What are some of the more subtle signs your partner is controlling you? Most of us like to think we could spot a controlling partner… verbal abuse, controlling where you go, isolating you from family and friends. Obvious, right? However it can actually be extremely difficult to realise you are in a controlling relationship until you are out of it. Or it is spelled out to you by a relative or friend. These types of toxic behaviours are not always so in your face…
Controlling partners are often very manipulative in the way that they behave. Oftentimes we don’t see the signs until we are in the thick of it.
So let’s talk about some subtle signs you may be in a controlling or emotionally abusive relationship.
You Are Confused and Second Guessing Yourself
If you find yourself asking “Should I do this?” “Maybe I should ask him first” or you are confused about decisions that you would have made easily before you met your partner, this can be a signal that you are second guessing yourself because he/she has been undermining your past decisions.
This might sound like “I wish you wouldn’t do that” or “I like it better when you do this” or “I hate that you don’t do what I ask.” These subtle little statements, after a while will have us questioning if we should seek his/her approval first so that we won’t leave them feeling disappointed.
They Criticise You For Minor Things Constantly
It is not enough for a controlling partner to have you seeking their validation. They also want to mold you into the type of person they want you to be. To do this, they will pick apart and nitpick on the simplest and stupidest of things.
“Do you have to chew so loudly?”
“You shouldn’t cut your hair like that, it makes your face look fatter.”
“Don’t wash the surfaces like this, do it like that. It’s better this way.”
These comments may seem harmless, sometimes you won’t even notice them. But what often happens is they become more and more frequent or disrespectful. And you will begin to pick up on things that they don’t like and doing things their way, hoping for praise (that rarely comes) or at least, less criticism.
You’re Walking On Eggshells
This one is a big red flag.. “I won’t mention it, I don’t want to rock the boat.” “He’s in a good mood, I won’t bother bringing up that comment he made that hurt me.” If you find yourself feeling anxious about mentioning certain things to your partner for fear of their reaction or if you let things slide, that previously you would have brought up without hesitation, this can be a big sign that you have begun to succumb to their way of life, whether it suits you or not.
You Avoid Telling Your Family/Friends
This one can be difficult because lots of people prefer that things remain private and “behind closed doors” and that is totally respectful. Not many people like to air their dirty laundry to the world. However, if you find yourself “forgetting” to mention some of the arguments you have had or maybe a hurtful comment was made that you would have previously told your mum or best friend, you could subconsciously be trying to protect their image of the “perfect partner.” especially if they are well liked amongst your loved ones.
My ex would actually make a point of saying “I hate people who talk about their drama to other people, it’s so disrespectful to involve other people.” I went along with this sentiment for years, until I realised that all I was doing was hiding his true character from everyone around me and suffering in silence.
Your Confidence Is In The Gutter
When you first met, I bet you felt on top of the world. He/she made you feel special and beautiful but now you just don’t feel like yourself. You are having a hard time making decisions and you don’t like how your body looks. You might even stop socialising with other people because you just feel off. This might be because of the constant criticisms and undermining the way you do things. It could also be due to a lack of affection. Controlling partners will rarely, if ever compliment you or boost your self-esteem, even though it is the thing you crave most in the world.
These are just SOME of the subtle signs that you may be in a controlling and abusive relationship. There are plenty more that you can search for online if you suspect you are the victim of an abuser. However, if you do I would highly recommend ending the relationship if it is not dangerous to do so. I would also encourage you to speak to a loved one or even a professional for further advice.
Written by Jade