One of the most important conditions for a happy and fulfilling life is that one is free. This does not mean that one is free to do anything he/she wants. It just means that within the confines of rules that are necessary for a society to exist, one should be free enough to exist as oneself, without having to forgo one’s personality, interests and inclinations. It is the freedom to be oneself.
Unfortunately, a lot of marriages are devoid of happiness because one of the partners try to control the other. Controlling behaviors in a patriarchal society often occur on the part of the husband. Since male dominance is often accepted without question in society, many women do not even realize that the cause of their misery lies in the controlling behaviour of their husbands.
There are various forms of controlling behaviors.
1. financial control
Withholding money from a wife who does not earn money herself is a very common controlling behaviour. You may not be given money to meet your personal expenses even though you are shouldering all the house hold responsibilities. Even if you are a working woman, you may be asked to hand over your ATM card with the justification that you are not good at handling money. Even when a piece of land or house is bought, it will be under his name. At the end of the day, the woman does not have ownership of anything, even the money that she herself earned.
2. Isolating you from friends and family
This is a very common controlling behaviour. Your husband may say that you are spending too much time talking to your brother, or that you are spending so much time with your friends that you have no time to spend for the children etc. Slowly, they strip you of your support network so that you will be entirely dependent on him.
3. Chronic criticism
The way you dress, the way you comb your hair- anything and everything may be criticized. Your partner may say that you have to take such criticism in a positive way and use it to improve yourself, but you feel deficient and inadequate due to such criticism. Moreover, the feeling that you don’t measure up will nag you always, and erode your self-esteem.
4. Requiring constant disclosure
Do you have to account to your husband about your whereabouts throughout the day? Or who you were talking to on the phone? Or why you are five minutes late to come back from work? Requiring you to be accountable constantly about your daily life is another controlling behaviour.