Is your spouse becoming controlling? Watch out for these danger signs

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"Is my spouse controlling?" If you have ever asked this and wondered if your husband or wife is crossing the line, you must pay attention to these subtle signs!

When you try to picture a controlling person, you will most likely visualize someone bossy, someone who openly bullies everyone. But this is not always the case. Manipulation can take on insidious forms that can blindside couples, causing problems in a relationship even before the behavior is noticed.

In a long term relationship, it can be much more difficult to determine when a person is becoming controlling. Couples may have gotten so used to each other’s moods or behaviors that they no longer notice when their other half has become dominant or emotionally manipulative.

If you suspect toxic and unhealthy habits forming, here are danger signs to watch out for to help curb controlling behavior before it’s too late.

1. A controlling spouse isolates you

They want you all to themselves. Notice how they try to keep you away from friends and family or take up all of your time. They want you to be fully dependent on them that’s why, even if they don’t realize it, they isolate you.

2. Even the smallest things set them off

It’s one thing to give constructive feedback, but it’s an entirely different thing when your partner constantly criticizes you. A controlling partner tends to dwell on your shortcomings, even if it’s as simple as the way you dress or your eating habits. What’s more, their constant critique makes you question if they do have a point.

3. They make affection and good deeds conditional

To a controlling person, every little thing they do comes with strings. They make you constantly “earn their trust” and it always feels like their love is conditional. For instance, controlling partners tend to say things like: “If you paid more attention to me, then maybe I won’t go out as much.”

4. They threaten to cut off privileges

To control your behavior, they threaten to keep you from doing certain things. They want to get their way all the time and manipulate you into following them through threats—subtly or blatantly. For instance, if your partner is the one whose the main income generator, they can withhold money from you in order for you to do things their way.

couple fighting living room shutter Is your spouse becoming controlling? Watch out for these danger signs

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5. They are experts at ‘guilt-tripping’

Controlling partners manipulate by making you feel guilty, often for things that are not entirely your fault. They know you well enough to be able to twist situations to their advantage. They thrive on emotional dominance even without realizing they are doing it.

6. They keep score–constantly

Controlling partners have a habit of tallying good deeds and favors in order to always have the upper hand or advantage over their partner. This is one of the ways they assert their dominance. They do not see their partner as an equal, rather as a person dependent on them, someone who “owes” them.

7. They act out of paranoia and jealousy

They require constant updates about your whereabouts. They demand that you disclose every little thing and want to know every person you interact with on a daily basis. Controlling partners are overcome by jealousy and paranoia. They constantly doubt if you are worthy of trust.

8. They don’t respect your ‘me-time’

Aside from the fact that they demand constant disclosure, they tend to demand all of your time. There is no such thing as personal space or me-time for them because they feel that they deserve to be the sole focus of your attention at all times.

9. They make you doubt yourself

They belittle your dreams and beliefs.They refuse to understand your point-of-view and shoot down your opinions. They make you feel that you are not good enough, even with subtle comments. In their mind, even if they don’t overtly say it, you’re “lucky” to have them.

10. They crack jokes at your expense

A controlling partner humiliates and ridicules. The worst part of it is that they think they are being funny when they’re just being offensive. This behavior stems from the mentality that you are “lesser” than they are, that you are constantly in need of improvement.

If you notice these warning signs in your partner, then it’s time to talk to them about it. But make sure you do so in a safe environment, as there is a fine line between controlling and physically abusive behavior.

We hope these signs help you and your partner deal with controlling behavior before it’s too late, so you can move forward, loving one another in a way that doesn’t stifle your personal growth and happiness.

sources: Psyschology Today,,

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