Controlling Men: Empowering Advice For Women Involved With Bullies

He was charming, attractive, intelligent, funny, and kind. He knew just the right words to say to make you feel special.

He was the perfect guy for you — until he wasn't.

Until he became one of those controlling men.

It didn't happen right away.

At first, you thought he was being overly attentive and helpful. He just wanted the best for you.

He's a strong, decisive man who knows what he wants and says what he means.

But as time went by, the suggestions and friendly tips morphed into criticisms and demands.

The charm turned into manipulation, and his kindness hinged on your toeing the line.

It turns out your perfect guy is a control freak who demands that everything is his way or the highway.

You've witnessed the early signs of a controlling man.

He has an array of psychological tools at his disposal to ensure you do what he wants or suffer the consequences.

The consequences range from ultimatums, manipulation, and threats to shaming, blaming, and shutting you down.

[Side note: In my online couple's course, learn healthy communication skills and build the intimacy you’ve always wanted in your relationship.)

What Is Too Controlling in a Relationship?

We all have our particular needs and desires in a relationship.

We have our own ways of doing things that we develop long before we met our partners.

And we have opinions, beliefs, and assumptions formed over years of life experience.

When we become part of a couple, it's natural to want our partners to view the world in the same way.

In fact, sometimes, we subtly or overtly attempt to coerce our partners that our way is the best way.

So if this is natural, when does it become a problem? How do we know when our partner's attempts to coerce become efforts to control?

couple sitting on sofa man ignoring her Signs of Controlling Men

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you sort it out:

  • Do you feel your guy will punish you in some way if you don't do what he says?
  • Do you feel your partner ignores or dismisses your opinions or feelings?
  • Have you changed many of your opinions or beliefs to match his?
  • Does it seem you've lost a lot of your autonomy?
  • Do you hold back saying what you think for fear of making him angry?
  • Do you analyze everything you do (in a way you didn't before) because you're unsure of yourself and what's appropriate in a relationship?
  • Does your guy treat you more like a child or a subordinate than a true partner?
  • Have you lost your identity and sense of self?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, there is too much control from your man.

Controlling Men Characteristics

Controlling men aren't always the beefed-up tough guys you see in the movies who yell and scream to get their way.

They can be the soft-spoken boy next door or the well-educated, amiable extrovert. They can come from just about any background and socioeconomic status.

What they have in common is the need for control and the compulsion to exert that control in their intimate relationships.

They have learned how to fool the smartest, most capable woman, only to reveal their true natures once the woman is hooked or she has married him.

The change can come on slowly, like a low-grade fever that turns into a full-blown virus, or it can happen with such sudden intensity that you wonder if his body was invaded by an alien overnight.

The most difficult part, in the beginning, is the confusion and shock. He was so nice. He was so loving. What happened? Did I do something to bring this on?

The short answer is no, you did nothing wrong — except maybe fail to see the early warning signs of a controlling relationship and learn how to deal with a controlling man or controlling spouse.

19 Signs of Controlling Men

You may be confused about whether or not you're involved with an overbearing man who wants to control you. Perhaps you've wondered if his behavior is a normal part of relationship dynamics.

We all exhibit controlling behavior from time to time, but it's important to know the signs of a controlling husband or boyfriend that suggest the behavior is more than just occasional.

1. They demand what they want.

If they want to do something and you don't — too bad for you. If you want to do something and they don't — too bad for you.

Their desires, needs, and decisions trump yours (unless they simply don't care), and if you try to argue or press your case, you'll get an ear full.

They will bully you, pout, try to make you feel guilty, or refuse to acknowledge your request. They will make your life so miserable that you simply give in.

Over time, you learn to just go along, which, unfortunately, trains the controlling man to tighten the reins.

2. They criticize you constantly.

They don't like what you're wearing or how you speak. They make “jokes” at your expense. They always find the error or flaw in your successes.

You rarely feel good enough around this person because they always have something to correct, something you could be doing better.

Often a controlling man will try to deflect their critical comments to make you feel overly sensitive or whiny. “Why do you have to make such a big deal about it? I'm only trying to help you.”

Over time, you feel unloved and always lacking.

3. They try to isolate you from others.

By using subtle negative comments or overt criticisms, these men attempt to put a wedge between you and the people you care about and who love and support you.

