Understanding Controlling Behaviour

What does controlling behavior look like?

If you need to ask yourself this question, then like a lot of us, we need to be shown what it looks like.

Is your partner too controlling?

Feeling your partner is too controlling is a serious issue, often the warning signs are there very early on in a relationship but tend to get ignored. Possessive and jealous behavior gets excused, taken as a sign that your partner is so madly in love with with you and they just want you all to themselves.

Overtime, controlling behaviors usually gets worse not better and can really undermine the good things in a relationship.

People mistakenly think that a relationship is only abusive when there is physical violence and bullying. That's a common misconception.

Emotional Abuse

There's emotional abuse too; this takes many forms and feeling you are being controlled should be taken as a warning sign. Another misconception is that only males are controlling in a relationship and while it is still the stereotypical view, now there is more support for men and more of them are feeling comfortable coming forward.

No one should be scared or intimidated by the person they love. Unlike physical violence, ignoring, denying or excusing behavior is especially common when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical.

Feeling constantly controlled or manipulated will overtime destroy your confidence, make you feel anxious and depressed, and often isolates you from people and situations that make you feel good about yourself. 

Understanding the signs 

The first step to changing things is to recognize when things have become abusive - only then can you get the hep the both of you need.

There are many signs, the most telling is feeling scared of your partner. If you feel that you have to walk on eggshells around them, or constantly watching what you say or do in order to avoid an argument, then your relationship is in danger of becoming abusive. Other signs are that your partner puts you down or will try to control what you do or who you see.

The question you should ask yourself is 'how does my partner's behavior make me feel.

How you feel

  • afraid of you partner
  • mistrusted
  • you avoid certain topics because of their reaction
  • powerless to change anything between you
  • that there must be something wrong with you and you deserve it
  • that you have to lie about where you've been or who you've been with

Does you partner

  • regularly put you down in front of others
  • shout at you
  • act badly around people who you are close to so you avoid seeing them
  • blame you for their behavior
  • get jealous and possessive
  • control where you go or who you see
  • stop you seeing family and friends
  • control things like money, phone, car
  • check up on you

If you answered yes to enough of these questions then you need to open up the conversation with your partner about how you are feeling and changing things for the better.

Try to approach things together first. Sometimes overly controlling behavior comes from insecurity, so make it clear to your partner that you want things to change because the relationship matters to you. 

Reading articles such as this together will help some couples, however for others, couples therapy may be what's required to change this negative dynamic in your relationship.