The problem of being in a controlling relationship is that sometimes disturbing signs are too subtle at first, and when you finally realize that something is wrong, you're already knee deep in a toxic relationship. Here are 4 signs of a controlling and manipulative spouse you should be aware of.
You've gotten distanced from your friends and family. One of the first things a controlling partner does is try to cut you off from your support system. There are a lot of ways to do this subtly; if your spouse is smart, they won't forbid you from contacting your family of friends. Perhaps your partner persuades you to spend more time with them rather the with other people, sulks every time you go out with your friends or constantly criticizes the people you hang out with. Manipulation starts with guilt; if you feel guilty every time you hang out with someone other than your spouse, they might be trying to manipulate you and control your life.
They criticize you. Of course you want to rely on your partner being able to provide constructive criticism without sugar coating it, because spouses should be open and honest with each other. However, constructive criticism doesn't equal constant picking on you. When your partner's criticism always implies that they know better than you do and that you're incapable of making decisions and taking actions on you own, it's a bad sign.
They don't trust you and need to know everything. Even married people are allowed to have some privacy. You don't have to tell your partner where you are and who you are with every time you spend time apart from them. Of course, you can tell them so that they don't worry, but if they demand knowing every tiny detail about your whereabouts and company, it's not okay. So is reading your texts or emails, demanding to have access to your social media accounts, etc. You have the right to privacy, and if your partner is actively trying to violate it, you've probably chosen the wrong partner.
They often give you the silent treatment. The silent treatment is a form of passive-aggressive behavior. Instead of telling you what's wrong, your partner just sulks and refuses to talk to you. Abusers use the silent treatment to punish their victims, they enjoy the power that comes from keeping the other person unsure of what they did wrong, and in suspense of what will happen. When you get the silent treatment, you feel guilty and start thinking that the only way to fix the problem is cater to your partner anyway possible. And that's what the manipulator wants.
- 5 Signs You're in a Toxic Marriage, 7 Signs You Need to Get a Divorce, 6 Signs of a Healthy Friendship, 7 Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Spouse