If the following signs of a controlling man are showing up in your relationship, then you need to do something about it.
And if you have got to this article, then chances are the control you are concerned about is not a minor issue, it is something more sinister and simply telling your partner that you are upset is not going to cut it. More drastic action is required.
The following general signs of a controlling man are in no particular order:
He says one thing but does another.
You spend a lot of time making sure you don't upset him.
Nothing is ever good enough for him. Even when you try your best he finds something to complain about.
He is confident to the point of arrogant, acts superior, expects to be treated as special and has no trouble letting people know how good he is.
You are afraid of him.
Your very first impression of him was that something was off, but when he got talking that was forgotten about.
You went through a period of thinking he a fantastic person.
Whenever faults appeared, you justified them away.
Now, you are seeing that things are not as great as you believed before.
Let's have a look at the signs of a controlling man in different situations...
You fell for a wonderful, kind, relaxed, loving, attentive, caring, confident, funny human being and now you hardly ever see that person any more. What you have now is someone who is grumpy, critical, easily angered, demanding and selfish and you find yourself longing for the person that you fell for.
There are lots of things about the relationship that you don't understand.
You think all the difficulties in the relationship are your fault.
Or at least you are told everything is your fault, but deep down you suspect he is the one who is the problem.
You have lots of internal conflicts and doubts that you can't seem to resolve.
You spend less and less of your time with friends and family.
You may even argue with them over this guy. They don't like him, you tell them that they don’t know him like you do.
You feel that your family or friends are trying to control you or that they don’t trust you on this one.
There are lots of arguments with this man, many about the same things, over and over.
You feel that you can't communicate properly with him, you can't get through to him or he seems not to get it, you can't get him to see things from your perspective, but you know he is not stupid.
He makes you feel scared and guilty. A lot.
He has a nasty temper and sometimes he goes off for the least little thing.
He makes you doubt yourself.
He lies to you.
He never says sorry, or if he does that, too, is a lie because he does the same upsetting stuff again soon afterwards.
He is always right. His decisions are not up for debate. His opinions are the only acceptable ones.
He spends your money as well as his. Usually it's your money goes first and then he has plenty for whatever he wants.
All those great feelings at the start of the relationship have been replaced with a sense of heaviness, sadness, fear and even misery. Instead of doing things to feel good with him, you now do things to avoid feeling bad around him.
You miss him when he is away from you, but when he comes home you wish he was away again.
You find you are keeping things from him so as not to upset him.
You are expected to tell him lots of things about your day but he keeps you in the dark about his.
You have already told him lots of personal things about yourself and he uses them against you and you are afraid of what he might do later with the information.
There are lots of unspoken rules in the relationship that you have figured out so as not to upset him.
If you criticize or challenge him, he gets mad. Sometimes you even end up apologizing to him for having questioned him.
There are lots of things about him that you only found out after you were committed to the relationship. And not all of them are good.
There are long convoluted conversations that leave you confused or wondering.
It feels like you are on an emotional roller coaster most of the time.
You want to leave but you are terrified of not having him around.
You love him but you hate the way he treats you sometimes.
He has cheated on you before or you suspect that he may have.
You think you are going crazy.
He keeps you so busy, physically and mentally, that you don't have a moment to yourself to reflect on your life and your current situation.
Many of the signs of a controlling man above also apply here.
He tells you hod good a father/brother he is.
He makes you feel that you are safe in the family but there are dangers outside that you need him to take care of for you.
Everything has to be run by him. You can only make decisions that he approves of.
As a child, you were planning for years to leave the house as soon as you could and to move far away.
You wondered if this man was really your father because he treated you badly or made you feel strange. You knew there was something wrong but as a child you couldn't put your finger on it.
There were times when he had absolutely zero interest in something that was very important to you.
There were times when he simply ignored you. It was as if you didn't exist.
There were also good times, and that causes some confusion. How can someone do nice things with you and also do such horrible things to you?
There was no privacy allowed at home. He walked into your bedroom without knocking, read your diary/phone, expected you to answer every and all questions and so on.
