Medical Questions > Relationships > Relationships and Marriage Forum

Controlling, Bully Husband

I need help in dealing with a very controlling and bullying husband. He in no way feels he is this way. He comes across as "acting" like he is the most perfect, smart, person alive. First let me explain his personality. He is the most talkative, social, must have all the attention, expert on everything person you would ever meet. He feels the need to "talk" to anyone and everyone when we are out. He dominates conversations, and has to tell me EVERY single detail of everything he does and says to people everyday. Yes, he can be caring, concerned, help anyone in need person but he MUST have all control over everything. He is majorly detail oriented and can pick ANYTHING apart. He comes across as trying to make everyone believe he is the most perfect person and everyone else is always totally wrong. He will go into detail about how everything "should" be run and how everything "should" be done. This attitude is exhibited with all activities he is involved in including home. So, with all this in mind - this is how me and our 3 kids are treated: Since he is a perfectionist - if things are not done to his specifications - he screams and yells and lets everyone in the house know. He CONSTANTLY nags the kids about chores, responsibilities, etc....and yes they should do them - but NEVER gives them a break. A day doesn't go by when he doesn't make our kids feel bad about something. And, for me it's a nightmare. I do nothing at all right. He is the expert on cooking, cleaning, laundry, household chores, kids school activities, etc. I cannot even put the garbage in the " garbage can correctly most of the time. He will walk in a room and find numerous things "wrong" and proceed to tell everyone. Because I am a stay at home mom - I am constantly reminded who "makes all the money" around here and who bought "everything" in this house. Just yesterday he said - "when are you going to finally respect my authority around here" He really thinks he is king of the house and we are his servants and must do and listen to everything he says. I am not allowed any opinions (thinks I'm bucking him?), he could care less about my stories - but wants me to spend hours listening to his and if I interrupt him - he snaps at me, yells, and it starts a fight. And ANYTIME we are in an arguement - he basically in so many words makes threats about throwing me out of the house or leaving. He cannot handle arguements - sees them as "threats to his authority". I have to be VERY CAREFUL about what I say because one wrong word and I'm gone. I have no job, no money, and no where to go. We live in an upper middle class neighbored where our children are very involved in activities and have lots of friends, great schools and I cannot take them from that plus I would have no where to go. I walk on egg shells everyday of my life. I really don't have a life of my own because he doesn't let me. He controls finances, our daily plans, kids activities, etc.. I cannot do anything on my own with asking his permission. (even though I do sometimes). I do play tennis 2 days a week but I can barely squeak that by without him complaining that I play too much tennis and should be home doing chores. Believe me, I don't play too much. He can't stand the thought of me playing tennis for a couple of hours and once in awhile having lunch with a friend (I don't do that everyday) while HE is working really hard making a living. It's almost like jealousy. If he is at work then I should be working. But what's funny - he at least spends two or three nights a week playing tennis with his buddies while I'm carting the kids to all their activies, cooking dinner, cleaning kitchen, and putting kids to bed. That's ok - because "he works all day and deserves this". But I don't deserve any free time at all. That's his attitude. I do try to say things to him about all this - but he is a MASTER at debate and always wins the fight (so he thinks) He has the abiltity to turn any conversation around the way he wants it to be. That is very frustrating when I am not a good conversatiionalist or quick thinker. I can never think quick enough for comebacks. I freeze up and end up saying the wrong things. He twists everything and makes it in his favor very easily. He basically has the gift of gab and can debate very easily. So how do I overcome this and try to change some of his attitudes without going to counseling or leaving? He is not 100% of the time like this but it's becoming more and more with each passing day. HELP!
Did you find this post helpful?

replied October 17th, 2012
My husband is also like this with me and I was hoping one one replied so I could get some advice too Sad are things better at all? I also have 3 kids and am a sahm...
Did you find this post helpful?

replied October 18th, 2012
Extremely eHealthy
I guess your hubby got so good at repartee by sharpening his brain and his wits on you...

I am sorry for your troubles - many of which you have "allowed" to happen and have even "encouraged" by not resisting when they crept up.
The really sad thing here is he has become an appalling role model for the children who are likely to be indoctrinated into a life of serial behaviour!

