Would you like to be able to recognize a controlling and possibly abusive person, before you get too involved with them? Or maybe you just don’t want to waste your time on someone who has completely different values that you do. It can be hard to see a potential partner clearly when you are in the breathless haze of falling in love or lust. Here are some suggestions from the swagger team and some information from experts in the field on how to tell if a new potential partner might be right for you and how to identify someone who might become controlling.
Swagger Screening tool
If you have ever been involved in a relationship that ended badly or in which your partner became controlling and abusive, think back to what you wish you would have known before you got in too deep. Especially if a new man/woman is pressuring you for sex, you may want to slow down and get to know the person first. One of my wise friends has the “one month” rule. She won’t sleep with anyone until she knows them for more than a month. It gives her a chance to see if the relationship is one she wants to pursue or not. I like this suggestion as it can be a little easier than just saying no over and over again. As my friend says, “It’s nothing personal, I just don’t sleep with anyone for a month.”
If you are getting to know someone and want to explore his attitudes on women and his values – what questions would you ask? (There may be some different questions in a same sex relationship.) Here are some to consider:
1. How do you feel about equal rights for women or feminism?
2. What are your interests? Do you want to hear about mine?
3. Have you ever been convicted of a felony? (This one might seem out of place – but you are in a “need-to-know” position.)
4. What does a good relationship look like to you? Would you like to hear my views?
5. Do you like _____? Insert whatever you are passionate about – dogs, cats, horses, music, tap-dancing – whatever it is.
Why does he do that? book by Lundy Bancroft
In his book on angry and controlling men, Lundy Bancroft offers a list of red flags you might notice early in your relationship:
*He speaks disrespectfully about his former partners.
*He is disrespectful toward you.
*He does favors for you that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable.
*He is controlling.
*He is possessive. “One of the surest signs that abuse is down the road.”
*Nothing is ever his fault.
*He is self-centered.
*He abuses drugs or alcohol.
*He pressures you for sex.
*He gets serious too quickly about the relationship.
*He intimidates you when he’s angry.
*He has double standards.
*He has negative attitudes toward women.
*He treats you differently around other people.
*He appears to be attracted to vulnerability.
Recognizing a controlling person
In this article from Wikihow, the point is made that people who try to control others are usually selfish and will try to interfere with your happiness. Whether it be a romantic or platonic relationship, the controlling person will try to keep the focus on them and their needs, rather than having equal interest in you and your needs. The article offers some good tips on how to stay in touch with how you feel and to be on the look out for those with moodiness or explosive tempers.
One characteristic of controlling people is they expect you to understand everything about them and what is on their mind. They expect you to conform with an image that they have created – not to act like who you really are. The article says:
“Controlling people often assume that they understand how you think, even when they actually don’t. They may become frustrated because their constructed image of you is at odds with what you say.”
Some tips are offered on freeing yourself from a controlling relationship, once you recognize it.
Good luck as you explore new relationships! By being awake and aware, you may be able to avoid relationships that turn out to be a waste of time or downright scary!