When you’re in a relationship and your partner starts acting in a way that could be considered controlling or abusive it can be difficult at first to recognise that they are doing this. You may attempt to brush off this behaviour, either because you don’t want to believe that they are abusive, or because their behaviour scares you. You may also not really recognise their behaviour as controlling, These are the 8 signs of a controlling partner.
1. They Cut You Off From Your Friends/Family
If your partner tries to stop you from talking to people, this is a sign that they are a controlling partner. This can be them directly telling you that they ‘don’t like you hanging out’ with certain people, but may also be more subtle than this – they may say they dislike your friends, that you spend too much time with your friends and they feel left out (which turns into you never spending any time with your friends), them suggesting that your family doesn’t like them and that you should stop talking to them as they may try and convince you to break up with them. If your partner in anyway tries to stop you seeing your friends or family in a way that suggests they would want you to stop seeing/talking to them permanently, be very wary.
2. They Won’t Let You Dress How You Like
If your partner tells you that you ‘aren’t allowed’ to wear certain things, for any reason, this is a sign of them being controlling. There reasons may be that you look ‘too sexy’, that you’re dressing up to try to impress someone that isn’t them, or that you dressing in a certain way reflects badly on them. They may also insult the way you dress by saying you do not dress femininely enough, and will attempt force you to dress in a way that they like. If your partner starts acting this way, and does not care about the fact that you are upset by their actions, they are being controlling.
3. They Go Through Your Phone/Social Media
If your partner demands that you give them your phone password, that you let them look through any messages you may get through any social media (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger), and that you not have any private messages that they don’t have access to, this is controlling, especially if they do not let you look at their messages. They may pose this as a trust issue, saying either that they need to know that they can trust you, or make it seem romantic by saying it’s showing them how much you trust them. Do not fall for this. Not allowing someone to have any forms of private communication, and violating someone by looking through their private messages is not okay. This is a classic sign of a controlling partner.
4. They Need To Know Where You Are, Always
If your partner doesn’t let you leave yours r their house without aggressively asking you where you’re going, this is a sign of a controlling partner. This can also extend to them demanding you tell them where you are at all times of the day, and even sending them ‘evidence’ that you are in a certain place. They may also find ‘proof’ that you are lying to them (e.g. using Find My Friends or Snapmaps to locate you and screenshotting your location), and demand to know where you are, who you’re with and what you’re doing. Even if you are not lying to them, they may still not believe you and may threaten you.
5. They Are Jealous
Everyone says that a little bit of jealousy can be attractive, but if your partner is constantly jealous, accusing you of cheating on them and accusing you of flirting with anyone you talk to, this is controlling behaviour. Your partner may also use this jealousy as an excuse to control your further i.e. stopping you from wearing certain outfits, doing certain things or seeing certain people. They may also threaten you and say that you deserve said threats or even violence because you have made them so jealous. They may even attempt to justify their jealousy by saying they are only jealous as they are afraid of losing you. Do not believe them, they are only attempting to control you. This definitely one of the tell-tale signs of a controlling partner.
6. They Won’t Let You Tell Anyone Things About Them
If your partner attempts to limit what you can say to other people, this may be a sign of them being controlling. This may be about your arguments, abut things they’ve said or done to you, or even about your entire relationship. Them telling you you can’t tell anyone about certain things may also be followed by threats to harm you or themselves, or threats to break up with you. By trying to control what you say to people, this allows them to mistreat you as they know you won;t tell anyone else, out of fear you might upset them.
7. They Get Very Angry At You, Over Little Things
Say you say you’re going to call your partner at 8pm, but then something comes up. You are unable to call them at 8pm, and are separated from your phone. When you get to your phone at 8:15pm, you have a flurry of missed calls and texts from your partner, getting increasingly more angry with you, calling you names and generally threatening and demeaning you, all because you were slightly late calling them. This is controlling behaviour. During these outbursts, your partner may say that the outbursts are all your fault – if you just did what they said, then they wouldn’t get so angry with you. This is incorrect. They get angry because they know they can use their anger to control you, as their anger scares you.
8. Loving You – But Only Conditionally
A sign that your’re with a controlling partner is them saying things to you like ‘you’d be more attractive if you lost weight’, ‘if you did this/acted this way I’d love you more’, ‘why don’t you do this/act more like this for me? I thought you loved me’. Placing conditions that you need to fulfill in order for you to feel like they love you is incredibly controlling. This type of control may also exhibit itself as them making you ‘earn’ their affection, by either dressing a certain way or doing certain things. The things can be sexual in nature, meaning that they are sexually harassing/assaulting you. If your partner’s love is this conditional, they do not love you and are only controlling you.
If your partner exhibits any of the following behaviour, either tell a trusted friend or family member, and call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (or 0808 801 0327 if you are a man). If you feel safe to do so, attempt to leave the relationship.
Are there any other signs of a controlling partner we missed? Please let us know in the comments below!
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English student, unicorn and pug aficionado, expert binge-watcher, make-up fanatic. Has a dupe for everything, including your ex.