Your husband's behaviour and attitudes amounts to a level of unreasonable behaviour that is probably grounds for divorce or separation. As a wholly maintained wife you could expect that to continue at least until the children finish their education and leave home and probably long afterwards.
Using unreasonable behaviour as grounds can be a minefield especially if you have been hiding his behaviour from friends, relatives and others - so don't!

Whether you want to divorce or reform your husband you must not be dishonest about anything and make certain everyone knows his slipping into obsessive-compulsive behaviour is making it almost impossible to continue living with him.

I strongly suggest you get some legal advice so you know how you would stand financially...

The solution to radical problems usually means resorting to radical methods. Your problem, and the potential damage to your children does require radical action and quickly!
As a tennis player you will know something of "gamesmanship" or the ways of cheating or gaining an advantage within the rules and that will be the best way of concentrating your husband's mind...

I feel feminism will be the best course of action - some passive resistance and some active resistance and some public humiliation for your husband - how are you at play-acting?
It is time for you to stop being one sort of role-model for your children and to become another sort!

It will take some courage at first - he could snap and resort to violence but you must not weaken and immediately call the police and have him arrested - it will be for his own good and eventually make him a better person who can accept normal human imperfections...

Record his conversations with you and replay them when friends are present: not to humiliate him but to ask for their opinion on some point or other because "you are so stupid" you didn't really understand it...
Next time he picks fault and insists on a silly amount of detail tell him to show you because "you are so stupid" or tell him to do it himself...

Make certain he knows you are going to be a rebel until he begins to treat you as an equal: go to his work and tell him in front of his colleagues.
Tell him if he continues to treat you like a maid/slave he will leave you with no choice but to wear the uniform and that will be the end of sleeping together and any sexual activities...

Keep telling him he is OCD and request he goes to therapy.

Get a job and tell him to hire a maid or wear the uniform yourself and never take it off...

Make him wear his dinner...

Put headphones on if he starts to rant...

You could find hundreds of ways to concentrate his mind: public sarcasm is good; "ask my husband, he claims to know everything"...

Refuse to become involved in conversation with him. Think about what he has said and write your answer down and present it to him several days later. Play the recording to refresh his memory...

These are the sort of tricks women have used to keep their men in order since the beginning of time...
It is possible your husband has become misguided and habit-ridden but underneath still loves you or it is possible he really has lost his love and respect for you.
You need to discover which in order to decide on your course of action. Certainly you should refuse to be anything less than your husband's equal whatever action you take, even if you need to go on strike and picket the house (which should make good local tv news)...

Good luck!
Did you find this post helpful?

replied December 15th, 2012
If she does some of the thins suggested above he might kill her! The strategies above are likely to make the problem worse not better. What happens when they come home after she has humilated him in front of others? He beats her, that's what. I can't imagine how difficult it is to be in this situation but 95% of the advice I read is garbage. I am sick of the victim-blaming that by not arguing with him every time he is so rude and mean to her, she is doing something wrong, clearly you didn't read what she wrote as she's tried but he refuses to listen. I think she needs to leave but she need to decide this herself, once she does he will beg and plead for her to come back (this is known as the cycle of domestic violence). There are many factors here that make this so difficult but there is help available. My advice is for her to ask someone she knows for help to move out, ask/demand that he seek counselling and start taking medication if necessary (sounds like he has mental health probelems) if he wants his family back. She does not deserve to be treated that way at all. She sounds like a wonderful wife and mother.
Did you find this post helpful?

replied January 11th, 2013
If you are thinking of divorce and have been a SAHM then do not get a job. He sounds just like my husband, a big fat bully. And you should tell him so when he is acting this way. Also, tell your kids to stand up to him and tell him when he is bullying them. Do not leave your marital home. If you divorce, it will reflect badly upon you and affect custody of your children. Stand up for yourself with comments like "I'll do whatever I want, when I want." Put a bikini on and get a tan in the backyard. Leave in the evening after he gets home and say you are going to the market for groceries and instead go enjoy a movie secretly or spend some private time at a book store or library. Have a meal by yourself at a restaurant. Sit at the bar and receive personal attention and conversation from the bar tender. The more time you spend away from your bully, the better you'll feel. You will clear your mind and find that you are able to quip back quickly to his put downs. Oh and never underestimate the power of humor. Sometimes simply turning his remark into a joke (sounds like you wish you were born a girl) or laughing as if you could care less about whatever he said is enough to shut him up. Make him feel stupid. And start recording your conversations and make sure he sees you doing it. That shuts bullies up too.
Did you find this post helpful?

