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Signs of a Controlling Woman and How Can You Deal With Them

Signs of a Controlling Woman and How Can You Deal With Them

Updated on Sep 20, 2023

Reviewed by Katina Tarver, MA (Mental Health and Wellness Counseling) , Life & Relationship Coach

Signs of a Controlling Woman - 25 Signs, Traits & Ways to Deal With Them

You do not have to put much effort into understanding the signs of a controlling woman in your life.

It can be your mother, your wife, or your girlfriend who will have a huge impact on your life. They can try to control every step you are taking in every moment.

If you end up with someone who is a control freak and wants to decide everything for you, your relationship is not going anywhere good. 

Things can get really toxic with time and affect your mental health negatively. 

If you realize that you are in a relationship with a controlling woman and everything in your life is a mess, try to find a way to resolve it. 

Either try to control your situation or move out of your relationship if you want to enjoy your freedom and have peace of mind. 

Signs of a Controlling Woman and How Can You Deal With Them
Signs of a Controlling Woman and How Can You Deal With Them

25 Signs of a Controlling Woman

There are several signs that can point out a controlling woman in your life. You just have to be ready to connect the dots and accept the facts. 

Sometimes people are too blind in love that they avoid understanding what is in front of them. 

You may not be ready to embrace the fact that the woman you love is a control freak. 

You can start giving excuses to yourself that she is doing these things for your good. But controlling someone else’s life can never be good for anyone in this world. 

There is a huge difference between someone who is trying to help you to make the right decision or making all your decisions by herself. 

A controlling woman may have angry outbursts or a bad mood often.

She is always ready to blame you for anything bad in life. You can never win an argument with someone like this. 

It is nearly impossible to make her laugh or happy by doing something for them. She will always find some faults in your work. 

1. Want things in her way

She will never accept anything if you are not doing it in her way. 

She believes that she is doing the right thing for you, and it is her responsibility to provide you with everything good.

Everything you do or want is not good for you and you must not force your way in. 

A controlling girlfriend is not ready to take the risk to let you make your own choice. 

There are several insecurities in her mind about your life. She is afraid that if she does not take charge your life will fall apart. 

2. Wants to know every detail of your life

She will never accept the fact that you have a personal life too. She will do anything to know every detail of your life.

There is no privacy or no space in a relationship, no matter how old you are.

She believes that she has the right to know everything about her partner and he should not hide a single thing from her.

It is hard to hide anything from them even if you want to. 

3. Enjoy controlling you

A controlling girlfriend always enjoys controlling her partner’s life. 

She receives great pleasure when she is successful in making you do something. Every time you listen to her, it gives her satisfaction and happiness. 

Her intentions may not be bad but her methods are not entirely right.

She is not able to understand how you feel in these situations when she tries to make decisions for your life. 

A controlling girlfriend will continue pushing her partner without considering once that she may not be right in certain situations. 

Every time you are asked to do something, the whole process of bringing you on the same page becomes enjoyable for her.  

4. Wants to make your personal decisions for you

A controlling girlfriend will always try to interfere in all your personal matters. 

Once you are in a relationship with someone like this, it is going to be very hard to take some time for yourself and deal with your problems alone. 

Every time you try to do something on your own, your girlfriend will enter the situation and take the things into her hands. 

She can force her decisions into you without considering your thoughts or your feelings. 

She believes that as your partner she should give her opinion on every single thing in your life and you should not have anything personal anymore. 

5. She opts for emotional blackmailing

Emotional blackmail is another important method to control someone and their choices. 

When your girlfriend is asking you to do something and you are not ready to listen, she may try to get your attention emotionally. 

If you love someone or care for someone, it is hard to see them unhappy. She is just going to use this against you. 

If your girlfriend is too subtle in control, you will do everything she says without even realizing it. 

She can use puppy eyes, tears, pleading requests, and any other emotional method to make you listen. 

Manipulating her partner by using his/ her emotional state and emotional behavior is way too easy for a woman with a controlling personality. 

6. Puts herself in a higher position

For a control freak girlfriend, the hierarchy of a relationship is very important. 

She will try to be better than you in every situation or in every aspect of life, to control your behavior. She will do anything to be considered reliable by you. 

A controlling partner will try to prove that she can handle any situation in a better way so that you can turn to her every time something is wrong. 

Though she can be better than you in everything and it is nothing wrong to rely on her. But she should value your opinions and your feelings too. 

Always trying to make you do things is really disrespectful in any relationship.

If this better version is just a layer of her controlling behavior to make you listen to her, things are going to be more complicated with time. 

