Can you spot the early signs of a controlling man?! Know the red flags before you get into these toxic relationships!
Meeting someone who you seem to click with straight away is an incredible feeling. You get along beautifully, and there are definitely sparks flying between the two of you!
You start imagining a future together and want to plan to be with him for as long as possible until you start picking up on some red flags.
The perfect, charming man you grew to love is now controlling, angry, and oftentimes demeaning. These new behavior patterns from him can become very concerning. Is it just a stage? Is it normal? Is it something to worry about?
It is so important to take a step back and think about if this is how you want to be treated in a relationship. To help you know when to be concerned, we have listed some of the early signs of a controlling man, and how to determine if your relationship is too controlling.
How Controlling Is Too Controlling?
In many relationships, there is a dominant partner and one who is more soft-spoken. This is absolutely fine in most situations, and it suits the couple perfectly.
However, this makes it difficult for some to know if the dominant partner is too controlling in a relationship. All people in a relationship have their own way that they want to do things. Their own thoughts and beliefs.
Being able to express these freely, and have free will, is a good way to know if your relationship is too controlling or not.
When you spend a lot of time in a relationship, it is natural for your and your partner’s beliefs to become similar and for you to view the world in the same way, and to want to do similar things – this is often the formula to a successful relationship.
However, this should be a natural occurrence, and should not happen because one partner is forcing ideas or practices on their partner.
It can be quite difficult to tell the two apart, especially in the early stages of a relationship.
Here are some questions to ask yourself throughout your relationship to determine whether it is a healthy relationship, or if there is a chance that your partner might be controlling:
- Are you scared to go against what your partner believes?
- Do you think he might punish you in some way (verbally, emotionally, or physically) if you do not do what he says?
- Does he ignore your beliefs and dismiss your feelings and opinions?
- Has he forced you to change your beliefs and opinions to suit his?
- Do you feel like you have lost your voice and free will?
- Does he treat you like a child more than an equal partner?
- Do you get scared if you think you may have made him angry?
- Do you feel like you have lost your sense of self?
Answering yes to even one of these questions should raise some red flags for you, and should prompt you to take a deeper look at your relationship and see if it is one that you would want to stay in.
The Early Signs Of A Controlling Man
If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, and think you need to look for more signs that your partner might be controlling, or your relationship is headed in that direction, you need to know the early signs of a controlling man.
Below are some of the signs to look for. It is important to remember that he might not display more than a few of these signs, but even then, it is worth considering if the relationship is a healthy one and one which you would want to continue.
He Makes The Decisions
One of the earliest signs that your partner might be controlling is that he likes to make all of the decisions. Early on in your relationship, this might be cute, he might like to plan all of your dates and time out together, and maybe even takes it upon himself to order your meals.
As endearing as this might be in the beginning, it can become quite oppressive, and he might take it even further by just not letting you make any of your own decisions going forward.
He would make decisions that affect both of you without asking you about your opinion, or even not caring what your opinion is at all.
Assertiveness can be a good trait to have, but this needs to come with some consideration for the other person, and if his assertiveness becomes overwhelming and controlling, and begins to affect your life, it is a red flag that he is controlling and even manipulative.
Test the waters at first and see if he will let you take control and make decisions, if not, it might be a good sign to move on.
He Criticizes You
Constructive criticism is always helpful in a relationship, it is how people grow. However, criticism that is continuous and which seems to have no end is not healthy.
He might criticize you for the smallest things, and it might be for things that you haven’t even done wrong. He could berate your cooking, tell you that your hair doesn’t look good, or tell you that you are bad at your job.
Whatever it is, he will try to criticize you whenever he can and use this to control you.
This is a way that he will try to break you down and then use this to try and make you feel weak. This gives him the perfect opportunity to control you and make you feel as though you are dependent on him – giving him more authority over you and your relationship.
Another sign to look for is that he criticizes you in front of people, in a way that might humiliate you and make you feel smaller than a grain of sand. All of this is emotionally manipulative behavior that is really not normal, and which is super unhealthy in any relationship.
