How to tell if you re in a controlling relationship

20 Signs Your Partner Is Controlling

In my years as a psychologist and now as a mental health podcast host, I've long since learned that stereotypes don't apply when it comes to controlling partners. Toxic relationships can sneak up on almost anyone. And controlling behavior on the part of a partner knows no boundaries—people of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status can be in controlling relationships, playing either role.

Many of us visualize a controlling partner as one who openly berates everyone in their path, is physically aggressive, or constantly makes overt threats or ultimatums. We picture the grumpy bully who belittles every server he or she encounters or commands their partner how to dress from head to toe. While those signs are indeed troubling, there are many additional signs that might show up quite differently.

In fact, some controlling partners are acting out of a sense of emotional fragility and heightened vulnerability, and may perhaps show traits of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. Controlling people use a whole arsenal of tools in order to dominate their partners—whether they or their partners realize what's happening or not.

Sometimes, the emotional manipulation is complex enough that the person who is being controlled actually believes that they themselves are the villain, or that they are extremely lucky that their controlling partner "puts up" with them. Whether controlling behavior leads to more severe emotional or physical abuse or not, it is not a healthy situation.

If you notice more than a couple of these signs within your relationship or your partner, take it seriously. (If you are concerned for your safety or want to learn more about possibly abusive relationship patterns, visit

1. Isolating you from friends and family. It may start subtly, but this is often a first step for a controlling person. Maybe they complain about how often you talk to your brother on the phone, or say they don't like your best friend and don't think you should hang out with her anymore. Or they try to turn you against anyone that you're used to relying on for support besides them. Their goal is to strip you of your support network, and thus your strength—so that you will be less likely or able to stand up against them whenever they want to "win."

2. Chronic criticism—even for small things. Criticism, like isolation, is also something that can start small. In fact, someone may try to convince themselves that their partner's criticism of them is warranted, or that their partner is just trying to help them be a better person. Or they may try to rationalize it, saying that it's not such a big deal that he or she doesn't like the way they dress or speak or eat or decorate their house and that they shouldn't take it personally. But ultimately, no matter how individually small a criticism seems, if it's part of a constant dynamic within your relationship, it would be very tough to feel accepted, loved, or validated. If every little thing you do could use improvement in your partner's eyes, then how are you being valued as a true equal, let alone loved unconditionally?

3. Veiled or overt threats, against you or them. Some people think that threats have to be physical in nature to be problematic. But threats of leaving, cutting off "privileges," or even threats by the controlling person to harm herself or himself can be every bit as emotionally manipulative as the threat of physical violence. It is not unheard of for the partner being controlled to feel stuck in a relationship not out of fear that they themselves will be harmed, but that their partner may self-destruct or harm themselves if they were to leave. Other times, a person may be threatened with losing their home, access to their children, or financial support if they leave a controlling or abusive partner (or are left by them). Whether or not the threats are genuine, it is just another way for the controlling person to get what they want at the expense of their partner.

4. Making acceptance/caring/attraction conditional. "I love you so much more when you're making those sales at work. " "I don't feel like being intimate with you. But if you keep working out and lose a bit more weight, you'll be more attractive to me." "If you can't even be bothered to make dinner, I don't even know what I'm getting from this relationship." "You'd be hot if only you spent more time on your hair." "If you'd actually finished college, you'd have something to talk about with my friends and wouldn't feel so left out." Though some of these examples are more blatant than others, the message is the same: You, right now, are not good enough. It's the common-denominator theme of many a controlling relationship.

5. An overactive scorecard. Healthy, stable relationships have a sense of reciprocity built into them. It's inherent that you will look out for each other, and not bean-count every little time you do something to help the other out. If your partner always keeps a tally of every last interaction within your relationship—whether to hold a grudge, demand a favor in return, or be patted on the back—it could very well be their way of having the upper hand. And it can be downright exhausting.

6. Using guilt as a tool. Many controlling people are skilled manipulators at making their partner's own emotions work in the controlling person's favor. If they can manipulate their partners into feeling a steady stream of guilt about everyday goings-on, then a lot of the controlling person's work is done for them—their partners will gradually try to do whatever they can to not have to feel guilty. Often this means relenting and giving up power and their own dissenting opinion within the relationship, which plays right into the controlling person's hands.

7. Creating a debt you're beholden to. Controlling people may come on very strongly in the beginning with seemingly romantic gestures. But upon closer inspection, many of those gestures—extravagant gifts, expectations of serious commitment early on, taking you for luxurious meals or on adventurous outings, letting you have full use of their car or home when they're not there—can be used to control you. Specifically, they create an expectation of you giving something in return, or a sense that you feel beholden to that person because of all they've given you. This can make it more emotionally and logistically difficult to escape when further warning bells go off.