This bully wants you to rely only on him and him alone so you become dependent on his decisions and demands. Without a support network of friends and family, you only have this man to turn to, and he wants to make sure you pay full attention to his needs.

4. They attach conditions to love and affection.

A controlling man uses love as a tool for manipulation. He knows you crave love and affection, so he doles it out based on what he wants from you.

He won't say “I love you” unless you give in to his demand for a new car. He withholds sex because you spent the day with your sister. He gives you the cold shoulder and the steely-eyed glare because dinner was served too late.

He uses these methods to train you like a puppy. When you obey, you get a treat. When you disobey, you get nothing — or worse.

5. They are master guilt-trippers.

Guilt-tripping is a favorite tool of controlling men. They find your emotional Achilles heel and play you like a fiddle once they do.

Caring, sensitive people don't want to feel like they've caused someone pain or anger, especially someone they love. They want to get back into their loved one's good graces. This is fine if the guilt is merited, but with a controlling man, it rarely is.

They will find a way to make you feel bad about something you didn't do or have no responsibility for, and you'll do just about anything to escape that guilty feeling.

Controlling men have a masterful way of making you believe you are responsible and that only you can make things right by doing his bidding.

6. They constantly snoop and check up on you.

They want to know where you are going, when you'll return, who you are texting, what you are saying, and every plan you are making.

They look through your purse, snoop through your email, sneak peeks at your phone, and rifle through your stuff. They feel they have the right to know everything about you and believe you have no right to privacy.

They are looking for ways you might be exerting control over your own life. If they find something that potentially undermines their control, you'll hear about it.

7. They are possessive and jealous.

Part of their snooping and isolation efforts come from feelings of intense jealousy. At first, their jealousy is appealing because it shows how much they must love you, but over time it turns dark and twisty.

They are constantly suspicious of your motives and actions and view the most innocent interactions as flirting.

They want to control any interactions you have with others because they are paranoid about your straying away.

8. They don't care about your point of view.

If you express an opinion or belief, they will shut you down or ignore you. Nothing you say is relevant unless you echo your controlling partner's exact opinions or thoughts.

He will dominate a conversation, interrupt you, or make snide comments about what you have said. If you try to point this out to him, he'll dismiss your concerns or turn the tables to make you feel guilty or wrong.

9. They have little respect for any of your needs.

If you want to be alone, he'll barge in and demand your attention. If you want to talk, he'll turn on the TV and ignore you. If you're tired, he'll complain he's hungry and needs dinner right now. If you need a hug, he'll tell you to get a grip.

The idea that you have individual needs beyond responding to his needs rarely occurs to him. If it does, he uses your needs as a tool for manipulating you.

10. They gaslight you.

Gaslighting means he attempts to make you believe something you know is not true or not right or twists things to confuse you into questioning yourself.

You may complain about his put-downs or hurtful behaviors, and he completely denies them or suggests you're the one who's been hurtful. Or he may suggest you're crazy and imagining things that aren't real.

If he can make you lose your emotional and psychological footing, he gains more control over you. You begin to question your own judgment, sense of right and wrong, and reality.

11. They wear you down to a nub.

Controlling men can be relentless in their tactics. They will argue until your eyes roll back in your head. They'll steamroll you with their demands ad nauseam. They can turn the screws of guilt so tight you'll beg for relief.

Most controlling men have much more stamina for their shenanigans than you have the energy to put up with them. Eventually, you go belly up and allow them to have their way 24/7. This is the perfect scenario for the controller. All me, all the time.

12. They view abuse as love.

Because controlling men have a sense of entitlement, they see their abusive behaviors as appropriate and even loving. Since they know best, they are doing you a favor by making all of the decisions about you and your lives together.

Your controlling guy may say things like, “You don't need to see your family because I love you more than all of them,” or “You better not leave me because I love you so much I might die.”

13. They are manipulative.

All of the controlling behaviors listed here are manipulative, but often men who control women take manipulation to an extreme level.

When a woman tries to confront a controlling abuser, he will use tactics like diverting the conversation from your pain to his. “I act this way because my father abused me when I was a kid.” “You wouldn't complain so much if you had an ounce of understanding for how much I do for you.”

They are masters at turning your concerns into their pain and suffering.

14. They won't admit fault.

One of the reasons for this manipulation and deflecting is to protect themselves from blame. Men with control issues don't want to accept fault or responsibility for their hurtful behaviors.

