Thursday, March 20, 2014


            Has your partner ever said to you, “You’re the controlling one! You are always trying to control me! You’re a controlling bitch!”
            These accusations can create confusion for the woman. So let’s clarify a few points.
            It is not control when you:
  • Demand that someone treat you properly, insisting that your rights be respected (including demanding that you be spoken to with respect)
  • Challenge someone about the work they are creating for you (such as by leaving messes around the house)
  • Press someone to meet responsibilities that they aren’t meeting (and if you have to keep asking them over and over again, that doesn’t make you controlling, it makes them irresponsible)
  • Challenge someone about behaviors of theirs that have large implications for the couple (and for the family if you have children), such as abusing alcohol, gambling, ignoring the children, or being mean to the children
  • Call the police because someone is hurting you or threatening to hurt you
            It is control when you:
  • Ridicule someone, make them feel stupid, or call them demeaning names, especially when you are doing so in order to force them do something or to silence them
  • Physically or sexually intimidate someone
  • Get revenge on someone for not doing what you told them to do or for standing up for their own opinions
  • Impose double standards (make different rules for yourself than for the other person)
  • Pressure or manipulate someone into sexual contact that they don’t want
            I’m willing to bet that when he calls you controlling, he is referring to things you do from the first list, and that when you call him controlling, you’re referring to things he does from the second list. He's the one getting it all backwards.
            Another useful, though tricky, concept:  It’s control when you are trying to take someone’s rights away, and it’s self-defense when you are trying to keep someone else from taking your rights away. (The reason this gets tricky is because the controlling man will often say that you are trying to take his rights away, because he thinks he has the right to abuse you.)
            And a last concept:  The abusive man will call you “controlling” for resisting his control. Noticing when this is happening will be a huge help to you.


  1. This puts it in a nutshell, Lundy :)
    May we repost on A Cry For Justice?
    Of course we'd give a link to back here.

  2. Thank you Mr. Bancroft for the work that you do. This is great help to women like me who have chosen to be free of their husband's abuse. - Cez

    1. Thank you for this blog! I cannot even put into words how helpful it is. Some women do not have a choice when they lost their career due to a spinal injury and cannot support themselves and are economically abused. Would you please get education out to very young women, so they do not end up trapped. I never thought my husband had a mean bone in him or would steal and con my money away- here he is a nasty devious conartist with a mother who helps and enables him to abuse me more. How could his family be so dis functional? Why would an abused mom teach and help her son to abuse his wife who lost her parents? I don't understand how people can be so devious and nasty.

  3. Wow, thanks for putting the truth out there once again. Your book helped me find my way out of the insanity of abuse. I am now living in the light. Please keep up your work, it's invaluable!

  4. Wow, thanks for putting the truth out there again. Your book helped me to get out of the insanity of abuse. I am now living in the light. Please keep doing what you do so well!

  5. I certainly appreciated your book. I know that what I experience is not in my imagination. Although my husband does some of the things in the first list, because I really couldn't give a crap I am mad at him all the time but I have gotten alot better. In meantime, is there somewhere I can find a list of therapists trained by you or that otherwise think like you. I have literally gone through 7 therapists since I met him in 2000. He charms the women, lies, exerts his undying love and sympathy for me (I am bipolar - high functioning)because I am so troubled, have no grasp on reality and my interpreter is broken. (It's so pathetic its funny now) since 2000 I have graduated college, gotten an MA, bought my home, retired just a month ago, and volunteer at a large national charity in the legal department. But in his mind, I am to be pitied or something. so because of my diagnosis, these therapist immediately assign the blame to me, because he is so handsome and charming - it borders on flirtation. The first one was the best.

    and funny - because the only reason I ever invited him to meet my first therapist was so that he could learn more about bipolar and how he could contribute to my stability. What a farce that became.

    Anyway, you've heard it all. But I need to find someone that will at least validate my experience even if he paints a vastly different picture. Becaus of course, having little contact with my family and basically no friends, it gets hard being one's own cheerleader. The current very strident conflict is over he hates my religion, it is a cult, he hates the people in my church because they are mostly black, and I am being ordered to stop church completely for the entire summer so that he can have his Saturdays. I go to church Saturday from 11-3. I offered every other week he told me to ...well, you know. what kind of a person deprives someone of the basic American right to religious expression?

    Never mind that my religious practice lends more to my stablilty than my medications. So I told him I would give up the summer and at the same time, give up my medications for the summer because obviously an on/off pattern of things that contribute to my wellness was okay.

    So if you could point me in the right direction, I would really appreciate it. I am beginning to drown here. We are on day 4 of constant badgering, swearing, bullying. I am standing firm but think I could use some help.

    1. Alias Grace, you might like to check out A Cry For Justice. It's a blog which addresses domestic abuse in a Christain context. I'm one of the people on that blog. We love Lundy's work.

  6. My abuser lost his first wife (33 years old) to stomach cancer. He married me shortly after. He is a LMFC. He was very controlling early on and I wanted to call off the wedding. He said he was sorry and that he was still dealing with his late wife's death. I said he should deal with it before we get married. He said that he will be dealing with it for the rest of his life and he is a therapist so he can handle it. I wish I had read your books about all this or that the several therapists I had gone to would have recognized the abuse in my first marriage and led me to your books. After my last abusive marriage, I went to an abuse center. They gave me handouts but never referred your books or insisted on them. I have been going to a new center where I am now and the counselor was emphatic about me reading your book, "Why Does He Do That". She kept asking me every week and so I finally read it. And then I read "Keeping the Faith" and then I read "The Emotionally Abusive Relationship" and now I am halfway through "Should I Stay or Should I Go". All of these I have read in about a week. The hardest part is that my husband is a brilliant therapist and has used this and the fact that I have issues from childhood to constantly diagnose me. It is a good thing that I am also brilliant and I trust my instincts and that I have emails that prove all of this including all of his lies. Thank God for that. He has 2 daughters from his previous marriage that I love. They call me mommy. I have been the youngest one's mommy longer than her first mommy was. I get a lot of comments from people who knew her that say they can't believe that my husband is abusive because his late wife was so strong and she never said anything about being abused. If fact when my husband makes fun of me or criticizes me and I tell him I don't like it, he says, "well, Rachel never minded". When I ask him to give me a kiss he says that I am demanding and controlling. When I ask him about his pot smoking or pornography he says that I am crazy and it has to do with my childhood problems. Then when he gets caught he says that he had to lie because I always have a microscope on him trying to control his every move. I am ready to leave. I am nervous. I have support. I am moving forward. Thank you for your work, Lundy. Thank you. I am writing a musical based on the book "The Gorilla and the Fairy" by Carol Young. She is a friend of mine. It is such a great little picture book that is an allegory about domestic abuse.

  7. You are so accurate in all of your books. I can't wait to read Daily wisdom for why does he do that. I am two years post separation from my abusive and controlling ex(still locked into marriage with him) I re-live the horrors every day. Nightmares two or more times a week. Will it ever end? He is so controlling he pays me $1,100 a month and refuses to settle our divorce forcing us into a master's hearing to end this. We have had no contact for months at a time. He still finds ways to "show up" places he knows we will be and he recently started to contact my son,who he refused to adopt. Trying to go out or hang out with him. You have helped so many of us. Thank you! Vanessa Postlewaite.