The unfortunate reality involving most abusive relationships is that they can sneak up on you. Controlling partners may gradually increase their problematic behavior, so the other partner may not realize how unhealthy their relationship is. They may also be coupled with affection and loving gestures, making it hard to see abusive behaviors for what they really are. Check these signs to see if your relationship really is unsafe or abusive.
You Are Constantly Criticized
One of the most common forms of unhealthy behavior is a partner who constantly belittles and criticizes you. They may make fun of your appearance, behavior, or emotions in an attempt to pressure you into behaving how they want you to. If you notice continued criticism and aren’t being supported as consistently, this may be something to monitor.
You Have Sex When You Don’t Want To
Keep in mind that you never owe your partner sex. In unhealthy relationships, coercive sex can take many forms. Sometimes it’s violent actions. This often requires consultation from a sexual assault lawyer or maybe a trip to the doctor. Other times it might simply be your partner begging and pressuring for sex until you give in. A healthy relationship should never include sexual activities that you do not enthusiastically consent to.
You Feel Like You’re Always Walking on Eggshells
In many unhealthy relationships, one partner ends up feeling they are responsible for their partner’s bad moods. They constantly try to avoid conflict because even innocent actions can set their partner off. Do not dismiss this as your partner simply feeling stressed or dealing with a temper. These situations are actually quite problematic. If you feel nervous about interacting, in even a more innocent way, this may be a sign of this kind of manipulative behavior.
You Relax More Around Others
Do your friends or family mention that you seem happier when you aren’t around your partner? The people who know you best may notice this sign of a controlling relationship before you do. It can also manifest as physical stress, like skin rashes, upset stomach aches, and headaches that ease when you aren’t near your partner.
Your Partner Isolates You
Another sign of a controlling relationship is a partner that pressures you to stay away from your family or your old friends. It might seem flattering to have a partner who wants you all to themselves, but this can actually be a manipulative behavior intended to make you rely excessively on them.
If you notice any of these signs in your relationship, take action before it gets even worse. Talk to your partner and set limits on their controlling behavior, and make sure to end the relationship if your partner ignores your boundaries. It is normally best to leave this sort of relationship before it becomes worse.