Mistrustful/Controlling Behaviors Checklist

The ability to trust and to feel safe is the foundation for self-giving love and for receiving love. If we do not feel safe and relaxed, we can withhold love, be unable to receive love, act angry to distance loved ones or try to control those we love. Uncovering and healing trust wounds, as well as protecting the ability to trust, are essential to romantic love, the marital friendship and to betrothed love.

Significant numbers of people enter marriage with deep unconscious trust weaknesses because of trauma from parental conflicts, divorce, sibling or peer rejection and narcissistic individuals. Often this trust wound is completely unconscious, but emerges under times of stress and is misdirected at one's spouse.

Please identify the symptoms and the origins of mistrust in you and in your spouse on the following mistrust checklist.


  • Catastrophic thinking (something bad is going to happen)
  • Rigid thinking-a lack of openness
  • Excessive criticism of others (as a unconscious way to distance people)
  • Negative thinking
  • Suspiciousness
  • Hypochondriacal thinking (fear of serious illness)
  • Paranoid thinking
  • Excessive fantasy life
  • Obsessional thoughts of controlling others
  • View reasonable expectations of spouse as control pressure
  • Excessive worrying
  • Difficulty concentrating


  • Numerous controlling behaviors
  • Doesn't listen to spouse
  • Inability to show affection (fearful of being vulnerable)
  • Difficulty praising others (fearful of allowing anyone to be close)
  • Difficulty initiating lovemaking in marriage
  • Doesn't support spouse with children
  • Inability to include others in making important decisions
  • Overly controlling with money
  • Flight from committed relationships by excessive work, hobbies, or other interests - including too many religious activities outside of the home
  • Inability to trust spouse with care of the children
  • Few close friends
  • Compulsive eating
  • Excessive drinking or drug usage
  • Addiction to pornography (escape to fantasy world)
  • Difficulty pursuing intimate relationships
  • Fear of flying, elevators or bridges
  • Tendency to isolate oneself
  • Difficulty in receiving help or advice from others
  • Refusal to allow spouse to discipline children
  • A need to have things his/her own way
  • Withdrawal from others in front of TV, books, computer, etc.
  • Overly strong dealing with others (caused by fear of being hurt)
  • Poor team player
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Attempt to isolate family from relatives
  • Excessive financial fears
  • Restlessness and hyperactivity (an absence of feeling safe)
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Criticizes spouse in front of children
  • Tries to cut spouse off from friends
  • Lack of responsibility for spouse


  • Regularly irritable or hostile (anger keeps others at distance)
  • Overly anxious
  • Panic attacks
  • Overreaction emotionally to minor life events
  • Rarely relaxed or peaceful
  • Bad temper
  • Overly upset if things don't go as planned
  • Very lonely (fearful of being vulnerable and of receiving love)
  • Fear of the future
  • Emotional rigidity
  • Lack of gentleness
  • Easily fatigued
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Social anxiety

Physical Health

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Muscle spasms in different parts of the body
  • Colitis
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Vulnerability to all major diseases if mistrust persists for years
  • Severe headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Light headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heart beat

Spiritual Life

  • Weak spiritual life
  • Difficulty in listening
  • Limited ability to pray
  • Excessive restlessness in meditation
  • Difficulty in meditating
  • Withdrawal into religion (excess religiosity)
  • Limited ability to receive God's love
Symptoms Total:

A score below 10 indicates mild mistrust, a score between 10 and 20 shows moderate mistrust and above 20, severe mistrust.

Now please rate the origins of trust weaknesses in you and in your fiance/fiancee below.

Origins of Mistrust at Different Life Stages


  • Emotionally distant, unaffectionate parents
  • Excessive time in day care
  • Modeling after fearful, mistrustful or overly controlling parent
  • Serious illness in a parent, sibling, or oneself
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Alcoholic or narcissistic parent
  • Loss of a parent, brother, sister, or close friend
  • Legacy of mistrust and fear in the family
  • Weak confidence
  • Rejection by peers
  • Victimization by the excessive anger of others
  • Poverty


  • Same causes as in childhood
  • Poor body image
  • Difficulty in playing sports
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Post abortion trauma
  • Treatment as a sexual object

Adult Life

  • Same as in childhood and adolescence
  • Repetition of the weakness of a mistrustful parent
  • Lack of secure feeling with one's spouse
  • Insensitive treatment by a spouse or children
  • Controlling, angry or selfish behaviors in one's spouse
  • Weak confidence
  • Betrayal by loved ones
  • Divorce
  • Unjust treatment by bosses or co-workers
  • Financial pressures
  • Treatment as a sexual object
  • Loss of job
  • Loss of health
  • Rejection by significant others
Origins of Trust Weakness Total:

The chapter on the controlling spouse may be beneficial in helping spouses understand how they can reduce their conflicts by strengthening their trust. It can also assist spouses in their dealing with controlling tendencies in others. Presently, marital problems arising from mistrust and control conflicts result in this chapter being the most frequently visited one on this website.