10 Signs to Recognize Controlling Behavior in a Relationship

Controlling Behavior in a Relationship

When we think of a dominant individual, we think of the typical schoolyard bully. Perhaps someone who makes others do what they desire comes to mind. However, there are many more subtle signs that you may be missing, and this type of behavior isn’t confined to sexual interactions. Coworkers, bosses, friends, family, and even strangers are all examples of controlling individuals.

A controlling spouse may dictate where their partner is permitted to go and how they should act. It’s also crucial to understand that dominating partnerships have more complex dynamics. It’s all too simple to fall into an emotionally abusive relationship without realizing it.

One partner has entire control over the other, causing the other to feel fear, insecurity, or guilt. These feelings might be triggered by physical, emotional, economic, spiritual, or psychological circumstances.

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10 ways you recognize the controlling behavior in a relationship

1. They criticize you all the time

Making jokes about you in front of others, criticizing your looks, or continuously pointing out imperfections — such as a bit of dust on the floor or a place on your legs where you failed to shave — are all examples of criticism. Constant criticism can destroy your self-esteem over time, leading you to act in specific ways in order to avoid being judged. You may feel judged if the reaction is poor. It’s normal for you to try to defend yourself or simply walk away. However, in certain circumstances, doing so may aggravate the disease. If your partner is constantly criticizing you, this might be a subtle sign that they have a more dominant controlling behavior over you.

2. They make decisions for you

It’s difficult to distinguish when concentration ends and pressure begins. If your spouse, on the other hand, routinely makes decisions for you, it might be the latter. This is an excellent demonstration of self-control. Maybe they insist on chauffeuring you all the time or taking up too much of your time. They might even make plans with your friends without your knowledge, or paint or remodel your home to suit their tastes. They may tell you they don’t like the way you dress, or they could start to change your entire clothing collection. They won’t give you a chance to take a decision for yourself. Every time, they will just step in and make a decision for you.

3. Overactive jealousy and accusations

Overactive jealousy simply means that your partner is jealous for no reason. If your controlling partner is extremely jealous, they may accuse you of flirting or cheating with other people without offering proof or an explanation. While this may suggest that they are dealing with personal difficulties or past events, blaming you on a frequent basis is unrealistic and harmful.

Jealousy and accusations can lead them to impose restrictions on you as well which will hamper your freedom in every other way. Your mental peace will get disturbed and you will never have the freedom or security to enjoy your own space.

4. They are overprotective

There is a considerable difference between caring and controlling. If your spouse questions who you’ve gone out with, become angry if you don’t pick up the phone immediately away, or is envious of your friends and family, they may be overprotective. They could think you’re only safe when they’re alongside you, or that you need to contact them before making any major decisions. A controlling partner could keep records of your doctor’s visits, cook you a particular diet, or warn you about a colleague they dislike. Any one of these actions might be ineffective on its own.

5. They wouldn’t like you to see your loved ones.

Limiting behavior might be subtle, like shutting your eyes when answering the phone or turning off the radio while discussing other people’s tales. It may also cause you to stand out more.

A controlling partner can be unhappy with how much time you spend with your friends or family. They could ridicule your family or accuse them of harming you. People may act in ways that make you feel uneasy whether you’re around friends or family. They can also divide you by bringing up an issue in order to prevent you from fulfilling your responsibilities to others. If you choose to spend time with someone, you may be regarded with respect.

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6. Going through your phone and belongings

Personal space is very essential in every relationship. If your partner is hindering your personal space then they might have an outlook to control you in some way or the other. Checking anyone’s phone or any other belongings without their permission is wrong. This can realize a signal of having a controlling partner.

7. They play the blame game

Taking accountability for one’s behavior might be challenging for a controlling person. When you’re dealing with a controlling partner, you may realize that they’ve turned the tables on you. You can find yourself apologizing for something you didn’t realize you needed to apologize for.

Instead of recognizing that they violated your privacy, they may blame you to avoid accepting responsibility for their actions. In a relationship, this is a symptom of domineering behavior.

8. They gaslight you

If your partner makes you feel that you have gone out of your mind, then there is a high chance that they might be gaslighting you. Gaslighting means making the other person think that they have gone out of their mind.  This can lead them to do something really hurtful and then assume it to be just a joke. This can resist you to look at reality.

9. They intimidate you

Someone with a lot of authority over you might try to smear your reputation by constantly appearing superior. This may be a coworker who frequently interrupts you in meetings to voice their own views or management who openly rejects you. If your partner intimidates you in the same way, then there is a high chance that they have a controlling intention over you.

10. They micromanage you

Lifestyle independency is one of the greatest factors that assist you in being completely independent. If your partner tries to manage your smallest of tasks, then they might interfere with your personal space too much. This leads to them micromanaging you.


Controlling behavior is not only inconvenient; it’s also a type of interpersonal abuse. You must pay attention to yourself if you see signs of a controlling relationship. Being in a controlling relationship can lead to long-term problems, such as depression. Isolation from family and friends, anxiety, and despair are all symptoms of low self-esteem. Recognizing and recognizing the problem is a crucial step in getting the situation under control. Recognizing the power disparities in your relationship, on the other hand, may help you either move on to a stronger connection or restore the balance you need in your current one.

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