8. Spying, snooping, or requiring constant disclosure. A controlling partner typically feels that they have the right to know more than they actually do. Whether they keep their snooping secret or openly demand that you must share everything with them, it is a violation of boundaries from the get-go. Perhaps he or she checks your phone, logs into your email, or constantly tracks your Internet history, and then justifies this by saying they've been burned before, have trust issues, or the old standard: "If you're not doing anything wrong, then you shouldn't mind showing me." It's a violation of your privacy, hand-in-hand with the unsettling message that they have no interest in trusting you and instead want to take on a police-like presence within your relationship.

9. Overactive jealousy, accusations, or paranoia. A partner's jealousy can be flattering in the beginning; it can arguably be viewed as endearing, or a sign of how much they care or how attached they are. When it becomes more intense, however, it can be scary and possessive. A partner who views every interaction you have as being flirtatious, is suspicious or threatened by multiple people you come in contact with, or faults you for innocent interactions because they may be "leading someone on" may be insecure, anxious, competitive or even paranoid. Additionally, when this perspective becomes ingrained within your relationship, they very likely are attempting to be controlling as well.

10. Not respecting your need for time alone. It's another way of sapping your strength: making you feel guilty for time you need on your own to recharge, or making you feel like you don't love them enough when you perhaps need less time with them than they need with you. It is natural that two partners may not automatically have the exact same needs in terms of alone time, even if they are both extroverts (or introverts). In healthy relationships, communication about those needs leads to a workable compromise. In controlling ones, the person needing the alone time is made out to be a villain or denied the time altogether, taking away yet another way they can strengthen themselves.

11. Making you "earn" trust or other good treatment. Of course, you will trust someone you've dated for five years more than you trust the person you've been seeing for a month. But some amount of trust should be assumed or inherent within the relationship. For instance, as mentioned, you shouldn't always have to detail your whereabouts for every moment of every day, nor should your partner automatically have the right to access your email or texts or Internet search history. If trust or even civil treatment is viewed as something you need to work up to rather than the default setting of the relationship, the power dynamic in your relationship is off-kilter.

12. Presuming you're guilty until proven innocent. Again, a controlling person is often very skilled at making you feel that you've done something wrong even before you realize what you did. You may walk in the door to find them already angry about something that they found, thought about, or decided in your absence. And they may keep "evidence" of your wrongdoing to a point that you may feel they've got a whole case against you—even if you don't quite understand it. From where you put their favorite coffee mug to whether you had lunch with a coworker without them knowing, you will always be assumed to have had criminal motives. Why do they do this? To use it as justification for punishing you in some way, or preemptively trying to keep you from making that "error" again—to keep you acting in ways they want you to.

13. Getting you so tired of arguing that you'll relent. While some controlling people like to exert their influence under the radar, many others are openly and chronically argumentative and embrace conflict when they can get it. This can be especially true when their partner is more passive and the controlling person is likely to triumph in every disagreement that comes up, just because the partner being controlled is more conflict-avoidant in nature or simply exhausted from the fighting that they've done.

14. Making you feel belittled for long-held beliefs. Maybe it's your faith or your politics. Maybe it's cultural traditions or your view of human nature. It's great when our partners can challenge us in interesting discussions and give us new ways of looking at the world. It is not great when they make you feel small, silly, or stupid, or they consistently try to change your mind about something important to you that you believe in. Openness to new experience is wonderful—but a controlling partner doesn't see it as a two-way street, and only wants you to be and think more like they do.

15. Making you feel you don't "measure up" or are unworthy of them. Whether by subtly making you feel less attractive than they are, constantly reinforcing their professional accomplishments as compared to yours, or even comparing you unfavorably to their exes, controlling people often want you to feel grateful that you are in a relationship with them. This creates a dynamic where you will be more willing to work harder and harder to keep them and make them happy—a dream for someone who wants to dominate a relationship.

16. Teasing or ridicule that has an uncomfortable undercurrent. Humor and even teasing can be a fundamental mode of interacting within many long-term relationships. The key aspect is whether it feels comfortable and loving to both parties. In many controlling relationships, emotional abuse can be thinly veiled as "I was just playing with you; you shouldn't take it personally." And in one fell swoop, not only does the original criticism stand, but now an additional criticism of you having the "wrong" reaction has been levied. And you're basically being told that you don't have a right to your own feelings—a classic move by controlling people everywhere.

17. Sexual interactions that feel upsetting afterwards. An abusive or controlling dynamic within a relationship can often make its way into the bedroom. Sometimes things feel wrong even in the moment, but other times it's a pattern of feeling uncomfortable after the interaction. Either way, when you feel consistently unsettled about goings-on within your sexual realtionship, it's a sign that something is wrong.