Your mental starter is never going to be pleasant or satisfied in the long run when you have a controlling girlfriend in your life. 

7. Blame everything on you

Every time things go wrong you are the one to blame. 

It is almost impossible to receive an apology from a controlling girlfriend even if it is her fault. She will always find a way to put the blame on you and make you feel guilty. 

She does not think that it is necessary to look into the matter to understand who’s a fault it is.

Her explanations and reasons to blame you are always ready and you can do nothing about it. 

8. Wants you to be available always

You have to make yourself available for them all the time no matter how busy you are. Nothing is more important for them than their needs. 

If you are caught up with some work when she needs you, things can really become complicated between you two. 

She is not at all flexible and she will never give you a chance to explain your situation. 

A controlling girlfriend believes that it is your duty to give all your attention to her and she should be your priority all the time. 

9. She can use gaslighting

Gaslighting is very common and a major red flag in controlling relationships. 

You can experience psychological as well as physical abuse from your partner, sometimes not even realizing it. Her behavior can make you question yourself. 

Every time your partner does not get the satisfaction of controlling your choices she can project all her frustration and anger on you. 

It is not really good for your psychological well-being and you must stand up for yourself if you want to have a peaceful life.  

10. Conditional love

Unconditional love is never a part of any controlling relationship.

You will always find an underlying condition in some way or the other from your woman in every step of your relationship. 

Her needs and her desires are always the priority and there are several demands involved. 

Every time you ask for anything you will receive a condition from them, even if you are just asking for a romantic evening with her. 

She will try to control your personal life and your daily routine too. Sometimes she may even try to put some conditions when you are doing something for yourself every time. 

An example will help you bring more light to this concept. Say, you want to go to your cousin’s birthday party. 

Your girlfriend may not be happy with your decision. She may give you some conditions like, ‘if you want to attend the birthday party, you will have to take me on a vacation.’  

11. Use your guilts

A controlling wife tends to use her partner’s guilt to get things in her way. You may have done something wrong or you are feeling guilty about something. 

She may try to make you feel worse about it until you start to believe that your partner is the only one who knows what is right for you. 

Thus, when the guilt is overwhelming you will do anything to avoid similar feelings. 

Especially if the guilt is somewhat related to your partner, it is natural to do anything to make it up to her even if it means listening to everything she has to say. 

12. Question everything you do

Even if you manage to make your own choices sometimes, she is there to question your every decision. 

Every time you make a choice, she is going to ask you multiple questions and it can create doubts in your mind. 

She will do anything to make you feel that you have not made the right choices and you must listen to her next time. 

Asking questions in every step of life can affect self-confidence and create unnecessary concerns and confusion about different things. 

It is hard for her to believe that you are eligible to make important decisions without any assistance. 

13. Does not like your friends

A controlling wife is not very fond of your friends. She will try to isolate you from them and keep you to herself only. 

Every time you plan something with your friends or hang out with them, it can create arguments between you and your wife. 

She will never approve of you spending time with any of your friends, no matter how good they are. 

There may be an effort to make you believe that the friends you have may not be good for you at all.

Every time there is a plan, she will make it her priority to ruin it in any way. 

14. Can give threats 

Threatening behavior is not something that always comes from your enemies or the people who dislike you. 

You can see certain behavior from a controlling wife too. She will do anything to make you listen to her.  

She may threaten you with leaving the house or giving you a divorce in different situations of life.

Harming herself when things are not getting in her way is another common form of threat. 

If she is talking about divorce and still you are not giving the response she wants, you may receive another threat of losing access to your children just after. 

15. Constantly snooping around

Though some people find it hard to believe that snooping or spying is a sign of controlling behavior, it is something that no one can ignore entirely. 

A controlling wife may feel that it is her right to spy on you to see if you are hiding anything or not. 

It is not always necessary to share each and everything instantly with your partner. Certain things you may need time to process yourself before sharing. 

Everyone should give their partner that space if they are just not ready to talk yet.  

Whereas, a controlling wife will never like the idea of taking your time or processing things on your own. 

If she feels that there is something going on, she may start snooping around, checking your phone, or going through your stuff behind your back. 

Sometimes, they can start asking around different questions to your friends. 

They are not ready to accept the fact that it is really disrespectful and rude to spy on their partners without appropriate reason. 

16. Do not take ‘no’ for an answer

A controlling wife will never take no for an answer.

If you are not ready to listen to her, she will take any step needed to make you listen. She can do anything to make you agree with her. 

You will get several explanations every time you say no and it will continue until you say yes. 

She will never stop trying until she gets what she wants from you. It is hard to win any argument with her.

