In relationships most of us know what constitutes abuse, however many do not realise that abuse is not only physical but that you can be abused psychologically and emotionally.

Early on in a relationship the signs will be there, but is often considered a sign that your partner is in love with you and is excused.

Controlling behaviour never gets better, over time it escalates and can ruin relationships with one partner intimindating another. If you know the signs to look out for it might save you from heartache.

1. Wanting you all to themselves

It might not be very obvious at the outset. It could begin with them bedgrudging the time spent with best friends and wanting you to spend all your time just with him/her. Even conversations on the phone will be complained about. It may seem that you are loved so much that the person wants you all to him7herself, but this is a big warning sign.

2. Making their love conditional

“You would look much better if you lost some weight and it will make me more attracted to you” “I prefer long hair, if you grow your hair you would look more attractive”

3. Constant criticism

If someone constantly criticises you why are they with you in the first place? In the beginning of a relationship this may not manifest itself, but down the line this starts being a constant issues. From criticising the way you dress, talk, walk, speak etc

4. Making you feel beholden

Taking you out for expensive meals, spending money on you and then reminding you of how much they do for you.

5. Threats

If you want to leave, in controlling relationships threats about either harming you or harming themselves could take place. Women are very vulnerable if they do not have a support system and should they leave they might not have anywhere to go to especially if they have been isolated from friends and family. If they have children their partner might threaten to keep the children and not allow the mother to see them.

6. Keeping Score 7. Using guilt as a tool

In healthy relationships there is a give and take. If one person does slightly more and than the other a scorecard is not kept. If a partner constantly reminds you that they are doing more for you than you for them, this is not healthy. Them wanting to have the upper hand by these constant reminders does not bode well for a relationship.

7. Using guilt as a tool

Controlling people are skilful at manipulating their partners’ emotions in order to make them constantly feel guilty.  This results in the partner trying to do whatever they can in order not to have to feel guilty. In essence this gives their power up into the hands of the controller.

 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

8. Spying and requiring constant disclosure

A controlling partner demands to know everything you are doing. Without permission they will take your cellphone and check who you have been in contact with. They insist on access to your email, passwords for facebook and tracks your internet history. Their rationalisation is that if you have nothing to hide then it should not be a problem.

9. Overly jealous

In the beginning having a jealous partner can be very flattering and make you feel that they love you very much. Later on this could result in you partner not wanting you to have any interactions with other males even if it is in the workplace as they feel threatened. You might get accused of flirting with others, not because you are doing so, but due to your partners own paranoia and insecurity.

10. Not respecting your wish for “alone” time

In healthy relationships the need for alone time should be respected. Often partners refuse to accept that their significant other needs time for themselves. This is not because you love the person any less but to want this is normal. Controlling partners do not allow this as they want to control every aspect of your life.

11. Trust

If you are in a long term relationship of course you can assume that trust is reciprocated. In a new trelationship you should not have to detail your whereabout for every minute of the day, nor should you partner automatically have the right to access your email, texts or internet search history. If trust is only given after you have allowed access to all of the above, then something is very wrong in your relationship.

12. Making you so tired of arguments that you give in

If they constantly argue with you and cause conflict until you give in just to have peace, this is another red flag in the relationship. It will not improve with time, this just shows what your life will be like with that person in the future.

13. Belittling

Belittling your beliefs, politics or cultural traditions is another warning sign. You should not be made to feel that your beliefs or traditions are unimportant or silly. You should not have to bow to their beliefs but there should be a mutual respect for what the other believes in.

14. Be made to feel as though you are not good enough

This could be them comparing their job, family, income to yours and making you feel that you are unworthy and this could result in you trying harder to please them, working harder and this enforces their controlling behaviour. This results in an unbalanced relationship where you are doing your utmost for them and this will continue….it will never be enough.

15. Sexual interactions that you don’t feel comfortable with

You should never be made to do something you do not want to do. You will be told “If you love me you will” and be coerced into doing something you later regret. No-one should be forced into doing something they do not feel comfortable with.

16. Be unwilling to hear your point of view

If your point of view is ignored or not heard and you are constantly being interrupted and not given a chance to voice your opinion and your partner considers his opinions to be the only correct opinion. If only his opinions dominate your life and yours are not acknowledged, this is not a healthy relationship.

17. Never giving you the benefit of the doubt

A controlling person is skilled at making you feel you have done something wrong and they never give you the benefit of the doubt in any situation they immediately declare you to be guilty of …….

18. Constant teasing that has a mean undercurrent

You are constantly teased, not in a playful way but with a mean undercurrent.

19. Professional goals

Not supporting your professional goals and making you feel as though your goals do not mean anything or that you are not “good enough”

20. Encouraging unhealthy behaviours

If you do not drink or do drugs and your partner tries to convince you to try some as well.


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In relationships most of us know what constitutes abuse, however many do not realise that abuse is not only physical but that you can be abused psychologically and emotionally. Early on in a relationship the signs will be there, but is often considered a sign that your partner is in...