Controlling or Opinionated?

allyatcuseJuly 15, 2009

My husband tends to make decisions without including me. For example, he decided that he was going back to school, and didn't tell me until the weekend before he was going to start.

Most recently, his inlaws visited and he decided that he wanted his mother's above ground pool to put in our backyard. I wasn't involved in this conversation.

Often, I disagree with my husband about things he wants to do around the house, or when he tries to analyze me. When I disagree, he tells me I am controlling. But as I have thought about it more, it seems like I am just opinionated. Most of the things that I have disagreed with him on have still happened with him not considering how I feel. If I was controlling, wouldn't I fight for him not to do specific things until I got my way?

When I confronted him on some of these issues the other night, he told me once again that I was controlling. I told him that I felt that I should be involved on decision making that affects my life too because we are married with a child. He said that I just want to be in control. I got so frustrated that I started crying and he started laughing at me.

I walked away and he kept taunting me, asking me if I loved him. I told him that I didn't know. Soon after I went upstair to bed and didn't give him a kiss goodnight. I told him I was very upset.

This was two days ago and he is giving me the silent treatment. Basically, he pretends I'm not even in the house with him. It is very degrading. This has happened hundreds of time in our 4 year relationship and I would usually give in and apologize even when I knew he was in the wrong. But this time I am angry and I'm tired of being treated this way.

He always makes me second guess myself and in the past I believed something was mentally wrong with me and that was why he would get so mad at me. But lately I am believing that it is him that has a problem.

Please respond with some advice.


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Oh can I relate.
DH always calls me controlling if I want to discuss something or have some input on major decisions for example,
finances, living arrangements etc. He doesn't care about the minor decisions but as far as debt ratio/ mortagages/ loans etc I am kept totally out of the loop of what he is doing.

I'm so glad I have kept my finances seperate. If I were you I would do the same or you may get a nasty surprise when/if you decide to leave him.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 12:17PM
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Let me get this right?
He upset you, you started to cry, and that made him start to laugh?
If that's correct, the word for that is ABUSE, plain and simple.

Of course there will be times in every marriage when the two partners will disagree:
He wants Mom's above ground swimming pool; you don't.
You each have, and are entiteled to, your separate opinions. NOTHING wrong with that.
Controlling is where one person thinks his opinion matters more than the other person's opinion, and/or tries to get his way through manipulation, bullying, ignoring, stubbornness or other tactics which demonstrate a lack of respect for the other person's opinion.

Mature partners who respect each other try to reach a decision both partners can accept.
Often, it's a compromise -- I'll agree to live with an above-ground pool every summer if you agree to take it down every winter and put a baby gate on it to keep our child safe.
Other times it's one way or the other -- He gets to return to school since it's really important to him. Or you get veto-power over the pool since it's a safety issue for your child.
But when it's ALWAYS his way, or ALWAYS her way -- then things are out of whack.

Have you heard about "I feel" language? It's a way of expressing yourself without attacking the other person -- by simply stating how you feel when something happens:
"I feel like my opinions aren't considered when you announce major decisions without asking me. When that happens, I feel like my feelings aren't important to you."

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 2:42PM
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Sweeby - almost. Those final sentences you provided as examples are actually 'thoughts', not feelings. When you say "I feel LIKE" or "I feel THAT", it's an indication that you are sharing thoughts. Nothing wrong with that, other than true feelings get overlooked, and thoughts can always be argued. True feelings cannot, and it is is the feelings which elicit (or don't, which is "information") caring from the partner. it's what allows them to give a hoot. So, to add onto what you have said....

"When I believe my opinions aren't considered, and I think my feelings aren't important to you, I feel invisible, insignificant, and detached. I long to feel connected to you and to feel as though I matter."

Vulnerable.....feelings are uncomfortable and most people will balk - at least, those who experience distance in their relationships will. Those who know, get it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 4:26PM
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Wow...I haven't logged in here in years. YEARS. But this OP made me want to.

I was in a 5.5 year relationship/friendship with a guy like this. Took me a while (and LOTS of therapy) to figure out that he was the one controlling me. I wasn't trying to control him...I just wanted to "control" (be responsible for) myself.

From what you describe, you are right. The main problem is him. The secondary problem is that you put up with it, just like I did for years.

I don't put up with it anymore. I hope you can make that decision too. My heart goes out to you. Your post made me remember too much...stuff. I hope you can work it out in a way that benefits you.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 4:36PM
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You're right Amy -- Thanks.
I feel happy that you've given a better example. ;-)

When Ex and went to therapy and the counselor explained it to him, he couldn't even force himself to begin a sentence with "I feel..."

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 4:38PM
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Yea, this post really hit home for me too.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 5:05PM
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"This has happened hundreds of time in our 4 year relationship and I would usually give in and apologize even when I knew he was in the wrong. "

Well, you two have quite a game going on there. If you want it to be different, you'll have to do something.