They refuse to look at themselves and see that they are the source of the difficulties between you. In fact, they turn the tables and make you the reason for their hurtful actions and words. “She makes it impossible not to get angry!”

Taking responsibility, in their minds, means losing control and admitting they aren't entitled to special rules related to their behavior.

15. They look like great guys to others.

A controlling man may behave one way when he's with his partner, but he's Prince Charming in front of his friends and family. His control of you extends to how others perceive him and the two of you as a couple.

In group settings, he'll exhibit the charisma and magnetism that first drew you to him. But once you're alone together, that shine wears off and it's back to his bullying and demanding alter ego.

Seeing his good qualities exhibited in front of others confuses you and makes you wonder if it's you who has the problem. You may think you should hang in there because he does have this positive side to him. Except when he's with you.

16. They think you're never enough.

At first, it was subtle suggestions, like, “Let's exercise together and lose ten pounds.” Now it's outright ugly — “You're getting fat, and you need to do something about it if things are going to work between us.”

couple in kitchen arguing Signs of Controlling Men

Even the smallest things are subject to his unkind assessments and displeasure. He doesn't like the way you load the dishwasher. He lets you know when he hates your outfit. He makes snide remarks about small mistakes.

It's hard to feel loved and validated when you are on the receiving end of daily put-downs and negativity.

17. They keep score.

But mostly he keeps score on what he's done, the efforts he's made, the sacrifices he's had to endure. Your scorecard is always behind his, because, in his mind, what you contribute to the relationship counts less.

In his self-focused efforts to feel superior, he can only see what it's costing him to be in the relationship. And it's pissing him off. You could do backflips around the house 24/7, and it still wouldn't be enough.

18. They make sex weird or unsettling.

Physical intimacy with your controlling man can be all sorts of weird. Your particular guy could be demanding of sex but indifferent to your sexual and emotional needs.

Or he might be so out of touch with emotional intimacy that sex is perfunctory and just a physical release for him.

Some controlling men use sex as a means of control. If you don't appease him in some way, he will withhold it or threaten to get it elsewhere. Whatever's going on with him, it's playing out in the bedroom, and it doesn't feel good to you at all.

19. They will undermine your goals and values.

If your guy feels insecure that you are doing well in your career or achieving something in your personal life, he will do what he can to throw cold water on it.

Let's say you want to start your own business, but he lets you know that you don't have what it takes. Or you've just gotten a promotion at work, but he demands you turn it down so you aren't spending so much time at work.

He may also attempt to sabotage some of the things you value in life. If you are a vegetarian, he's constantly mocking you and making meat-centric meals for you. If you love to dress well, he tells you you're being snooty or showing off.

If any of these controlling behaviors are familiar in your relationship, and you see them happening on a regular basis, well, I'm truly sorry. It's hard to have your hopes and dreams dashed by the insidious poison of a controlling boyfriend or spouse.

9 Early Warning Signs of a Controlling Man

Early warning signs of a controlling man can be challenging to spot, especially in the honeymoon stages of a relationship.

However, it is essential to pay attention to red flags that may indicate you are with an overly controlling person. If your partner displays any of these nine behaviors early on, you should take note and assess the situation carefully.

1. Love Bombing

It starts with him giving you lots of compliments, buying you gifts, and showing extra attention. This makes it seem like he really loves you and cares about you, but in reality, it is just a tactic used by narcissists to control and manipulate you. 

Once they have gained your trust and affection, they start to demand more of your attention and time. They may criticize or put you down if you don’t do what they want.

They guilt trip you to ensure you comply with their requests or threaten to leave you if you don’t follow their instructions.

2. Testing Boundaries

Controlling people who don’t respect boundaries will try to test yours early on. He may try to push you to change things to make him happy. F

or example, he mentions how much he loves an outfit you previously wore and wants you to change into it. He may suggest how sexy and beautiful you are to get you in bed before you want to. 

Pushing boundaries can start with something as small as someone insisting on using an emoji or a nickname you don't like. If you try and stand up for yourself, they may act hurt or offended.

Over time, this can make you feel like it’s easier to just agree with them than to stand up for yourself.

3. Not Taking No for an Answer

Controlling men have difficulty accepting rejection and often try to manipulate the situation so that you don't say no. They may try to guilt-trip you or beg you to do something you don’t want to do.

