Additionally, when this perspective becomes ingrained within your relationship, they very likely are attempting to be controlling as well. It's another way of sapping your strength: making you feel guilty for time you need on your own to recharge, or making you feel like you don't love them enough when you perhaps need less time with them than they need with you.It is natural that two partners may not automatically have the exact same needs in terms of alone time, even if they are both extroverts (or introverts).Or they try to turn you against anyone that you're used to relying on for support besides them.Their goal is to strip you of your support network, and thus your strength—so that you will be less likely or able to stand up against them whenever they want to "win." 2) Chronic criticism—even if it's 'small' things.Criticism, like isolation, is also something that can start small.In fact, someone may try to convince themselves that their partner's criticism of them is warranted, or that their partner is just trying to help them be a better person.Whether controlling behavior leads to more severe emotional or physical abuse or not, it is not a healthy situation.If you notice more than a couple of these signs within your relationship or your partner, take it seriously.
But ultimately, no matter how individually small a criticism seems, if it's part of a constant dynamic within your relationship, it would be very tough to feel accepted, loved, or validated.And if you are concerned for your safety or want to learn more about possibly abusive relationship patterns, check out It may start subtley, but this is often a first step for a controlling person.Maybe they complain about how often you talk to your brother on the phone, or say they don't like your best friend and don't think you should hang out with her anymore.Often this means relenting and giving up power and their own dissenting opinion within the relationship, which plays right into the controlling person's hands. Controlling people may come on very strongly in the beginning with seemingly romantic gestures.But upon closer inspection, many of those gestures—extravagant gifts, expectations of serious commitment early on, taking you for luxurious meals or on adventurous outings, letting you have full use of their car or home when they're not there—can be used to control you.