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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.

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.

Other times, a person may be threatened with losing their home, access to their children, or financial support if they leave a controlling or abusive partner (or are left by them).But if you keep working out and lose a bit more weight, you'll be more attractive to me." "If you can't even be bothered to make dinner, I don't even know what I'm getting from this relationship." "You'd be hot if only you spent more time on your hair." "If you'd actually finished college, you'd have something to talk about with my friends and wouldn't feel so left out." Though some of these examples are more blatant than others, the message is the same: you, right now, are not good enough.It's the common-denominator theme of many a controlling relationship. Healthy, stable relationships have a sense of reciprocity built into them.Whether or not the threats are genuine, it is just another way for the controlling person to get what they want at the expense of their partner.4) Making acceptance/caring/attraction conditional. "I love you so much more when you're making those sales at work." "I don't feel like being intimate with you.

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