says:
    January 25th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I just left my very abusvie husband of eight years I am 24 year we have only been married for five years but I don’t regret everyone has the right to be safe! No one has the right to hurt you or your children! Fight the good fight

  87. Ben Says:
    January 28th, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m so glad you saw what he was and got away. Your children will thank you someday.

    Now learn how to recognize the Early Warning signs sooner. Or change what you’re attracted to so you don’t get started with abusers and losers.

    Best wishes,

  88. Tracy Says:
    April 10th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I didn’t realize there were so many people in the same situation. My husband has controlled me since we were dating, and I should have recognized this and left. He made me change how I dressed, was suspicious of my friends and co-workers so stopped letting me go out with them, made me turn down offers to go out with friends. He also used to get in drunken rages and threaten to kill my cat — I used to lock myself in the bathroom and cry until he passed out. But stupidly, I married him. Been married almost 8 years, together almost 13. We have two daughters, which is why I tell myself I stuck it out– I was destined to have my baby girls so that was the path I had to take. Now, he belittles me because I don’t make as much money as him. I’m not allowed any relaxing time since he works physically and makes a lot more money than me. If he has a day off, he naps, if I say anything about it- he screams at me. He constantly calls me a c**t in front of my girls – I don’t know what to do—he puts on the charm in front of them and in front of my neighbors, and screams at the top of his lungs that I’m a drug addict, or he simply yells “stop yelling at us” (I’m not) so the neighbors will think little of me…they don’t even look at me anymore, and they all hang out laughing and talking with my husband. I am completely alone — I have no friends and no family I can talk to about this. Not sure what to do anymore — I wish I knew how to stop him from controlling me. If I try to say things to “control him back” I guess, he just laughs.

  89. Claudia Says:
    April 10th, 2011 at 9:18 am

    My husband of 23 years has gotten angrier and more depressed over the years and is turning into a bully. We have 3 kids, aged 21 (graduating college), 17 (graduating HS) and 15. He has had addiction issues since he was young (abusive childhood, can’t remember some years of it, neglectful dad, mom in mental hospital) and it has definitely impacted our marriage. In the early years he still went out drinking and wrecked 2 cars and was DUI’d twice. He stopped drinking for many years but never went to AA. Has issues about giving up control because he was the caretaker for his sibs when they were all young. We moved to another state and thought financially we would be great, but then he was laid off for 6 months at the start of the recession and had to eventually take a job for less money and prestige. I also work f/t as a teacher and we have long commutes. Money is a constant problem, and the source of many arguments. Last year he informed me he wanted to start having wine again with dinner. That escalated to the point recently where it was 3 large glasses every night and him either being argumentative and picking fights with me and kids or else pontificating about everything without letting anyone else get in a word edgewise. He is hyper-critical of me and my housekeeping but rarely lifts a finger to help. In short, he has become a bully. It all came to a head the other night when he came home, had his wine and started haranguing me about what I planned to do about money problems our oldest was having (not the first time). I gave him my honest opinion and it sent him into a rage. I finally gave up, angry and upset and went to be alone and try to clear my head in our garage apartment. I locked the door and hid in the corner because I was afraid of him. He followed me, pushed the door in (I forgot the lock didn’t work well) and proceeded to yell in my face, telling me I had to listen to him. When I went to leave he grabbed my arms and pinned me, wouldn’t let me walk out the door and nearly closed the door on my arm. He then wrestled me away from the door. I have a bad back (getting surgery in 2 months) and he has 50lbs on me and is strong. I started crying and screaming “help!” and “stop! you’re scaring me” “you’re hurting me!” and he ignored me. He was so full of rage I really feared for my life. He finally let me go and stormed out. I was so freaked out I just cried and didn’t know what to do. Finally went back and got the dogs and took them for a walk. A neighbor (a man) saw how upset I was and asked me if I was ok. I started crying and told him a little of what had happened. He invited me to sit on his porch and have a glass of water, and told me his own story of being married to an alcoholic for 25 years. At least I feel like I have a witness to this.

    My husband is somewhat remorseful – poured out all the alcohol in the house and said he would find out about counseling at work – but it still seems all about him. He told me he is depressed and angry all the time and how we all contribute to it by having a messy house, etc. It’s all about him, not the fact that he abused his wife of nearly 24 years this May and made her fear for her life. 3 days later I am sitting here looking at the bruises on my wrist and finger marks on my arm and wondering how I got to this point. I feel like such a loser for not leaving him years ago – nearly did when my kids were very little. I find it hard to talk to him or look him in the eye. I know I need to see a counselor and we need marriage counseling, but I don’t even know how I feel about him any more. It’s like he hates himself so much that he can’t be kind or loving to anyone else, even those he loves. I am 51 and don’t want to waste what is left of my life on a bully or someone who completely lacks empathy and insight. He gets really upset when I am ill and I am dreading my much needed back surgery. I just don’t know what to do.

