How to Identify and Handle a Bossy Wife
Sometimes your wife can be bossy, but has her behavior gone too far? Find out if you have a controlling wife.
You might think you’d know if you were in an unhealthy relationship. Surely, you’d notice if your wife’s behavior went from bossy to abusive. It’s easy to recognize a controlling wife, right?
Wrong. You may not notice it in the beginning. Sometimes, if you’re not communicative with your partner, they’ll take over and assume your feelings. It may seem nice having somebody to do everything for you, however, one day you’ll wake up and see that you actually have no say in anything. Welcome to the world of having a controlling wife!
Of course, men can be controlling too. Bossiness isn’t only a female trait, and anybody can be controlled by their partner regardless of their gender or sexuality. But we’re going to focus on women in this feature.
What causes a wife to be controlling?
A spouse can become controlling for several reasons. Right now, it might feel like your wife is controlling because of something you did. Maybe you think she’s bossy because you can’t follow her rules properly, or she’s making you a better version of yourself.
This isn’t the truth. In a healthy relationship, each member in a relationship will do different tasks according to what they’re good at. It’s never the case that one partner is good at everything, and the other one’s good at nothing.
A controlling wife doesn’t come about because her partner isn’t doing their job right.
In reality, your wife is controlling because of issues within herself. This could be her low self-esteem, which makes her put down others to make herself feel better. Criticizing you may give her a boost and make her feel more capable. This is an extremely unhealthy coping strategy.
She may even have a condition like anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. These disorders make sufferers feel compelled to control their environment – including the people around them.
If you ask your wife why she feels the need to control things and she can’t give a logical answer, she could be suffering from mental health issues. If this is the case, you should support and encourage her to seek therapy.
Overall, the most important thing to remember is that all of these issues are within her, and have nothing to do with you. A controlling partner is never at the fault of the victim.
The effects of a controlling wife
A controlling wife can affect every part of your life. Being dominated by somebody else can have negative effects on your self-image, your relationships, and even your finances. So, let’s break down the effects of a controlling wife.
1. Low self-esteem
When a wife is controlling, the other partner in the marriage will usually suffer from low self-esteem. Most likely, your controlling wife will make all the rules and decisions in your household. This can make you feel useless, or emasculated if you’re a guy. Your wife has made you out to be less powerful than her, and this will translate into your self-image.
It’s also possible that your controlling wife criticizes you a lot. This will make you feel ashamed, and might even cause you to do things in secret to avoid being berated. Your low self-esteem will make you feel negative and hopeless about yourself, your interests, and your abilities.
2. Poor relationship
It’s impossible to have a healthy relationship with a controlling wife. A controlling wife will resent her partner for failing to match up to her impossible standards. Similarly, you as the partner will feel anger and resentment towards her for being so critical.
Over time, this tension will build and doom the relationship. Holding resentment toward each other is the quickest way to destroy a marriage. For your relationship to work, it’s vital that both of you love and support each other.
3. Lack of love
The purpose of marriage is to make both of you feel loved. Marriage is about supporting each other, and loving all your partner’s flaws. With a controlling wife, you won’t get this love.
Hearing nothing but criticism from the person that’s supposed to emotionally nurture you can feel confusing because you’re not getting the unconditional love you’re supposed to get from a marriage partner. Instead, they’re the one that’s making your life hell!
This confusion can make it impossible to have any romance between you, let alone fulfilling sex. Without a foundation of love, you can’t have proper intimacy, passion, or sexual connection. You will both feel deeply unfulfilled.
Signs you might have a controlling wife
If someone tells you being in a relationship is easy… well, they’ve obviously never been in a real relationship. Being with another person is hard. It’s no longer just about you, now you have to think about the other person and their needs as well. You can’t ever be selfish.
Think that sounds easy? On top of that, you also need to communicate with your partner, not just “Hi” and “Bye.” You need to share your deepest feelings and emotions with them in a way that they can understand. Mastering communication is important because it’s the foundation of any relationship.
A controlling wife doesn’t know how to communicate or put you first. She puts her needs before yours and doesn’t know how to talk to you in a way that doesn’t put you down. However, sometimes the signs of a controlling wife aren’t so obvious.
