Dr. Love,My husband and I will be married for 20 years this June. We have three children ages 14, 8, 2.My husband was brought up very conservative with money. So he inheritated this trait. I am only allowed to have a fixed amount of money to shop for groceries a week and a small allowance a week. I am not allowed to have a check if I need to get something for the kids and any thing else. I must tell him the amount needed and why needed and he will give me cash. I do not have the ability to use the checking account or have ownership of a charge card.He is very good to the kids and has saved a large amount for the kids college already. He is not abusive just afraid of not having control over all finances. I have to beg and plead for extra things we need.Just recently he said that I don’t act like a christian because I have too many material needs. I am a christian but he is still struggling with his faith. He goes to church with coaxing and throws this in my face that he attends and therefore I should be happy with that.I love him Dr. Love but am feeling so inadequate with my self due to the fact of his complete control. I have an inherited family depression and have been taking medication for it for 6 years.Please let me know what you think about this!Thank you
Clearly you aren’t happy with the way things are going in your marriage. You need to start from the premise that your choice to be with such a controlling man has been meeting your needs, otherwise you wouldn’t have stayed with him for so long.Yes, I know you consciously dislike what he’s doing to you, but keep in mind that no pattern continues unless it meets the needs of both partners. So, let’s understand what you have gained and continue to gain by being with a man who treats you like a child. This is the first step to breaking free.Let’s begin by recognizing that the mind finds gains in many forms. For example, we humans like to stick with what we know. There is actually an odd sort of pleasure in being treated in ways that we are used to, even if the familiar treatment is painful. My first guess is that you are used to being controlled. Perhaps your parents watched your every move. If so, that would explain how you wound up marrying a controlling man.Being controlled is annoying, but remember there is comfort in the familiar. It is also possible that your husband ‘s controls serves to keep you in check. If your parents controlled you too much, you would naturally be fighting an urge to rebel and go wild. Your husband ‘s control would keep you in check.I’ve given you a couple of possible gains that you obtain by allowing him to control you. If these suggestions don’t fit, keep examining yourself until you figure out what you gain by being controlled by him. When you identify what you gain by being controlled, see if you can find another way to meet your needs.For example, if you have been using him to keep you in check, work to develop strategies for controlling your behavior all by yourself. Once you are able to understand what you gain by being controlled and you find alternative ways of meeting your needs, you are in a better position to break free of this pattern.When you are ready to stop being controlled, your husband is going to know that you mean business, which means that he is going to feel pressed to address and resolve his own issue–that is his need to control you.In order for you to be able to make the change that you want in this marriage, you are going to need to get in touch with just how angry you are. He is treating you like a child and putting you down regarding your religious habits. You said that you inherited depression. This isn’t true. When anger is buried inside the psyche it resurfaces in many ways including anxiety and depression.Even if you have several family members who are depressed, don’t assume that you have faulty genes that destine you to a life sentence of depression. The most common cause of depression is caused by not being in touch with your anger.Likely you learned by observing your parents that swallowing your anger is the Christian thing to do. Remember that Jesus was angry and so are you! You will need to find your anger and use it constructively to assert your wishes and set limits on your husband ‘s controlling behavior and put downs. It is your anger, used constructively, that is the key to setting you free.You are probably going to need therapeutic help in order to access your anger and to learn how to use it to help yourself and the relationship. I’m happy to help you with further. Contact me in private consulting division if you want to go farther.