  90. Ben Says:
    April 12th, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Hi Tracy,

    I’m so sorry you’ve slid down so deep into the pit of being controlled.

    I’ll be straightforward.

    You’ll never control him and he won’t let up. He’s very sneaky and shrewd. If you’re not more clever, he’ll win. Do things to change the neighbor’s minds or they’ll be witnesses against you.

    You must get away. Your daughters need you to be a great model for them. They’ll believe what you do, not what you say.

    Make a plan in secret and act on it over time so you have a chance to keep your girls.

    Get a lawyer. Your husband will go after you and you need to be protected.

    Do what you want. Let him yell. I hate to say this but if you’re lucky, he’ll hit you so you can call the police. Learn how to get them on your side. Don’t back down.

    It’s not about what’s right or fair any more because he’s trapped you. It’s about who can look better in divorce court.

    See the study about Alicia in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks,” available fastest from this web site. The situation is different but you’ll see how clever she had to be.

    Don’t argue, don’t debate, don’t obey. Get away, get away, get away.

    Good luck,

  91. Ben Says:
    April 12th, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Hi Claudia,

    I’m sorry your husband had such a rotten upbringing but by now, he is what he is. He’s sliding back into his old ways of coping with what’s too big for him to bear. I’d guess that you stayed all these years because you felt sorry for him and his struggles, and because you hoped that he’d change.

    But that seems less and less likely now.

    You might think you have a witness in the neighbor but it’ll be your word against your husband’s. Next time, you need to call the police immediately, have them witness and photograph the bruises and the damage to the house, and get yourself to the hospital.

    Before you go to marriage counseling, you need to get him to move out. That big consequence is the first step to successful counseling, which has a very slim chance of succeeding at this point.

    You must take charge right away for you sons’ sakes. No matter what you say to them, they’ll believe what you do. Right now they’re learning that men can be powerful and brutal and succeed. Women will take it. How do you think that will affect their married lives?

    Get support from people at a battered women’s shelter. They can give you good advice. At least you’re still bringing money in from your job.

    See the case study of Jean in “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks,” available fastest from this web site. Her situation was nowhere as bad as yours.

    You need a plan and you need to act soon.

    Best wishes,

  92. Negative, Bullying Self-Talk Will Destroy Your Spirit | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    May 11th, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    [...] The abused wife who accepts her husband’s excuses and justifications that his verbal or physical beatings are her fault. She’s to blame for his failures; she’s never good enough.  If only she were adequate, he wouldn’t be so nasty, vicious and violent.  If she talks to herself with his voice, she’ll never leave.  If she accepts the guilt and shame she’ll keep trying to please him, but she’ll never succeed.  She convinces herself she’ll never make it on her own so she stays and endures more brutality. [...]

  93. Stop Sneaky, Manipulative Bullies | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    May 15th, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    [...] abusive spouse yells, controls and beats his partner. Then he blames his loss of self-control and self-discipline on the target.  “If you did what I wanted, I’d be nice.  You brought it on yourself.  It’s your fault I [...]

  94. Tom Says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 2:53 am

    I have been wife my wife almost 6 years, married since last feb.
    We have a beautiful 3 year old son.
    In December last year she had an affair. She left me in January for him, but came back 3 days later.
    She left again in May as I got drunk and raised my fists to her, I did not, and would never, lay a finger on her.
    I had a difficult upbringing where I was abused by my father. The night I raised my fists I took an overdose as my wife said I was just like my father. I did not want to live anymore.
    My wife is now back home, we have had sexual relations since but are in separate rooms.
    We have spoken in great depth about things in the last two weeks and I can see a real error in my ways.
    Obvioulsy raising my fists is a real eye opener, and it is now clear that I have issues deep down with my past.
    I am going to see a counsellor and am trying to knock drinking on the head.
    My wife says I always had time for other things last year, but never her and my son, I set up an online business for us which is now making money, but I spent a lot of time doing it. I got distracted by life and forgot what was (and still is) the most important thing to me.
    I know that if I was the man I could be the affair what not have happened, and I am trying so hard to put everything correct.
    I read all your stories and comments and worry, is it too late?
    I will reiterate that I have never laid a finger on either my wife or child. I can see now that I was controlling in what I did.
    My wife used to work evenings, so I would only see her for 10 minutes a day, and I did not like this. Her workplace was where the affair happened.
    I will work so hard to correct everything, counselling and stopping drinking are, I believe, the first 2 big steps. Helping out more at home is another big step – as well as showing my wife how much I love and appreciate her…and always listening to her from now.
    I have always tried to do right by my wife and my son, with nice holidays, a big house, lots of presents at birthdays and Christmas etc. I pay for the house and all bills myslef, money from wifes work is her own cash. Maybe this is one of the areas I have gone worng, I dont know . .
    I am studying hard at accountancy to get better job with better pay, and this takes up lot of my free time.
    I know I need to manage time better, but I would just like your comments on things.
    Neither myself or my wife have had much of a social life since our son was born, and I am now trying to correct all that. I have always been a little jealous because I didn’t want to lose her, but she was always the one person in life I could rely on to be there for me, and I feel like I was not there for her when she needed me most.
    I do believe a marriage is worth working at, and I will give 100% to correcting my errors of the past, now I am listening to my wife I can see where I have gone worng and I know what it will take to correct them – stop drinking. 90% of our problems arise from alcohol.
    Can I still fix things? I think my wife wants to fix things.
    I just have to put words to actions and be the man that she fell in love with again. . . our situation is not as bad as most of those seem on this sight, with years of abuse and men beating their wives, but raising my fists is not good at all and I want to put all the bad things right.
    Thanks for a brilliant site, and good luck to you all.