They may also resort to subtle manipulation tactics by making comments  such as, “It’s just a small thing; why are you making such a big deal out of it?” or “What will people think if you don't do this?”

4. Making Comparisons

He tries to change how you behave or look by comparing you to others, so you get the not-so-subtle hint about what he expects from you.

He might say, “My ex-girlfriend dressed like a tramp, and that’s why we broke up,” or “Your friend is nice, but I hate how she talks about her accomplishments.” 

Of course, he would never admit this if you tried to call him out. He’d say, “Oh, you would never do that – I’m not worried about you at all.”

This backhanded compliment is a classic control method to ensure you fall in line. He’s planting seeds for your compliance.

5. Constantly Calling and Texting

If your new boyfriend constantly calls and texts multiple times a day, he’s checking in to keep you engaged and checking up to ensure you aren’t “misbehaving.” 

He might expect you to answer all his calls and texts immediately or act “worried” if you don’t respond immediately. In some cases, he may even accuse you of not caring enough about him or not putting in enough effort. 

6. Making Decisions for You 

Your partner should always respect your autonomy and give you the freedom to make your own decisions.

If they make decisions without consulting you, at the very least, it’s rude. But they are likely trying to control you. 

This behavior can often start subtly, with them making suggestions or offering input on even minor decisions.

Over time, it becomes more overt as they outright tell you what to do. It's critical to notice this early on and address it before the behavior escalates.

7. Pushing the Relationship Too Quickly

All the attention and compliments are flattering, but this guy seems ready for the alter before you even know his last name.

He asks you to stop dating other people, get off any dating sites, go on a romantic trip together, and meet his parents before you’re prepared to do any of these.

The sooner he can get you to commit to him, the sooner he can quash you under his thumb and control everything about you and the relationship.

8. Condescending

It is normal for couples to have different opinions, but an overly controlling man can’t handle it if your point of view doesn’t mirror his. It’s too early for him to become aggressive or say hurtful things, though he will certainly do this later on. 

For now, he will be subtly condescending, pointing out the flaws in your viewpoint and highlighting his superior knowledge.

Or he’ll say something patronizing like, “Oh, you’re so cute. I love how you get so serious when we talk about this.”

9. He Needs to be Involved in Every Decision You Make

As a couple, it is essential to consult each other when making major decisions, but if your partner demands to be involved in every little thing you do, it is a red flag. He doesn’t need to be up in your business this early in the game.

It can include something as small as wanting to know your whereabouts at all times or questioning you about who you talk to and what you are doing.

This type of behavior is unhealthy and is often a sign that they are trying to control you.

Why Are Men Controlling?

What's going on inside the head of that man of yours and why does he treat you this way?

Some of the common reasons men control include:

  • Traumatic past experiences
  • Insecurity and low self-esteem
  • Being controlled themselves currently or in the past
  • Anxiety about feeling “out of control”
  • A need to feel superior or better than someone else

You can sympathize with many of these reasons, but you can't excuse them. Past trauma and insecurity don't give a man the right to exert pressure and manipulation on you. It's his responsibility to heal himself so he's ready for a real relationship.

Research underscores that these men often deal with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, suggesting on some level they recognize their behavior is harmful to the relationship.

Controlling men often have faulty thinking about their place in a relationship. They see themselves as entitled and feel they are owed something from their partners.

These men have low levels of compassion and don't view their partner's needs and feelings as important as their own. They may have narcissistic tendencies, or they may be otherwise psychologically normal.

But their skewed thinking around entitlement makes them believe they know best even when their behaviors are hurtful and unkind.

It's hard to know the exact reason some men need to control the woman in their lives. Unless your guy opens up to you and reveals his vulnerable inner world, you may have to read the tea leaves to figure it out. Unfortunately, most controlling men aren't good at opening up and risking appearing weak.

Can Controlling Men Change?

The next two questions that often come up when women realize they are involved with a controlling man are these:

#1: What do I do about it?

#2: Can he change?

In answer to #1, if you are not married to this person or otherwise committed (financially, with children, etc.), then the answer is leave now. Get away from this person as fast as you can.

Yes, you may still love him and think he has tons of potential if only he didn't show his “bad side.” But that leads us to question #2, and the answer is not likely.

