31 Signs of a Controlling Relationship

In a healthy relationship, there’s a give and take dynamic. When one does a favor, the other is supposed to reciprocate. When one is in trouble, the other is supposed to help. And when one does something out of line, the other is supposed to reel them back in.

In a controlling relationship, the dynamics are heavily skewed in favor of one person. That person abuses their privileges to the detriment of the other, resulting in emotional and psychological consequences for the latter. Often, the latter isn’t aware they’re in a controlling relationship, until the signs show up.

Read below to discover the 31 Signs of a Controlling Relationship

1. You can’t go out of the house, touch your bank account or meet friends and family without your partner’s say-so.

2. Your partner always points out the negative qualities of the people you hang out with (“Why is Alice always late for your night outs?”), and makes themselves look good by comparison (“I would never let you wait for 10 minutes, dear.).

3. When you do something wrong, your partner is quick to point it out. When you do something right, your partner stays silent, or makes it look as though it’s no big deal (“Anyone with a functioning brain can win that award!”).

4. Your partner gives you the cold shoulder/silent treatment whenever you do something they think is wrong or offensive.

5. Your partner sabotages your efforts to make something of yourself. For example, if you tell them you’re on a diet, they watch you run on the treadmill as they munch on a large bag of Cheetos.

6. You’re told things like “No one can ever understand you like I do.”

7. You’re treated like a servant/child/senile person.

8. Your partner’s “favors” for you always come with strings attached.

9. You’re often on the receiving end of threats. “If you don’t stop talking to that person from your old high school, I won’t talk to you ever again!”

10. When you’re out with your partner, you’re careful to let them do all the talking and stay silent throughout, lest they humiliate you in public.

11. You’re blamed for everything that goes wrong in your partner’s life, even if you’re not actually to blame.

12. You feel guilty for no apparent reason, all the time. You’re so used to your partner’s guilt trips that they’ve become normal for you.

13. You feel sad, angry or even numb. You’ve been holding back your negative feelings for so long, it’s only a matter of time before they explode like a powerful bomb.

14. Your partner always keeps score. You feel like your efforts to please them are never enough, even though you often bend over backwards to do so.

Related post: Signs of a Controlling Boyfriend

15. Your partner snoops in on your diary, your emails and even your phone conversations.

16. If you’re going out, your partner requires you to call them at least once every five minutes. If you don’t call them, they’ll call you anyway — never mind that you’re in the middle of an important client meeting.

17. Your partner accuses you of the most ridiculous things, such as cheating on them with goodness-knows-how-many other people.

18. Your partner has no respect for your personal space or boundaries. “You want to be alone? Fine, be alone forever!”

19. Your partner uses sex to control you, or make you feel guilty. If the action in the bedroom feels lacking, it’s (supposedly) your fault.

20. Your partner makes you jump through fiery hoops to gain their approval. Even if you manage to get through those hoops, you aren’t given so much as a pat on the back.

21. You’re often made to feel like the most unattractive, worthless person in the room. You’re told things like “If I didn’t love you, who else will?”

22. You feel more like a marionette without strings than a person with your own needs and wants.

23. You’ve thrown away everything for your partner, but they’re hardly grateful to you for it.

24. You’ve become increasingly sickly. Even when you take your medications, have a proper diet and exercise regularly, you still experience what doctors call “psychosomatic symptoms.”

25. You find yourself having to defend your partner from your friends and family. You say things like “I swear my partner is a good person on most days!”

26. You’ve become addicted to drugs, gambling and other vices to cope with the pain of having a partner like yours.

27. Your partner always needs to have the last say. As far as they’re concerned, they’re always right and you’re always wrong.

28. You’re not allowed to get upset over their remarks against you, no matter how out of line they are. “Oh my goodness, that was just a joke, don’t be such a crybaby!”

29. You can hardly bring yourself to answer back when your partners verbally abuses you.

30. You find it frightening to be separated from your partner, because you’ve been so used to being under their thumb for so long.

31. Your sanity is slipping day by day.

It’s hard to realize you’re in a controlling relationship, especially if you have nothing but genuine love for your partner. But unless you take the initiative to control the situation, you’ll always find yourself in a powerless position. Get the help you need now, while there’s still hope to patch things up.


Marla Rondo

Marla writes about relationship help topics. Marla lives in Bend, OR and enjoys hiking and reading.

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