18. Inability or unwillingness to ever hear your point of view. You may notice that you are constantly interrupted, or that opinions you express are quickly dismissed or were never acknowledged in the first place. Perhaps the conversation is always so overwhelmingly dominated by your partner that you can't remember the last time they asked you a meaningful question about how you were doing and actually listened to the answer. Think, too, of whether you've ever tried to give them feedback about how their behavior makes you feel—and whether they've actually been able to take it in, or whether they've dismissed it out of hand (or perhaps even blamed you for having an invalid opinion.)

19. Pressuring you toward unhealthy behaviors, like substance abuse. Undermining your fitness goals, constantly tempting you with cigarettes when you've quit, not respecting your decision to only have one drink rather than three—these are all ways that controlling people can try to thwart your attempts to be a healthier (and stronger) person. Since controlling people thrive on weakening their partners, it's a natural tool for them to use.

20. Thwarting your professional or educational goals by making you doubt yourself. Maybe you always assumed you would go to law school, but now your partner is making you feel your grades weren't good enough to get in. Maybe you used to have a lot of drive to own your own business, but your partner tends to think of your ideas as silly and you find you've lost confidence to pursue them further. Often a controlling partner has a way of using you as a weapon against yourself, by planting seeds of doubt about whether you're talented or smart or hard-working enough to make good things happen in your life. This is another way they can take away your autonomy, making you more beholden to them—and serving their purposes quite nicely.

Related posts:

  • So Your Partner Is Controlling. Now What?
  • What If It's You Who Is a Controlling Partner?

Facebook image: Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock

25 Signs You're in a Controlling Relationship

In This Article

Toxic relationships are complex and can sneak up on anyone. The red flags of relationships can be easy to miss, as many signs of a controlling relationship are not overt and easy to spot.

Oftentimes we attribute those controlling behavior patterns to our partner loving us too much, being extremely caring, or being afraid to lose us. This further complicates recognizing signs of controlling behavior for what they are – attempts to dominate and exert authority.

What are the signs of a controlling person?

When you understand controlling relationship symptoms further you can evaluate whether you are in a controlling relationship.

Check out the 25 signs you’re in a controlling relationship:

1. Isolating your form friends and family

Common controlling behavior in a relationship is seeking to separate you from your support network. The means of doing so vary from complaining how much time you spend with them, to making bad comments about them and trying to put a wrench between you.

2. Feeling you have to check-in for any decision

Control freaks in relationships like to exercise authority over all decisions. They present themselves as wise and possess the right expertise to drive you into checking with them.

3. There is drama whenever you don’t respond asap

In a controlling relationship, you feel you need to be next to your phone and able to respond anytime. When, for any reason, you are unable to do so they become angry, overly worried, or pout. In any case, you know there will be drama so you avoid such situations.


Controlling what you wear, eat and how you spend money

Being in a controlling relationship feels like you seize to have your own opinion, choices, and wants. The more sophisticated they are, the more they can mask it in the veil of genuine worry or advice.

However, over time, it becomes obvious as you receive criticism or emotional freeze out any time you don’t do as they would expect.

5. Blaming you for their actions

Controlling relationships is also detectable by who ends up being blamed in the relationship. For small things too, for example – if they broke a glass, they will say you were in the way and that is why they dropped it.

Blaming it all on you is one of the controlling personality traits.

6. Criticizing you all the time

It might seem that anything you do could use improvement when you are in a controlling relationship. Your partner criticizes you over small or big things equally and expects perfection.


Threatening you – more or less overtly

One of the signs of a controlling partner is threatening

Those intimidations are not always physical and can be veiled. They might threaten they will cut your contact with kids if you divorce them, harm themselves, share secrets you shared with them, or cut the privileges you have at the moment. Look out for feeling trapped in the relationship.

8. Feeling their appreciation and acceptance is conditional

The common thread in many controlling relationships is feeling like you need to earn their love.

When you lose some more weight, they will be more attracted to you. When you are successful at work, they care more about you or when you grant them some favors. All in all, you feel you need to earn their affection by what you provide to them or by changing yourself, otherwise, you feel not good enough.

9. Keeping a scoreboard

Compared to a healthy dose of reciprocity, in a controlling relationship, it feels there is a constant count of who did what for whom. It feels exhausting keeping track, but they do it so spontaneously. It could be their way of having the edge over you.

10. Using guilt or anger to manipulate

Depending on how proficient they are in manipulating, the signs will be less or more easy to spot. Be it shouting, cussing, or guilt-tripping you into doing what they want, be on alert as these are traits of a controlling person.

11. Making you feel you are in their debt

If the signs of controlling personality showed up right in the beginning, it would be easy to notice them for what they are. Nevertheless, they don’t. 

At first, they are sweet and generous. Later on, these gifts and favors become something they hold over you when they need to collect on that debt. This makes it harder to leave.

12. Going through your things

This is a definite sign you can hardly ignore. If you notice they are going through your belongings, spying on you, listening to calls, or checking your messages, you are dealing with a controlling person.

