4 Ways your partner is controlling you
All relationships should be based on equality. This means that you and your partner must respect and treat each other equally and fairly. For a lot of people, it may seem that way in the beginning. The relationship will be loving and caring and you might even feel like you’ve found the one. But slowly, controlling behaviour can creep in and change how you feel about your relationship, and even yourself. So, to recognise the signs earlier and learn how to deal with them, here are a few ways your partner might be controlling you.
You’ve stopped seeing people because of them
Has your partner stopped you from seeing anyone (a friend or family member) recently? It could start out in simple ways. They could say something like “I don’t think you should hang out with so and so, she’s bad news” or “I don’t trust so and so. I think he likes you and will try to make a move on you”. Then slowly you find yourself avoiding people and spending more and more time with your partner instead. This isn't healthy Choma. When someone tries to isolate you from others they are trying to make sure they can control you by keeping you close to them and away from people who care for you and can support you.
Their trust issues are becoming a problem
Your partner has started becoming suspicious of you even though you haven’t given them a reason to. They want to know where you’re going and who you’ve been seeing. They might even assume you’re lying and come up with their own assumptions of what you’ve been up to when they were not with you. A relationship that is not built on trust can’t survive Choma. If you’re with someone who can’t trust you it will start to put a lot of strain on you. You’ll constantly feel like you have to change for your partner because of their insecurities and this will lead to you being unhappy. No one deserves to be unhappy in a relationship.
Their love comes with conditions
Love shouldn’t have a price tag and shouldn't come with receipts. If someone is keeping score of a list of things they do for you in order to get something back, they are not doing it out of love but as way to manipulate you and make you feel guilty. Watch out for signs of your partner expecting you to do something for them (often something you're not comfortable with) after they do something for you. For example they might say “I did this for you, I don't understand why you’re behaving like that”. Also watch out for a partner who tries to make you work for their love. In this instance they could say things like “If you would just change your ways I would treat you better. You owe me”. Love and respect should come naturally. There shouldn’t be terms and conditions and you shouldn't feel like you need to do things you don’t want to do to earn someone’s love.
They have become mean towards you
Controlling people are often mean towards their partners. It might start out small where your partner says something like “You look better when you wear that other thing” or “I prefer your hair in that other style”. If you take offense they might laugh it off and tell you you're being too sensitive. The insults might get worse over time and they might start calling you names; insulting your intelligence and the way you do things. You’ll start discovering that it’s hard to please them and feel like you now have to walk on eggshells around them. You might even like yourself less when you’re around them, and constantly feel emotionally drained. This is how your partner is trying to wear you down so that you have a low self-esteem and start to feel like you are not worthy of love or respect. Remember that you are worthy, Choma. Don’t allow someone to steal your power from you. No matter what your background, what has happened in your past or what your current situation is, you deserve to be in a relationship where you are valued and respected.
You don’t deserve to be mistreated by anyone, ever Choma. If you start to notice controlling behaviour in your partner, talk to them about it. Take a break from the relationship if you have to. A caring partner will understand why you’re concerned and will make an effort to treat you better. A partner who doesn't care and continues to treat you badly is dangerous. You’re better off leaving the relationship and focusing on building healthy relationships.
A controlling relationship can sometimes be difficult to leave. And you might feel that way for a number of reasons. Just remember that there is support out there. For help with getting out of a controlling or abusive relationship where your partner makes it difficult to leave, here are a few numbers you can call:
POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse): 011 642 4345/6
Lifeline: 011 715 2000
SAPS (South African Police Service) Head Office: 012 393 1000
Also if you need advice or just someone to talk to, remember that you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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