“Toxic relationships can sneak up on almost anyone. And controlling behavior on the part of a partner knows no boundaries – people of any age, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status can be in controlling relationships, playing either role.” ~ Andrea Bonoir, Ph.D.
A Strange Persona
It takes someone with some serious gall to try and control others. Gall or a complete disregard for others.
Someone who controls another person is both intolerable and intolerant. They’re immature, self-centered, arrogant, and even narcissistic. Some are dangerous.
They’re also potentially shifty and adept at playing mind games. Strange people are they. We’ll delve into the mindset of a controlling person a bit more later.
Tactics of Controlling People
Something that’s especially unbearable about a controlling person is their lack of empathy (a narcissistic and psychopathic trait, BTW.) They don’t care about who they hurt as long as they get what’s “theirs.”
This mindset is quite revolting.
Of course, for a controlling person to “get what’s theirs,” they need someone to exploit. They don’t particularly care who it is, lest for sexual reasons. In which case, the only prerequisite is some semblance of physical attraction.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
– People of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status can be in a controlling relationship.
– The relationship can be platonic, romantic, or sexual, which leads to the next point …
– Controlling people love to play the ‘Friend or Something More?” game. They lead you on and push you back. They give and take away. That’s their preferred method of control when dating, or in a “relationship.”
– Though possible, not every controlling person is violent or aggressive – some are strategically devious. This touches on a controlling/manipulative person’s narcissistic streak.
– Controlling behavior is often not revealed until some kind of bond forms. This way, it’s harder for them to be “found out” – and harder, at times, for the other person to walk away.
Defining two very different types
Before getting into what makes a controlling person stand out, let’s distinguish between a firm (“forceful”) personality and a controlling personality. All you need to do so is ask yourself one simple question:
Do they allow you to be yourself, or do they unjustly influence your behavior?
Controlling people are known for imposing change upon someone else. For example, they may insist that you lose weight, buy new clothes, cut your hair, go on a diet, or make some other inappropriate demand.
Controlling people often lack sensitivity and tact in their interactions with you. A strong personality may be a bit less sensitive or tactful, but they’ll never cross the line. In the mind of a controlling person, there is no such line.
5 Behaviors Of Controlling People
Now that we’ve talked about some generalities of the controlling individual let’s discuss commonly displayed behaviors of such a person while revealing themselves.
The word volatility is defined as the “liability to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse.”
In the context of this article, volatility refers to a controlling person’s rapid and negative mood swings. It is very common for a controlling person to blow up at the smallest “infraction.” This type of behavior is – or should be – considered a big red flag.
Volatile behavior is, at times, a precursor to physical confrontation or abuse.
2. Belittlement and cruelty
A controlling person can be quite perplexing. One minute they’re showering you with compliments and lifting your mood, then they’ll say something belittling and cruel (“You’re so dumb,” “You never do anything right.”)
It’s a sick, twisted game – sadly, one that too many good people find themselves playing.
3. Refusing to listen
No real surprise – controlling people aren’t good listeners. Actually, they don’t care to listen at all. When someone tries to have a serious conversation with a controlling person, they’ll often get nowhere.
Because of a controlling person’s refusal to listen, it’s common for them to walk away while verbalizing their contempt unabashedly.
Indifference is defined as “lack of interest, concern or empathy.”
Manipulators with narcissistic personality traits often use indifference as a means of control. We’ve all heard of the term “silent treatment.” Well, indifference is the silent treatment on steroids. Make no mistake – this is emotional abuse. Period.
Would a real friend or partner act in such a manner? Highly unlikely; perhaps if they’re genuinely angry, but even then, probably not.
So what would motivate someone to act this way? This …
5. Emotional Instability
Andrea Bonoir, Ph.D., a nationally-renowned clinical psychologist, explains a manipulative person’s mercurial state of mind using jealousy and paranoia as an example:
“…jealousy can be flattering in the beginning; it can arguably be viewed as endearing, or a sign of how much they care or how attached they are.”
But this flattery is nothing more than a mirage. Dr. Bonoir continues, “(Someone who) is suspicious or threatened by multiple people you come in contact with, or faults you for innocent interactions … may be insecure, anxious, competitive, or even paranoid.”
Ultimately, such emotions escalate as the relationship moves forward – until they are in total control.