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CONTROLLING YOUR LIFE how important is it?

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

This is  a question I've asked myself for a while ...  I'm saying that I've sensed there are some people that's lives are suppressed by their partners or family members and they have little control over their actions, lack of the freedoms some of us have without permission or lack of even free thoughts. Such "ownership" can be of great concern and I wonder how many of these caged people have mental illness from it or think they do but all along they have really been grossly unhappy. A mental prisoner of sorts?

In the end the level of control a person can withstand is subjective I'd suggest.  Meaning it is up to them. none of us outsiders can say- he is controlling you too much and you should put a stop to it.  We only hear one side of the story. It could for example be that the poster is feeling controlled but really isnt being controlled but being cared for.

Years ago I had a female friend that suffered from a psychiatric illness. She was in a daze most days due to her medication. Her husband seemed to control her every move. But the more I got to know the situation the more I realised why he was how he was and I probably would have ended up just as controlling.Some people cannot function normally.

Another example.  I had a hobby (model airplanes) when living with my defacto wife. I spent money almost daily on my hobby, $5 here and there (propellers wood glue etc). Some time after my initial diagnosis (bipolar 2, dysthymia, anxiety and depression) my wife began her secret quest to control all finances. Eventually I was on an allowance, which made me feel like a teenager on pocket money. I was earning twice the income she earned.  Eventually arguements began.  We had the following one-  

Her "how much money do you think you have spent on your hobby over the last 7 years"? 

Me "about $11,000"

Her "have you got any reason to be proud of that"

Me "Well it is a lot less than the $35,000 you have spent on cigarettes"

It was one of the few times I guessed the question was coming.  Eventually it was one reason for us separating.  In my case I had every right to defend myself against an element of unjust control. 

My now wife of 3 years and I have no control over each other.  We do of course have obligations, commitment, dedication and all those other things that come with a good marriage. But control isnt there. And we are happier for it.

Putting it out there.  Is excessive control over others a big factor with peoples mental health?

5 Replies 5

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member


You come up with some fantastic posts to start a conversation!!!  I'm so glad you're on here.

Excessive control - I grew up with a very controlling mum more than my dad.  My poor dad would do whatever my mum would tell him to do. Even now she still controls everything.

I knew no different - it was whatever mum would say was right, I would never argue with her or even have an opinion on something - because she was always right.

In my own marriage I think I am the more stronger one than my husband.  But at times he shows how he can be and it really annoys me.  For example: when I go out for coffee with a friend; he cracks it and then wants to know how much it was and where we went.

I don't want control  in my marriage; I just want to be happy together, to be able to communicate effectively and honestly with each other.

Yes, I have to say that excessive control plays a big factor in people's mental health.  If I was controlled as to what I was doing, how much money I was spending, who I was seeing, being watched continuously - that would do my head in.  I wouldn't be able to handle that pressure.

Sorry I think I have digressed slightly.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Jo,

I also had a controlling mother that no longer is in my life (my choice). And my late dad was close to a doormat, always agreeing with her. He no doubt was the ideal husband for her, her power, her weaponry that could be unleashed at any time.

But he withstood all the stress.  He had one and only one limit. At the height of their yelling he would tell her he is about to "walk past the letterbox". Although he never did over 42 years, walk past it, she knew that if he did she would never see him again. It worked.  But 99% of the time her bullets were in his gun and she would aim it at us kids.

I detest control for that reason. I get angry quickly if anyone talks down to me with a tone of authority. I was in hospital recently and a few nurses copped my wrath. Most though got my full support. I find that some people, when they are in a position of authority think they are in a position of power- two very different things.

As for a marriage it can be tricky. Where is stepping over the line?  I think the line being stepped over is when you feel intimidated and embarrassed as to your partners questioning.  Who you were with is a normal question if it  isnt prying but wondering who generally, how much money you spent is relevant if the budget is very tight, etc. It's all about how the person questioned feels about the interrogation and its intent. If the person questioned feels really negative about the questions then there is a problem and this issue can be a huge effect on anyone battling mental illness. Of course it deserves being addressed. And that is a problem. The only ways to address it is through a/ negotiation or b/counselling. Either way it a fight to get rights back to what they should be in the first place and that's annoying.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Tony,

You made reference to this post on another thread so i had to dig it up and have a read.

I think controlling our own lives is very important. To be controlled makes us start to question our own decisions, we question our beliefs and things we know, we question how we are meant to feel and think because being controlled makes us follow what someone else is telling us to follow or believe. We lose ourselves and our right to be an individual.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion


thanks for your reply CMF

If someone is in a controlled relationship and is lucky enough to "escape" it, it is a relief but not the end.

If its a parent that controls their adult child then that narcissistic environment effects the child so immensely that it also effects his/her relationship with their partner.

The symptoms (from my experience) can include senditivity with being told what to do even a simple request, over reaction to ones rights, anger management issues (even desire for revenge).

I've been estranged from my controlling mother for 6 years. I'm 61, mother 85. She is still working behind the scenes causing alienation between me and cousins. It wont ever stop even after her passing...

Her effect on me and my sister is so deep so in grained that we will still have fear after her death.

Such is her mortgage on our souls...

Thankfully my sister and I have each other.

Tony WK

Vegetarian Marshmallow
Community Member

Well, since I'm not a solipsist, I think we're all controlled in some way or another. Some of it is a good thing. For instance, the laws of nature exert control over me; they prohibit me from flying off into space and suffocating, and from just suddenly turning into a carrot. I don't have to put any effort into this state of affairs; it just happens without my say-so. The government controls the police, who control various things about the community I live in, which means I don't have to spend every waking minute protecting my possessions from being stolen. A friend brought me (inflicted upon me, as I did not control him to do so) a bottle of wine on my birthday. So from a perspective outside your own head, a functional synonym for "control" is often "automatic delegation".

I think the line where this is a *negative* thing is where you know significantly better than the outside force e.g. if I am an expert bricklayer, and a person building my house (i.e. a person exerting the particular control over me of "deciding how my house ends up") is laying bricks in a manner I feel is incorrect. Or my friend brings me a bottle of wine, when I already have seventy thousand bottles of wine. Or my wife manages our finances, when I think I can do a better job.

I can tell my wine friend my desire, and take into account his needs in this exchange. "I don't need you to get me wine. I understand your wish to express affection. Perhaps you can express your affection with carpet instead. I do need carpet." and he will likely indulge me, or think "No, I don't trust that you know better than I do. One fact I am privy to is that I cannot afford carpet. And I know that you need more wine because I secretly drank all your wine. So I will still get you wine.".

Or "I don't need you to hold me here, Earth. I would like to get to the moon, please. I understand that you require me to build a rocket and life-support systems before you will trust that I can get there myself.".

Or "I don't need you to manage my finances. I understand that you require more trust in my ability and/or some third-party safety device (e.g. a shared savings account which requires both our signatures for withdrawals) before you will feel comfortable with this. Both our imaginations may have got the better of us, given this emotive topic, but I feel that you have spent quite a sum on cigarettes. Let us compare our bank statements and see objectively who is the better money manager."