A controlling man must be highly motivated to change his behavior, and he must be highly motivated to maintain new healthy behaviors once he acknowledges his controlling personality.

Why would a controlling man change when he has all of the perks of being controlling?

  • He has the feeling of power that comes with control.
  • He gets his way on just about everything.
  • He has “trained” you and your kids to do his bidding.
  • He's the center of attention.
  • He controls the finances.
  • He looks great to friends and family who don't know about his Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde behaviors.

It isn't impossible for a controlling man to turn things around and learn mature, loving relationship skills, but it doesn't happen often, and it requires some serious self-awareness and counseling.

If you are just dating this guy, why waste time waiting around to figure it out when you can cut bait and find someone who isn't controlling?

If you are married or living with a controlling person, it is much harder to end the marriage, especially if children are involved.

Aside from the practical reasons for staying in the relationship, there are many conflicting emotional considerations, such as fear, low self-esteem, and an unhealthy attachment issues.

Whether you decide to stay with your controlling partner or leave the relationship, there are actions you can take to feel more empowered and lessen the grips of control from this bully.

How Do You Deal with a Controlling Man?

Here are some ideas if you now think, “My boyfriend is controlling.”

  • Rebuild your support group of friends and family. Let a few trusted people know what's going on with your partner, and tell them you need their support and listening ear.
  • If you can't find someone, hire a counselor. You'll probably need one anyway to help you navigate your feelings and decisions going forward.
  • State your case calmly with your partner. Unless you fear for your physical safety, sit down with your partner and let him know how negatively his behaviors are impacting you.
  • Give some examples of what you are talking about, how the behaviors are damaging your relationship, and how they make you feel.
  • He will surely argue or defend himself, but at least you have put him on notice that you're on to his shenanigans. Be sure you keep your cool even if he starts to get angry.
  • Suggest couples' counseling. During your conversation with your partner, ask if he'd be willing to go to a couple's counselor to work on your marriage.
  • A good counselor will quickly figure out what the problem is. Unfortunately, many controlling men refuse counseling because they fear having their behavior exposed. But it's really the way to stop a controlling man and redirect his attitudes.
  • Try not to point the finger of blame directly at him, even if his control problems are the primary reason you want to go.
  • Reward positive behaviors. If you see any positive changes in your partner, be quick to acknowledge and praise them. You want to reinforce loving, mature words and actions. The best thing you can hear is your spouse sincerely asking, “Am I controlling?”
  • Remember, a few positive behaviors don't mean the control is over. It is a step in the right direction, but you need to see a pattern of consistent effort and positive change.
  • Set some new boundaries for yourself. For as long as you remain in the relationship, protect yourself from further emotional abuse by this controlling man. You may not be able to stop his controlling behaviors or words, but you can stop how you react to them.
  • Call him out when it occurs, and say something like, “This is a perfect example of the controlling behavior I've been talking about. Your guilt trips will not work with me any longer.”
  • Follow through consistently. If you tell your partner your plans or make a decision about something, and he is unhappy or tries to control you — don't give in as you've done in the past.
  • Try to ignore or sidestep his nonsense. If you give in, he'll see that you don't mean business, and he'll escalate his behaviors.

More Related Articles:

Do You Yell At Your Spouse Or Partner? Why You Do And 13 Ways To Stop The Outbursts Before They Happen

22 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

16 Signs Of Emotionally Unavailable Men That Will Break Your Heart

  • If you decide to leave, make a plan. You may ultimately decide the relationship isn't fixable, and your partner will never change. For him, the ultimate lack of control is watching you walk out the door. Make a plan in advance of ending the relationship with the steps you must take to leave.
  • Consult an attorney, have a support team of friends available, work with a counselor on your exit strategy, think through your finances and living arrangements, and make sure you have a plan for your kids if you have them.

Stand up for yourself with controlling guys.

Whatever you do, don't allow his controlling behavior to continue unchecked. The longer it goes on, the more your mental and emotional health suffers.

As your confidence and self-esteem ebbs away, it becomes harder to stand up for yourself and reclaim your power in the relationship.

You deserve a love partner who recognizes your value and equality in your marriage or relationship. You have a right to your own choices, actions, opinions, and beliefs.

Don't be fooled by a domineering man who wants to keep you under his thumb. Recognize the behavior for what it is and empower yourself.