  95. Ben Says:
    June 2nd, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Hi Tom,

    I’m so glad you’ve seen your side of it and are dedicating yourself to changing.

    When someone says you’re just like your father, don’t go prove it by being a jerk. Stop short and straighten out. Remember his face when he was at his worst. Whenever you feel bad or think of being like him, remember that picture in your mind and step way back and say, “Not That!” Then say, “This!” and step into being the “you” that you want to be.

    You have a lot of work to do but I don’t hear the other side about your wife taking care of her side. She was unhappy and got sneaky, not straightforward and honest. Maybe she was afraid of you or maybe that’s a pattern she needs to straighten out. But her patterns still don’t let you of the hook.

    No, it’s never too late to be the person you want to be. Or you know it’s too late when you don’t ever wake up again.

    I don’t know if it’s too late for the marriage. You don’t need predictions about a future we can never know ahead of time. Become your best self and you’ll find out. And keep dating or courting each other no matter how long you’ve been together. Being a good provider of material stuff is important but it’s never enough. If the marriage doesn’t work, keep being your best self and you’ll find happiness somewhere else.

    Best wishes,

  96. delphine Says:
    June 5th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Most of you abused women on here didn’t have a good mom, who teach a girl to respect herself? the mom. who teaches her that she is valuable? the mom. I had a bad mom, I should know and now I have a bad marriage. Girls who respect themselves and love themselves don’t have those problems. Even when you are a good student,that doesn’t replace a mom. If you had an abused mom by dad, you know that is the root of the problem. Personally I can’t wait for this world to end, it is too bizarre, they tell us to marry and have kids, we asked for rights and we work like slaves…no wonder nothing works. I understand people who marry their own gender, sorry but this is too much to take…

  97. Ben Says:
    June 6th, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Hi Delphine,

    You’re so right. We need good models of great women (and men).

    But don’t give up. Don’t ever give up on yourself. Mother yourself!!!!!!

    Get yourself free and then become a great model for other girls – the girls of your body or your heart, mind or spirit. Be great for everyone who will listen to you.

    Show them that it can be done, even if it’s only one step each generation.

    The world needs you. There are girls/women who need you!

    Best wishes,

  98. Bullying Spouses won’t be Convinced to Change | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    June 9th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    [...] course, if we can catch it earlier, it’s easier to declare and maintain your boundaries.  Then it’s easier to demand loving [...]

  99. Peacemaker Says:
    June 21st, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Have been with my bullying and controlling husband for 13 years, left him in year 8 and re-married him shortly after. Feel like he has chipped away at my self-worth over the years. Feel weakened by him, unable to leave, unable to live with it.

    Feeling desperate.

  100. Ben Says:
    June 23rd, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Hi Peacemaker,

    Your desperate feeling is telling you to make a plan, get help and get away before your spirit dies.

    Don’t try to be a peacemaker with him. He doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Make peace with your Soul.

    Begging Doesn’t Stop Domestic Bullying and Abuse

    Power is Better than Empowerment

    Stop Bullies: Start Here

    Bullying Spouses won’t be Convinced to Change

    Get help right away.

    Best wishes,

  101. How to Know if You’re Bullied and Abused | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    June 26th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    [...] some typical early warning signs, we might recognize controlling husbands or wives even if they don’t [...]

  102. Jo Says:
    July 6th, 2011 at 7:07 am

    I can add one more to your list.. when they cant harm you, they go after anyone close to you.. a family member, friend, co-worker.. even a boss.. anything to make you look bad.
    When we do try to discuss something it is more of an interrogation, just to get his point across.. only his view is right and he will do anything to make it.

    We are in counselling, and every time we get to the control issues.. he says he is done and is leaving.
    causing financial and emotional harm to the rest of the family. because he has not allowed me to hold an outside job.. forcing me to start my own business.. but every time I start to get ahead he does something.. shuts down my website, demands I put him first before I make my orders. etc. every time I get a step ahead he knocks me back 2.
    After 20 years of physical, emotional, sexual, financial abuse I am exhausted. and now he has our 2 boys (14 & 17) following his behaviors.

    our counselor has suggested we have separate sessions but he wont hear of it. “and let her just badmouth me the whole time?” And of course he controls the sessions we do have. I am 50 years old and just to wore out to start over…

  103. Ben Says:
    July 8th, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Hi Jo,

    Thanks for adding good ones to the list. Yes, very typical.

