Relationships are an all-important and imperative aspect of the life of human beings. They are known to alleviate mental wellness, keep our stability inflow, aid us in growing and evolving as individuals, and we all know that the sense of belonging is just generally ameliorative to cultivate happiness and peace of mind.
The aim is not to say that you need someone else to guarantee your felicity. You should have the capability to be confident in yourself and be satisfied enough with yourself and yourself only to attain pacification.
Oftentimes though, we forget this and start depending on someone else for our happiness and prosperity so much that we forget about our potentialities to give us the life we need.
However, if you are currently in a relationship, you should not let it slip from your mind that your physical and emotional well-being are both directly proportional to the quality of that relationship.
Nevertheless as easy as it sounds, I completely agree that pioneering and maintaining a healthy relationship is not a walk in the park.
We mostly start a relationship with a loving, supportive, and protective man, and time after time (we are not saying it always happens), this same person negatively unfolds and uncovers toxicity and starts to become purely unhealthy.
Hence, it is pivotal to keep track of how our relationships are going and growing, to assure that we are investing in the right person and place, and to gather the courage to cut off the people who threaten our wellness, even if it is our partner.
If it is not clear already, then let me make it transparent to you, there are plenty of negative people in this world, and you will quite often run into them, but it is entirely up to you if you make the decision to surround yourself with these people.
You need to develop the wisdom to recognize who is the best for you when it comes to a relationship. Your mom did not raise you all your life so that you could eventually go and let someone control and hurt you.
You are the captain of your ship.
Agreeably, it is sometimes extremely difficult to spot these red flags in a partner because of the rather blissful and buoyant facade of the so-called ‘love’ that exists between you two.
So we have generated a list of signs that reflect the toxicity of a controlling man to help you shrug off the negativity of people who are with you just for the sake of themselves, not you.
“You may not be able to control someone’s negative behavior, but you can control how long you participate in it.” -Anonymous
Understanding Controlling Behavior?
A person, male or female, young or old, is said to exhibit controlling behavior when they unnecessarily force, push, or expect you to do things that land equal to their own needs and requirements.
Such an individual is known as a control freak in the books of psychology. Having to be in a relationship with a control freak comes with drastic consequences and impending misery. A control freak in a relationship is so obsessed with controlling their partner that they use an army of tactics to attain dominance over them and undermine them emotionally and/or physically.
Why are some people so controlling?
A few likely causes behind controlling behavior is to always be ahead and above of other people, especially the one you are in a relationship with; insecurities or the effects of traumatic past events, to name a few.
“Control and manipulation are not love; the outcome is a life of imprisonment ultimately leading to deep-rooted feelings of resentment.” -Ken Poirot
What are the signs of a controlling man, after all?
The criticism never stops
When you are in a relationship with a guy who cannot seem to live without holding charge of you, then apparently the condition seems to be that you have got to live your life trying to transient into the mold of a person they want you to be.
At first it might look romantic. You are in love with a guy who cannot live without you, who wants you to spend all the time with you, seems to be obsessed with you. This is the dream, isn’t it?
If you for instance, do not fulfill their expectations, then you are just met with criticism. How you look in a certain dress, or how you dress before going out, your job, how much time you spend with your friends instead of him, they always find a way to castigate and belittle you. These people resort to criticism whenever they want to protect themselves.
Since attacking someone else instead of owning up to the fact that your needs are not being met is easier, controlling people will always take this road.
And you know what the worst part is? The fact that they can go to compelling extents to keep you in the perception that they are doing it all just for the sake of love and how they want to help you grow into the best version of yourself.
There is no such thing as trust in your relationship
“A relationship without trust is like a car without gas. You can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere.” -Anonymous
Even though it is a common perception that people in love have no reason to keep things from each other, however, a certain degree of privacy is critical. If your partner thinks that it is okay and acceptable to creep into your phone, checking your emails and text messages, or wanting to know your social media passwords, or ‘surprising’ you on a girl trip with your friends, then let me break it to you, they are not being overprotective or romantic.
This is totally unacceptable and is a sign of a controlling partner who just does not trust you enough and feel threatened that they will be removed from their place if you meet other people, or your relationship might be affected because you are giving more time to your friends rather than him. Do not be surprised if they give you the illogical reasoning that people in love do not keep secrets from each other.
It is absolutely wrong, and your partner does not have the right to invade your privacy like this.
There is a fine line between ‘keeping secrets’ and having a personal life independent of your partner, and whenever someone tries to cross that line, it is time you start taking action.
Controlling men blame you for everything
Being in a relationship with a controlling personality comes with the condition that you will often be blamed for things you have not done. You will always be looked down upon and will be made to feel like you are nothing but a useless slob who can do nothing but make messes.
Controlling people tend to always hammer down their partners by blaming them for even the most minor things. If something seems to go down, they will tactfully take the role of the victim and play dumb while dumping the whole blame onto you. It is extremely difficult for a controlling man to accept it when things do not go according to his liking, hence they will try to manipulate the situation to make it in his favor.
However, if that does not happen, then he will go to extremes to make sure that everyone around him is going through the same pain that he is going through.
He might try to take revenge for things that have upset him like you talking to a male friend by in turn flirting with every third girl when you two are out together. Or try to tell you that you are not suitable for your job because of various reasons, just because they cannot handle the fact that you are more successful than him.
This is definitely one of their ways to undermine their partners and make them feel practically useless and failing so their professional success can be sabotaged.
They want to isolate you from others
Whether it is in the form of, “I want to keep you to myself,” or guiling you into feeling bad for spending time with friends or family members you love; your partner is showing signs of controlling behavior.
It helps them to get to stay in charge of you by pulling you away from the people you love as it will be easier for them to control you when you are away from your ‘allies.’