20 thoughts on “Controlling Men: Empowering Advice For Women Involved With Bullies”

  1. I’ve been in an emotional verbal bullying relationship for 2 years and I’ve had that he sees I’m serious about not taking his crap anymore,he’s trying to act still not falling for that,he’s going to have to show some long term consistency before I even consider getting back together.i figure he must have been bullied in childhood so now he does to women what was done to him.not anymore!!!!

    • Hi Lynn, I had exactly the same experience. I am now free and happy not to waste anymore time on being manipulated and controlled. My ex also had a controlling mother, who he worshipped and they had exactly the same personalities. I figured that if I needed something done or had an opinion he would consult his mother first or his sister before allowing my opinion.

  2. Controlling men get you where they want you. When their goal is achieved they tire of and get bored . They leave you . When they see you excel and move on happily that is when the abuse escalates . My ex is phycopathic since he left me and saw that I am doing well and am very happy without him . If you decide to end your relationship be aware controllers do not let go easily . Stay, strong , stay safe. There is a much better life for you he will hate when you start living it . Don’t let him charm his way back in . He will never change he will be worse than before . Good luck all

  3. I’ve identified this controlling behavior in my husband for a few years now. Red flags when we were dating. But I married him anyway. Going on 4 years. We have a 2 year old. I completely feel held hostage, because of his threats about custody. I’ve tried to leave before but bullied to stay. He’s not physically violent, but I feel abused just the same. He’s controlling and angry and manipulative. Every fiber of my being wants, needs to get out – but now there’s a little girl to consider. Right now, im staying because of her — because he threatens me with her if I mention being unhappy.

    • Annie, please talk with an attorney. He can threaten all he wants, but there are laws in place related to child custody. Gather information from an expert so you don’t fall for hist unsubstantiated threats. If you are nervous about calling an attorney, ask a friend to do it for you. Arm yourself with information.

    • Do NOT NOT NOT stay because of her. That is a terrible excuse and you are using her as a shield. She and you deserve better. She already knows you are unhappy with him, she can feel it in your body.

      Leave him now.

      Pack some things, all the things you care about one time he’s out, leave a polite note that says the truth as clearly and briefly as possible, and leave somewhere he can’t find you.

      Start communication from there.

      If you feel UNSAFE, and it’s clear you do, you have every emotional, physical and legal right to stay away and keep her.

      Supervised visits with her and he are fine. Do not threaten to keep her away from him, it’s not about her, it is about his bullying of you.

      m guessing he gaslights you too.

      Run as fast as you can.
      She will thank you for it too. So will he. If he does not, even a few years in the future, that is exactly why you need to leave as fast as you can.

  4. I m married to man for 6 months after being in a relationship for 4 years. I recognized it to be an abusive and manipulative relationship before my marriage but he convinced or manipulated my family to marry me and I had to give up and marry due to my family pressure. My mother is a heart patient and presently medicated for dippression after the death of one of my elder brother she suffered depression. After marriage I tried to give a chance to the relationship and was a good wife according to me. I did not wanted a child and he also reassured me that he will take necessary action when time comes( means he would terminate the pregnancy with meds). I was stupid not to notice that it would be a form of abortion but then to I tried to talk to him to take precautions beforehand but he did not pay heed. And in one month only I became pregnant and when I asked for meds he came out with a reason that those meds have side effects and their will be problems in conceiving in future and I live in a conservative society where family planning is not ethical again whole family was involved and I was wrong for being adamant to abort my child. In this course I was stressed and upset and was not feeling like having any physical intimacy then too many time he forcefully did it and one night when I was trying to avoid being physical he took overdose of medicine when I was asleep and woke me up and told me and my sleep was spoiled. Next morning I was to stressed with all this that I also tried to take overdose of meds and finish all the stress and in an attempt to stop me he hit me and when the fight grew he even abused me told me I killed my bro and everything that could hurt me. But again his actions were justified he did everything to prevent me from attempting suicide and I was again guilty to push him to hit me. This all happened I 1.5 months time of my marriage. My parents are do not appreciate him hitting me but they are OK like its just one instance. But now I don’t feel anything for him no love. In these five months I tried a bit to be good to him for my peace of mind and it is not easy to move out of this as I have a baby’s future to think about and society to answer. But as soon as I try to be nice to him, He is again demanding and I retreat. Now due to my pregnancy discomfort I m at my maternal home and he is all nice good accept complaining I don’t love him and yes I don’t but he thinks if I am his wife and its my duty to love him but now I can’t I don’t feel it anymore and he accuses me and it again gives me stress even he says I m interested in someone else. Yet I cater to his needs but he says its worthless because I don’t feel love. But I think its my duty and I m fulfilling it. He also asks for forgiveness for past and hopes its not such a big deal that I cannot forgive and forget but my heart is neither allowing me to forgive him nor love him. In fact I am afraid also that once again I give him chance he will hurt him his manipulation will come back. He tries to manipulate me to forgive him and love and it is long discussion that give me more stress.
    Now I m pregnant more than five months and afraid all this stress will take a toll on my baby and I don’t want that. I some time even feel guilty that I am risking my baby’s health by holding the grudge and stressing myself. My mother says I should comply to his wish if he is sorry but I m afraid that there are least chances that he would have changed. I can’t trust his words I don’t want to get hurt again by trusting him and feel stupid.
    I have to stay with him but I can’t contemplate my heart as it would hurt less If I get what I expect rather than get what I don’t expect and moreover he is a bit nice in order to get forgiveness so is a bit relief but stress is there still because of him pressurizing to forgive and forget.
    So confused what to do give him a chance or let the things be….

