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Five Signs You Are In A Controlling Relationship

Updated on October 22, 2011
It is just as easy for a man to be the target in a controlling relationship, as it is a woman
It is just as easy for a man to be the target in a controlling relationship, as it is a woman

What Comes To Your Mind?

What comes to your mind when you think about a person that is in a controlling relationship? Perhaps a woman stuck under a man's constant ridicule? A man that does anything his partner tells him to that society often labels as "whooped?" When I personally think about a controlling relationship, an endless list, which include men and women, begins to form.

I wanted to point out above, that it is just as easy for a man to be the target in a controlling relationship, as it is a woman. The same with physical and emotional abuse. You hear more cases of women being a victim than you do men, but the problem still exists none the less. With that being said, I'm in no way bashing men with this hub. I can only deliver my advice through a woman's perspective since I am, well you know, a woman and all.

Experiences make the best learning tools, but I strongly believe that there are certain life lessons we could all live without learning. A controlling relationship is within the top five of my list. What about yours?

A controller may become physically abusive.
A controller may become physically abusive.

The Situation (No, not Jersey Shore)

All characters used in this hub are fictional.

Controlling Clay and I have been dating for almost 6 months. We have a great time when we're together, and he makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. He's charming, attractive, and really listens to me. We get so lost in conversation sometimes, that the sun is starting to rise before we even realize it, and he has told me multiple times that he thinks I could be "the one."

So far, there's only one thing that bothers me about Controlling Clay. He sometimes starts asking questions about my close guy friends who are on my Facebook, or ones that occasionally text message me, just to say hi. He wants to know if I have ever had a relationship with any of them, how often we talk, or if any of them come on to me. Once or twice he has went as far as asking if anything sexual has ever taken place between any of them and me. He appeared mad while I was answering his questions, and it made me feel uncomfortable, as if I was being interrogated.

They appear angry or over jealous when answering their questions about friends of the opposite sex.
They appear angry or over jealous when answering their questions about friends of the opposite sex.

I became upset each time, and tried to explain to Controlling Clay that they were strictly just friends. He alleged that he has taken notice at how I look at these so-called friends, and said it made him feel as though I might have feelings for them. I became even more upset, but he continued by saying that it looks bad for a female to have male friends, especially when she is dating someone.

By that point I was in tears, and ready to call it quits before Controlling Clay had a chance to subtly call me a tramp in any other way. When he saw how hurt and angry I was, he quickly changed his mood, and pleaded for me to hear his reasoning. He confessed that he sometimes became jealous, but he was only looking out for me and my reputation. He went on for several minutes expressing how much he cared for me, and the potential he saw in our relationship. He asked repeatedly if I did not agree, and said that he wanted me to do the same for him, if he was making himself look bad. I started feeling guilty for becoming upset so quickly, and not realizing he was only trying to help.

Before we knew it, Controlling Clay and I were right back in our routine of deep conversation while the sun was rising. All night we talked about friendships between men and women from a man's point of view, and how people look badly upon it. He told me he had never cared for anyone like he did me, and that he was terrified of losing me. We finally decided it was best that I delete several of my guy friends from my friends list, and out of the contacts in my phone. It isn't that I truly wanted to delete any of them, but after my talk with Controlling Clay, I knew I would feel guilty if I didn't. I apologized to him one more time for making him so upset, and not realizing sooner that my actions were hurting him.

Often there are characteristics and signs to look for to determine if someone is a controller.
Often there are characteristics and signs to look for to determine if someone is a controller.

Signs To Look For That Your Partner Is Trying To Control You

There are many characteristics and signs to look at and consider when trying to decide if your partner is indeed a controller or attempting to gain control of your relationship. The list below showcases only 5 of the possible hundreds of situations. Even if you cannot relate to one of the signs below, it does not mean that you are not in a controlling relationship.

1. They want to know every detail about any friends of the opposite sex.

  • How you met.
  • Have you ever have anything more than a friendship with them or would you.
  • Do you find them attractive.

2. Asking you to cease contact with any friends or family members.

  • Convincing you that the person is damaging to your relationship.
  • That they are judgemental of them because no one understands them like you do.
  • Trying to make you feel like your friends or family don't care about you anymore, and that they are the only one who loves you now.

