Do you feel stressed and frustrated because your spouse seems to always want to control you? Are you unsure on what you should do to avoid or stop your spouse’s controlling behavior? To help understand why your spouse could be controlling and what you can do to deal with your controlling spouse, I have interviewed therapist Stacy Paul.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I have over 15 years experience in the social service field. I have worked at both profit and non-profit agencies. I have worked with people ages 5 and up. My specialty would be the adult population (18-55). I have done both outpatient and residential work. I have a Masters degree in counseling. I am a licensed professional counselor and a licensed independent substance abuse counselor. I have done both direct service and management in the social service field. My experience includes but is not limited to: substance abuse counseling, co-dependency, domestic violence, self-esteem, past abuse, women’s issues, stress and anger management, relational issues, other addictions. I have provided individual, couples, group and family therapy.”
Why are some spouse’s controlling over the other spouse?
“There can be multiple reasons: low self-esteem, insecurity, learned behavior from family of origin, poor communication skills and inability to get needs met effectively, need to feel power to feel in control of their out of control lives, poor emotional regulation and fear (loss, lack of control, abandonment, rejection). Usually there are multiple factors involved in creating the need to control.”
What type of impact does the controlling spouse have over the other?
“Abuse slowly becomes progressive. This slow mental manipulation leads to the abused person experiencing: low self-esteem, self-blame for issues, depression, isolation from supports systems, distrust of self perceptions/thoughts, fear, feeling like they are walking on eggshells/not knowing what to expect, feeling like one needs to do better to please the spouse.”
How can someone deal with his or her controlling spouse?
“This depends on the level of dysfunction or abuse. Safety must be considered first. If the controlling behavior includes physical violence, one should not do things to challenge the spouse. Consider going to counseling to figure out why you are allowing someone to abuse you. Working on yourself will empower you to decide what you want. This may include leaving the person or going to a domestic violence shelter. If the controlling behavior is not physically abusive, consider couples counseling, work on setting boundaries while providing your spouse with lots of positive reinforcement for positive behavior change and acknowledge the spouse’s feelings to provide them with a sense of feeling heard and cared about. The controlling spouse should be encouraged to also seek individual counseling on his or her own.”
What type of professional help is available for someone who is being controlled by his or her spouse?
“There are local private and non-profit agencies that do domestic violence counseling, couples and individual therapy. There are domestic violence shelters. There are also private counselors that have experience providing individual, couples counseling to this population. People can find additional resources by contacting the local domestic violence commission.”
Thank you Stacy for doing the interview on how someone can deal with a controlling spouse. For more information on Stacy Paul or her work you can check out her website on http://www.stacypaullpclisac.com.
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