She can give you hundreds of reasons to support her words and she is always ready with a response. She will continue dragging until you accept defeat and apologies. 

17. She is moody

It is not easy to track her mood if she has a controlling personality. You can see a difference in her mood very easily.

If she is in a good mood right now the next moment she can be in a very bad mood. 

18. She is always jealous 

A little bit of jealousy in a relationship can be considered really romantic and flattering for some people. 

Jealousy in certain situations may signify that they care for you and they are possessive about you.

The moment it starts to affect your mental peace negatively, things can really heat up between couples. 

With time controlling women start to feel extremely insecure about their partner and they are not ready to share you with anyone else.

It can be really hard to talk to anyone around you when you are with someone controlling. She may even get furious when you are talking to any of your friends. 

Whenever you are out your wife will start getting paranoid and insecure about you. Sometimes, she can get really jealous of your bond with your mother or your family. 

No matter how hard you try to make her understand, it is almost impossible to change her views and thoughts in these situations. 

19. Will try to change you

A controlling wife always thinks that it is her duty to make you a perfect husband even if she needs you to force you to change yourself for it. 

Two very different people come closer and build a relationship with each other.

It does not change the fact that they both are not the same and they both have different perspectives and everything. 

It is not possible to have similar views about every single thing.

That does not mean one has to change their perspective for the other person. Whereas, controlling people do not believe in this concept. 

A controlling wife will do everything to change the habits that she does not like in you. They just can not accept the things that differ from their opinions of their partner. 

20. Want to know your passwords

According to her, after marriage, you should not access any social media alone and it is not right to talk to anyone on social media. 

She thinks that she should be in charge of your social media accounts and access everything you do there. 

A controlling wife does not agree with the concept of privacy or boundaries. She can be insecure about her husband and unable to trust him properly. 

If her partner spends time on a social media platform, she will always wonder what he is doing out there. 

It is more convenient for her to know all the passwords so that she can check in from time to time and keep track of everything her part is doing out there. 

21. Complains a lot

It is nearly impossible to satisfy someone with a controlling personality. They are very hard to impress. 

If your mother has a similar personality pattern, you will find her complaining most of the time about almost everything. 

She is not going to be pleased easily. You can not live up to her dreams, she will always find something to complain about.

With time things can get really irritating and hamper your relationship with your mother. 

22. Criticize you all the time

Criticizing you in almost everything can be a major sign of a controlling mother. She is always ready to find something negative in your life or your work. 

No matter how much effort you put into something, it is hard to catch their attention on the positive side. 

She will never leave a chance to find something wrong in your thoughts, your behavior, or your performance. 

Though you are receiving criticism from her about everything, she may try to make you believe that it is necessary for your growth and improvement. 

Her focus is always on the drawbacks and in the areas where you are lagging. But, she will not give enough importance to your hard work to overcome those areas. 

23. Gets embarrassed by you easily

When your mother has a controlling personality, you have to be extra careful in every step of your life. 

A controlling woman gets embarrassed by someone too easily, especially when the person is close to her. 

If things are not going according to her plan and you are the reason behind it, she will feel really disappointed in you without understanding the situation. 

No matter how hard you try to explain yourself to her, she is never going to accept the fact that you are not listening to her. Things can get more intense when you are in public, around others. 

24. No personal space

After a certain age, every kid needs their personal space for their emotional development and growth in life. 

A controlling mother does not believe in this concept. She thinks that giving space to her children will ruin their lives and make them bad.

According to her, it is her duty to make every choice for her child and to see what is good for them. 

She will always try to interfere in all your decisions no matter how old you are.

Making you feel guilty for demanding some alone time is another sign of a controlling personality. 

25. Short tempered

You can see anger outbursts now and then if you have a controlling mother. They are not very good at controlling their negative emotions. 

Every time something does not go according to their plan, it can create a bad temperament in them. 

If you disobey your controlling mother in a certain situation, the next thing you have to face is her bad temper.

She can displace all her suppressed frustration in you or anyone who is in front at that moment. 

Someone like this is unable to control their anger in a situation where she is not in charge of your decisions. 

Controlling Women Traits

A controlling woman generally has four main behaviors that can lead to other signs. 

Angry outbursts 

Angry outbursts are very common in the case of controlling women. 

When things do not go in their way, they experience a wave of uncontrollable anger and its effect is not that good.

This anger can make them do or say certain things that are never good for anyone. 


Rigidity is something that does not allow anyone to see someone else’s point of view. 

Some people are too caught up with their own perspectives that they are not flexible enough to let someone tell them otherwise. 