13. Jealousy or paranoia

Although jealousy in relationship may seem at first as though they just love you all too much, over time it becomes difficult to bear. The intensity, obsessiveness, and unreasonable nature of their jealousy and paranoia are too excessive to ignore.

14. Making you feel you are not good enough

This is the most frequent characteristic of a controlling relationship. You might have felt this way before you met them, but it sure intensifies when around them.

15. Protesting against your time alone

Do you feel like you can’t have some time for yourself and feel guilty over it?

They might wrap their protest in wanting to spend more time with you because you are so busy, but you end up feeling like a villain. Having alone time is a healthy need and you shouldn’t be made into an evil person for having it

16. Having to earn to get on their good side

Although trust is earned over time, in a controlling relationship you might feel you never quite reach it. You feel as though you have to keep working to get on their good side. 

However, you never seem to gain the right to be considered innocent until proven otherwise.

17. Arguing all the time until you cave

In a controlling relationship, you could have more or fewer fights (usually more), but the distinction is that they are used to make you cave. You feel so tired that you eventually relent.

18. Making you feel stupid or incompetent for your beliefs

In a healthy relationship disagreements over core beliefs are met with attempts to understand and accept them. In a controlling relationship, you feel not capable, smart, or adequate due to your partner’s reaction towards your beliefs.

19. Enforcing you to disclose details against your will

One of the clearcut signs of controlling personality is feeling like you have to share information they ask for, regardless of your willingness to do so.

20. Belittling or embarrassing you into submission

In a healthy relationship, people tease each other, but only to the extent, the other feels comfortable with. In a controlling relationship, you might feel ridiculed and then made believe you misunderstood what they meant to say. You end up confused, hurt, and feeling you don’t have the right to feel that way.

21. You don’t feel heard or understood

There isn’t much room for your voice and opinion when your partner is trying to make you think as they do. Not only is there no understanding, but there are also little or no attempts to hear your outlook on things.

The video below suggests some ways to communicate your thoughts to your partner so that you are heard. The key to being heard by our partners is to accept that we have to become strategic about the way we talk to them. Learn more:

22. Impending your growth and goals

If you improve you might leave them. Hence a controlling partner will subtly try to slow down your progress and keep you by their side never rising to your dreams.

23. Trying to control who you spend time with

What is a controlling personality?

We are talking about a person that tries to bring order into a social situation in different ways to have control over what happens. Thus, they might also attempt to control whom you see and how much time you spend with them.

24. Dominating or controlling in sexual activities

Control creeps into the bedroom too, so you might sense you can’t refuse sex without getting on their bad side. You could undergo pressure to have intercourse otherwise there are consequences. For example, they get emotionally distant and make you work your way onto their good side for days.

25. Causing you to question your sanity

As a result of attempting to cut you off from your social support, embarrassing you, making you question your beliefs and reactions you could end up doubting your judgment. If they convince you their reality is the right one, you are less likely to leave.

How many signs have you checked off the list? Do you feel you are not good enough to find another partner or that you are not capable of making a change? If so, try to remember all the things you were able to do before they came into your life. Those are your accomplishments. Of course, it helps to have support from your friends & family.

There is no single answer on how to stop being controlling in a relationship. It takes work to understand why a person acts this way and what can they replace it with. Therefore, it is recommended to have help from a professional in this recovery journey, both for the person who is controlling and their partner.

How to determine dependent relationships


Love is a wonderful feeling, but sometimes people confuse love with neurotic addiction.

All people, as you know, are constantly in social relationships. We enter into these relationships all the time: when we communicate with our family, when we enter into friendships, when we contact other people in transport or in the store, when we are in a working relationship, and of course, when we find a mate.

Dependent relationship is a special state of mind when the emotions of one person are so strongly connected with the behavior of another that he can no longer control himself, his feelings and behavior. Absolutely everything: dreams, desires, goals, the meaning of life, is connected with the object of unhealthy “love”. The latter acts as a manipulator and either consciously or subconsciously develops in the "victim" dependence on himself.

The reason why a person is inclined to enter into a dependent relationship may lie in low self-esteem, lack of concentration on one's own "I", ideas about unconditional love, or in the usual example of close relationships.

In psychology there is such a thing as a manipulatory triangle. It consists of Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer . Its creator, oddly enough, is always Victim .

This is a person who has shifted the responsibility for his life to others, and sincerely believes that the Persecutor is the cause of all her failures, the root of all evil in her life. Usually in such relationships there is also the so-called Rescuer .

This game is destructive, but there is a certain "benefit" for all participants in it . Otherwise, they would not have participated in it. Remember that you can always voluntarily leave the wrong relationship.

