Signs of a controlling personality



1.Jealousy:  At the beginning of a relationship,
an abuser will always say that jealousy is a sign of love: jealousy has
nothing to do with love, it is a sign of insecurity and possessiveness.  The
abuser will question her about who she talks to, accuse her of flirting, or be
jealous of time she spends with family, friends, or children. As the jealousy
progresses, the abuser may call her repeatedly at work (or home) or drop by
unexpectedly. The abuser may refuse to let her work for fear she will meet
someone else, or exhibit other strange behaviors (like checking her car mileage
or asking friends to watch her).
2.Controlling Behavior: At first the batterer will say that
this behavior is because of concern for the woman’s safety, her need to
use her time well, or her need to make good decisions. The abuser will be angry
if the woman is “late” coming back from the store or an appointment, or will
question her closely about where she went, and who she talked to.  As this
behavior gets worse, the abuser may not let the women make personal decisions
about the house, her clothing or going to church, may keep all the money or even
require she ask permission to leave the house or room.
3. Quick
: Many battered women dated or knew
their abuser for less than six months before they were engaged or living
together.  The abuser comes on like a whirlwind, “you are the only person I
could ever talk to, I have never felt loved like this by anyone.” The abuser’s
need is desperate and will pressure the woman to commit to the
:  The abuser becomes dependent on
the woman for all needs. He expects her to be the perfect wife, mother, lover,
and friend. The abuser will say things like “If you love me, I am all you need,
you are all I need.”  The woman is automatically expected to know each emotional
and physical need of the abuser.
5.Isolation: The abuser attempts
to isolate the woman from all personal and social resources.  If she has men
friends, she is a “whore”; if she has women friends, she is a lesbian; if she is
close to family, she is tied to apron strings.  The abuser claims that people
who are supportive of her are troublemakers and may want to live in the country
without a phone, or may not let her use the car, or try to keep her from working
or going to school.
6.Blames Others for
If the abuser is chronically unemployed, it is always someone else’s fault.  The
abuser may make mistakes and then blame the woman for being distracting or
upsetting.  The woman may be blamed for anything that goes
7.Blames Others for own
The abuser will tell the woman “you make me mad,” “you’re hurting me by not
doing what I ask,” “I can’t help being angry.”  The abuser will use feelings to
manipulate the woman. Harder to recognize are claims such as “you make me
happy”.  The message in each case is “you control how I feel”.
8.Hypersensitivity: The abuser is easily
insulted and claims that feelings are “hurt” when actually s/he’s really angry,
or the abuser interprets the slightest setbacks as personal attacks.  The abuser
will “rant and rave” about the injustice of things that have happened – things
that are really just part of living like being asked to work overtime, getting a
traffic ticket, being told that something he does is annoying, being asked to
help with chores.
9.Cruelty to Animals or
The batterer may punish animals brutally or be insensitive to their pain; or may
expect children to be capable of doing things far beyond their ability (whips a
two year old for wetting their diaper) or may tease young children until they
cry. (60% of men who beat their partners, also beat their children). The abuser
may refuse to interact with the children by not allowing them to eat at the
table or expecting them to stay in their rooms in the evenings.
10.”Playful” Use of
Force in Sex
: The abuser may like to throw the
woman down and hold her during sex, or may want to act out fantasies during sex
where the woman is helpless. The idea of rape may excite the abuser. The abuser
may show little concern about whether the woman wants to have sex and use
sulking or anger to manipulate her into compliance. The abuser may start having
sex with the woman while she is sleeping, or demand sex when she is ill or
11.Verbal Abuse:  In addition to
saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, the abuser may verbally
degrade the woman by cursing her or diminishing her accomplishments.  The abuser
may tell her that she’s stupid and unable to function on her own.  This may
involve waking her up to verbally abuse her or not letting her
12.Rigid Sex Roles:  The batterer
expects a woman to serve him; and may require that she stay at home, that she
obey in all things – even things that are criminal in nature. The abuser sees
women as inferior, and unable to be a whole person without a
13. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr.
Many women are confused by their abuser’s sudden change in mood — they will
describe the abuser’s behavior as “nice” one minute, but the next minute
“explosive” or “crazy”.  Explosiveness and mood swings are typical of batterers
and are related to other characteristics such as
14.Past Battering:  The batterer may
admit to hitting previous partners, but will blame their partner for provoking
the attacks. The woman may hear from relatives or ex-spouses of previous abuse.
The fact is, a batterer will beat any partner: situational circumstances do not
make a person abusive.
15. Threats of Violence: This would include
any threat of physical force meant to control the woman. “I’ll slap your mouth
off,” “I’ll kill you,” “I’ll break your neck.”  Most intimate partners do not
threaten their mates, but a batterer will try to excuse this behavior by saying
“everybody talks like that”.
16. Breaking or Striking
This behavior is used as punishment (breaking loved possessions), but is mostly
used to terrorize the woman into submission.  The abuser may beat on tables with
fists, throw objects around or near the woman. Again, this is remarkable
behavior in that only immature people beat on objects in the presence of other
people in order to threaten them.
17. Any Force During an

: This may involve a batterer holding a woman down, physically restraining her
from leaving the room, or pushing or shoving. (The abuser may hold the woman
against a wall and say “you’re going to listen to me”.



  1. As I website owner I think the subject matter here is rattling good , appreciate it for your efforts.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I read your article with interest and wonder how to help someone who is really trapped in a relationship with a controlling partner. The controlling partner is female and has repeatedly sought to isolate her partner from his family. I don’t know what else goes on in the home but I have serious concerns for my son and my granddaughter who are unable to speak to me freely. This is probably different from the issues that you have raised. Yet I’m glad these issues are being brought out into the open. The unfortunate thing in all of this is that there is always so much suffering for those trapped in these circumstances and the family and friends who are unable to help because they are kept isolated and are not always aware of the misery of the day to day lives of those caught or trapped in these situations.

    • Thank you for reading and I’m sorry to hear that your son is in a controlling relationship. My suggestion would be for him to seek counseling with or without his spouse. Therapy opened my eyes to just how controlled my life had been. I also realized that even though I was told I was the problem in the relationship, I was not. Your son probably realizes their relationship is not healthy and for your granddaughters sake, I hope he seeks help. The assistance programs for abused spouses and children are for MEN as well as women. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. I hope anything I wrote might help. God Bless you for caring so deeply about your son and granddaughter.

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: