If your partner tends to dominate and monitor every part of your life, then it is absolutely a problem that needs to be addressed in a timely and decisive manner, in order to avoid further complications.
Here are a few suggestions on how to deal with a controlling partner and maintain your sense of integrity, dignity, and self-esteem.
1. Understand that it is not Your Fault
Controlling people often have the capacity to manipulate their partners into submitting to their wishes. Most of the times they can make you think that it is your fault if they are over-controlling and that you are the one who is incapable of standing alone, thinking for yourself, or doing anything on your own. This is equivalent to brainwashing.
If you are constantly apologizing to your partner for what you have done and waiting for his permission to do things, than it is definitely time for you to take action and get rid of that oppressive sense of guilt. You are not a weak person and you are perfectly capable of making your own decisions.
2. Try to Discover the Cause of His Controlling Behavior
A controlling partner is often a person with low self-confidence, or with deep-rooted psychological problems such as fear, anger, childhood trauma, and similar. Most of the times, his behavior may be the consequence of a negative experience such as betrayal of trust. In fact, he may have been deeply hurt in a past relationship or profoundly betrayed and wounded by his parents in his childhood.
Finding out the cause of his excessive control may greatly help in establishing communication and eventually solving, or at least alleviating the problem, as well as deciding whether the relationship can be saved.
3. Try to Establish Communication and Keep Yourself Calm
Talk sensibly and try to explain that you cannot accept his behavior and that you cannot tolerate the form of control he is exerting over you.
Try to make him understand that sometimes you need to make your own choices and go out with your own friends without feeling guilty or afraid. You are a grown up person who will not accept staying isolated at home, and you absolutely have the right to make your own decisions and take your own actions. Tell him that his over-controlling behavior terribly affects your life and deeply hurts your feelings, and that it simply doesn’t allow you to be yourself.
His previous partners may have accepted his necessity to control their lives, so when trying to point out how you feel, be prepared to see him extremely angry, escalated, or defensive. But keep calm, and don’t behave like him. It would only worsen the situation.
If he is however willing to talk, that is a good sign that there is still a chance to change things and save your relationship. If he instead becomes aggressive, step back immediately and avoid any further discussion. Consult a therapist or consider starting a new life.
4. Stand up for Yourself and Don’t Obey
Another important way to deal with a controlling partner is to stand up for yourself.
Do not let your partner dictate every single thing you do, and don’t allow him to disrespect you. Refuse to tolerate his controlling behavior and start taking your life in your hands.
Perhaps you have just been weak and scared, and he hasn’t even realized that you prefer doing things in a different way. Once you’ve understood the cause of his behavior, be strong and firm, and establish clear boundaries in your life together – there are things that you will and others that you will not accept.
And above all, stop obeying your partner, and don’t adhere to every word he says. It will only allow him to have more power over you. You must defend your decisions and preserve your self-respect, because freedom of choice and liberty of will are the most important things in everyone’s life.
5. Evaluate the Situation and Keep Yourself Prepared
If your partner has no intention of changing, then it is time for you to decide whether you are willing to compromise and stay in the relationship, or leave it.
Controlling partners unfortunately tend to manipulate also the financial situation, so you should prepare yourself ahead, both emotionally and financially, and start saving your own money. Once you have achieved financial independence, it will be a lot easier to step out of an unhealthy relationship.
6. Seek Outside Professional Help
If every attempt to solve the problem fails and if your partner’s behavior becomes disruptive or intimidating, you should absolutely consult a therapist or a professional marriage counselor. If left undressed, this kind of controlling behavior may lead to extremely serious relationship problems, domestic abuse included.
If your partner doesn’t want to see a therapist, go by yourself. A professional therapist can help you handle the situation in a proper way and figure out what to do.
7. Do not Ever Allow Physical Abuse
Should he ever raise his hand on you and hit you, call the police immediately. No matter what you feel about him, physical abuse is absolutely unacceptable, humiliating, and dangerous. It is not ok! If it ever occurs, step out of the relationship immediately and preserve your self-respect. You don’t want to be a victim.
However, every relationship is different, as every person is different. Consequently, there are many different ways to deal with a controlling partner and handle difficult situations. These are only some of the basic tips and suggestions. If you have experienced similar relationship behaviors, please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.