Basically, it is the behavior of the family of origin that influences what kind of relationships we choose as adults. For example, if in the parental family it was “accepted” to speak in raised tones, assault or elements of psychological violence, then the child in this family forms the idea that true love is impossible without such manifestations. Finding the right "partner", who most likely received a similar experience of family relationships in childhood, one enters into a kind of psychological game, constantly switching roles between the Victim, the Persecutor and the Rescuer. At the same time, it is difficult for both of them in these relations, but they cannot refuse them for a number of reasons: they do not know how to do it differently, or they get a kind of pleasure from being in such a relationship. At the same time, the main difficulty is that it is quite difficult to understand that you are in a dependent relationship. At the same time, a certain proportion of dependence is manifested in almost any relationship, especially in their first stages of formation.

By what signs can we understand that this is precisely a dependent relationship?
  1. Confused Liability

In a healthy relationship, each participant is primarily responsible for his own condition and satisfaction of his needs, without trying to take on more or shift responsibility to another. Everyone is primarily responsible for himself.

Responsibility is confused in dependent relationships. We want someone to take responsibility for our security, material well-being and happiness. Or they themselves tend to take excessive responsibility for another. In some respects this manifests itself in the distribution of responsibility. For example, a woman expects a man to financially provide and support her, and for this she will be responsible for the house, life and children - this is a typical example of confused responsibility, albeit so common that it is almost a variant of the norm. In more severe cases, we shift responsibility for all aspects of our well-being to a partner, or we ourselves take responsibility for saving another. Or, which is also often found, both at the same time. For example, a woman can save her alcoholic husband for years, suffering in this relationship, but hoping that sooner or later her husband will stop drinking and take responsibility for her and the family.

  1. Blurred borders

In healthy relationships, we are sensitive to our partner's psychological and physical boundaries and are able to defend our boundaries. We feel in time when our actions or words cross the boundaries of what is acceptable for another person. At the same time, we ourselves are well aware of our boundaries and are able to say “no” at the moment when we do not like what the other person does or says. This principle works the same in all areas.

Boundaries are blurred in dependent relationships. We lose the ability to understand where my territory ends and another person's territory begins. A confluence is formed in which we often follow one of two scenarios: we either sacrifice our needs and autonomy and lose the ability to say no, in which case our boundaries are systematically violated; or we ourselves, without encountering resistance, increasingly violate the boundaries of another person and deprive him of the right to independence.

  1. Role hierarchy

At first, such a game can be quite pleasant and exciting

In healthy relationships, everything is very simple - they are built on equal terms, from the position of "adult - adult". Most of the time, the participants in such relationships manage to respect their partner, to reckon with his opinion. In such relationships, we always negotiate with each other as two adult independent people. We are forced to seek a compromise, although this is not always pleasant.

In dependent relationships, child-parental roles are included in us - one of the partners takes the role of a defenseless and weak child, the second becomes a strong, guardian adult. At first, such a game can be quite pleasant and exciting - the dominant partner feels his power and strength, the subordinate feels cozy security and no need to decide anything, because the boss will take care of everything. But if such a distribution of roles becomes fixed and becomes chronic, then a rigid hierarchy of dominance-submission is built in the relationship. In such conditions, an adult turns into an aggressor, and a child becomes a victim. A strong hand very quickly begins not to protect, but to cripple, because the lower partner has lost the ability to defend its boundaries, and the upper one, without meeting resistance, can no longer cope with uncontrolled aggression. This is how domestic physical violence develops in family relationships and psychological violence in friendly and business relationships.

  1. Prohibition on awareness and expression of feelings

In a healthy relationship, feelings are legalized, partners can freely talk to each other about their emotional reactions. At the same time, all feelings are legalized - both positive and negative. Partners are able to directly express annoyance, resentment, jealousy and other emotions to each other at the moment when they experience them, without excessive suppression or ignoring their reactions. With this approach, negative emotions do not stagnate, but circulate freely in a couple and heal relationships: based on their emotional reactions and the reactions of the other, partners build boundaries and learn to negotiate.

Emotions are suppressed in dependent relationships. Talking about your true reactions is forbidden or unsafe. An honest conversation about feelings and experiences is perceived as impossible or unacceptable. Therefore, from time to time, uncontrolled emotional outbursts occur - quarrels, scandals, episodes of violence, etc. However, they do not lead to a real resolution of emotional tension, but only aggravate the situation, since feelings of shame and guilt are added to the accumulated negative experiences, which, in turn, are also suppressed and further poison the relationship.

  1. Distorted "I"

In dependent relationships, we are seen as weak, unattractive, incapable of anything - and as a result, if such relationships continue for a long enough time, we ourselves begin to perceive ourselves in this way, and this is how we become in reality.

In healthy relationships, we get enough support, attention, acceptance. As a result, we are able to notice and accept those qualities and resources that another person sees in us, and they begin to manifest themselves in reality and life.

  1. Bad internal condition

In healthy relationships, our condition is good most of the time. For a partner, we experience mostly positive emotions - love, gratitude, tenderness, respect, etc. However, this does not mean at all that we do not get upset at all, or do not quarrel with a partner. On the contrary, the ability to defend one's position, express aggression, conflict, and constructively resolve conflicts are all characteristics of a healthy relationship.