    • GIRL! You need to figure out safe steps to leave, but you definitely need to leave. And I’m not sure what country you’re in, but he needs to have charges brought against him. That sad excuse for a human belongs behind bars.

  5. I go to counseling now. He almost killed me. I called police , he was arrested. He got a good lawyer,he only got a harassment charge.
    I can’t work now, he physically injured me and emotionally abused me.
    My counselor said he never loved me and he is a narcassist.
    I fell in love with him, we dated for 10 months. First he love bombed me for 6 months, then verbally abused me, then when I went to his house to break up with him, he physically tried to kill me. I thought that he was the Love of my life.

  6. My first husband was like this and he would not change. It didn’t take long at all before he got physically abusive towards me. Anything at all that I said or did or even how I looked triggered the abuse. I had someone remove me from the house while he was at work one day and take me to safety. He tried to get my family to make me go back to him so he could kill me. He was never allowed near me again.

  7. I’m sitting here with my mouth hanging open! Every single word of this has been my life for two years! I finally had my fill and left two weeks ago. I couldn’t put what was happening into words except “bully”. I’m a mess right now. These kind of head games for that long is awful. I don’t even know how to heal. Thank you for this. At least I know for sure I did the right thing by leaving. When he was good, it was wonderful. Until he wasn’t.

  8. 25 years now. It’s so true…when he’s great, he’s wonderful! But when he’s frustrated, tired, angry, anxious…any negative emotion, he blows sky high. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells (glass eggshells) every single minute of every single day. He’s relentless in the barrage of degrading accusations, he’s deeply hurtful, occasionally violent with spitting and pushing and shoving. Only once has he TRULY punched me, but so many other times there’s been physical intimidation. He breaks things in anger, he’s thrown things at me in anger. He makes me feel so bad about myself, maybe I am that bad. I don’t listen, I don’t do things ‘right’, I don’t ‘trust’ him, I’m always wrong and he’s always right. Favorite sayings: “I don’t like getting angry or yelling at you, BUT….!!!!!”, “If you’d just LISTEN”, “You never pay ATTENTION”, “That’s why you don’t have any friends”, “If you’d make more money to pay for xxxx then I wouldn’t get so angry!” on and on and on. I dread the rest of my life.

  9. I like to think of myself as a head strong female. However, I have been dating my boyfriend for 3 years. It’s very tricky even with all the red flags waving around to not get sucked in. At the beginning he was very charming and consistent! I thought he was an over protective man. Not only with me, but with himself also. I say this because it took him 3 years to allow me to go to his place because after our 6 months honeymoon phase I started wondering and asking him why he hasn’t taken me to this place he rents, but rather pay for hotels. I constantly told him to leave me alone and accused him of having A double life. Instead of securing my emotions he would restort to calling me materialistic. All my close friends and family told me to run, but I didn’t listen. He finally took me to his place after being with him for 3 years because I finally broke up with him. Unfortunately, I was sucked in again, but it just became worst. My gut always told me to run since the first time I meet him, but now I’m 3 years in and very unhappy. The article hit everything on the nail, fortunately I was very aware of these issues, but what’s sad is that I choose to stay. He tried to control everything I did. Couldn’t go to the gym, store, anywhere without him accusing me of something ridiculous. I question my self esteem constantly and try to justify why I stay. I always knew that it was my decision that made me stay, unfortunately I can’t help but blame society for the emotional impact they have on women who are older then 35 without children and unmarried… I have experienced the impact of desperation while being with a ing man. Therefore, I re-learned to trust my gut instincts and that peace is priceless at any age.