3. Becoming angry quickly, even over little things.

  • You talked to someone they did not know.
  • You were 15 minutes late arriving for a date.
  • You were in the shower and missed their phone call.

A controlling person may become angry quickly, even over something that most would see as small.
A controlling person may become angry quickly, even over something that most would see as small.

4. Making you feel quilty if you do not spend all of your free time with them.

  • They convince you that your hobby is insignificant or seen as wasting time.
  • They make you feel bad for "leaving" them to be spend time with anyone else.
  • They act hurt when you ask to do things alone or with friends.

5. Telling or making you feel like your efforts are not good enough.

  • Criticizing everything you do, even in a joking manner.
  • Constantly correcting you whether alone or in front of others.
  • Making you feel like you're not putting enough into your relationship.

What To Do?

If you are in a controlling relationship the best advice I can give is to leave quickly. It will not get better, and you will never be able to change this person. Most will tell you that it will in fact get worse the longer you allow it to continue, and can literally drive you to a point of insanity. People like Controlling Clay need psychiatric help before they can be in a normal and healthy relationship.

I've heard people say "but I fell in love with them before they started acting this way, and it's hard to just walk away." I agree that any breakup is hard, and I am the first person that tries to see the good in everyone, but this calls for remembering the bad times. Make a list if you have to, just make sure the controller does not find it before you get out, and list all of the ways your life has changed, people you have had to give up, and all the ways this person has hurt you. Read that list to yourself, and imagine it doubling or tripling. A growing list is exactly what will happen if you stay in a controlling relationship.

More times than not, the relationship will eventually turn violent, and those chances increase if they already have a temper, or violent background. Soon, destroying walls, doors, and dishes won't be enough, and that will leave you in harms way next.

It's a hard road, and one that isn't easy, but the longer you put off leaving a person that is trying to control your life or relationship, the harder it'll become to get your life back on track, and to regain the supportive people that you lost due to this damaging person. You may feel some embarrassment or shame once you're actually away from the controller, but don't let that bring you down. Use your new life lesson as a tool to be able to recognize future controllers, or even help someone else that doesn't even know that they are potentially in a dangerous and controlling relationship.

How many of you have ever been with a controller?

Have you ever been in a controlling relationship?

See results


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    • Loco Life profile imageAUTHOR

      Loco Life 

      4 years ago from Tennessee

      I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond to everyone. Again, due to a controlling relationship, I thought this account was lost forever. I look back on this hub, the pictures (they are very real and very mild of some of the things "he" put me through), and all of your comments, and it absolutely breaks my heart.

      I really hope that each and every one of you have found peace, and have gotten yourself of your personal nightmares as I have. There ARE people who support you and will help you.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Im in a very abusive relationship just trying to keep my head above water. this is the strangest thing ive ever dealt with he was so sweet and amazing and I was number one and then it seemed like overnight he was always mad spreading rumors and lies hurting me choking me throwing stuff in my face breaking anything I liked or couldn't replace locking me out all night taking me off the bank name calling at horrendous levels disabling the car telling me my family and friends hated me I hate this crap I feel trapped and brainwashed

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am in an abusive relationship right now. My husband is very controlling. He has been violent with me before. It is the emotional abuse that really hurts though. He say so many things to me making me feel like nothing. He fights with me over everything. Just last night I told my daughter a joke he didn't like so he will not talk to me and withhold money for personal items that are necessary. I am not allowed to have mine. I am not aloud to work. I definitely can't have friends. I have three kids and he uses it against me.saying he will take them and slot of stuff like that. I have no one I can ask for help and everything is really in his name. When I tried to leave before He cut off the insurance on the car and turned off my phone.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Useful information. A must read for everyone. I was going to write an article this morning on this topic, but came across yours. Voted up & sharing.