He Bosses You Around
A simple sign to look for is that he likes telling you what to do. This might be nice at first, as his assertiveness can be fun in the beginning, but it can begin to cross a line.
He would tell you what to do, bark out orders, or get you to do things around the house without doing anything himself.
He would get you to do things for him that a partner should not have to do, especially if they are being forced to, and he won’t give you much of an option to say no.
Remember you are an equal partner, not his slave or live-in-maid.
He Isolates You
One of the most common behaviors of a controlling man is isolating his partner from her friends and family. This does happen over time, but there are some signs to look for early on that he might be planning to do this, or his plan might already be in the works.
At first, this could be him begging you to stay home and spend the night in with him instead of going out with your friends. He could try and shrug off family events, bad-talking your family to you and making you see them in a negative light.
He knows that your family and friends are a support system for you, so taking you away from them is a way that he can get more control of you, and make you feel as though you are completely alone and without your support system to fall back on.
This way, you become completely dependent on him, and this means he can have unchecked control over you, as you feel as though you would not be able to make it on your own without him.
He Has Control Of Your Time
A man who wants to try to control you will take control of your time. He will make it seems as though everything you do has to involve him, and if it doesn’t, he will manipulate the situation into seeming as though you are not treating him right.
He would try to make you feel guilty if you do not spend all of your time with him, and he would become incredibly possessive over you and what you do.
If you feel as though you cannot make plans on your own without him – you need to consider if he hasn’t already become too controlling.
He Always Gaslights You
Gaslighting is such an unhealthy practice in any relationship. It is when he turns your issues around and makes it seem like you are at fault.
You may have approached him about how he is always angry or how he is too controlling, but then he turns it all around and says that it is your behavior and attitude that is causing him to act this way.
Gaslighting is very common with a manipulative partner, and it can be really difficult to identify at first. If you feel as though he never meets you halfway and admits fault, and he always turns things around to blame you, there is a good chance that he is gaslighting you.
He Treats You Like A Child
Treating you like a child is not only taking away your free will and decision-making, but it is also humiliating and so belittling.
He would try to have control of your life, just like a parent would have over their child. This could go as far as telling you what to wear, telling you where you can go, and even taking control of how you spend your time.
This means that you do not get to act like an independent adult, and most of your life is mapped out and planned for you.
Your relationship should allow both partners to make their own choice and have their own lives, and if he takes this away from you and tries to treat you like a child, it is a huge red flag.
He Only Loves You When It Suits Him
A controlling man will use his love for you to try and control what you do, and this is one of the signs that you can pick up quite early on.
He only gives you affection and love when you do the things he wants or when you act a certain way that he approves on. If you go against how he wants you to act, then he will withdraw his love and be cold and harsh to you.
This way, he is conditioning you to believe that behaving for him is how you can deserve love, and if you do not do what he says, you do not deserve love and affection from him. This sets up the perfect storm for him to control you.
He Lashes Out
He might have big emotional outbursts that scare you, and while this might seem uncontrollable on his behalf, he will use these emotional outbursts to control you.
Sitting down on the sofa together, he could be loving and happy, but two minutes later he could be screaming at you and bringing you down. He then promises to make it work and try harder next time, but this never happens.
This makes you tread lightly and be scared that he might explode, so you just listen to what he says instead!
You Are The Butt Of All His Jokes
The humor and jokes that you once loved have changed, and you are now the butt of all of his jokes. He makes fun of you for anything and does so in front of people.
This is humiliating, belittling, and a huge knock on your self-esteem. Once again, this is a way to break you down in order to try and control you.
Picking Up On Early Signs
All of the above signs start out subtle at first, but over time progress until your partner completely controls your relationship and eventually your life.
It can be so difficult to get out of a situation like this, but recognizing the signs early on gives you the best chance to escape it, and to avoid becoming stuck in a toxic relationship for much longer.
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