Signs Of A Controlling Relationship
I just wrote an article titled “Controlling Personality Characteristics”. I enjoyed writing about it so much I wanted to continue the theme. This next article will be focused on the relationship dynamics. Therefore we will look at signs of a controlling relationship. I thought about titling it signs of a controlling wife but decided it’s really appropriate either way. There are some differences between the male/female sides of the coin but in general it’s pretty similar. So let’s get going and take a look at signs of a controlling relationship.
Before we dive into the signs of a controlling relationship I want to make something clear. A healthy relationship happens when two people have a relationship built on trust, support, honesty, and mutual respect. None of these things happen when one person has a controlling personality. If you see signs of your partner during the course of this article take a step back. Look into more in-depth information than is provided here. Like a real expert. Bottom line is being in a relationship with a controlling personality does not typically lead to a healthy relationship. In some cases it can be downright toxic. And life is too short to hang out with toxic people – especially a significant other.
With that let’s look at some signs of a controlling relationship.
First let’s take a look at some of the signs that you might see in the actual relationship. In my previous post I’ve covered some of the major signs of a controlling personality. Here we will focus on signs to look for in the actual relationship.
You feel like you are constantly being criticized. Well, this isn’t a shocker. The reason you feel like you are constantly criticized is because you are. This is one of the biggest signs of a controlling person – they are super critical. This in turn leads you to thinking you aren’t good enough at _____ (fill in just about any blank) over time. It erodes your self confidence.
You don’t feel trusted. This is because controlling personalities have a way of making you feel like you are untrustworthy. They seem to be constantly double checking your story about where you’ve been. Or who you’ve been with. Wanting to know about every minute of your day. You might hear something like “people in love don’t keep secrets” or “I’m just so afraid I might lose you” or other similar lines. The reality is they are attempting to control you and make you feel that you can’t keep anything from them.
You feel isolated. Another sign of a controlling relationship is feeling like you are isolated. Perhaps you used to hang out with friends frequently and that doesn’t seem to happen anymore. The weekly calls with your sibling has severely tapered off. This is no surprise since controlling people are very good at isolating their partners. They say and do things to make you feel guilty if you do want to spend time with other people. Maybe your girlfriend pouts and gives you the silent treatment for a day every time you do something with your buds. After a while you simply start skipping out on guy time because you don’t want the stress. And on it goes.
More Signs Of A Controlling Relationship
Feeling guilty. This goes along in many ways with feeling isolated. A controlling person usually is an expert at making you feel guilty for doing certain things they don’t want you to do. This could be spending times with friends, taking time to enjoy a hobby you used to like to do, going to family dinners, etc. The list can include many things. You might hear things like “If you cared about me you’d want to be around me more and not your friends” or “Playing the guitar won’t lead you anywhere, why keep doing it?” and similar type sentiments. Over time you begin to feel guilty for even wanting to do these things. Despite the fact it is healthy to have well rounded life.
You start doubting yourself. And your sanity. There is a term anyone who has read some of my other articles know I am fascinated with. Gaslighting. This is when one person consciously does things to make their partner doubt themselves and their sanity. Things such as denying you had a fight about something even though you know you did. Or saying you must have forgotten they told you something – and they really never did. It’s extremely manipulative and can mess with even the most confident person. The reason being your spouse or partner should care about you and have your best interests at heart right? Why would they ever do something to make you feel like you are going crazy? Why indeed – it’s because they are horribly manipulative. This can happen in controlling relationships.
You feel emotionally drained. Makes sense don’t you think? When you are in a relationship with a controlling person you begin to feel almost constantly on edge. Guilty, worried, frustrated. After a while the relationship and other person becomes something you worry about having to deal with. Or report to. Or explain your actions to. All the things you shouldn’t have to do in a healthy, supportive relationship. All of their emotional manipulation makes you feel emotionally drained and down most of the time. When you get to this stage do your best to see what’s happening and make a move to get out of the relationship.
If you see signs of a controlling relationship all around you here’s a few resources that could help you find out more information. And possibly help.
In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing With Manipulative People – by George K. Simon PhD.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry, 2nd Edition – by Albert J. Bernstein
Being in a relationship with a controlling person is no fun. As a matter of fact it becomes what you DON’T want in a relationship. The difficult part is the person is typically very charming and sweet and protective when the relationship starts. Over time they sink their manipulative claws into you deeper and deeper. As the relationship progresses you feel more isolated, guilty, and depressed.
Stay vigilant to the signs of a controlling relationship. If you find yourself in one the first step is to be aware. Then reach out to a friend for a listening ear and potential advice. Once you can see things clearly take the necessary steps to put yourself in a position to be around positive people. Not manipulative controlling ones.
In good mental health,