Do you know how to recognize the signs of a controlling relationship? Often the signs are initially subtle. This can make it harder to realize you are in a bad relationship until after you experience emotional or physical abuse. However, there are a few telltale signs you can watch for like jealousy, trust issues and pushing your friends away. Learn more about what is normal and what's not.
Relationship Starts Well
It is normal for a controlling relationship to start well, or at least have the appearance of being good. His or her jealousy and asking questions may appear that your partner really cares about you. It may even seem cute how often he or she checks up on you, for example. Often the controlling person will start being very nice and generous as well. This is because you cannot establish control until the other person is committed to the relationship. Unfortunately, these early warning signs of a controlling relationship are often ignored or not even noticed.
Some Signs of a Controlling Relationship
No one sign by itself is an indicator of a controlling relationship. All partners have issues they bring to a relationship. Someone may be jealous, for example, but not be a controller. However, if you notice many of these signs in your relationship, then your partner may in fact be trying to control you.
Jealousy is often one of the signs. Someone that wants to control you will naturally feel threatened by other people. The jealousy can be limited to members of the opposite sex. It can also be total jealousy, meaning your partner is threatened by time spent with your friends and family too.
Keeps Track of You
A controlling person wants to know where you are at all times. While it is normal for couples to ask where the other person has been or what they were doing, a controlling person will take this behavior to the extreme. Often the controller will call while you are away and ask excessive questions when you return.
Lack of Trust
If your partner is jealous and is always keeping track of you, there will often be a lack of trust as well. When you tell your date that you were out with friends, a non-controlling person might not ask many follow-up questions. A controller, on the other hand, will want to know every detail. He or she will often not believe you as well. Another sign is asking accusatory questions such as, "You were with another man, weren't you?"
Tries to Control Your Friendships
Sometimes a partner will notice that one of your friends is a bad influence and will mention this to you. This is normal. A controlling person will sometimes make comments about all of your friends, most often negative comments. In fact, the controller may even suggest you dump all of your friends and only spend time with him or her.
A controlling person will often have erratic behavior. This is because you, as the non-controlling person, will sometimes be unaware of whether the controller is experiencing bouts of jealousy or lack of trust. The erratic behavior most commonly appears when you first arrive home, or when the two of you are on a date.
No Outside Interests
A controlling person's main interest is controlling you. So, while it may seem nice that your partner is always available, this can, in some circumstances, be a bad sign. In turn, sometimes a controlling person will try to have the best of both worlds. He or she will go out with friends and get upset if you ask questions, but will not even think twice of questioning you.
The Blame Game
Does your partner blame you for everything? Is it your fault whenever something goes wrong? Assessing blame and trying to make the other person feel responsible is a way of controlling.
While there can be many reasons why someone practices verbal abuse, this is often a tactic of a controlling person. Like blaming you for everything, it is a way to play on your emotions in order to control you.
Asks for Second Chances
When the person being controlled grows tired of the abuse and threatens to breakup, the controller will nearly always apologize, ask for a second chance, and say it will never happen again. If you breakup, the controller will have lost control and so temporary behavior changes are necessary to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, positive changes are often only temporary as the controller quickly returns to his or her old ways.
Knowing Controlling Behavior
Forgiveness is important in a relationship. However, you should not drag yourself through many cycles of controlling behavior followed by apologies. If your partner fails to make behavioral changes, denies there is a problem, or refuses to seek help for the problem, then it is time for you to re-evaluate.