  10. I was married for 2 years and everything mentioned is what he did to me. Luckily he was the one who wanted divorce because he became so paranoid and suspicious of me that it was best for him to separate. But his behaviour made me ill with depression and tried to end my life several times.
    Men like that will never see a true womans worth. But I’m a firm believer in God and karma. No one can hide. He sees everything. There will be justice for the pain. Just wait and watch.

  11. It is really useful to read people’s experiences sand I do thank you all for sharing them. The article is clear and doesn’t pull any punches which is what you need when you find yourself in a stressful situation and don’t know what is what and whether you are imagining things…there are a lot of very serious situations documented here…I hope to god you all get out of them and get some joy from the rest of your lives.
    My situation is in it’s infancy in comparison to most of your experiences but I do notice that a lot of you have ‘sensed’ serious difficulties early on but continued into a more complex, deeper, hellmouth of a relationship. I get it!! However, I am at the stage of trying not to continue to this level. I have been with John for 1 year. There is very little that I do that merits appreciation in his eyes no matter what the effort or motivation behind it. However, there is plenty of comment about what I do wrong-food, friends, how I spend my time, how I am with my dogs, how I drive, and he would never have my back if I needed support as he says he understands why that other person has difficulty with me, anyone would. He has criticised me over the most ridiculous things in front of his friends. I have pulled him up over this and as you can imagine this doesn’t go down well, I just get a reinforcement of why he felt the need to do it. I have an amazing support network of female friends, I am financially independent, have my own place to live-NO EXCUSES. But I am still in the relationship. I know it is not sustainable. I know I must leave. Wish me luck. That’s him on the phone. But he only want’s to talk if it’s ‘fluffy’ not if I want to sort anything out.
    I think there is a fundamental flaw /impairment in my psychological make up that attracts me into these situations so once I deal with the acute situation, ie get myself out of this scenario I need to dig much deeper to avoid it happening again…I really hope that the people whose stories I have read have managed to get away. I bet those of you who have, once you have dealt with all the dreaded anxiety and self doubt have wondered what the heck took you so long…..

  12. Its about time that women realized that ALL men are like this. Not all men are physically abusive, but they all think they are better than women and so try to control them. Ladies, have your own property and protect yourself from the get go. No shared finances, property and have a lawyer ready from day one. PROTECT. PROTECT, PROTECT

  13. I am a survivor of domestic abuse and I did leave. The monster threatened to hurt my 10month old daughter and so of course, I had to leave. It doesnt matter where a woman goes, if you have to live in your car, then it is better for your child to live there if she is free of abuse.

  14. It started off long distance. he wanted me send me screenshots of who I was talking too. He want me to move to him with my 2 kids. I filed to changed my custody. He called the court pretending to me my family. CONSTANTLY accusing me of cheating. I got so sick of it I went out without tell him. 6 months later he still wants to go through my phone and my emails because me claims “if I have nothing to hide,” then I should be out. I finally told him I’ve had enough. He’s alienated me from my friends and family and I’m getting my phone back. He flipped. It’s not physical, but I can’t even have a glass of wine without checking in.. my brain is so confused. I love him and I’m not a cheater. He said I need to prove myself. Prove that I’m worthy of his love. I’m just trying to live a regular life. what do you guys think? I’ve got no one left to talk to because I don’t have a Facebook or any friends left. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve had piece of mind.

  15. Having been in an emotionally abusive relationship, I stand in solidarity with any PERSON who has experienced controlling or absuive behaviour of any kind. It makes you question your morality and can lead to a terribly vicious cycle of self-resentment, depression and loneliness. The points made resonate with me on such a personal level, however, I take issue with the blatantly sexist and targettted argument against men. Women are just as likely to have these traits as men are and that point should be made so that any PERSON seeking support can find impartial help, regardless of what is between their legs.

    Much love to all!

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