Being in a relationship with someone who is controlling can be very difficult. Most of us have seen someone who was with a “control freak” and we wondered how they got themselves in that situation and why they put up with it. But the signs can be hard to read in the beginning. Their attempts to monitor your behavior can seem like positive attention. They couch their manipulation with phrases like “I just love you and worry about you” or “I’m simply trying to look out for you”. All that seemingly positive attention can be a little intoxicating as it might make us feel loved and cared for. However, that attention usually intensifies as the relationship progresses until it becomes too restrictive. The relationship can quickly become abusive as the controller gets frustrated with your lack of obedience and manipulates you with verbal assaults, emotional isolation, rages or even physical and sexual abuse to “keep you in line”. It won’t take long before you become a shadow of your former self and someone else is looking in and wondering why you put up with it. No one’s self-esteem can withstand years of this kind of manipulating and abuse without serious consequences. A controller’s behavior usually gets worse not better. It’s important to know if your partner is controlling because if he/she is, you need to start setting firm boundaries to protect yourself and the future of your relationship. Men have gotten a lot of blame in this area but make no mistake, there are many men living with very controlling women.
So how do you know if your partner is controlling? Answer the following questions.
Does Your Partner…
- Have certain “rules” you have to follow? This might look like time limits for certain activities or restrictions on who you can be friends with.
- Check your email, Facebook, text messages or phone messages so they know what you are up to?
- Get critical of you and use insults and shame?
- Try to control how you dress?
- Dictate how much time you spend with your family?
- Monitor your weight or physical appearance and then control when and how much you eat?
- Withhold sex or physical affection when they don’t get their way?
- Try to force you to have sex or perform sexual acts you aren’t comfortable with by being critical, shaming, sarcastic or manipulative?
- Correct what you say or do and lets you know there is a better way?
- Have you on financial restrictions?
- Think their way is better and right and your opinion doesn’t matter much?
- Always step in to solve your problems sometimes making you feel you are incompetent?
- Believe they are helping you be a better person and you need them to function properly?Get angry when you make mistakes and degrade you?Find a way to make it your fault when they make a mistake?
If you answered yes to three or more of these, your partner may have control issues that are damaging to your self-esteem. Learning how to set boundaries is key for you to survive this kind of relationship. Call us at Power of Two Counseling in Dallas, Texas. We are here to help!