You've probably met someone who is controlling or what you'd call a "control freak." The problem is, if you've ever been involved with one, you find out too late even though the red flags and warning signs were all there. Generally, controlling people are the way they are because their own life feels out of control. By gaining control of others, they feel a sense of control in their own life.
Controllers like to prey on people who they see as weak. This usually means someone with self esteem issues, or someone who has recently come out of a relationship or ended a marriage. It begins with "helpful" suggestions or giving you a shoulder to lean on. They claim to know what is "best" for you. They are quick to point out the bad of the person who "wronged" you and will do the exact opposite to gain your trust and show how different they are. Once they see that they've got you hooked, that's when the manipulation and control begin.
Before I give you the signs, I'll give you a couple of examples. One is my ex-boyfriend. It was around the time my marriage ended that we became friends. What a coincidence! He was there to help me through it. My ex-husband didn't appreciate me but he did. He did everything my ex-husband didn't, all the things I'd wanted for so long. Once he gained my trust and knew I was falling for him, it began. First it was my weight. I needed to work out and be healthy. Then I was told I should only speak with my ex-husband about the children and nothing else. My ex-boyfriend would call me when he was away for work and check up on me. Next, I was "too close" to my male friends, and I should not spend time with them, even my friend, Sergio, who was gay. Guys and girls can never be just friends afterall. Next, it was switching from a male GYN to a female GYN. You all see where this is going, right? Then he was asking me who the people on my IM listing were and was becoming increasingly jealous of any male I spoke to, including friends of his. I was lucky enough to get out of that relationship and claim my freedom and my life back. Others aren't so lucky.
A friend of mine from high school, who was already divorced, just ended a relationship with a man she was very much in love with. She then met a new man and began dating him. She knew nothing about him but she was in need of companionship. Theywere married very soon after, and that's when things changed. First, he told her she should move in with him, a half hour away from her family, friend, and work. She took her two children and moved and soon all contact with family and friends was cut off. She had her third child with him yet no one was able to spend time with her or her children. He was always around the few times they were "allowed" to visit with her and there was always tension in the air. Finally, two of her sisters drove up to her house and forced her and her three children to leave. She was afraid to go because he had been physically abusing her. Once she was out of the house, she began to tell the nightmare she had been living. He not only physically and mentally abused her, but he also took and lost all of her life savings on a bad business deal. This all happened because she unknowingly allowed him to take control of her.
Controllers are master maniulators and know exactly how to prey on your weaknesses (and we all have them). Don't let it happen to you. Below are the warning signs.
1) You are in the middle of a marriage or relationship break- up or have just been through one. They are there to help you and they become your best friend.
2) Slowly they begin to offer you advice, to "help" you. This advice usually requires you to depend or lean on them for support.
3) They begin to point out others in your life that are not good for you, for example, they are taking advantage of your good nature and you are allowing them to do it by being so nice to them.
4) Your phone calls, emails, and other communication are monitored. They want either a joint email account or to know your password. It's suggested as something you do together to show there is trust between you, but it's really so they can monitor who you talk to and how often.
5) You have to "check in" with them. They want to know where you are when you aren't with them and who you are spending your time with.
6) You don't spend enough time with them. This is how they begin to pull you away from friends and family, others they see as a threat to their control over you. They can do this in two ways. The first is by making plans during your free time to engage in activities that are limited to being with only them or those they don't see as a threat (generally their friends). They tell you they need more time to spend together to get to know each other better and build the relationship.
7) Once they've begun to separate you from friends and family, then you'll be told who to avoid all together. They will try to put limits on who you can see and who you can't. You know if you don't follow this "request" you will hear about it after.
8) They ask you to move in with them and it's away from where you currently live and where your friends and family live.
Once you have moved in with them and away from your friends and family, the controller quickly escalates his demands. He is now in total control and you've unwittingly placed yourself in this situation. Controllers believe you "BELONG" to them. It's about ownership and control of what they see as theirs. They know how to manipulate and to get what they want. They are masters at it and they do it to everyone in their life.
When I ended my relationship with my ex-boyfriend, he told me it wasn't over till he said it was over. Thankfully I was not living with him anymore, had moved away to another state, and more importantly, regained my self respect, independence, and confidence. I was no longer allowing him to control me in any way, shape, or form. He still calls me to this day at the only number I have not been able to change (work), and I never answer or return his calls. It has been almost 5 years since I ended my relationship with him.
Beware of these red flags and listen to that little voice that tells you something is not right. It's telling you for a reason. Run don't walk.