"...he started laughing at me......I walked away and he kept taunting me, asking me if I loved him."

Husband-stuff 101: Don't do stuff like that. What a clueless dope! Does he really have no idea how to engage?

Advise sit-down/work-out meeting ASAP. Describe your thoughts and reasons and tell him to drop the "controlling" terminology -- which, from your description, is clearly a load of crap. Sounds like something he picked up in a magazine. If you can't get back to partnership, you're going to have a frustrating life. If your opinions don't count, what's the point in going on?

He may not be able to learn this from you. Counselors can be wonderful for this kind of thing, but only if he's willing. Don't know where he might be with that. If he doesn't care about your opinions any more than you've described, I doubt he'd care for that one either.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 5:27PM
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Your husband is a bully and an abuser. I am related to someone like that (blood relation, not someone I can divorce). I have excluded that person from my life because of his treatment of me. I wish you the very best.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 9:39PM
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You have a right to your opinion, this is not controlling. Your husband is very immature.

The "I" deal is the place for you to start asserting yourself.

Another word is "compromise". When anyone has a disagreement, it is the compromise that is the solution to all the angst.

I have felt like you - I have felt like I am the loopey one, that I am being a horrible person, confusion etc, etc. It is very difficult to be objective in a close relationship like a marriage. I guess that is why I come to this forum, to get ideas on how to deal fairly about conflicts in my life.

I can always rely on good advice here, from Sweeby, Asolo, Cat and Amy - you are all wonderful people and give brilliant advice.

Allyatcuse - have confidence in your sensible decisions in life. How hurtful for your husband to laugh at you while you are crying - what goes on here - how can a man do that ?

Why do some men not feel sympathy when a person is upset ? Do they think they are being manipulated ?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 8:46PM
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Laughing because someone else is crying is sadism.

There's no way to get along with someone like this;
you have to get *away* from such a person.

To people like this, there's no such person as a partner or loved one;
their spouses/partners/co-workers/whoever are just victims or potential victims.

If you were a butterfly, he'd be pulling your wings off.

"he is giving me the silent treatment. Basically, he pretends I'm not even in the house with him. It is very

Torturing & degrading you is his whole game...
& sadists always win;
if you won't play, they go torture someone else.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 5:37PM
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Have you never heard of male chauvinism? Men are "decisive", women are "controlling". Much as I feel for you, I have to say that it takes two to play this stupid game. Stop being a victim! Your tears are watering his sadism.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 9:34PM
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"Your tears are watering his sadism."

so interesting you phrased it like that!

In one of those books written in, I think, the 80's, by Amy Tan or someone like that, one of the characters is a little girl in China who cries & cries & cries, & then...
well, I can't remember if she has a dream or if her mother tells her a story, but:

She is crying into a pond.
As her tears fall into the water, they turn into pearls, & a turtle gobbles them up.
& it seems like there are birds circling around, cawing at her.

The moral is that there's always someone around who'll jeer at your sorrows & someone who will feed off your tears.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 2:46PM
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Many years ago, when we were still dating, my husband was having trouble trusting me because of his prior history with untrustworthy women, so he asked me to promise I'd never hurt him. I told him I could never promise him that; to the contrary even, because only people we really love really can hurt us. But I did tell him I would never intentionally hurt him, and that if he could trust me to do that, and he would promise to do the same -- even in a fight -- then we'd be able to make a happy life together. (Which has happened.)

Someone who deliberately tries to hurt you doesn't deserve your love. Even if it's just because they're mad -- that's no excuse. You can have (and win) an argument without being deliberatly hurtful.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 6:31PM
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To the OP:

1) I think your husband is controlling you with his cruel mind games.

2) I think he is projecting his own problems onto you.

3) I don't doubt that he really believes all the nonsense he is spouting. That he can 'justify' his behavior to himself. But you know better.

IMHO, he is narcissistic. If you don't know all the implications of narcissism, google it. It is serious stuff, and it affects people's lives every day, in mind-boggling ways. Narcissists do feed off their victims' tears and fears. To put it another way, their victims' tears and hurts feed the flames of their cruelty.

Narcissists live in their own world, in an alternate universe. They have little, in any, sense of reality and they seem to be incapable of sympathy and/or empathy. They often function well in public life but make their loved ones' lives a living Hell in private.

My mother is a narcissist. I had to endure this stuff throughout all my growing-up years. It took me a long time to really see it, to really perceive the depth of evil in her life, and to establish healthy boundaries so that my life wouldn't be affected by it anymore.

I sincerely hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 6:16AM
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OP, I should have specified "narcissistic personality disorder", rather than just "narcissism".

Here is a link which lists the main traits of a person whose life is controlled by it.

You can also find much more detailed info online by googling narcissistic personality disorder.

Again, I sincerely hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 6:25AM
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