It is not unheard of for the partner being controlled to feel stuck in a relationship not out of fear that they themselves will be harmed, but that their partner may self-destruct or harm themselves if they were to leave.Other times, a person may be threatened with losing their home, access to their children, or financial support if they leave a controlling or abusive partner (or are left by them).Whether they keep their snooping secret or openly demand that you must share everything with them, it is a violation of boundaries from the get-go.Perhaps he or she checks your phone, logs into your email or constantly tracks your Internet history, and then justifies this by saying they've been burned before, have trust issues, or the old standard: "If you're not doing anything wrong, then you shouldn't mind showing me." It's a violation of your privacy, hand-in-hand with the unsettling message that they have no interest in trusting you and instead want to take on a police-like presence within your relationship. A partner's 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.Or they try to turn you against anyone that you're used to relying on for support besides them.Their goal is to strip you of your support network, and thus your strength—so that you will be less likely or able to stand up against them whenever they want to "win." 2) Chronic criticism—even if it's 'small' things.
But ultimately, no matter how individually small a criticism seems, if it's part of a constant dynamic within your relationship, it would be very tough to feel accepted, loved, or validated.Controlling people use a whole arsenal of tools in order to dominate their partners— whether they or their partners realize what's happening or not.Sometimes, the emotional manipulation is complex enough that the person who is being controlled actually believes that they themselves are the villain, or that they are extremely lucky that their controlling partner "puts up" with them.But if you keep working out and lose a bit more weight, you'll be more attractive to me." "If you can't even be bothered to make dinner, I don't even know what I'm getting from this relationship." "You'd be hot if only you spent more time on your hair." "If you'd actually finished college, you'd have something to talk about with my friends and wouldn't feel so left out." Though some of these examples are more blatant than others, the message is the same: you, right now, are not good enough.It's the common-denominator theme of many a controlling relationship. Healthy, stable relationships have a sense of reciprocity built into them.
Criticism, like isolation, is also something that can start small.