In dependent relationships, most of the time we are in a bad state - depressed, depressed, anxious, embittered. At the same time, due to the influence of the previous factors, it is difficult for us to realize our feelings and correlate them with needs. In other words, we feel bad, but we do not understand what exactly we feel and do not understand why.

  1. Insulation

Healthy relationships support us and help us grow. At the same time, our life is not limited only to these relationships. In healthy relationships, we maintain family, friendship, and professional ties outside of the relationship. Healthy relationships fit harmoniously into our lives and do not isolate us from other people.

In dependent relationships, we drop out of life and lose the ability to find and receive support outside of the relationship. Gradually, our contact with other people is reduced to a minimum, supporting family, friendship and professional ties are destroyed, and we find ourselves in isolation.

  1. Fear of leaving a relationship

In a healthy relationship, we feel free to end it at any time as we wish. The only reason why we continue to stay in these relationships is because we feel good in them and we ourselves want them to continue.

In a dependent relationship, we feel bad, but we do not feel free to leave - we feel that we are bound by this relationship. We have no choice but to remain in them, or the rest of the choices we see seem even less pleasant to us.

In dependent relationships, these signs appear quite often and vividly. Of course, it is difficult to find the “ideal” of a healthy relationship, perhaps some elements of these signs can sometimes “slip”, for example, in a quarrel. But in a healthy relationship, you can always discuss each other's feelings and emotions and realize why this situation happened.

In a situation where you understand that your relationship can be called dependent, there are two options for their development: you can change this relationship or get out of it. At the same time, it is important to understand that if you want to change the quality of your relationship, then in this case both partners must direct their efforts for this. Remember, you can't change another person unless they want to. In any case, whatever decision you make, it is important to seek help from a specialist. Without professional external help, it is often difficult to understand what is happening and make the right decision.

The specialist will help you, first of all, decide whether it is worth working on improving the relationship (ideally, this should be a joint decision of both partners), or whether it is necessary to work on a gradual, as safe way out of these relationships. At the same time, it is important to understand that working with long-term neglected addictive relationships is most often a long and gradual process, since for a safe exit from addictive relationships, it is necessary, on the one hand, to rebuild and heal the client’s inner world, and on the other hand, to restore supportive ties with the world. external.







90,000 Five Signs You Have a Controlling Boyfriend and What to Do About Him |

Relationship Control

If you are reading this article and thinking, "Am I in a controlling relationship?" you are in the right place to find out the truth. First, we need to define what it means. A controlling relationship is a relationship in which a person dominates or engages in bullying their partner. It can happen to anyone.

If you have a boyfriend who controls you, he may carry out these behaviors through emotional sexual or physical abuse. In some cases, they will use all of the above. If you think about your partnership and find that you didn't realize that your boyfriend was in control from the start, don't blame yourself. Often the controlling person pretends to be someone they are not at the beginning of the relationship. They deceive the other person and make him believe that he is relaxed. If someone immediately shows that they are in control, the other person is likely to leave.

However, if you've been with someone for a while and the manipulation and control started slowly, you'll be caught off guard and most likely stay. It's a heartbreaking situation, and it's not your fault anyway. There are some warning signs to look out for if you think you might be in a controlling relationship. Today we are going to talk about emotional abuse as well as five signs that you have a controlling boyfriend and what to do about it.


Red flags

One red flag - if your boyfriend doesn't trust you and keeps looking at your phone. They keep track of who you talk to or write to, and may even look at your phone bill to see who you've called. If your boyfriend doesn't ask for permission to look at your phone and just takes it, that's unacceptable and he's in control. A controlling guy will get in the way of your independence and will dominate until he takes full control of the relationship. In healthy relationships, people have their own separate lives. They have their own hobbies, their own work, their own friends, and so on, and each person trusts the other to be with these friends or work on their own, without having to check and approve every little thing. Of course, relationship dynamics vary from couple to couple, but one thing is always true in a healthy relationship - trust and care, not control or dominance.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is a common form of abuse in relationships. This occurs when a person actively attempts to humiliate, belittle, or harm their partner through methods such as name-calling, insults, victim blaming, and gaslighting. They often try to lower your self-esteem or self-confidence. The abuser uses emotional abuse to tire their victim and maintain control of the relationship. This can be especially true in a dynamic where the partner initially has healthy self-esteem because the controlling guy wants to destroy it to make sure they can take control of their partner. They want to take advantage of your insecurities. Abuse is a never ending cycle and the reason people stay in an abusive relationship is because the partner is not outwardly violent all the time.

Abuse cycle

You may be wondering why someone stays in an abusive relationship. If you're in an abusive relationship, it's likely that your abuser isn't always unkind, because in an abusive relationship, abuse is a cycle. For example, the controlling guy isn't always violent; he will move from manipulation, gaslighting, and name-calling to kindness and apology. Their partner will be confused and not know how to deal with this behavior and they will stay in this cycle of abuse because their significant other seems remorseful.