It might seem like she’s doing everything right, and you’re doing everything wrong. So, it’s time to take a good look at your relationship. Let’s go through the signs of a controlling wife, so you can see how yours matches up.
1. She is always right
You probably know the joke “happy wife, happy life.” When you’re married, it starts to become reality. But, a controlling wife is someone who believes that she’s always right.
There’s no room for discussion. If there is, you can see she’s not really listening to your opinion, more just letting you vent. This is a huge sign that she’s controlling.
2. It’s her way or the highway
It always has to be her way. Of course, everyone has temper tantrums when they really want something, but for her, it happens daily. She cannot calm down or relax if something isn’t happening the way she wants it to. If something’s not just how she wants it, she’ll pout or become moody to ruin the experience for you.
3. Her love comes with a price
She doesn’t just say “I love you” cause she wants to. Rather, her love comes with a price attached.
For example, she may say to you, “I love you, but right now I don’t feel like having sex with you. But keep working out and losing weight and the attraction will come back.”
Maybe it’s not that obvious. Some of these comments can be more low-key. The point is, she’s trying to control you through love. Sex is used as a bargaining chip, and love doesn’t come for free.
4. She always criticizes you
It’s constant. Maybe you’ve put on a couple of extra pounds, and she’s always commenting on your clothing size or what you choose to eat. Sure, she probably thinks in her head that she’s helping you. But at the end of the day, she’s doing this to lower your self-esteem and provide herself with validation.
5. She’s jealous
Now, everyone can become jealous and possessive at times. When we have feelings for someone, these emotions will naturally occur. But, there’s a healthy line that we shouldn’t cross.
If she’s going through your phone and double-checking with your friends on where you’ve been, these are huge signs of jealousy. At first, you may think it’s sweet that she’s showing these emotions, but what she’s showing is her lack of trust in you.
6. Guilt is her secret weapon
Your wife knows how to use guilt as a weapon. Controlling people are well-trained in manipulation and use guilt as a way to get what they want. As her partner, you don’t want to see your wife upset, so you do as she says. But you never do it quite right.
This is how the vicious cycle starts: she’ll start making you feel guilty more and more, so you’ll do what she says, and then she’ll make you feel guilty… and so on.
7. You give up on arguing
Now, everyone has a different tactic when it comes to controlling their partner. Some people will try to control you under the radar, while others are more upfront and verbal about it. If she’s more verbal and argumentative, then you’ve probably learned to give up expressing your feelings because you know she will escalate an argument until she’s “won” it.
8. She teases you
Okay, teasing is normal and we all do it to each other. But, it also depends on the type of teasing she’s doing.
Low-key jokes that poke a sensitive area aren’t designed to make you laugh, but rather to bring you down. In addition, she may add “It was just a joke, don’t take it personally.” This just shows she doesn’t take your feelings seriously.
9. You’re guilty before it’s been proven
She’ll make you feel like you’ve committed a horrible crime when you’ve done nothing wrong. She’ll blame you for things without you even knowing what’s going on.
Your wife may even keep some “evidence” of your wrongdoing, just so that she can support her claim. Whether you know what’s going on or not is irrelevant because you’re already at fault.
10. The sex doesn’t feel right
It’s normal for a couple to be sexually active, but you may experience an uncomfortable sexual situation. Having a controlling wife places in you a position where you don’t have any personal control. Usually, these types of relationships will start to be uncomfortable sexually as well.
11. You don’t have a point of view
Of course, you have your own point of view, but it’s not being heard or acknowledged. Your partner may be quick to knock them down. Whenever you do have an opinion of some sort, it’s never respected and discussed. It’s shut down and pushed to the side.
12. You feel pressured into unhealthy habits
Maybe you have never smoked before. Now, you find yourself smoking – and drinking – a lot more than you normally would.
Your wife, through her controlling behavior, may actually be pushing you towards unhealthy habits such as substance abuse. Plus, if the behavior makes you feel guilty, she has another weapon to use against you.
13. You doubt yourself
You used to have an opinion and a sense of self. Now, your partner has succeeded in manipulating your emotions and making you feel unsure about all your actions. In other words, she’s weakened you to the point where you count on her for approval, and even when you know better about yourself, you ask her for validation.
14. She brings things up as if you owe her
Even if you didn’t ask her to do that kind gesture, she’ll bring it up as if you owe her. A controlling wife never does anything just to be kind.
