Controlling Spouse Assessment and Evaluation

If you feel your spouse controls or dominates you, complete the following self-scoring assessment for insight into your situation. (IMPORTANT NOTE: If your spouse is physically violent or if you have any fear for your safety, skip this assessment and call the Domestic Abuse Hotline for information about how to be safe. 1-888-7HELPLINE – US & Canada)


1. Never
2. Rarely
3. Occasionally
4. About as often as not
5. More often than not
6. Most of the time
7. All of the time

1. _______ There are things my spouse does not allow me to do or to be involved with (or gets very angry if I do.)
2. _______ My spouse uses guilt, shame, or the silent treatment to get me to do what s/he wants me to do.
3. _______ My spouse uses anger, yelling, or rage to get me to do what s/he wants me to do.
4. _______ My spouse tries to control what I wear, telling me how I should dress, how I should look, etc.
5. _______ My spouse uses religion to try to control things I do, think, or feel.
6. _______ My spouse gets frustrated or angry when things aren't going his/her way and makes my life miserable.
7. _______ My spouse gets angry or treats me with contempt if I make a mistake.
8. _______ When I disagree, my spouse continues to explain or argue until I yield.
9. _______ When I don't agree with my spouse – or if I do something s/he doesn't like – my spouse becomes critical or sarcastic.
10. _______ My spouse has me on a strict allowance so that s/he has control over most of the money that comes into our household.
11. _______ My spouse believes I NEED his/her leadership and direction.
12. _______ My spouse steps in and solves my problems even if I have not asked nor want him/her to be involved.
13. _______ My spouse corrects what I say or what I do, telling me what I should have said or how I should have done it.
14. _______ My spouse expects me to do things and think the way s/he does; believes his/her way is better. (Examples: tells me how to drive, tells me what to say to my friends, tells me how I should deal with situations, etc.)
15. _______ My spouse tries to make my choices for me. (Example: tells me what I should order in the restaurant)
16. _______ My spouse dismisses my opinions or knowledge as being incorrect or even stupid.
17. _______ My spouse takes over a task I am doing because s/he feels s/he can do it better.
18. _______ My spouse avoids discussing important matters with me, leaving me to handle matters on my own, and then getting angry if I did it in a way that s/he doesn't approve.
19. _______ My spouse treats me as if I am incompetent.
20. _______ My spouse negatively affects my self-esteem.
21. _______ My spouse lectures me or talks to me like I am a child.
22. _______ My spouse checks my phone, emails, Facebook pages, etc. so that s/he will know what I am doing or who I communicate with.
23. _______ My spouse sneaks to find information about me that s/he can use to criticize or condemn.
24. _______ My spouse gets upset or angry if s/he doesn't know where I am.
25. _______ My spouse tries to keep me from spending time with family or friends, or gets angry if I spend time with family or friends.
26. _______ My spouse tells other people things about me so that s/he can isolate me from others.
27. _______My spouse finds ways to make his/her errors or shortcomings my fault.
28. _______ My spouse demands that I wear apparel that I do not feel comfortable wearing.
29. _______ My spouse demands or pressures me to participate in sexual acts that I do not wish to do.
30. _______ My spouse gets angry if I am not ready for sex anytime s/he wants it.

People who feel controlled or dominated often cite several or all of the above behaviors when asked about their experiences.


Examine each statement above that you scored a 4 or higher. These may indicate areas where you feel your spouse tries to control or dominate you.  If you scored several a 4 or higher, you likely feel great distress.

Based on the experiences of others, the distress you feel is reasonable. Few people live happily or peacefully when they feel they are under the control or domination of another.

Use this assessment to help you clarify why and how you feel controlled and dominated. Use that information to insist on specific changes in the way your spouse interacts with you. (If you feel unsafe to discuss these matters with your spouse, seek professional help rather than dealing with your spouse directly.)

If your spouse cannot understand your feelings about these behaviors, or has difficulty grasping how s/he must change for the sake of your relationship, request or demand that s/he see a counselor with you. Take your completed assessment to the counselor so that s/he may more quickly understand your distress. 

If your spouse is uncomfortable talking with a counselor or therapist, consider our intensive three-day workshop. While we cannot guarantee your spouse will comprehend his/her controlling behaviors and commit to change, that does happen very often for couples during our workshops. We specifically address controlling behaviors and work diligently to help controlling and dominating spouses realize how they control and how that affects their mates. Of course, we deal with many other important relationship issues including areas such as communication, anger, infidelity, forgiveness, reconciliation, and how to fall in love again (or more deeply).

Joe Beam is the founder and chair of Beam Research Institute (formerly LovePath International) based in Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Nashville, and the chairman of He is an internationally known and respected authority on love, marriage and sex. If your marriage needs help, click here to request more information, call us toll free at 866-903-0990 or email us at

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!


Most Popular

More In Opinion