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Controlling Relationship: 18 Signs You’re Being Coerced Into One

You know the old saying, love is blind. Until you wake up and realize you’re in a controlling relationship and alienated from those you love.

Controlling Relationship

You’re not living in the movie Twilight. Somehow the idea of a controlling relationship suddenly became acceptable. Though they managed to portray that relationship as healthy. In reality, it’s highly toxic.

When love turns into obsession, that’s when you have a problem. Sure, Edward was a rich vampire, but is it really worth your freedom?

18 signs of a controlling relationship

It’s important to recognize the signs of being in a controlling relationship well in advance. So, here are the 18 signs you need to look out for.

#1 Makes you feel guilty when spending time with friends. You’re going to see your friends? But what about me? Ugh, there’s plenty of time for them. Listen, if they’re upset that you spend time with your friends, that’s a problem.

In a healthy relationship, your partner should encourage you to spend time apart from them so you see your friends. They have friends as well that they want to spend time with. If your partner doesn’t have any friends, it’s a very clear sign something’s wrong with them. [Read: 15 questions to reveal a controlling personality instantly]

#2 Wants you to change. You’re too fat, too skinny, your hair is drab. It’s always something. In controlling relationships, they’ll never be happy with how you look. You’ll need to constantly be changing yourself to please them. And guess what? It’ll never be enough.

If someone genuinely likes you, they won’t try to change who you are. I mean, that’s what attracted them to you in the first place. My ex-boyfriend didn’t like me wearing green. Yeah, I know, ridiculous. He wanted me to get rid of all my clothes that color *I didn’t, by the way*. [Read: 15 subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend]

#3 It’s all about the small things. You may not recognize it right away because this can be portrayed as being supportive. However, it’s not. Are you really going to wear that today? That’s how you wash your clothes? That’s what you do in your free time? These are small minor comments.

But they make you second guess what you’re doing and if you’re making the right decisions. Your partner will try to convince that they’re helping you understand the right way of living. [Read: Emotionally abusive relationship: 15 signs you just can’t miss]

#4 They don’t trust you. Do they insist on having your social media passwords? Do they comment on everything you post and who commented on it? Call you when you’re with your friends to see how you’re doing?

Yeah, they’re not doing that because they’re concerned about you. They’re concerned about themselves. They don’t trust you. If they did, they wouldn’t be keeping such close tabs on you. And if you think it can’t get any worse, this untrustworthy behavior is just the beginning of a controlling relationship.

#5 They want to protect you. Listen, Twilight was a hit movie for a reason. The girl came to a small town, was lonely and this attractive man came and picked her up to give her a bright future.

We all have crap going on in our lives, and though relationships do include some sort of protection, your partner is probably taking it to a whole other level. Is your partner’s protective nature supportive or are they controlling everything you’re doing in the name of protecting you? Because if it’s the latter, it’s called trying to make you dependent on them. [Read: 10 scary signs of codependency in your relationship]

#6 Refuses to hear your point of view. Do you have an opinion? Do they stop you from voicing it? Of course, they do. They don’t care about what you have to say. If someone is preventing you from speaking your mind, well, that’s a control mechanism.

#7 Make you indebted to them. Do they buy you anything you want? Take you out for expensive dinners? Sure, they may seem as if they’re very romantic and caring, but nothing comes for free with them. Beware, they’ll make you feel like you owe them something in return, that you’re indebted to them. It won’t be so easy to get out of the relationship because you’ll feel burdened with guilt. [Read: 18 clear signs he’s overprotective and dominating]

#8 You feel like you’re going insane. Do you feel like you’re losing your mind? You partner is probably trying all the tricks in the book, including trying to alter your reality. Sounds intense, right? It’s a method called gaslighting.

This method involves your partner altering your reality and making you second guess your perception. For example, you may have had a fight with your partner last week. They’ll tell you that that didn’t happen because you didn’t see each other last week. [Read: Gaslighting: 16 signs your lover is messing with your mind]

#9 Demeaning your goals. You’re going to that school? It’s not even that good, or don’t try out for that play, you’re not that good of an actor. A healthy relationship consists of two people supporting each other in whatever their goals may be. However, in a controlling relationship, your partner tries to drive you away from completing your goals to control you.

#10 They want you all to themselves. Everyone needs some personal space and time to themselves. Maybe you want to go to yoga class or read a book at the park. Well, your partner’s not going to let that happen.

They try to make you feel guilty that you need time to yourself and that you don’t love them. Recharging your batteries and having time to yourself allows you time to think, and they don’t want that. [Read: 17 relationship red flags that most people completely ignore]

#11 They slowly remove you from your family. If you haven’t talked to your family and friends in a couple of weeks, that’s not a good sign. This starts very subtly and gradually increases over time.

They initially make small comments about your friends and family, or they’ll forget to tell you they called or they’re not a good support system.

Their goal is to make them your only support system. Why? Well, then they have your full control. [Read: How to stop being manipulated in a relationship]

#12 Questions, questions, questions. Who, what, when, where, why?? Expect a list of questions the minute you tell them what you’re doing. Everything must be questioned and you better have an answer. If not, they’ll use every trick in the book to get you to not do what you want. Control freak.

#13 They’re the boss. They pick what you two will do today, they decide where you’re going to eat—they’re the boss. You’ll see this further down in the relationship because usually, in the beginning, there’s a balance of power.

However, as time passes, their true colors show. Typically, this is usually seen when the woman has her first child. But, if you look at the other signs, you don’t have to wait until that point.

#14 It’s always your fault. Listen, it’s always going to be your fault. If your partner cheated on you, it’s because you’re not putting out. If they spilled something on the floor, it’s because you distracted them.

It’ll always be your fault. And when you want to leave the relationship, then they accept some blame until you agree to stay with them. It sounds exhausting, right? If your partner is a control freak, they never want to accept responsibility for their actions. [Read: Don’t stay stuck: 16 strategies to get your shit together]

#15 Substance abuse. If you’re not a big drinker, you don’t smoke, you work out—this is seen as a problem. You’re too strong of a person for them. So, they try to get you drinking a couple glasses of wine a night, get you to save money by quitting the gym. All these little things to make you weak. In a controlling relationship, the only way they control you is if you’re weaker than them.

#16 Uncomfortable sexual interactions. This type of controlling behavior makes its way into the bedroom at some point. It’s only a matter of time.

Perhaps you don’t want to have sex that night, and they force you into it. You’ll be left feeling highly uncomfortable, which is a normal feeling because that is rape. If you’re having uncomfortable and unsettling feelings during sex, something is very wrong. [Read: Date rape – Facts and signs of date rape]

#17 They tease you. Everybody gets teased, that’s normal. However, there’s a fine line between humor and emotional abuse. If they tease you constantly, they’ll say, Oh, I was just teasing you, don’t take it so seriously.

If you say anything back, you’ll be told that your reaction is incorrect and that you have a negative reaction. In a controlling relationship, your feelings are wrong. That works out perfectly for them, why? Because next time, you’ll just sit and take their demeaning jokes. [Read: The 14 telling signs it’s time to give up on a relationship]

#18 You’re guilty before proven innocent. Oh, that’s right, they saw you walking down the street with someone of the opposite sex. So you must have cheated—yup, you definitely cheated.

Your partner probably convinces you that you actually did do something wrong even if you didn’t do anything wrong. They show you your guilty behavior. In turn, you’ll never repeat those actions again. That’s how they control you.

[Read: How to handle controlling behavior in a relationship]

If you’re reading this because you’re suspicious, follow your gut instinct. Make sure you look at these 18 signs to avoid being in a controlling relationship.

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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