You know that you are in a healthy relationship when both you and your partner are in control of it. That means, neither is controlling or being controlled. But I have seen a lot of women including some of my friends being manipulated by their controlling boyfriend. Having a controlling partner is not healthy in a relationship because it normally hinders the person being controlled from personal growth and happiness. Additionally, being in a controlling relationship is something you don’t want to be in because it can be hard to get out of the relationship once you are already too involved with the other person.
Anyone can get trapped in a controlling relationship without the person knowing it. And it is something I like to avoid myself. Just like a person with an only child syndrome, a controlling partner manifests several characteristics that can give you an idea about his or her personality. And more often, he or she uses subtle ways to control the other person. It would be good to know the methods commonly used by a controller so as to avoid falling victim with his or her controlling attitude.
According to Matthew McKay who works as a clinical psychologist and a co-author of Couple Skills, there are eight aversive methods used by controllers to take charge of their relationship, which are as follows:
A controlling person normally sends a message that the needs of his or her partner are invalid, unimportant or illegitimate, to shame the other person into submission.
- Withdrawal or Abandonment
Another popular technique of a controller is to manipulate the other person to what the controller wants or else would leave. Most partners who are threatened with abandonment are willing to do what the controller wants to avoid being left.
- Threatening Behavior
According to Dr. MacKay, this method is perhaps the most serious as it sends a message of hurting the other person emotionally or physically unless the wishes of the controlling person are granted.
A person who always blames his or her partner for any fault in the relationship is a controlling person.
5 & 6. Belittling and Guilt-tripping
In this method, the controlling partner conveys a message that the other person is unfair and inconsiderate in the relationship.
Derailing is when the controlling partner changes or shifts the focus of the conversation when confronted with the needs of the other person. This can be frustrating to the person being controlled as it makes it difficult to express his or her real feelings about the relationship. It also conveys a message that the needs of the other person are not worth talking about.
- Taking Away
Finally, to manipulate his or her partner, a controlling person attempts to withdraw any kind of support whether financially or emotionally if his or her needs or wants are not followed.
I certainly dislike people who try to control or manipulate others. If you see any of these behaviors in your boyfriend or girlfriend, you might want to or should reconsider your relationship if it is really worth it or not. And don’t think that you can change your controlling partner at a future time because most often, it ends up as wishful thinking. Everyone deserves a happy relationship. To achieve this, avoid a controlling person.