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Learning to Spot the Controller/Abuser

Unfortunately, many women fall into the hands of a controller because they ignore, or aren’t able to recognize the characteristics of men who abuse. These men often fool women into believing they are involved with a man who is loving, caring and affectionate. Instead they turn out to be dominating, uncaring and lacking the confidence to be emotionally intimate. Often these men have little or no self-esteem.

  1. Does he speak with disrespect or anger about women who have been part of his life? For example, his mother, sister, ex-wife? Does he have little respect for women? This may not be evident in early dating, but it will come out later in the relationship.
  2. Does he have a temper? Does he get visibly angry or hostile? What happens when things don’t go right? Can he handle irritation in traffic? When you are late?
  3. Has he ever hit you, treated you roughly or threatened to hurt you in any way?
  4. Does he constantly find fault with you? Is he someone who is proud of his high standards (especially for others) and his desire for excellence? What he is really saying is that he has high standards for everyone else. And if everyone doesn’t meet these standards, they will be made to regret it.
  5. Does he control or disapprove of how you spend your money? A key weapon is money. Stingy and miserly at best, he sees no problem with spending money on himself.
  6. Does he try to take advantage of you sexually, or make sexual demands on you? Does talking about emotional intimacy make him nervous or impatient? Does he understand the difference between affections and having sex? After a fight, does he insist on making up sexually?
  7. Does drinking alcohol even a modest amount make him a different person? (Jekyll & Hyde)
  8. Does he make excuses for his drinking? Does he seem to need a drink often? Does he need to have a drink every day?
  9. Does he use or enjoy humour that puts down or degrades others in subtle or not-so-subtle ways? Does he try to poke fun at others? What kind of compliments does he give?
  10. Does he lack the ability to laugh at himself? The man who likes to make fun of others is seldom capable of laughing at himself. He will usually pout or become irritated. Controllers take themselves very seriously.
  11. Does he find it hard to apologize or does he make excuses for his behaviour? He may claim that people don’t really understand him. When he does apologize, it’s for manipulation purposes.
  12. Does he complain about fellow employees or supervisors who don’t know what they are doing? Is he a “Mr. Know It All” with an opinion on everything, who blames others for his own inadequacies and shortcomings? Is he insecure?
  13. Does he always have to win in sports, table games and other competitive activities? Is his motto, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing?”
  14. Does he usually get his way in deciding when, where, and even what, you will eat, where you will go and what you will do?

He may seem very agreeable and want to give you your way (anything your little heart desires), but notice how he acts when the decision is fairly significant and it’s a matter of his being inconvenienced, having to take second best or doing something he would really prefer not to do.

What happens when he doesn’t get his way? Does he pout or withdraw? Does he let you know that you have disappointed him” Is he unpredictable? Does he keep you slightly off balance? Look back over any number of decisions the two of you supposedly made together recently. Do you feel good about the outcome?

Another mark of the controller is that everything is geared towards him. He is the centre of the universe and you revolve around him. If he can’t get his way by being slightly disappointed or even slightly depressed, he may try the other end of the spectrum by yelling and screaming. Controllers must be dept happy at all costs and the women involved with them pay a very high price for this happiness.


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