replied August 27th, 2013
my husband is a bully
wow, as if this doesnt echo my own life. I lived my whole life looking for that one man to have beautiful children with and be able to be a sahm. that was all i wanted until i got it. unfortunately, the man i found gave me the idea of what i wanted at the cost of my independance, identity and my self worth. Although I have not left my husband I found ways to make my life happier. I found me again. I was so discouraged and broke down, I definitely needed change. I remember telling people this isn't me. Something clicked and I needed me back. I started with healthy eating and lost 60 lbs. secured a full time job, have my own ching and became a full time student, culinary arts (im so proud). I didnt do it all at once, but small changes have made huge improvements. having so many other things on my plate I started to leave household chores slide, (dirty toilet, what? did u think i cleaned itself?) and i no longer feel guilty. he no longer expects dinner, that feels like a major accomplishment. he now calls to say "what were u thinking about for dinner?". far cry from the days of throwing plates because the rice was too salty or noodles too crunchy,lmao. I dont miss him saying "what did u do today" or calling me fat, he stopped that the one day I said really Fatass. And surprisingly I havent heard him complain about "babysitting" his own kids in a while either. and too my surprise he actually found a sitter once. Looking back I see big changes, But bully still exists. I have also had to learn his mood and how to avoid certain situations. I know what will escalate his loud annoying voice. its just not that important to win the "fight". when i know he is in a mood, Im out the door and avoid him at all cost. occasionally it feels as if he is following me and just picking stupid crap to complain about,ugh. It sucks that I still must bite my tongue and watch what I say when i know he is in that mood. but I must in order to keep peace. too bad for him I've lost that closeness with him, I have had to detached myself from him quite a bit. if he comes home from work and naps, I let him nap. he spends many hours in his mancave undisturbed, giving me peace. i no longer care to take him by family/friends for social events or have them here. I dont want to go out together. I dont want to go out with him. I deal with a practicing alcoholic (and he's a perfectionist). we are lucky he doesnt come home unhappy and wakes us, he's mostly sleepy. sometimes makes it into the house. he usually falls asleep anywhere. I want to know who can respect that? a loud sloppy drunk. People may say why dont u just leave. Well last year, finally financially independent enough to make it alone i realized that my husband will look forward to the "fight" a divorce and custody will envoke, I dont have time for that. I will try to coexist. being here as a family keeps me front and center and completely informed on how my children are being kept, and treated. I will keep a watchful eye as my children grow. and if my husband needs his bully fix and starts on my children I will be there, protecting my children. for now
Did you find this post helpful?

This post has been removed because it did not meet our Community Guidelines.

replied September 29th, 2013
Reading the posts above I feel like I'm using sonar, echo...echo...echo. I totally feel for you and understand, my partner is the same. He is a racist and hates women...when things don't go right it's always the woman's fault. When he's really angry the names start flowing...I never knew there were such words for women until I met him. He's even started talking like that in front of his kid. I know I should leave but right now I feel someone needs to be here when the children are around (they live with their mother). I too walk on egg shells, hoping he doesn't ask me to do anything because chances are it will be wrong somehow. The other problem is that he drinks so much that he doesn't remember one conversation to another, in which case I'm always the one in the wrong. I'm a nice person, I love my step-children and have a great job which I am good at...this is wearing me down. I just hope that one day, soon, he has another blackout and stops breathing once and for all.
Did you find this post helpful?

