Sometimes they don’t even know when they are being controlling in the relationship! That is the scary thing. If your guy isn’t aware of the fact that his controlling nature is a problem, he is unlikely to acknowledge it, and this is what can lead to an unhealthy relationship. Relationships should be based on open and fair communication and equality, and they should allow space for independence.
If your boyfriend is not aware of the fact that he is being controlling, then he is probably not willing to acknowledge that it is a problem. This might be because he is not intentionally trying to be top dog, he just has a controlling streak in his nature.
This may have less to do with wanting to control you as a person, and more to do with wanting to be in control of his own life and environment – which of course can affect you if you are constantly in the firing line.
The Controlling Boyfriend Checklist
It might be difficult to define whether your boyfriend is being controlling, because there are so many different types of controlling behaviour, including confrontational, aggressive and even passive aggressive behaviour.
It is very common for women in these types of relationships to question themselves because they are not sure whether or not they are imagining the problem, overreacting, or being over-sensitive. In fact, your boyfriend has probably accused you of these things many times!
If you are not sure whether or not there is a problem in your relationship that needs addressing, try answering the following questions. If you answer “yes” to most of them, you are probably dealing with a controlling boyfriend.
- Does he delegate tasks and boss you around, but shows inflexibility and is not interested in what you have to say when it contradicts what he wants?
- Does it feel like you are both attached at the hip, and that you have difficulty maintaining your own space and independence?
- Have you lost touch with friends, family and personal interests you used to have?
- Does your boyfriend set all of the rules, but often have a different set of rules for him self?
- Does the financial situation in your relationship seem unfair? Do you feel your financial freedom is being hindered?
- Has your boyfriend ever been physically threatening towards you?
- Do you always have to run things by your boyfriend before you make any personal decisions?
- Does your boyfriend have a significant effect on the way you feel about yourself, even when he is not around?
- Does it feel like your boyfriend never acknowledges when he is wrong?
- Do you experience your boyfriend having regular “moods,” or does he withdraw when he doesn’t like something?
Why It Is Important For YOU Not to Let Your Boyfriend Control You?
Good relationships are balanced and equal, with fair communication and room for independence. You might mistake your boyfriend’s controlling nature for love, and you may even feel flattered that your boyfriend is so into you, but the reality is that he is more into himself, and things can only get worse.
If you let your boyfriend get away with his controlling behaviour now, then you are reinforcing that it is okay to treat you with less respect than you deserve. The sooner you assert yourself, the sooner he is going to have to face up to his own behaviour and take notice of your needs. Remember: A man, who truly loves you, will love for who you are!
The longer you let controlling behaviour go on for, the more difficult you are making it for him to accept that he has to change the way he treats you. It is also important, and more responsible, to establish a healthy relationship before you commit too heavily to a relationship. Once you move in together, or get married, or have children, if your boyfriend is controlling, he will feel like he has even more power over you.
How Much Respect Do You Have For Yourself?
If you allow yourself to be treated badly or unfairly in a relationship, because you love your boyfriend and you don’t believe that he intentionally means to cause you any harm, you will eventually start to feel bad about yourself. By this point in your relationship the behaviour will be well-established, and breaking his bad habits will be much more of a challenge for both of you.
The more you accept your boyfriend running the show, the more you will grow to feel that your own opinions, thoughts and feelings don’t count.
You may find it more difficult to make decisions for yourself too, which can lead to you being more and more dependent upon your boyfriend – giving him even more control in the relationship!
This all equates to a lowered sense of self-respect because you won’t actively be valuing yourself as a human being, which inevitably leads to a low self-esteem.
It is surprising how quickly this kind of situation can evolve and spiral out of control, and once you lose your own sense of identity you will end up feeling trapped and unhappy. So deal with it now!
How to Assert Yourself In a Controlling Relationship
Take It One Step at a Time
Nothing happens overnight, especially big changes that have probably been developing gradually over a longer period of time. You can take the control back slowly though.
The trick is to focus on changing your own behaviour rather than attempting to change the behaviour of your controlling partner.
Once you start to assert yourself, your partner will have no choice but to start viewing you differently, because you will be introducing experiences in the relationship that he is not used to dealing with in a manipulative or controlling way.
Control is something that happens over time, so he won’t be able to persuade you to drop the reigns so he can lead, if you have taken them in your hands and are setting things in motion.
Bring Friends and Family Back Into Your Life
Build a good support network so that you are not on your own and vulnerable to your boyfriend’s controlling behaviour.
It is not as easy to control someone who has her friends and family to back her up. When your boyfriend realizes that his bad behaviour isn’t kept behind closed doors anymore, he will be more likely to watch himself, and treat you better because he won’t want to look bad in front of other people.
Start to Put Yourself First
This means that YOU are your number one priority. Make sure that everything you do from now on benefits you, and if you are feeling used, or like something is not fair or equal, don’t do it; stand up for what you want.
For example, you can start small by asserting what it is that you want to watch on the TV.
You don’t have to be confrontational about it either, just bring it up in a natural way that there is something on the TV that you are looking forward to watching at a specific time, and invite your boyfriend to watch it with you.
Then you will have asserted your own choice, made a decision about watching it, and included your boyfriend so that he can get involved and enjoy something that YOU are interested in.
He may not give up the control he loves so willingly, but the more you assert yourself, the more he will realize that something has to change if he wants the relationship to work.
In fact, the more he refuses to cooperate and have an equal relationship with you, the more power he will be handing over, because eventually he will push you to the point where you can see that you are not being treated with respect, and you will see that he doesn’t really love you and that you deserve better – and that will be the moment he will have lost all control, and your love, because you will leave him.
Share Your Experiences Of Being In A Controlling Relationship
Support other readers who are dealing with controlling boyfriends by sharing your experiences in the comments section.