Signs of a Controlling Relationship

It can be difficult to spot some of the signs of a controlling relationship when you're in one. Though these indicators are often obvious in hindsight or to friends and family, we tend to be less critical of those who are closest to us.

We've put together this guide to help you determine the type of relationship you're in, and to you help evaluate whether or not your partner is being too manipulative.

Puppet control

So, what are the signs of a controlling relationship?

Your Opinion Doesn't Matter

Does your partner take seriously your opinions, decision, and needs?

People with controlling personalities tend not to value the opinions of others because, in their mind, they are the beginning and the end. Their ego's require control because they believe they are the only one's qualified to be in control.

Observe whether or not your partner takes your recommendations and thoughts seriously. Recommend a good movie you really want to watch, and see how serious a consideration your opinion receives.


Another sign of a controlling relationship is if your partner attempts to isolate you from activities and people that are important to you.

By isolating you, a controller cuts off outside influences, leaving them as the sole source of influence. A controller will want to be your only confidant, and the only person you take seriously.

If your partner gets upset when you spend time with friends or family, or when you attempt to get involved in an activity outside the relationship, there is a good chance your partner is being too controlling.

Guilt Tripping

Guilt tripping is a primary tool people with manipulative personalities use to control the people closest to them. This is done out of necessity.

You can't control someone that you supposedly love in the same way you might manipulate someone at work, or other acquaintances. You can't always just be bossy and mean. A subtler method is needed in order to maintain the guise of a loving relationship.

Guilt tripping is effective because someone with a controlling personality can maintain control while also making it seem as though they are the victim.

Other People

It's difficult to be objective in judging someones personality when you're the one always interacting with that person. But, people with controlling personalities usually try to exact control over every person in their life.

When you're out to dinner, observe how this person treats the waitress. Is your partner pleasant and grateful, or do things never seem to be good enough?


Being in a healthy relationship is very important for one's well being. If these signs of a controlling relationship seem familiar to you, and you're unhappy, you have to act.

First, have a talk. Sit your partner down and clearly express your concerns. Outline what upsets you, and what needs to change. Let them know that if things don't get better, then you'll have to move on.

Unfortunately, it's quite difficult to modify such deep seeded personality traits. If things don't change, or if they get better but quickly return to the way they were, it's time to move on.

A good relationship is two individual people coming together to share experiences, not when one dictates life for the other.


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