    And I’m so sorry we hadn’t talked sooner and this has gone on so long.

    Also that you’ve become a “poster child” for what happens when a person gives in.

    Bullying and victimization are often multi-generational. Your children learned.

    When we tolerate bullying, the bully does it more and harder. They don’t respond with kindness when we’re kind. They take kindness (or threats or explosions not followed with real consequences) as weakness and they go for more.

    When we tolerate bullying, our physical and spiritual energy is eroded over time.

    But I guarantee that when you get away, you can get your life back and your energy and Spirit will revive.

    You still have a chance for 30-40 years of happiness and joy, but you must reach out and take it. You must take your own power. See:
    Power is Better than Empowerment

    Then we can make a plan in secret to get all the money you can and get away. Don’t debate or argue fruitlessly with him or your boys any more.

    Or you can give up and shrivel up until there’s nothing left — but I’d hate to see you waste this opportunity.

    Best wishes,

  104. Being Judgmental: Do You Need More or Less? – Quick Quiz | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    July 11th, 2011 at 9:58 am

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  105. cindy Says:
    August 14th, 2011 at 1:47 am

    I always felt like i was alone but as I see im not. Ive been married 6 yrs got married at 23 he was 32 . I had a child that was from a previous relationship. before getting married my husband appeared as the man of my dreams. Although I saw a few controlling ways before we got married I overlooked them. We ended up marrying about 6months after meeting one another. Thats when it became more obvious. He will get jealous if I showed my 1year old more attention then him. I immediately was pregnant after we married so that I feel really gave him more controll over me in his mind. If I said I wanted to do somethng with a friend he would tell me that im married now and I shouldnt hang out with single friends.(even though I have known them for years). Years later I just feel alone and that everyone sees him as this perfect husband. He has me pretty much isolated from my family but in terms expect for me to have this perfect relationship with his. Its so much more that I cant explain. Just tired.

  106. Ben Says:
    August 15th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Cindy,

    Of course you’re tired and worn down; two little children to take care of and one big child who wants 100% of all your time and energy.

    You’re blood is being sucked dry by an “energy vampire” and there’s only one solution. You have to get free.

    You can’t argue or appease vampires; you can’t get free by begging or bribing vampires.

    It’s clear and simple but it’s very hard.

    You have to get the energy together because your life and your children’s lives depend on it. Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel to give you strength, courage, determination and endurance.

    Don’t waste time with having a good time once in while. Don’t waste time with people who sympathize with your sad story but can’t help you get away.

    You are not alone; you are not the first or the worst. Find women who will help you. Find a lawyer who will help you. Plan in secret. Figure out how to get money and independence, and get away. Be prepared to fight him in court. Learn what you’ll need for evidence.

    Best wishes,

  107. Jo Says:
    August 22nd, 2011 at 11:59 am

    He has gotten even worse. After reading your response to me I realize I must get away if I want any life left. I though of waiting till the boys are out of school but I don’t think I will last that long (4 years). I have NO money he makes sure of that. Even money from my business he controls. Any suggestions where I might still be able to find a lawyer? Are there any groups that help women get away from this situation?

  108. Ben Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Jo,

    Of course he has. Every day you stay you teach the boys a bad lesson.

    You need to figure out how to get money. Stop giving him control of your business. Take him off the checks and credit cards without telling him.

    Often battered women’s shelters can put you in touch with local resources, plans and lawyers; even if you haven’t been physically battered.

    Good luck,

  109. Stop Bullies: Support Good Behavior, not Bad Blood | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
    August 28th, 2011 at 8:16 am

    [...] Relatives, sometime biological, sometimes in-laws and sometimes step-parents, who reject, demean and even hit the callers’ children.  These tyrannical, sarcastic relatives call the kids losers, compare them unfavorably to siblings, cousins and ancestors who turned out bad (“You’re just like so-and-so”) and demean and degrade the kids relentlessly. [...]

  110. Amy Says:
    September 9th, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Hi Ben,

    First off thanks for taking the time to do this and actually provide advice to people on here. I don’t really know what to say about my husband. We’ve known each other since we were in high school, we got married 2 years ago. And things are good but I have recently begun to realise how much I’ve changed and have allowed him to change me for his own insecurities. Basically… he has a problem with me having single male friends because he says “I don’t trust them, but I do trust you”.

