Aug19

How to Know if You’re in a Controlling Relationship

Post image for How to Know if You’re in a Controlling Relationship

by Greg Jensen on August 19, 2011

Relationships are always great in the beginning when both parties are on their best behavior and completely infatuated. But as the relationship progresses and develops, real personalities begin to emerge. At times, your intuition may tell you that something is “off” about your partner, but you push it out of your mind.

If you date a controlling person, they are determined to find ways to inflict their harmful attitude on you. The more this happens, the more you will start to feel suffocated and imprisoned in your own world. Many people try to talk themselves out of this being a problem, but being involved a controlling relationship is unhealthy and something no one deserves. Here are some warning signs that something is wrong and you may be in a controlling relationship.

Physical abuse

Controlling people sometimes elicit physical abuse in order to show dominance over their partner. If you are being harmed in any way, it is time to get away, no questions asked.

Quick Attraction

Often times, a controller seeks out an immediate commitment, on many levels, to gain control. They overwhelm you with kind words, gifts, and promises in order to charm you. They amp up the “honeymoon phase” of the relationship by talking about the future (marriage and growing old together) and proclaiming their love for you within the first few weeks of dating. They often want to move in with you or marry you very early on as well. These rapid loving feelings can point towards the same quick detachment from you in the future.

Everything is your fault

No matter what happens, you are the one who faces the blame. If you come to your partner with a problem or concern about something they are doing, a controller will often turn it around and say that their behavior is somehow a reflection of something you did. A controller never takes responsibility for their poor behavior.

Communication is avoided

If you express a concern, it is turned right back around on you, which can be referred to as “echoing.” For example, if you tell your partner not to talk over you, they respond with “You are the one who is always talking over me.” This prevents them for having to take responsibility for their actions, turn the fault around on you, and also avoid having to properly discuss any problems or concerns you may have.

You don’t get heard

If you express a concern, whether it is about the relationship or something going on in your own life, you get talked over or just disregarded all together. If you offer suggestions, those will also get disregarded because they see your opinion as less valuable. Often, no matter how you phrase things or talk in a positive light, there can be backlash from the controlling member of the relationship.

You are forced to give up relationships/cut off support

If someone is telling you the relationship you are involved in is bad for you, you might begin to second-guess yourself. This is a major reason the controller wants to get you away from the people you are close to. It starts with the controller telling you how badly your friends/family are treating you, how they don’t understand or appreciate you, or give negative opinions about these people. As time passes, your partner will get upset when you talk to or about the people you are close to and often times chastise you for it through verbal punishment, interrogation, or abuse. This too will get tiring for you so, rather than face these conflicts, many withdraw from friends/family. Your loved ones will most be upset with you for it as well, putting you in the middle and unfairly forcing you to end up choosing between the two sides.

Nothing you do is ever enough

Don’t ever believe that you’re not good enough. Sure, there may be people who are better than you at certain things in life, just like you have your own skill set, but a partner should make you feel valued. Controllers will nit-pick your behavior and point out all your “flaws” to make you lower you self-worth. After your confidence has lowered, their hope is that you will realize how lucky you are to have someone who puts up with someone “inadequate.” If you are in a relationship, you should see each other as equals – nothing more, nothing less.

Friends and family dislike him/her

Your friends and family are on the outside looking in. While the only ones who truly know a relationship are the people involved in it, there are times when loved ones opinions do matter. It is different when everyone you know doesn’t like who you are in a relationship with instead of just one or two people having complaints. Take their opinions with a grain of salt, but remember that it can certainly mean something when you are the only one not against the relationship. Also, your partner may try to convince you that your friends/family are not against him, but instead are against you and your happiness. This is a big red flag that your partner is trying to manipulate you away from any other external influencers.

Walking on eggshells

Are you afraid to bring things up because of the backlash you always face? Someone with a controlling personality can make you feel afraid to mention simple things like running into a friend or questioning something. This can also make you feel on-edge and tense, which is not how you should feel around the one you love.

Extreme temper outbursts

When the relationship begins, you’ll most likely just hear about their violent temper. Over time, you will be witness to their temper problems – throwing things, yelling, driving too fast, punching/kicking things, etc. They promise they will never turn the violence in your direction, but that doesn’t mean it never happens. Extreme yelling or raised voices will be very apparent in an argument with this person. Also, a lot of times, the controller will brag about their power and temper. They do it out of pride and also to remind you of what they are capable of.

Bad stories

You can learn a lot about people by the stories they tell about themselves. The most basic level of this is when you enter a new relationship and ask for stories to learn more about the other person’s personality. This reflects what they find interesting and impressive about themselves. Controllers may brag about their behaviors and the ending of all past relationships is never their fault and that they did everything right or had their compassion taken advantage of. They will brag about things you know are not something to be proud of, such as stealing, violence, or criminal records. Read between the lines of their stories for personality traits they are explaining.

Not only are these experiences negative while they’re happening, but they can be damaging after the relationship ends. The harmful partner can change your views on love and also hurt your relationships with other people. There are many places that can help you end a controlling or manipulative relationship and get your life back on track.