An unhealthy relationship that involves controlling behavior can happen to anyone. Including you. This toxic bond can affect you no matter your gender, race, income, or sexual orientation. If you’re the victim of a toxic relationship with a woman, you're not alone and she’s not good for your emotional, physical, or mental health.
The signs of an controlling relationship are subtle at first, but the effects on your well-being won’t be subtle. They’ll be vast and long-lasting.
Many men are in relationships with controlling women and may not know how to leave this terrifying situation. You may feel that you are on a lower level than her, that you are lucky to have her, or in some other way that she is more than you.
That is nowhere near close to the truth and she knows that.
Before getting into the four signs of a controlling woman, or person in general, this article offers you some live-saving advice.
Leave. Find someone to help you and leave.
You don’t have to live everyday in fear and misery because of a controlling woman. Your life is your choice. But, if you aren't quite at that time in your life, or emotionally ready, to separate yourself from her, these four signs of controlling behavior and possible ways to handle them can affect some change in your life.
Behavior #1: Forced Isolation
In order to exert more control, she will separate you from your support network. This includes your family, friends, and anyone else who isn’t her. By removing these vital links to the outside world, she establishes herself as your world.
While usually the first sign of a controlling relationship, isolating you often begins very subtle. She won’t come out and say I want you all to myself, but do it in ways you don’t realize until she is the only one in your life and you're wondering what happened to your world outside of her.
But, how can she achieve this? She may lament the fact that you are never with her, that she is lonely, and she misses you. While this sounds reasonable enough, the ultimate goal is not to shower you with love, but to remove your support network. She may also complain about the length of time you talk to “outsiders” or spread false gossip to get you to cut outsiders off. All of these are manipulative ploys to make you vulnerable.
To maintain your support network, continue communication with someone outside of the bubble that has become your life with her. This person may be your pastor, colleague, or a faceless person on the other side of a crisis helpline hotline. No matter who this person is, remain determined to keep your life full of these “outsiders”.
Behavior #2: Tallying All Interactions
If you find your woman seems to have a scorecard of everything she’s ever done for you, and brings it up constantly, she is exerting control. By keeping score, she is able to guilt you into doing things she wants you to do, maintain grudges, and be rewarded for every little thing she does. While her list of positive things she’s done for you is miles long, your list is empty. She will use this to harp on the fact that you do nothing for her, and she is carrying the relationship.
Which is untrue.
This behavior can take a huge toll on your emotional well-being and keep natural, and healthy, reciprocity from every being a part of your relationship with her.
In many cases, asserting that you do many things for her won’t help this situation. She’ll only become more belligerent and controlling. When she begins recounting her many contributions to your life, your best bet may be to ignore her. Like all controlling people, she wants you to fall to her level, become emotional, and agree with what she says. She is looking for a reaction to exploit. Remain calm and leave if she continues.
Behavior #3: Guilting You
You may feel a steady barrage of guilt when around a controlling woman. A master manipulator, she is skilled at turning your emotions against you. When you are filled with guilt for every little thing, then you may do pretty much anything to avoid this guilt, including holding in any disagreements with what she says and relenting in all arguments. She will have full control. This guilt is false and she’s lying.
To fight these constant feelings of guilt, take a look at the situation and see if guilt makes sense. If you notice she’s continuously harping on the same situation or bringing up something from the past to make you feel bad, she is using your emotions against you. By looking at the situation objectively, you’ll be able to maintain healthy emotions when in her presence.
Guilt should not be present in a healthy relationship. Any disappointing behaviors should be discussed in a calm, open, manner.
Behavior #4: Constantly In Your Business
A controlling person needs to know everything about you, where you are, and what you’re doing. She may go through your emails, letters, phone calls, and demand you tell her where you’re going whenever you leave the house.
Or, she may demand this information in a more subtle way, with statements, like, “if you're not up to something, then showing me your [insert private information] shouldn’t be a problem,” or even more subtle, “I get worried when you leave without telling me where you’re going.”
These are all methods to control you by keeping tabs on your life. You are entitled to private moments and information, but a controlling woman doesn't agree. She feels that she should have access to all of your emails, texts, and any other private things. If she could, she would snoop in your thoughts. She has no intention of trusting you, but intends to oversee your every move, while sharing none of hers.
To combat this disturbing behavior, make it clear that you won’t share this information with her no matter how much she demands. While you’re at it, watch out for the classic, “I have nothing to hide. I’ll share mine if you share yours.” This is a controlling way to get what she wants under the pretense that she is being honest.
Leaving is, most certainly, your best option. But, that can take time as you try and manage this frightening situation. When you’re ready to talk with understanding, caring people in a confidential environment, contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-787-3224) or the ManKind Initiative (01823 334244), if you live in the U.K.