iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-2003
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 9:07am
In the "Best Reasons to be Single" thread, Deena brought up the issue of controlling in relationships.

I just got out of a marriage where one of the biggest clashes was when XH tried to do just that; apparently his dead first wife was more easily manipulated (she was 19 when they married). I found out a little late in the day about his controlling tendencies, but got out in time, thank God.

My ? is, WHAT is controlling, and how do you recognize it? I know that sounds obvious, but I've always thought there was something, a neon sign on now-XH's forehead, that was glaring at me and I didn't know enough to see it for what it was...


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 11:14am
It's different to everyone - I expect respect and that the man likes that I am an independent person and wants to foster it - if you feel like you are being told what to do or constantly judged that is probably controlling behavior - one of the ways I prevented getting involved in a relationship like that was to make a very empowering independent life for myself and the way I did that was to go to law school, become a lawyer and develop a practice and a financial nest egg - everyone has their own way, that was mine. I of course could still be prone to a controlling relationship but most men I meet that seem to have that tendency are turned off when they realize I am my own person with my own mind and views and values - no I am not opinionated and no I do not have a big mouth but I carry myself assertively and know how to do that gently and firmly.
Avatar for cl_shywon
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 12:02pm
To me, controlling is when a person refuses to compromise.

My sister is engaged to a man who I think is controlling. The first time we met him, he kept his arms wrapped around her much of the time we were there. To me, he was saying "she's mine now, you can't have her anymore." He was correcting her kids, but he doesn't know them well enough yet to know what works with them. He'd relentlessly tell my niece to do something over and over, without giving her time to actually DO it. I know that my niece throws fits to get attention, and telling her to get quiet is useless. It feeds the fire. But, he had to have it HIS way. I finally told him that he just needed to leave her alone, and he reluctantly did, and she quit her tantrum. My other niece told him "just a second" after he told her to do something, and that wasn't good enough. He wanted it done NOW because that's how he wanted it. You just can't demand things of kids that way!

My mother is also a controlling person. I love her, and she'd do anything in the world for me, but she drives me nuts because she manipulates with guilt trips. That's just a covert form of control.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 5:37pm
There is a neon sign glaring at you from the "window to their life and lifestyle" that is covering the board that shuts the window down from your view.

Anybody who has a great life by their own definitions, efforts, means and standards - isn't "afraid" of you taking it away, doesn't need to "control" you or your options in life, and has no problem "being who they are" all the time.

If the window to their world is small - there's alot of chaos in the unseen areas. If the window is boarded up - they've got hunting for someone to 'clean up the mess". Which means, they've got to control you - you're there to benfit them in ways THEY see fit and want.



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2002
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 8:16pm

Judgemental and disapproving about many aspects of your life including what you choose to wear, what decisions you make, what you read, what you watch on television, how you discipline your children, what you choose to eat, what you worry about... Reason for the judgemental behavior? A controlling person doesn't want you to be yourself, they don't want you to be happy with yourself. They want you to be dependent on them for your opinion of yourself. It makes them feel powerful and indispensable in your life.

Uncompromising when certain decisions are made including how the children will be disciplined, how money will be spent, where holidays and vacations will be spent and so much more...Controlling people want their way. Sharing power with their partner is too threatening. This aspect of a controlling person becomes intensely magnified when he or she feels the relationship is threatened and the other person is slipping away. When the more passive partner does make decisions, the controlling partner criticizes and belittles the decision so that the passive partner doubts the choice and fears consequences must ensue for his or her actions. The passive partner begins to believe only the controlling partner is capable of rational decision-making.

Threatening, bullying, physically abusive when the passive partner is assertive. If he or she can't control through nonthreatening means, he or she may choose to use some sort of force to gain control over his or her partner. He or she can be very perceptive about what works with his or her partner--yelling, throwing things, unpredictable outbursts, threats about the taking the children...

Isolating partner from a support network. Controlling people want to have sole influence over their partner, so when the partner talks to the controlling person about family problems, he or she uses those confidences to create greater rifts rather than to find solutions. In times of conflict, the controlling partner may refuse to have anything to do with the passive partner's family. Friends' and family's motives are questioned and twisted to suit the goals of the controlling partner.

Controlling behavior is a sign of weakness in the person displaying it. They don't have a strong sense of themselves. They are frightened, insecure, and have low self esteem. The passive partner suffers from some of the same characteristics, but handles it in a different way.

Controlling people choose people they can control, simple. So the best defense against hooking up with someone like this is to strengthen yourself and to know the signs of such behavior. Not surprisingly, however, these people can be very charming and insinuate themselves into a love interest's life and then slowly begin the process of gaining control. But again, it won't work if the person they are pursuing has strong self-esteem and a powerful identity of his or her own.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-16-2003
Wed, 08-06-2003 - 10:11am
you are so right. i once dated a controlling guy. opps. we never went on a date. just hung at his house! anyway, it lasted about 2 weeks. he tried to tell me what to do like i was a child or something. i told him i am his equal not a child. he told me "you are in no way my equal". see right there i should have cut that bitch up, but i just left, easier than going to jail!never spoke to him again although he called me ALL THE TIME. kinda creepy actually.

some guys try to control you b/c that is ALL they have in their life. and if they see you are independant and dont really need them, they will try to control you even more. they will "try" to tell you:

what to wear

when to eat

what to do, etc.

i didnt like my parents telling me what to do so how the hell do some guys think i am going to do what they say?LOL