I admit it. I used to be an extremely controlling woman in my relationships with men. Like many women raised in the 1970s, I’d been taught to feel safe like that, and thought that no one could ever take advantage of me as long as I let everyone know I was top dog. There are complicated reasons this came to be, and they really don’t matter. What matters is that I’m not controlling anymore, and I’m a heck of a lot happier than I ever was when I was a domineering jerk. Learning to embrace my womanhood, and learning the art of healthy submission to a good and trustworthy man were to the best things that I’ve ever done for myself.
So, are you a controlling woman? Here are four telltale signs that you are.
1. You always have to be right. Is winning everything to you? Do you get furious if your man doesn’t see things your way? Do you punish him by pouting or yelling or manipulating him in some way to get him to agree with you? If so, you are probably a controlling woman. Solution? Learn to say things like, “I never thought about it that way,” or “I can see your point,” or “I appreciate you sharing your opinion with me, it’s really helpful to understand how you see this.” You don’t have to agree with your man, but you have to respect him. Insisting that he’s stupid for not agreeing with you is a mega #fail.
2. You spy on him. Do you check his cell phone records, or hack into his email? Do you follow him? Do you try to “catch” him doing something wrong? If so, you are probably a controlling woman. Solution? Find ways to find your own life as fascinating as you find his. Get some friends, or hobbies. Be fulfilled. Stop worrying. Relax. Be nice.
3. Your man must seek your permission before he hangs out with his buddies or goes somewhere by himself. Do you have to know exactly where he is at all times? Do you keep tabs on his coming and going? Yeah? Well, you’re probably a controller. Solution? Trust him. And if you can’t, then let him go. No one wants to be policed.
4. You tell him how to spend his money, how to dress, how to eat, how to talk, who to be friends with or how to interact with his parents, etc. If so, you’re a control freak and you suck. Solution? Accept him the way he is, or move on and find someone you can accept. No one loves a dictator.
It all comes down to releasing anxiety, and learning to trust, or submit. Trust is the basis for all healthy relationships. I believe that is what the Bible means when it says a woman must submit to her man — you have to trust him. If you can’t trust him, leave and work on developing a sense of self and emotional balance. Stop torturing yourself, and your man.