True love is all-consuming; however, it isn’t supposed to feel restrictive and manipulative. If your partner is unreasonably overprotective, making irrational demands, and/or putting limits and conditions on your relationship, chances are that you are being manipulated.
A controlling relationship may not seem to be so simply because your manipulative partner may justify his actions as a gesture of his love and care for you. He may initially try to be protective of you and later criticize, hurl insults and accusations, and even resort to violent behavior in order to take control of the relationship.
Controlling behavior in a relationship is insidious and may slowly corrode your confidence and sense of worth. Even though you may be in love with this person, it’s time to pull the plug on such a toxic relationship.
Consider the effective tips shared below to get some sanity in your life before it’s too late.
Recognize That You Are in a Controlling Relationship
Individuals with controlling and manipulative intentions use a whole arsenal of emotional tools to dominate their partner. On several occasions, the emotional manipulation may cause you to believe that you are the villain in the relationship.
Remember that your partner’s controlling nature is never about you. It is his sense of insecurity, helplessness, and fear of abandonment that is manipulating the relationship to ensure that you never leave or reject him.
Though it is extremely overpowering to come to terms with the fact that you are in a domineering relationship, the following red flags will help you recognize that you are being controlled, thereby enabling you to take the necessary steps.
- He asks you to cut ties with your friends and family.
- He constantly criticizes you for little things.
- He doesn’t respect your privacy and takes control of the personal aspects of your life like finances, emails (personal and office), and social media.
- He engages in ‘gaslighting,’ a common technique used with the intent of questioning your sanity and conception of reality.
- He tries to be overprotective, and gets jealous and insecure when you interact with other men.
- He constantly dismisses your point of view in an argument.
If you notice one or more of the above-mentioned unhealthy and controlling patterns in your partner, you must take the necessary steps to protect yourself from a wide variety of emotional wounds that can damage your self-esteem.
Build a Strong Support System
If you have been living with a controlling partner for a long time, chances are that you may be fairly isolated from your family and friends. Moreover, your loved ones are probably not fully aware of your stressful life as you may have painted a rosy picture to them to avoid embarrassment or conflict.
Since you have made up your mind to get out of this toxic relationship, it’s time to tell your close ones what you are actually going through. Even if you feel intimidated or ashamed, it is critical to reinforce your ties with those you trust, thereby enabling them to stand by you and guide you in this tense situation.
Get a Hold on Your Finances
On many occasions, victims of manipulative relationships put up with their abusive partner due to the lack of financial resources. If you don’t handle the home’s finances currently, it is wise to assess your financial situation and take effective measures to improve it.
Consult a finance-savvy friend or family member or find a supportive financial advisor who can advise you on securing your finances. If your partner didn’t allow you to keep your job, it’s time to start applying for one so you can be financially independent. Reach out to your friends and community colleagues who can help you find job placements.
Furthermore, remember to take copies of important personal and financial documents like bank statements, birth certificates, marriage certificates, tax documents, bank statements, investment statements, ownership documents for shared assets, and mortgage/loan information and store them on the cloud so you can access them from anywhere.
Escalate the Issue
Coercive and controlling behavior in a relationship often feels like love; however, in reality, the domineering partner is sugar-coating micromanagement, manipulation, stalking, physical abuse, and sexual coercion with intense emotions.
Whether physical or emotional, controlling and abusive behavior can never be a part of a relationship. If controlling behavior leads to emotional and physical abuse in a relationship, you must consider keeping the law enforcement authority and your lawyer in the loop.
Document your concerns and collect evidence of your partner’s abusive behaviour, such as threatening messages, emails, and phone calls, photographs of injuries with dates, and pictures of weapons used (if any) during a fight. These will prove useful when working with law enforcement authorities and reporting a case of physical or emotional abuse in court.
Don’t Change Your Mind
Choosing to get out of an emotionally abusive relationship is a dynamic and continuous process that takes time. As you prepare to dissociate and move on, your partner may try several emotional and manipulative strategies to get you back into the relationship.
Don’t be deterred by any act of affection shown by him. Think of all the times he tried to manipulate you and dent your self-esteem. Talk to a counselor who can offer valuable guidance on how you can walk away from this relationship and live a happy life.
Socialize with people who make you feel loved and find ways to meet new people in life. For instance, taking up a hobby or a sport can help you live a positive life and make new friends, thereby boosting your confidence. Paying attention to your wellbeing will help get over this painful episode and make you emotionally stronger. It will also encourage you to re-invent yourself, get back in the dating game, and find a suitable dating partner who will respect and accept you as you are.
Love relationships should be supportive, not hurtful, controlling, and manipulative. Every woman truly warrants a powerful and affectionate relationship that supports her individuality and makes her feel loved. If you are in a controlling relationship, use the tips shared in this post to reclaim your individuality and live the happy life you truly deserve.