As a young girl I was stubborn, strong-willed and struggled with the thought of having to answer to anyone - I did what I wanted, when I wanted. I know, I know, it’s not something to be proud of, or is it? As a woman I can now see how those traits (toned down of course and with a mature mind) served me incredibly well as I have never been in a situation where I have felt controlled by someone.
In saying that, I regularly see, hear about, read about, and work with women who are in controlling relationships, so I feel the need to creat some awareness around being controlled.
A controlling relationship is when someone dominates and intimidates their partner, often through emotional and/ or physical abuse.
Generally, if you’re a controlling person, you don’t just attempt to control your partner, you also tend to control your kids and anyone else you believe you can control.
Being in a controlling relationship can mean being told you can’t wear a particular outfit, you can’t have your hair a certain way, you can’t do or go anywhere without asking, you can’t spend time with certain family members or friends or do anything without being constantly checked up on, you need to keep the house a certain way, you can’t speak up, you are refused involvement in financial matters, and the list goes on. It’s all about control and taking away your independence.
It is first and foremost about the abuser being in the control of the abused, initially seeming to be in a protective way, then by criticising, throwing insults, insinuations and accusations. Before long, belittling takes over. Sapping the energy and fight out of the abused person and slowly eating away at their self-worth, self-esteem and confidence.
The controller will often try to take away their partner’s support system, wanting them to become isolated and alone; cutting off the support system will help the abuser to gain power and control.
For those who have been in this situation or know more about it, I invite you to share your insights, advice and wisdom in the comments as you may just help someone out there gain some strength and break the cycle.