    He has the passwords to all of my email accounts, msn, etc. Yet when I told him to do the same, he makes a fit and says I’ll show you my account and emails but I don’t want to give you my password. That’s hypocrisy right there. I know 100% there is no cheating going on but he is very very insecure. He does have reason to be because because we are 1. different religions and my family has never come to terms with it, even though his side loves me unconditionally and 2. we are completely different in our financial statuses. I’m a doctor (I know it’s sad to say that I help people but can’t help myself) and my husband works for a company, making about half of what I make…

    I understand that at times he might feel like less of a man, but I have never made money an issue, we allocate our incomes towards bills, mortgage, etc. We don’t have any kids but I’m tired of his constant games with me. Before we got married, everything was great, we spent day and night together, talking, etc. I always gave him so much of my time and would spend countless hours studying after he had gone to sleep.

    But now when I look back all i see are the sacrifices I made. It started with silly things like don’t wear this top, it’s too low. I agreed, I moved on. Then it became don’t talk to so and so, I don’t like it. I didn’t agree with it, but I still did it because I felt like in that situation he would do the same. But now it’s gotten to the point where, he checks my text messages, he insults my religion openly, and even says horrible things about me to his mom (who is a sweetheart and has always taken my side) but it’s still insulting. When we have an argument, he runs to tell her first because he thinks the embarrassment of outing our argument to her will keep me in line? I don’t know why else he would do it. I admit that I have secrets like I keep in touch with my friends and I have a secret email account which I made to keep in touch with them. They are very dear friends of mine who don’t understand why I suddenly disappeared from their life, and to be honest I just lie to them and say I’m busy with life because I don’t want to embarrass him or want them to think I’m weak. It’s sad because I’ve become the type of woman I’ve always despised in a way. Because they are so weak and allow a man to hurt them so much. My husband is caring I won’t lie, he’s always given me his time and countless support but when it comes to my career and attending functions, etc. and going out someplace without him, he simply can’t handle it. He needs me to do everything with him, he can’t even buy a shirt without me there. I use to think it was sweet but now it’s becoming annoying. I encourage him to hang out with is friends and everything friday night maybe twice a week or so he would go out with them. They would just have dinner together and he would come home at a reasonable hour. I knew he wasn’t up to anything like that because during the entire time with his friends he would be texting me at home and saying how much he misses me and how bored he was. I found it sweet but I also worry about how attached he is to me. He’s incapable of doing anything on his own at times. I guess he wishes I was like that to? But I’m not, as a woman I love and respect him and I do my share of the housework, I cook and clean after work too. I just don’t understand why he has to get so jealous if a colleague calls me or a friend wants to hang out with me? I’m tired of his attitude and when I question his behavior all he says in response is “well maybe then you should have married someone in your own religion”, or “i’m not like your dad”. I’m starting to really despise him because even his justifications for acting like this are stupid and make no sense to me. I’m just tired with the stress of this marriage and then taking that to work is horrible as well. I feel like my marriage is affecting my ability to work as well and I don’t want that. He’s always been my best friend and when I can’t tell him how I feel it kills me because he’s honestly made me lose touch with all my friends. I feel so stupid for giving in to all his demands since we first started dating. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want our marriage to end or break down. I love him with all my heart, I just want to be treated equal and with the respect I give him.

  111. Ben Says:
    September 13th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Amy,

    Sorry I couldn’t respond sooner.

    Stop debating and arguing over who’s right or what’s fair or what’s equal. Listen to your heart. What’s most important to you? Is it going out with male friends, is it his desire to control, is it your wanting to do what you want without being corrected and controlled? Or something else?

    How important? If it’s enough to negotiate, that’s one thing. If it’s enough to vote him off your island, that’s another thing.

    Sounds like once he got you, he thought he could start controlling you. Don’t care what his reasons, excuses and justifications are. The only thing that matters is whether he gets over his early choices about how to act and acts better.

    Look into the future. How much control will he want to exert when you have kids? Are you going to want that?

    He’s not caring about you as you are and want to be. He’s caring about what he wants and how to get it. I’d guess that he used to get it by being nice but now, more and more, he’s trying to get it by verbally beating it out of you. You know what’ll come next.

    If he doesn’t change, make the break before you have kids!

    And look at yourself. Get rid of your pattern of giving in just to have some peace and quiet.

    One of the signs of bullies is that they interpret your rising above, your compromise and your giving in as weakness. And they go for more.

    The same response if you make declarations and threats and promises and then don’t really have consequences. To a bully, an argument is not a bad consequence; it’s just an opportunity to exert more control!!!!

    Stop Bullies Who Demand their Way


    Stop Bullying: Support Good Behavior Instead of Bad Blood

    To Increase Confidence and Self-Esteem: Test the World, Not Yourself


    Go find someone to love who will love you as an equal; not as a needy person who has to whip you into the shape he wants.

    What’s more important to you – your keeping spirit alive or your keeping a marriage that hurts and will only get worse with time?

    You probably need expert coaching to stay connected with your inner strength, courage and determination. And to create and carry out a plan that fits you.

    Call me at 877-8BULLIES (877-828-5543).

