5 subtle signs you’re in a controlling relationship

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘domestic abuse’?

Violence? Anger? Physical pain?

What about a partner not letting you see your friends? Or preventing you from seeing family?

Toxic relationships aren’t always as apparent as physical acts. We’ve detailed below five subtle signs to watch out for that are non-violent but are still signs of an unhealthy relationship.

They read your messages

When someone wants to read your messages all the time it should set off alarm bells.

When someone needs to read your messages, it shows they’re either highly insecure, untrusting and/or being controlling because they want to know who you’re talking to and what you’re saying. That’s not ok.

You’ve noticed you don’t have as many friends as you used to

In life it’s natural for friends to come and go, but have you noticed a significant drop in your friend count?

A major sign of being in a controlling relationship is when friends slowly but surely drop off one by one to the point where you’re left with only a small support circle – or without any friends at all.

It might be they’ve been treated badly by your partner, or they tried speaking to you about their concerns. Either way, take note and try reaching out to them to see if there’s a reason they’ve left.

You don’t see your family as often

Much like your friends, does your partner have a problem with your family? This goes beyond the normal family tensions to a point where they’re unkind about them and get moody when you want to see them.

They may get overly emotional or angry when you want to go out until you decide it’s just easier to stay in.

This may seem subtle, but this is a form of emotional control.

You get the silent treatment

Giving someone the silent treatment isn’t a normal way to deal your emotions. Abusers can spend weeks ignoring their victims and do it to keep control of a relationship.

For the person receiving the silent treatment it can be detrimental to their mental health. Over time, they may also start changing their behaviour to prevent being ignored.

They’re over the top

Surprisingly being overly loving could also be a sign that you’re in a controlling relationship.

If your partner orders for you in restaurants, chooses your clothes or even ‘looks after your finances’ to help you out, all of these are subtle ways of controlling your life.

It’s their way of saying who’s really in charge.

Where to go for support

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Voice is a free confidential service for anyone who’s experienced or witnessed a crime regardless of if it’s been reported to the police or not. You can contact us here.