A lot of the time, most of us will go through a relationship where we see that there are signs of controlling which is a massive red flag in itself. We also think that we might be able to spot a controlling person the moment we meet them, but sadly it doesn’t always work out that way always. But, it is certainly a behavior that shouldn’t be taking place especially if you’re in love with someone. Controlling can lead to a very toxic relationship, it is one of the many signs of one and is something that you must look out for. But, more often than not, controlling can often be shoved off because someone can be so blinded by love. 

It can be so dangerous to put yourself through and cause you to feel massive impacts on yourself both physically and mentally. It can be so draining, don’t ever let someone feel like they have the power to take control over everything you do in your life. You’re your own person and it’s vital you remember that. It can be so hard to try and figure out if the person you’re with is taking on a controlling manner, because you may not want to believe that yourself. But, it’s important to look out for the signs, to be able to know exactly what behaviors they’re taking on and realise your worth.

man wearing knit cap on grey background

1) They’ll criticise you for everything

One of many signs of controlling behavior is they will constantly feel the need to criticise you, constantly putting you down. They will pick out all these flaws, they will constantly bring them up, just to make you feel bad. Things that you like about yourself, they’ll attempt to make you dislike. They will attempt to undermine your confidence and attempt to make you feel uncomfortable in public or in private with criticising you. Some of the signs of this, are that they will bring up your flaws constantly, things you dislike about yourself, they will constantly make digs about them. It can be completely not acknowledging when you’re doing something right. It can be getting very angry when you don’t reply to their text or their call, even if you’re super busy. It can be making jokes about you in front of others, criticising the way you dress, what you like, etc. 

Someone who’s controlling doesn’t want to just control where you go and what you do with your time, they also want to control who, what and why. They want to be able to put you into this mold, to be able to make you into this image they see who does what they say and believes what they believe. From the beginning they may be what would be considered to be ‘small’ digs or could come across in a joking manner, but that never makes it ok. Another toxic trait about someone who is controlling means that they know your flaws and they will use that in their power, to make you feel bad about yourself. It’s important you try not to let that person pick apart everything about you, even though this can be difficult, you deserve to love yourself. We all have flaws, but that gives them no right to be able to use them against you and make you fall out of love with yourself. 

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2) They’ll try and keep you from seeing your loved ones

Sadly, yes this is something that many controlling people will do, it’s such a toxic trait in itself. By keeping you from your loved ones, they’re gaining a massive amount of control over you. Stopping you from seeing people you care about, is such a red flag. No one should ever be stopped seeing those that they care for. The only way a controlling person can really gain full control is by doing this and isolating you from those you love. It’s one of the most dangerous because it is the one that has the highest degree of manipulation. They will try to demand your attention constantly and will slowly begin to isolate you from those you love and you might not even reliase it. But, as soon as this begins to happen and you feel yourself slowly distancing from those you care about, know that this isn’t ok and needs to be addressed.

They will most likely try and keep you away by complaining about the fact you spend way too much time with them, taking on that overly jealous trait. They might start looking into your phone to see if you’ve been speaking to them and then try to stop that as well as actually seeing them face to face. There are so many signs of toxicity and control in a relationship, this being one of them. No one should ever make you feel that you can’t go to see the people you love or you can’t talk to them whatsoever. The fact is, you probably knew them a lot longer than you did the person you’re with. It also can be really damaging for friendships in general, because you’re being controlled, you don’t exactly reliase how that is affecting your friendships due to that reason. 

man in red collared shirt

3) They will constantly make you feel guilty, even when you’ve done nothing wrong

Someone who is controlling is often someone who does their absolute best to make you feel as though you’re doing something wrong constantly. When in fact, you’ve done nothing, of course, we all make mistakes, we all say things we don’t mean sometimes, but you don’t always do something wrong. They will often spin the blame whenever something goes wrong, or they’re not happy and make out that you’re the reason for that. Make you think that’s always you that wants the attention, or that you don’t do anything right, or you’re failing in life. They might make you feel like you’re sabotaging your own success when in reality it’s them and always has been. But, they’re able to make you feel that way, so they will do their best to do that. What makes it harsh on yourself, is if you start to believe what they’re saying and you just give up on yourself and your happiness.

Because, more often than not someone who is controlling always knows how to win in that regard, and it’s important you don’t lose yourself because of it. But, it can be so tiring and eventually make you question everything and start to believe everything they say is true. They need leverage to control and this is one of many common ways that a controlling person can seek exactly that. Because they know that you will feel bad either way because you care for them and they know exactly how to make you feel that way. This is so toxic in itself, no one deserves to have to go through something that causes them to really question who they’re or what position they’re at in life. Letting someone have that much power over you that you begin to doubt yourself in everything you do, is a major red flag in itself. You’ll be blamed for minor things, but then gradually it’ll get to even bigger ones. If something goes wrong, they will begin to take the role of the victim and make you believe it’s your fault.

persons blue eyes in close up photography 

4) They gaslight you

Gaslighing is something that is so common in a toxic relationship, it’s a form of psychological abuse, which is where a certain person or group of people will make someone question their sanity, reality, and perception. People who go through the experience of gaslighting often feel very confused, anxious, and completely unable to trust themselves. Some of the common signs of gaslighting are: 

  • Countering- This is the description of a person who begins to question someone’s memories, saying that you never remember anything or are you sure? Constantly.
  • Withholding- This is when someone withholds or refuses to engage in a conversation, a person that will use this particular technique may pretend that they do not understand someone so they don’t have to respond to them.
  • Trivialising- This is something that takes place when a person begins to belittle or disregard the other person’s feelings. Starting to accuse them of being way too sensitive or completely overreacting when they have valid feelings or concerns.
  • Denial- This is something that involves a person that pretends to forget about certain events that have occurred. Beginning to deny having said or done something or accusing someone of making accusations. 
  • Diverting- This is when a person changes the focus of a conversation and begins to question the other person’s credibility. This can be things like saying that you came up with something because your friends said it. 
  • Stereotyping- This is when a person uses stereotypes and they are often seen in a negative light. Things like someone’s gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, or even age manipulate them. 

By doing this they underplay your experience by lying completely or accusing you of being too sensitive. 

person crying beside bed

5) They try to change you

This is probably one of the hardest parts about being in a controlling relationship because they really do have that power to completely make you change yourself or just lose who you’re in general. They will try and make you into someone that agrees with them and constantly does what they say. Molding you into this person that suits their own interests by beginning to pressure you into making changes to yourself, perhaps the way you dress, your appearance, or even certain aspects of your personality, or what you like in general. One of the hardest things to have to go through when being with someone who is controlling is the pain of them being able to take you away from who you really are and constantly trying to change you to suit them.

Letting someone have that power over you to be able to completely make you change who you’re is such a hard process to go through. Sometimes, it can be so hard to even notice that it is happening, or you might start to think it’s for the better because then you know that they will stay or they will be happy with who you’re then, but that shouldn’t be how it is at all. Being controlling means that they have the ability to do this, make you feel like you’re not enough the way you’re, and maybe if you changed who you’re then you’d be happier. When in reality, when we actually give in and let someone change us, it’s something that at first, we don’t reliase is happening but then when it does, we don’t like who we see because we know deep down we let ourselves go, in the most toxic and draining way. 

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