    Best wishes,

  112. Stop Bullying, Abuse: Be Your Own Expert | Stop bullies at home work | Hostile workplace and Emotional Abuse Says:
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  113. Sam Says:
    October 21st, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I feel so defeated. My husband talks down to me, I cant go to church, I cant go visit my sons school, if I go to the store he ask “How many men were in the store”. When I dont do what he wants me to do, he makes me feel like the scum of the earth. Sad thing is, he is toatally different with everyone else. No one would believe me if I told them what I’m dealing with. One minute he loves me, the next he hates me. Last night I felt like giving up!

  114. Ben Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Sam,

    I’ll believe what you say and that you haven’t done anything wrong. And I’ll be straightforward.

    Your husband doesn’t love you as you are. He loves control – bullying and abuse. I don’t listen to what he says, I count what he does.

    I think it will get worse unless you learn how to resist. It won’t get better if you give in and try to please him. Stop believing him. Stop listening to him. His opinion of you doesn’t count

    In order to design a plan that fits you we’ll have to talk about the details of your life.

    A lot of people have been helped by phone or Skype coaching.

    I charge $100/hour and accept major credit cards.

    Please call me at 1- 877-8BULLIES (877-828-5543).

    Take charge of your present and your future before its too late.

    Best wishes,

  115. Di Says:
    December 8th, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I’m so depressed. I left my husband two years ago, and he begged me to come back, promising he would change. He hasn’t. Everything is fine in our relationship as long as he’s getting his way. If he’s not, look out. He will sulk, wheedle, or yell– depending on his mood and how serious the issue is– until he gets his way. Recently it seems to be getting worse. He grabbed me by the arm the other day; the first time he has ever done something like that. And he has lately pressured me into a financial decision that I was extremely hesitant about. I had so many concerns and worries. When I tried to tell him my worries, he would snap or yell at me for not understanding why it all made sense. Finally I gave in and said okay, and as it turns out, it was indeed a very bad financial decision.

    I should have stayed gone two years ago and never looked back. Now I’ve wasted two more years of my life and on top of that, am in a worse financial position than before. Really depressed and just feel stuck.

  116. Ben Says:
    December 14th, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Hi Di,

    This may sound weird but there’s no reason to be depressed — so stop it.

    You took a calculated risk that he’d change and you finally learned a big lesson. He won’t change. Typically, narcissistic, relentless, abusive bullies don’t change. Wish it’d been an easier lesson to learn but now you’ve finally learned it.

    Dump the jerk!
    Stop Bullies: Dump the Jerk Day

    Vote him off your isle of song:
    Vote Selfish, Narcissistic, Insensitive People off Your Isle of Song

    Of course you will pay a price for the lesson. It’ll be harder than before but so what. You can do amazing things that require strength, courage and commitment.

    See a lawyer in secret and find out what you need to do to get what’s yours and to protect yourself. It’s simple and clear, even though it may not be easy.

    Get going! Your future is calling to you.

    Best wishes,

  117. fatima Says:
    January 3rd, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Thank you so much.
    I just realised that I am bulliying my husband.

  118. Ben Says:
    January 5th, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Hi Fatima,

    Good for you.

    Now what? What can you do to change?

    And you may be surprised. Your husband maybe very welcoming of a change. But he may not. Some people want a bullying spouse.

    If you want to create and implement an effective plan, find an expert coach locally or we can Skype.

    Best wishes,

  119. han Says:
    January 7th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Hi there I am han. I have a young daughter and I am also exspecting my second child. I live with there father he is sometimes for weeks kind and caring and then out the blue he can become nasty and manipulative. He threatens me a lot with things such as my child ( kidnapping her ) and says I’m nothing without him.he had full control of the money which I earn and I never get to buy something for my self without asking. If I wanted to go see a freind he would want me to give him nottice and then he usually causes a row before going so I don’t. But when its the other way around he can do what he wants when he wants.he calls me names such as fat ugly lazy useless thick and even C***T such a discrasefull word. I have no self esteem anymore and I’m constantly putting myself down my mum hates my partner but she was in a simular relationship before so she sees all the signs and games. I ask for your advice as all of the things he does to me and I can’t leave him why do I feel so trapped by somebody who probably wouldn’t care if I left ?? its not because I need him I am a brilaint mummy and would probably be even better on my own I just need some strneght in my mind and heart x

  120. Ben Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Han,

    Tough situation, with a man who is a control-freak and bully.

    Don’t listen to him. He doesn’t tell you the truth. He’s just trying to beat you into submission – verbally, emotionally and physically.

    If you accept that you can’t leave, you’ll be trapped for life. Don’t accept that. Take power for yourself:
    Take Power: Recognize and Label Bullying Spouses

    Power is Better than Empowerment

    Find your courage, strength and determination.

    In secret, line up help – safe house, lawyer, money. Make a secret plan for getting money, kids and freedom. Then act swiftly and decisively.