Negative effects of controlling relationships

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Associating with a controlling partner or boyfriend can have a long-term negative impact on a person's self-esteem and mental health. It has been scientifically proven that abuse deeply affects the brain of the victim. Trauma literally changes people's brains, and if you live or have experienced the trauma and stress of emotional abuse, your brain will suffer. You may experience symptoms such as:

  • Depression
  • Axiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness

The consequences of emotional violence are said over time .

Recognizing a controlling relationship

Once you realize that you are in a controlling relationship, it's time to get out of it. This is not a situation you want to remain in because the abuser has psychological issues and they need to change; you cannot change them. Once the controlling guy realizes that his partner wants to leave, he will do anything to get him to stay. They ask for forgiveness or become more violent. They threaten their persona to stay. They try to get rid of their girlfriend's support system in order to feel isolated and not end the relationship. They may keep them from seeking help or seeking help from a clinical specialist.

You may also see attempted financial abuse in this situation. Financial abuse is present in many abusive relationships. This is where your partner makes it hard to end the relationship by preventing you from accessing financial resources. They directly steal your money, intimidate you to save them from financial trouble, control financial assets, or open your documents such as bank statements. Your boyfriend feels entitled to the money you have. They constantly interfere with your job or her ability to get the job done. If this happens, it's a serious problem in an abusive relationship and you need to look into it.

Five signs that you have a controlling boyfriend

Here are five signs that you have a controlling boyfriend:

  1. Social isolation

Your controlling boyfriend is actively trying to isolate you from your support system. You find yourself not spending much time with your loved ones, and your boyfriend can follow the rules when you need to be at home. He may not allow you to spend time with anyone at all and may impose negative thoughts on you about your support system.

  1. He is the center of your world and does not allow others to enter into it.

In someone's life they should not be surrounded by only one person. If your boyfriend wants to be your everything and is jealous of other people, that's a big red flag. If you find yourself isolating from people close to you, such as your best friend, this is a sign that you may have a controlling boyfriend. Your boyfriend doesn't have to be the only person in your universe.


  1. Constantly saying 'sorry'

When you constantly apologize to your partner or boyfriend, it's a sign that you have an unhealthy dynamic. It makes you feel like you are doing something wrong. Many people with anxiety disorders apologize because of their fears. However, if your boyfriend reinforces your insecurities by controlling you, those apologies come from somewhere else inside you. They come from pain or a need for love and acceptance that you don't get in your relationship.

  1. Conditional love

You must have unconditional love in a relationship. You agreed to love each other for who you are. This does not mean that you can treat someone badly; it means that you respect each other and accept each other for who you are. On the other hand, conditional love means that he only loves you if you act or look a certain way. This is the main sign that the controlling guy is at play here; you feel that you must please him all the time, and that if you do not, he will not love you.

  1. Infantilize or treat you like a child

Your partner treats you not as an independent adult but as a child. So he infantilizes you, tells you what to do, makes you feel like you don't know what you are doing or how to make your own choices, condescends or patronizes you, and tries to organize your life. You are not a child and do not deserve to be told what to do. If you find your boyfriend acting this way - trying to tell you what to wear, who to see, if he's condescending to you - it's a sign that he's in control.

Control relationships are destructive


Finding yourself in a controlling relationship can be emotionally destructive and harmful to your life. It is important to confront this problem and deal with problems that may arise. Look at the relationship and determine which parts are in control to understand what you need to do to end the relationship or make it healthier. One way to deal with these issues is to go to therapy with your partner. In some cases this is not hopeless; maybe he's acting jealous because he doesn't know how to behave in a relationship and may have scars from the past. The key to this situation is that you feel completely safe and that he shows a sincere, consistent effort to change. If so, then you can go for couples counseling. Online counseling can help, and ReGain's trained counselors are ready to help you navigate these issues and make sure you're getting the most out of your relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the warning signs of a controlling guy?

There are many signs of a controlling boyfriend or controlling partner. Some of these include:

  • Talking badly about friends and family and making you feel like you have to agree with him
  • Not allowing you to leave your house freely
  • You feel bad about not inviting him to a party with girls.
  • Forcing you to spend time with him instead of friends and family
  • Not having male friends
  • Body language that clearly shows that he is upset when you want to do things without him.
  • To say that you can't meet with male colleagues for meetings outside the office.
  • Control over diet and other health issues
  • Not allowed to wear short skirts outside the home
  • Say that you cannot hang out with friends because he will be at home alone
  • Insist that you spend all your free time with him
  • Don't let you go at happy hour after work without him
  • Feel like you live with your parents when you're on vacation) he constantly calls and tries to take time with his family and friends.