    • mismazda profile image


      6 years ago from a southern georgia peach

      Oh my I too have witnessed and experienced a controlling relationship...its awful...and emotional, physical, mental , and verbal are all abuse.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      At the moment I have been dating my bf for almost 4 years. We constantly fight on a regular basis and sometimes he can become very angry and throw or even punch things. Over some time, we decided that we wouldn't add anybody from the opposite sex on Facebook. I always bring up the fact that we should be free of talking to whomever and that it can be healthy being in a relationship. His response is along the lines of, "oh, so you want to add guys then?" He says he is fine with it but I know better and if I were to add a guy, once he saw he'd immediately add a girl. I guess I wouldn't mind that but wished it'd be different. Sometimes I sense him not comfortable with me in these situations and must do the same only because I did. In all of our fights, he will feel the need to cuss at me and call me pathetic and useless and add a bunch of names, such as the B word and C*** word. It's like he doesn't respect me for being me like he did when we first met. For some time now, I look at these things happening in my relationship and focus on what I am not aloud to do and think well, I just won't because it isn't important and he loves me. This includes, not hanging out with anybody from the opposite sex. My days are boring and most of the time I'd rather be alone than with him. I go to school, I come home. I hardly do anything with my time anymore and if I do, he's ALWAYS with me. It's like we have to be with each other 24/7. Each morning, I wake up and start dwelling on my problems with him. But yet I know I can't talk to him about it without me saying, "i'm sorry" in the end. I also tend to second guess myself with my actions. I can't stand it but then why is it that I still choose to stay?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Its not controlling its love!!! Don't beleave this crap!!!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am in a controlling relationship. It feels good to admit it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I was in a couple of them. Most recently my ex left me for a married woman. She has told him he can't be friends with me because I am toxic to their relationship. Oddly he doesn't tell her she can't talk to the man she is still married to though. So he cut off contact because she said so. He claims shes messed up and has a bunch of issues that give men the heebie jeebies, but he still stays with her. I guess she is good in bed or something He lies etc. When we were together I asked he not keep the women in his life he kept sleeping with while we were together, and that was controlling him he said and that I didn't own him. Suddenly he changes and basically obeys this woman as though he were a dog on a leash. Out of it all my son is the worst affected, as he got attached to this man over the last 3 yrs. She has no kids and of course wouldn't understand that. I think she is a selfish control freak, yet he says shes not...

    • profile image

      no name 

      6 years ago

      When this divorce is over, and I am free....I will speak out about the kind of man I was with and how he controlled, and abused, and manipulated. Until then I cannot because he is liable to see this through his massive searches to find anything he can about my current life that he can use in court as criticism, or just information he can come up with a counter-excuse for his behavior.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I was in an abusive relationship for 13 yrs and its not easy to leave every time I tried he would find me and the abuse got worse. I finally got so tired of it and didn't care what he did to me. I asked him for a divorce one night and he agreed but when I went to sleep that night I woke to him standing over me with a medal pipe full of cement. He beat me all over with that pipe and proceeded to choke me till he thought I was dead. The result of that beating is I went from working in a hospital having a great job I loved and worked hard to get to being on disability and now going to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. The positive side is IM FREE AND AWAY FROM HIM. I now speak out against domestic violence and tell woman to make a plan find a safe place to go and once they are out get a restraining order and if at all possible find someone to stay with you for not only your safety but to help relieve your mind. Also if you see any signs of abuse leave right away dont wait till it gets to the point of being physical remember verbal abuse is violence also. Protect your self and learn to Love yourself. To many woman lose their life every year to domestic violence we need to start speaking out and letting woman know there is hope and a way out we need to stand strong together and help other woman to get out and by sharing our stories maybe we can save a womans life.

    • Loco Life profile imageAUTHOR

      Loco Life 

      7 years ago from Tennessee

      It's a sad situation to watch or be in. It's amazing the amount of people I've seen, including myself, that can't or don't walk away at the beginning signs. All you can do is wait, and be there for them as a friend when they finally leave.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image

      Ryan Fuller 

      7 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      Thankfully I have never had this problem, but i have seen many close friends controlled under another persons will. I have lost some close friends because they are controlled.

    • Loco Life profile imageAUTHOR

      Loco Life 

      7 years ago from Tennessee

      Anyone who has been in a similar situation, male or female, is encouraged to comment with your advice, help links, or simply to show support. Thanks for reading.


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