When it comes to romantic relationships and when in love it’s easy to be so clouded by pure bliss.
A guy -who is attractive, intelligent, funny (with really good jokes)- will easily whisk you away with charm and his goodie bag of candlelit dinners in the most luxurious places and your date-night will be filled with just the right words to make you feel special. But as time goes by, slowly but surely, the skeletons come out of the closet and it turns out that your perfect guy is a control freak.
Many of us have been there; where we have often overlooked (or easily ignored) the red flags alerting us to the fact that something isn’t right mainly because we visualize a controlling partner as one who is openly abusive and physically aggressive.
While being physically aggressive is indeed troubling, there are signs that start showing up and come on slowly like low-grade fever and can wind up into a full-blown virus in the long-run. Their charm turns into manipulation and they can try to convince you that their demands are for your own good. No, no, honey, “it’s not for your own good”.
To help you recognize things early on in your relationship, here are the subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend you need to be aware of.
1. He isolates you from your friends and family
A good and supportive partner should respect your family and friends but a controlling boyfriend attempts to put a wedge between you and the people who love and support you so that he can keep you all to himself. He speaks rudely about your friends and starts to tell you whom you shouldn’t hang out with. They may even complain about how often you talk to your parents or siblings and might even try to turn you against them (your mum sure is controlling), so you think distancing yourself from a loved one is a good thing.
This is about as big as a red flag as you can get. Eventually, you’ll find yourself losing touch with your network of friends and family and you will have only this man to turn to and the only source of support. Over time you’ll eventually feel unloved and lacking, so run while you still can.
2. He is quick to criticize
Criticism is something that can start small and may not even sound like criticism at first because it may have been conveniently couched in as “supportive” language or “tip” that actually doesn’t sound or feel right when you give it a second thought. He’ll tell you that he’s trying to assist you how to dress better, cook better, clean the house better, make your accent better or be a better person and make “jokes” at your expense. Ultimately no matter how individually small a criticism may seem, this tactic may serve as a constant reminder that you will never be good enough because your partner will always have something to correct. This will eventually make you lose your own self-confidence and you’ll start to wait for his reassurance because, at this given point in time, validation feels better than constant criticism.
3. He threatens to hurt you or himself
A controlling partner is a master of threats and to be really honest it’s the most controlling and manipulative thing anyone can do. He may threaten to take away your phone (when he finds a text from your friends or family). He may threaten that he is going to end his life if you were to break –up and your relationship with him. Whether the threats are genuine or not, it simply demonstrates that he is willing to do anything possible (whatever it takes) to ensure things will go his way at your expense. This behaviour is one of the biggest common denominator themes of a controlling partner- and if physical violence hasn’t occurred yet, it’s highly likely to.
4. He pushes his views on you
You may have differing views on all type of matters: career, religion and faith, gender roles, cultural traditions just t name a few. A controlling partner, however, may consistently try to change your mind about your long-held beliefs. They’ll manipulate or coerce you into doing it their way- a dream for someone who wants to dominate and control a relationship- and will find a way to make you feel bad about having a different view.
If you notice a couple of these signs and maybe more and you feel like a doormat in your relationship, honey, get out and make a run for it- quick! The more involved you get with a control freak- who demands everything his way or the highway- the deeper your emotional attachment to them and that much harder to break up with them.