    You don’t need him, but with each child you become more dependent. Beware.

    Best wishes,

  121. PurplePeacock Says:
    February 10th, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Hello. I think I know the answer to my situation, but I want to be wrong and need to hear what someone else thinks of it. Here it goes…
    I married my husband 5 years ago. I really did love him when we got married. Over time, things have drastically changed.
    It’s not that I don’t love him anymore but I rarely see the man I married. I see this ‘other’ person now. It started when lost my job not long after we married & purchased a home. It was extremely stressful but I did not expect my husbands reaction to be one of such anger and resentment. This was the first time I saw this angry, uncaring, resentful man. I fell into a deep depression and my husband became more and more angry. His anger fueled my depression. After being stuck for two years, I found another job, but any money I brought in went to him. I “owed him” for all the time he took care of me. I was a lazy, uncaring wife that took advantage of him. During our marriage I have learned not disclose my feelings in order to avoid arguments of any sort with him. I am afraid of his reactions to anything I do or say. Anything can set him off and I walk on eggshells. I have no power over anything in my life. He is emotionally abusive. He tells me his actions are my fault, maybe they are. At this point I don’t know. I have put on 40 pounds, I haven’t had sex in almost a year, I cannot do anything without him making his disapproval known and in order to avoid his verbal hatred I lie or avoid telling him things. I am lost. He controls everything and I have nothing except myself, and according to today’s rant – that is not much. I have started to volunteer places just to have human contact and now he told me I spend too much time doing that. I cannot seem to do anything right and I wonder if I will ever be enough for anyone. Am I so broken that I cannot be fixed?

  122. Ben Says:
    February 14th, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Hi Purple Peacock,

    It’s not about whether you or he love; it’s not about the amount you love. It’s always about “how.”

    The way he loves you hurts. Get rid of him.

    The way you love him means you enable and collude so you get hurt. Get rid of him.

    It’s okay to love him from thousands of miles away. It’s even better not to love him. Find someone to love whose love feels good – who loves you as you are. That’ll make it easier for you to be good enough.

    By the way, the first question is never, “Am I good enough?’ That’s never even a question worth asking. The good questions are:
    1. Do they act good enough to get and stay on your isle of song?
    2. Do they love you as you are?

    If you want to change some of the ways you act, change them.

    It’s not your fault. It’s always the fault of the person who is harassing, bullying, abusing.

    You’re not broken. If he can convince you that you are he’ll convert you from a target into a victim. Don’t listen to his opinion. Don’t become a victim.

    Also, see:
    Get Away from a Controlling, Bullying, Abusive Husband

    Abusive, Manipulative Husbands Who Control Wives

    Vote Selfish, Narcissistic, Insensitive People off Your Isle of Song

    To Stop Bullies: Don’t Give in to Fear, Despair, Defeat

    To Stop Bullies You Must Protest and Say, “NO!”

    Stop Bullying, Abuse: Say, “That’s Enough!”

    Best wishes,

  123. Betty Says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Do you find that if you do not allow the bullying husband to bully you at home he finds other people outside the home to bully? I ask because I don’t have proof but I think my husband may have bullied others at work and social settings when he was trying not to bully me. And does that ever get solved with a person short of therapy?

  124. Ben Says:
    March 5th, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Hi Betty,

    Thanks for sharing you observations. I try not to deal with generalizations or explanations but, instead, to focus on the specific problem.

    Is he bullying in social situations? Is he bullying at work?

    Most important: have you stopped him from bullying at home? How did you do that? Did it require therapy?

    If he hasn’t stopped, then that’s the specific problem we need to address.

    Best wishes,

  125. kiran Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Hi Ben

    I have been married 5 years to my husband who now is a complete control freak. he always kicks up a fuss when i wish to see my family or stay over. he’s nagging, nit picking and constant comments on how i should do things is really taking the toll. He now wants me to be this old fashioned wife who respects & obeys her husband and his say is final as head of the house. I should not answer back or argue or raise my voice if my opinion is different, i should accept his wishes as my own whether i agree or not.
    I also have a 10 month old baby & he tries to control him and who my baby comes into contact with be it physical or verbal. it feels like a king and slave relationship at times. he stressed me out during my pregnancy and fights over little things. he makes big dramas & threatens to leave me, plays mind games etc. says i dont love him. while he says he loves me totally. he is also got close to a female friend at work and confides in her of our problems, texts her and has not mentioned her to me at all.

    he controls what i eat, what i do? where i go etc even watching t.v. doesn’t accept if he is in the wrong and if he does say sorry 5 minutes later repeats the same mistake. always thinks he is right and has a superiority complex. almost recently we had a conversation on his demands from me and my demands for him. his demands included me obeying him and limiting my contact with family.his demands in short were unreasonable doesnt even try to meet me half way or compromise yet he states his love for me. i have reached a stage where i am really getting fed up. what should i do? will he change? can he change? or am i wasting my time?

