What About a Controlling Partner?

Behavior Observations: When There Appears to be a Controlling Partner

Download as a PDF: Behavioral Observations.


The following is a list of areas of concern to be aware of when speaking with and/or observing interactions of caretakers.  Please check any that apply.

__House appears dark and closed in

__Has to have partner present

__Has no contact with family and/or friends

__Has no access to automobile or other transportation

__Has no access to telephone

__Has no way to contact anyone

__Cannot go out alone


__Is expected to anticipate and meet all needs of partner

__Feels unintelligent and uneducated around partner

__Feels unable to be alone or live without partner

__Feels incapable of being a good parent

__Feels responsible for incidents and actions of partner

__Takes responsibility for all difficulties

__Fears that partner will harm children if she/he is not compliant

__Fears that partner will harm pets if she/he is not compliant


__Is not allowed to talk/partner talks over her/him

__Partner speaks for her/him

__Accepts partner’s name calling without responding

__Is often told to “shut up” or “keep quiet”

__Is told by partner what to say and when


__Is not allowed any control of financial matters

__Is not allowed to know any financial information

__Is totally dependent on partner for money


__is verbally threatened that she/he will be hurt

__Is intimidated by non-verbal, physically aggressive behavior of partner

__Is physically abused by partner; i.e. hit, slapped, punched, etc.

__Is helpless to prevent partner from physically harming children

__Is helpless to prevent partner from physically harming pets


__Is “on call” for partners needs and wishes regardless of own desires

__Is forced (raped) against his/her wishes


__Fears that partner will call Children’s Protective Services

__Fears that partner will file for custody of children

__Fears that partner will talk to police first and be believed

__Fears that partner will file a restraining order first


__Confuses partner’s controlling behavior as signs of caring

__Puts other’s needs above own

__History of abusive relationships

__Has generational history of abuse or witnessing abuse

__Uses alcohol and/or other substances

__Low self-esteem/no sense of self

__Headaches, GI problems, physical injuries, frequent doctor visits

__Believes in stereotypical sex roles