Every action is an opportunity to manipulate you, sweet gestures are no different. If she does something nice for you, expect to hear about it the next time she wants something.
15. She keeps you away from family and friends
Separating their partner from family and friends is a common tactic used by abusive spouses. If you don’t have contact with a support system aside from your controlling wife, you’ll be even more dependent on her. By isolating you, she makes herself the focus of your life. This makes it much easier to control you.
She may separate you from a support system so you can’t ask family or friends if her behavior is normal. This second opinion could’ve been the wake-up call you needed to realize you have a controlling wife.
16. She has a foul temper
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right? A controlling wife takes this to the next level!
If you’ve ever cross your partner, *even over something tiny,* she’ll get irritated, overreact, or even fly into a blind rage. If you have a controlling wife, she’ll be known for her foul and furious temper. Her anger will be doubly intense when it’s turned on you.
17. She doesn’t respect your privacy
A controlling wife won’t let you have any space of your own. She’ll look through your phone to check you’re not doing anything she doesn’t like, and won’t let you go anywhere without her permission.
Even in a marriage, you have a right to privacy. Only a controlling wife won’t respect that.
18. She sabotages your progress
Maybe she won’t let you leave your dead-end job. Maybe she criticizes your first steps into a new hobby. Or, perhaps she puts down your achievements in front of your friends. Whatever she does to sabotage your progress, it’s a sign she’s a controlling wife.
She doesn’t want you to succeed because that would give you higher self-esteem. Higher self-esteem means more independence, which makes you more difficult for her to control.
19. She controls your finances
In a marriage, what’s yours is hers – but with a controlling wife, what’s hers is also hers. You’re not allowed any money of your own, and she makes all the big financial decisions in your household. She might even try to make it so she earns more than you, which means you depend on her to survive.
As we’ve said before, your dependence is a big part of her control. Controlling your finances is a dangerous sign of domestic abuse that you should never ignore.
20. She controls your appearance
Lastly, she controls how you look. She might pick your clothes out for you or just criticize the way you dress to make you feel small. Either way, she’s being a controlling wife.
The way you look should be all about your own self-expression. You’re not her Ken doll to dress up how she chooses.
How to deal with a controlling wife
So, now you know the signs of a controlling wife and what effect she can have on your life. If these signs sound like your partner, you need to know how to deal with a controlling wife. Let’s go through the different strategies.
1. Understand the reasons
Take the time to understand the reasons why your wife is controlling. Scroll back up through this feature and have a read *or re-read* of the typical reasons behind her behavior.
If you understand why she’s behaving in this way, you can find a way to work with her. Then, when you have a conversation with her or try to break free, you’ll have a better idea of how to do it safely and productively.
2. Stay calm
We understand you might be scared to confront her. If your wife is controlling, it’s natural that you’ll feel intimidated when you try to confront her abuse. However, you owe it to yourself to let her know her actions are wrong.
Stay calm when you’re speaking to her. Whether you’re challenging her on her criticisms of your outfit or announcing that new job she warned you not to get, keep your head and stay cool.
3. Ask her to work with you
Breaking her control over your relationship is something you have to work on together. Approach changing her behavior as a joint effort and ask her to work with you.
Don’t be accusatory or call her names – that’s just stooping to her level. Make sure you’re always being the better person, and keep her on the side.
4. Set clear boundaries
Let her know what is and isn’t okay. By setting clear boundaries, you can protect yourself from her controlling behavior.
For example, this is an especially good idea if she controls you financially. If you set the boundary that she’s not allowed to interfere with your money, you can protect yourself from financial abuse.
5. Seek help
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you feel like her behavior is too much. You don’t have to deal with your controlling wife by yourself, and other people might be able to say things to her that you can’t. If she’s already separated you from your family and friends, you need to be brave and defy her.
6. Get out
There might be nothing left to do but leave. If your relationship is still young or she’s only just become controlling, get out while you still can.
If you think your relationship can be saved, try the steps above. But if your marriage has become truly toxic, sometimes the only thing to do is go.
Marriage isn’t easy, but it’s definitely harder when you have a controlling wife. Before jumping to conclusions, look at the signs to see if your wife is controlling or not.