  126. Ben Says:
    April 10th, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Hi Kiran,

    Sorry I couldn’t write back sooner.

    The chances are that he will change -he’ll get worse. The more children you have, the more dependent on him you become, the worse it’ll get.

    And he’ll always be right and righteous.

    Worse than that you’re wasting the time is that you’re putting your baby I harm’s way.

    No matter how difficult, get away as soon as possible.

    Get Away from a Controlling, Bullying, Abusive Husband


    Abusive, Manipulative Husbands Who Control Wives

    Stop Bullying, Abuse: Say, “That’s Enough!”


    Stop Bullies: Ignore Their Excuses, Justifications


    Best wishes,

  127. tina Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    hi i have been metally abused by my husband for so many years do not know who to call please help me i have 3 chidren

  128. Ben Says:
    April 24th, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Hi Tina,

    You’ll have to find some local help. Maybe support groups, safe houses or women who have been there and are now helping others get away.

    Best wishes,

  129. katixa Lynn Calvo Says:
    April 25th, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Hi Ben:
    I wrote earlier I don’t trust my husband at all specially when he gets mad, I told him we need marriage counseling he keeps insisting that its a expensive etc… I remind him that when I left for my protection and for my son, he wrote me he will go to a marriage together and he will go to anger classes, after I came back to him and drop all the charges it was early December when we went back together still we didn’t go to marriage counseling like he promise, last night we argued and he threating me that after we go a marriage counseling that I will take medications if not he will send me back to live with my parents. I told him I’m not going anywhere without my son. I don’t know what to do I don’t trust him neither my family since my aunt defending him and went to court with him I feel betrayed and useless stupid to came back with him and drop every charges sometimes he saids that I’m hallucinating stuff that I’m making stuff up, which I know I’m not, what can I do like I said I don’t trust him neither to my family. Don’t know where to go for help Im afraid to ask for help where my ex-friend took me for counseling and to get help to take charges against my husband probably they won’t believe me.

  130. Ben Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Hi Katixa,

    You don’t need him to go to marriage counseling. You need him to be gone.

    You must convince people that this time you won’t go back. It’s all over because you’ve had enough. It doesn’t matter any more what he promises or does. Ask them for help.

    Bullying Spouses won’t be Convinced to Change

    Stop Bullying, Abuse: Say, “That’s Enough!”


    If your family won’t support you, cut off contact with them also.

    Learn your lesson. See a lawyer, barrister.

    If you’re still he Katixa who’d go back, then no one should help.

    Best wishes,

  131. DJ Says:
    February 8th, 2013 at 9:08 am

    So I have been isolated for 9 years. Well with the exception of family and his friends. He has talked trash about and to all my friends and does not want me to hang around them. Well I started going to Church because my child wanted to go. Now my husband has turned into this control jealous guy. Well others say it has always been this way but I have not noticed it I guess. They say you just always seemed ok and happy with it. I did not see it. But since I have been reaching out, he has done everything but hit me. He threatens to take financial away, he threatens divorce daily, he begs me not to go, he mocks me, he threatens suicide, he says if I am cheating on his he will kill me (might have been joking, not sure anymore, hope he was), he tells the children they need to choice, he tells the children I am cheating on him, he cries and says pick me, he has had one extreme rage, tells me he hates me, makes rules, and uses any scare tactic he can. I am trying to stay in this hoping for a change. Sometimes I think I should back down for the kids at least but I think it will just come up over something else. He tells me I don’t have enough makeup on who have I been rolling around with (no reason) tells me when he is gone I need to be good and explains what being good is. I am not sure what to do. He has left once but came back. Will his rages eventually turn physical, what is the likely hood? I can deal with the emotional for now but the physical would be different. I am just lost and alone.

  132. Ben Says:
    February 8th, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Hi DJ,

    From what you’ve written, you’re married to a raging abusive, bullying, control-freak. He’ll never change.

    You have to ask yourself, “Why did I put up with this all those years? Why am I even considering staying with him five minutes longer?” The inner work will lead you to get free from your old rules, roles, beliefs and fears.

    I assume you think of staying now because he controls the money, you’re really afraid he’ll harm you or the kids, and your guilt. I don’t think he’ll kill himself because that would set you free easily.

    Your inner work is to get brave and strong enough to leave. You need to get away as soon as you can. You need to set a good example for your children by getting away, not by putting up with abuse. No matter what you say to them, if you stay they’ll see that bullies win!

    Your outer work is to be smart and plan in secret. See a lawyer. Find other women to help you. Stash money. Have authorities document his threats. It may be difficult in your circumstances, but you have to be stronger and smarter than the difficulties.

    Don’t trust or listen to any one at Church who tells you to stay, even for the sake of duty or for the children.

    What’s the price for putting up with bullying? Slow erosion of your soul.

    Best wishes,