So the next time your man makes an innocent sad face to make you feel bad for not giving enough time and attention to him when you are making plans with your friends or family, do not come under his spell because he is just emotionally manipulating you to stay away from the people you love.
Controlling men like to keep score
When we are in love with someone, our life focuses on the attempts to make them feel happy and loved. Keeping count of the tiniest of gestures and things that someone does for you is perhaps one of the greatest signs of toxicity in a relationship.
Doing each other little ‘favors’ is part of the parcel that is called love. Being in a toxic relationship with a control freak means that there is a great chance that they will keep tabs on the things that they have done for you, and expect something from you in return as well.
They will always make you feel like you owe something to them.
If they are keeping track of everything they have done for you, the number of times they have washed the dishes for you, or how much they have cooked for you (and there is no guarantee that this record is fair, though), they might be devising to belittle the efforts you put into your relationship and declare that you do not do as much as they do for the both of you or you personally.
It is quite unnoticeable most of the time because it is natural to come under the pressure of the manipulative words of a controlling partner, however, once you understand what they have been doing, then you can easily pick it up.
They will always make you feel wrong
Having a strong-footed, convincing, and, alluring man is probably what every single girl wants because obviously, he looks like he knows what he is doing and his maturity shines through him. This is what makes him attractive. However, sometimes, this charm might be too enchanting, and just a mere act of maneuvering you under their ultimate control.
Asking you to not talk to guys or not have guy friends because that makes him feel unimportant, or puts your relationship at a ‘risk’ is one of the examples. In normal situations, you would disagree with this, but because of his entrancing personality (which is probably just a practiced character he is in) and emotional words, you are led to believe that he is the right one and yes you are the one threatening your relationship by hanging out with guys.
They impose too many restrictions on you
Rules and restrictions were cool until you were living with your parents and you had to live according to how they wanted. Obviously, you did not mind that because they were your parents. And that is exactly how parents are and how they are supposed to act.
However, if it comes to a man, whether he is your boyfriend or husband, these things are not okay. Our patriarchal society is structured in a way that makes men feel like they are entitled to be the ones in command of the women they are in a relationship with and that women owe him everything.
This is why a lot of men believe that it is normal for them to impose constraints and ground rules onto the women that they are in a relationship. The basic reason behind this is that they have always been taught to do so since every other man around them has done or is doing the same.
Nevertheless, you should never let yourself come under the weight of this toxic, patriarchal form of love. If your man restricts you from going out in a particular dress or does not approve of you meeting a certain person, then you should bore it in your mind that this is not how normalcy looks like and it is probably time to make a few big changes.
You prefer to keep certain things to yourself to avoid his anger
Have you ever done something completely normal like spending an hour after work with your colleagues, or gone out with your friends for a day out, and then purposefully not told your partner about it just because you know that it will piss him off?
If you are keeping things from your partner just for the sake of avoiding criticism, taunts, bad mood, or rage, then you are encircled by a toxic relationship with a controlling partner involved.
And I am sure I do not need to tell you again that this is not the golden relationship. A man who thinks he is on the top of the world and is entitled to power over his woman to an extent that whatever is done the opposite of his likings gives him the right to ensure rage onto his woman; it is not who you deserve.
A controlling partner cannot bear you talking to anyone else
When you are with a controlling partner there is a high chance that he thinks that he is the only one you should be turning towards for all your needs, for discussing your problems, or sharing your joys with.
And there is an even greater chance that he would not like it if you do not oblige.
According to psychologists, this a form of isolation and a controlling man will make it his goal to put you into a situation where you would no longer want to turn towards your girlfriend or sister for venting or counseling, and believe that it is only him that you need for all matters.
This is because controlling people are extremely insecure and cannot accept the fact that they sometimes cannot be the one fulfilling enough for you.
His insecurities are bigger than your love
“Insecurity kills all that is beautiful.”
Something that a lot of people do not understand is the reason why controlling people are like so. Controlling behavior mainly roots from insecurities of many sorts. Of course, the life and security of your relationship is a major one, but there are tons of other underlying insecurities as well that cause them to behave like this.
Common insecurities may include:
- Whether or not you are attracted to him
- Your or his professional success
- either of your appearances
- fear of being left alone
- what your family or friends think of him
And many more.
Insecurities are acceptable and natural to some extent because after all, they help you to improve yourself and work hard for the wellness of your relationship and the happiness of your partner. However, if these insecurities ripen to an extraordinary extent, then they might stir a toxic atmosphere in the relationship.
Controlling people are tainted with tons of insecurities, however, they use clever tactics to still stay in control of their partners. Manipulation, blaming, tricking, etc. are just some ways that help them to hide their insecurities behind them and come off as a person who never does anything wrong.
Instead, you will be the one always seen wrong.
What to do if your partner is controlling?
There is no one-size-fits-all type of rule when it comes to dealing with a controlling partner. It all depends on how much controlling your partner is and what type of relationship you are in.
The first tip would always be to communicate and come clear as to how their negative behavior has been bothering you and undermining your feelings, confidence, and maybe even love. Confrontation is the best way to let them know that their deceiving and deluding behavior is not going unnoticed and they are not as tricky as they think they are.
If you both come to terms, then decide to set boundaries in your relationship that go down both sides of the road. Set the rules for your privacy, and let it be known to him that his actions hurt you and if he continues to do so then you are not obligated or bound to stay with him.
And when you set known boundaries, make sure to stay firm and stick to what you have said. They might try to trick you into negotiating once again, but instead of giving in, make it clear to yourself that it is what they are best at.
Lastly, you might want to choose the path of therapy.
However, one thing that you need to keep in mind is that a guy who rules instead of loving, spies instead of caring, and blames instead of helping is not one you deserve. Good luck.