Why is my controlling partner taking over my life?

When you have a controlling partner, he will display moderate to extreme controlling behavior. Controlling behavior often comes about because your controlling partner is unable to control something in their life. In turn, your boyfriend is in control of your life, so he feels like he's in control of something important. However, this scenario often backfires when your controlling partner tries to take over your entire life and decision-making factors.

At first, signs of a controlling partner may be small. He may say he will miss you and wish you didn't leave, or insist that you cancel plans with a friend in order to be with him.

Far more serious and more important controlling behavior would be refusing to let you leave the house without him, or controlling your choice of food and clothing.

My boyfriend loves me, but is he too controlling?

True love consists of trust. It is important to understand that if you feel like he is in control of your personal and personal life, you may have a controlling partner. You should never feel like your boyfriend is controlling you. This is not true love.

Controlling partners make you feel like you are indebted to them all the time, and they want to control all of your decision-making abilities. If you see signs that you are in a controlling relationship, you may want to leave before the signs of a controlling partnership get much worse.

There are always signs that your partner is overly in control; however, you may not immediately catch them. The National Domestic Violence Alliance states that most domestic violence relationships begin with subtle signs that your partner wants to control you.

These signs of a controlling romantic relationship can be scary, but if you feel like your partner is already trying to control everything you do, it might be time to end the relationship before it's too late.

What is controlling in a relationship?

A controlling person is one who exercises dominance over another person in an unhealthy and selfish way. The dominance of controlling people is toxic and it is done for their own benefit. Rest assured that controlling people are not just & ldquo; want what & rsquo; better for you ” it doesn't matter what they say. Leaders want to feel power. People management may try to isolate you from friends and family, or decide which of your family and friends you can talk to, try to change or control how you look or dress, and constantly control what you do and who you are? talking with. Controlling people may try to make you believe that they are always right (regarding their control). For example, if your partner is in control, he might say that he is "only telling you to act, behave, or make choices according to what they think, because they 'know what's best for you.' To control people, gaslighting can even be used as a tactic to make you feel crazy. Also, a controlling partner can make them feel like you owe them something or make you feel guilty in order to get what they want. Especially if your partner is in control and you're in a long-term relationship, this can have negative mental health consequences over time. If your partner is showing less of a controlling behavior that may not be intentional, talk about it. For example, if your boyfriend needs to constantly check your phone, talk to your boyfriend. If he understands, apologizes, and stops or agrees to couples therapy, and that was the only real sign that you are in control of the behavior in your relationship, you can probably handle it.

What is a toxic relationship?

Simply put, a toxic relationship is something that doesn't work for you. Controlling partners are things that can make a relationship toxic, as can fickle arguments, an unhealthy sense of competition, lack of support, undermining, or partners who seem set to make you feel bad—even if they don't. so. always open. Note that insult and toxicity are not the same thing. Toxic relationships can include fights and less-than-healthy habits, but abuse goes beyond that. A toxic relationship won't always be abusive, but abusive relationships are always deeply toxic. If emotional abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse is present, it's time to leave. Abuse is about power and control. If your partner is in control, that's a huge red flag that you shouldn't ignore. Again, when it comes to controlling people and partners, get out before it gets worse. The abuse and control can get worse over time, and you'll want to leave now.

Emotional abuse can leave emotional scars for a long time. Emotional abuse can involve control, blackmail, make you feel guilty so you do what they want, call names, be mean, pick fights, make you feel worse, isolate you from friends and family, manipulate and force you feel like you're walking on eggshells. Physical abuse and situations where you are emotionally abused often progress over time. A relationship with an abusive, controlling person can start out as romantic if there is a lot of love bombing involved. Over time, abusive and controlling people tend to exert more and more power over you. As you experience this, the cycle may leave you feeling confused (“Why are things sometimes good and others bad?”) Or you may feel that their emotionally abusive behavior isn’t all that bad.” ("Things aren't always bad, so I'll stay" & rdquo;). Again, by controlling people, you can make you feel that their behavior is justified. If you have been emotionally abused in the past, seeing a psychologist or therapist can help you through the healing process.

It's okay to feel guilty or feel like you're overreacting & rdquo; because the controlling person may exhibit covert controlling behavior or manipulate you, sometimes very covertly, so as not to see how bad things really are. Nobody deserves to be abused. If you have an abusive or controlling partner, you can visit the nationwide domestic violence hotline website, use its web chat option, or call the hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Deep down you may have a feeling that something is not right, and if you have this feeling, it is likely that you are right. Don't be shy or put off calling a hotline, putting together a safety plan, prompting friends and family if applicable, or safely leaving an abusive partner. Listen to your intuition. There is hope.

Why am I so in control of my relationships?

The controlling person or people can compete for control for a number of reasons. If you know you're in control, you can spend a lot of time feeling embarrassed, guilty, or wondering why you're doing it.

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