replied October 20th, 2013
bullied by my husband
Wow, so whats the answer? My husband is a bully too. He will bully our kids on purpose as if to start a fight with them so he can show them who is boss. He drinks every other day and forgets or claims to forget how he acted or what he said and did. I tell him I want a divorce and he won't leave. He does not have a job, has several injuries and claims it is too painful to work, but is too proud to apply for disability. Because he is such a bully, I am afraid of the wrath when I do leave him, I am afraid he will burn the house down or hurt someone. I watched jis cousin try to get restraining order on her husband after only a few months of marriage, he threatened to kill her and the courts would not listen, they allowed visitation with the dad and the baby. As soon as he had the chance he kept the baby and tried to get her to come pick the baby up instead of taking him to the arranged drop off. When she did not do that, he asked for her family to come get the baby. They were smart enough to send the police. It was too late, he taught her the lesson he promised he would and shot their nine month old son in the head and then killed himself. So yes, I am afraid. My husband has never hit me, I think it is only because he is afraid of jail. He pushed me once after I pushed him more than ten years ago. I am afraid if I took every bit of control from him, and made him feel he had nothing to lose, he might do the same as our cousin did. It happens every day. So I do fight back with my words, I tell him he is a loser and a drunk and to knock it off and we just fight and scream, and it is not good for our kids. They do not respect him, most of the time they hate him. He says it is my fault because I am not strict enough with them, and because I say these things about him, they learn it from me. I tell him they are also learning how to be a bully, and a bad man from him. I also tell him it is his fault because he is the stay at home dad that pays no attention to them because he is sleeping one off until 4pm each day. I pray he will die in his sleep or in one of these surgeries I keep paying for...but no luck yet. I am only 41, I wanted desperately to have a partner and a family my entire life, and I got this. I have two friends that are my age and widowed and I envy them. How sick is that? I'm done. If I did not have my children then I don't know what.......
Did you find this post helpful?

replied November 18th, 2013
Dealing with a bully
My life echoes hers. Emotionally abusive, financially abusive you name it. Gone back to school a decision we both took that gives me flexible timing as the kids are so young. However, he wants to come home and rest, after doing a none strenuous job all day. He doesn't expect to help around the house or say more than a few words to the kids, but needs to be served. We have rowed as I rebelled and made no dinner etc, then he started cursing me out. He calls it telling me the truth and unpacks everything possible, mocking me, deriding me and asking me to shut up when I bring up issues.

Well I realised I was dealing with a bully. I met the bully in his backyard. As soon as he starts cursing me out I go crazy, I sing I dance and if the kids are asleep I yell and curse him out. I have told him now, I wouldn't cry anymore, but I would tell him 'truths' about himself and his mother. That hurts him a lot. Now he knows how it feels. The first couple of times I apologized because it just wasn't me and I actually trembled. But now....bring it on, two can play this game. It is bad for my soul, but I feel it was worse when I couldn't sleep because of things the person I loved told me. Using things I told him in confidence to mock me, bring me down and be in control. Well no more.
Did you find this post helpful?

replied November 22nd, 2013
your all just describing my world funny my husband is a bully he thinks he is perfect and says he does everything round the house (the fact he hardly works is why he thinks this) I work 4 days a week teaching and 2 evenings teaching as well. he might work 2 days a week if we are lucky. but apparently when he is bullying he says im lazy...? I thinks he reflects his own s... He used to call me fat in fact he was right at one point I had put on weight but one morning I woke up and thought what the f... am I doing so got my act together and lost weight .. funny though he is over weight ...!! when the children were at home he bullied them or controlled them ..thankfully they stand up to him.. they are 31, 29, 25,they have learnt how to handle him.. my problem is I let him get to me when he says im lazy or fat.. I wish I could walk away from him but I end up arguing then getting upset because im so angry.. he does think he is the best at everything ... I do wish he would drop dead sometimes then when we are both laugh thing our heads off at something I see the person I married.... but I don't want sex with him because I don't respect him... im so much stronger than I have ever been.. I decorated the spare room for guests and im the one who regularly sleeps in there... he helped decorate it lol..!! I love it... but im not ready to move out. because ive spent far to long (34 years) fighting for this marriage to let it end now.. its such a shame because we all know it does not have to be this way....................
Did you find this post helpful?

replied June 5th, 2016
My husband is the exact same with the added physical abuse. When I asked him just a day or so ago why he was so mean and abusive, did he feel like more of a man, he got even more mad and then said he didn't lime being like that but if I would just learn to shut my mouth then it wouldn't be this way. We went thru g look at getting me a better vehicle so I could take his MMR Autistic 37 year old brother to his appointments. So we go, find one and of ceed to trade in my truck (I had coming into this relationship) so we get home and all and the next day we're fighting because he said he could take the car when ever he wanted he pays for it and let me say he managed somehow to get the title in his name. I commented on it and he said " Are you stupid or what, do you think I would spend $13,000 on your stupid A__ then the hitting started. I have yet been able to drive MY car anywhere and we've had it about 3 weeks. He completely quit driving his truck to work which he works on a ranch I'm desperate for help
Did you find this post helpful?