You kept secrets with your mother or siblings so as not to upset him.
Everyone monitored each other's behavior to ensure that no-one broke his rules.
He made all the rules. You had no say.
He changed the rules when it suited him.
You hate him at certain times and you feel bad about that because you 'should' love him because he's your father.
You used to think he was not responsible for the way he treated you because he had a hard childhood, or he has difficulty expressing love or emotions, or he has some mental health issue or he doesn't realize the effect he is having on others. Now you are questioning that idea because it seems he is doing it all deliberately.
You have been caught in an abusive relationship as an adult and now you are questioning your family and recognizing many similarities between your recent partner and your father.
You have your own children now and you realize that you realize that you could never treat your own children the way you were treated as a child and it confirms your suspicion that something is off about your upbringing.
Some people think he's wonderful, others hate him with a passion.
He promises all sorts of things but doesn't follow through.
He misses deadlines.
He has lots of excuses.
He sucks up to the bosses big time.
He spreads rumors.
He is always fishing for information.
He has others do his work for him.
He takes credit for everything.
He takes the blame for nothing.
He is loyal to no-one except himself.
He makes life hell for anyone he considers his competition.
He is totally unreliable.
He steals things, objects, money, ideas, your time.
He is often doing things that are just on the edge of immoral, illegal or unethical.
The office is full of good, hard-working folks, but somehow there is chaos and drama and things are nowhere near as productive as they could be.
You dread having to deal with him.
He can make you feel great and he can also make you feel 2 inches tall.
He is often needling you, pointing out problems and difficulties but offers no solutions.
He labels you as angry, a poor communicator, someone who makes mistakes etc and while it's not actually true, when you are around him, it does seem to be true. Somehow he makes you angry, or complains he doesn't understand or points out a mistake you made.
You always feel like you are slightly off balance around him.
Other people start treating you differently and you find out that he has been spreading rumors and lies about you.
You are given tasks that are demeaning, or tasks that are impossible to achieve.
Everybody adores the leader.
You are not allowed to criticize the leader. The members will get very defensive and even aggressive if you do.
The leader decides everything. The group is not a democracy, at best it's a benign dictatorship!
People join the group for the sake of the group's activities, but pretty quickly it becomes all about the leader.
Everybody wants to copy the leader, they want to be like the leader.
The leader can do no wrong. If the leader breaks the rules, there is a justification for it and it is simply accepted by everyone in the group.
The leader gives advice not just about the group activity but also about every aspect of living, diet, exercise, relationships, work, social life, friends etc.
Money flows up to the leader.
The group members absolutely believe that the leader is working for the benefit of the group even when it's obvious to outsiders that the leader benefits, the members to not. For example, many group members may be struggling financially but the leader lives a lavish lifestyle.
The members may believe that they are each living their own life when in fact they are all aiming for the same thing, to do the 'work' of the group.
The members will take the advice of the leader over their own family and friends even when the leader is not an expert in the particular field.
New people in the group are love bombed.
The leader is charismatic and charming.
They have special knowledge that is unique to them.
They are self appointed.
They are domineering.
They are always right and have an answer for everything.
Their 'technique' is offered up as a solution for everything and 'if more people just knew this, the world would be a different place!'
Read more about the dynamics of cults here.
If you recognize many of these signs of a controlling man then it's very likely that you are dealing with a psychopath or a narcissist.
It's vital to establish if this is the case or not, because if you are, the rules that apply are different, the situation is more complex than you might think and chances are that you are going to need help.
You can read more signs that your partner is controlling, things manipulative people say, ideas about toxic families, the stages of an abusive relationship, how to leave an abusive relationship, useful pointers to leave a controlling husband and what's involved in a good recovery from an abusive relationship.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You have the theory but how do you actually apply it? This book spells it out...
Do you think that you might be in an abusive relationship? Are you realizing that the group you are in may be a cult?
Do you think you are being taken advantage of emotionally, physically, sexually or financially in your relationship? Do you want to leave but you can't seem to get away?