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How do you spot controlling behavior in a marriage?

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Quick Answer

Imposing isolation, criticism, threats, guilt and spying are common methods of control that people in marriages may employ to assert dominance over their spouse, according to Psychology Today. An evident lack of respect, from pressuring to bullying, is observable in controlling relationships.

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Full Answer

Isolating the spouse from her closest friends or family, is a tactic that controlling partners often utilize, states Psychology Today. This method of control may begin with complaints about the frequency of interactions with a family member or expressions of disdain for a friend. A controlling spouse tries to turn the partner against those closest to her so that her entire support system corrodes, making it harder for her to stand up for herself.

Frequent criticism, regardless of the significance of the complaints, erodes the sense of being loved unconditionally or of being an equal, Psychology Today asserts. Consequently, controlling spouses chronically find things to nitpick about, from the way a partner decorates the house to the way she dresses or eats. While the spouse may justify the behavior by saying it is warranted or that he is trying to help her improve, it is unhealthy.

While threats can be about physical harm, often they entail cutting off privileges, leaving the relationship or self-harm, explains Psychology Today. Regardless of how likely the threat is to materialize, it leaves one partner feeling stuck as the other controls the situation .

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