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It's inherent that you will look out for each other, and not bean-count every little time you do something to help the other out.If your partner is forever keeping tally of every last interaction within your relationship—whether to hold a grudge, demand a favor in return or be patted on the back—it could very well be their way of having the upper hand. And controlling behavior on the part of a partner knows no boundaries—people of any age, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status can be in controlling relationships, playing either role.Many of us visualize a controlling partner as one who openly berates everyone in their path, is physically aggressive, or constantly makes overt threats or ultimatums.
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.
And if you are concerned for your safety or want to learn more about possibly abusive relationship patterns, check out It may start subtley, but this is often a first step for a controlling person.
Maybe they complain about how often you talk to your brother on the phone, or say they don't like your best friend and don't think you should hang out with her anymore.
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.
Criticism, like isolation, is also something that can start small.