They are not even ready to consider anything else other than their own beliefs.  These women will do whatever they think is right. 

No matter how hard you try to catch their attention and make them understand your views, nothing is going to work at all. 

Passive-aggressive behavior

Passive-aggressive behavior is not showing aggression even when you are not ready to agree with what she is saying. 

She will give you the silent treatment or avoid you entirely instead of fighting with you or forcing you to agree directly. 

It is an indirect way of making someone listen. She will never stop the behavior until you are ready to change your views and agree with her. 

Intrusive behavior 

Intrusive behavior is a need to guide someone or monitor them and teach them the right way to do something. 

She will not like your method of doing something or achieving something. She believes that she knows the best and only her way can help you to succeed on your path. 

The need for supervising you and making your work easier is not easy to deal with. She thinks you are not doing things in the right way and you should learn from her.

Body Language of a Controlling Woman 

A controlling woman will try to achieve everything she wants no matter what. Her body language or behavior can be irritating and disrespectful sometimes. 

Different women apply different methods like punishment, fear, or pressure to control someone else’s behavior.

They will never stop until their wishes are fulfilled. Here are some varieties of body language that you can observe in a controlling woman. 

  • Smirking
  • Pouting
  • Finger pointing
  • Seducing
  • Walking away
  • Withdrawing
  • Crying
  • Temper tantrums
  • Glaring
  • Eye rolling
  • Punishing glances

Variety of Tones That a Controlling Woman Can Use

A controlling woman uses different tones of their voice to make someone listen. 

According to the situation or the person she is talking to, her tone may vary. If things are not working in some way she will use a different method to get what she wants. 

Here are the ones that you may find in their voice while talking to someone.

  • Whiny 
  • Teasing 
  • Seductive
  • Fragile
  • Helpless
  • Threatening
  • Silence
  • Aggressive
  • Intimidating
  • Loud
  • Charming 

Why Are Women So Controlling?

Different studies have suggested that women are generally more controlling and abusive in a relationship than men.

Their controlling behavior is somewhat connected to their physical aggression. 

Whereas men tend to be physically aggressive towards their friend’s circle. But women are more physically aggressive and abusive towards their romantic partners. 

Some researchers have called the term ‘Intimate Terrorism’ to define the controlling or abusive behavior of a woman towards her partner. 

There are several reasons that can be responsible for a woman to be controlling. It can be a result of certain psychological conditions like insecurities or anxiety. 

If a woman is too insecure about someone or something she will do anything to have that person in her life. 

She is not ready to trust anyone in any situation. She wants to be in control all the time.

If the control is in her hands no one else can harm her or make her feel bad in any situation. 

She may have a controlling personality. People with controlling personalities can do anything to put someone else under their thumb. 

They do not like to hear the word ‘no’ and get whatever they want in life. It can be learned behavior too. 

If she has seen someone controlling her life closely, she can learn the behavioral pattern even without realizing it. 

It is possible that she had a controlling mother or a controlling sibling. Any childhood trauma can also be responsible for this behavioral pattern. 

If her parents were really abusive to her it can affect their mental health. Or any kind of threatening experience or a bad relationship can create a need for safety in her life.

The need can be a reason behind her behavior to control everything around her. She believes that if she is in charge nothing can control her ever for anything. 

What To Do If You Are in a Relationship with a Controlling Woman

Try to understand her 

There are several things that can be responsible for controlling behavior. Several insecurities, fear, or even certain past experiences can make someone controlling. 

They may have experienced something terrible that they are not ready to trust someone and want to be in control all the time. 

If you end up being in a controlling relationship with a woman and you do not want to break up with her, make some effort to understand her. Try to find out her insecurities or her greatest fear. 

Observe her behavior and find out when she is trying to control you the most. Figure out the things that are making her anxious and angry. 

It will help you to understand the reasons behind her behavior and her thoughts. 

Once you figure out the source of the problem, it will be easier for you to find a solution and resolve the issues in your relationship. 

Make her realize

Sometimes, a person may not even realize that she is trying to control someone else. Talk to your woman and find out if she is doing it knowingly or unknowingly. 

If she knows what she is doing, you can talk to her about the reasons or the thoughts behind her behavior. 

If she is trying to control you unknowingly then you should sit down with her and have a heart-to-heart discussion. Point out the signs and try to make her understand the situation. 

Tell her what you feel

Once you realize that you are in a relationship with a controlling woman, the first thing you should do is talk to her. 

Communication is really important in any relationship and it can help you to resolve most of your problems. 

Things can be more complicated if you are married to a  controlling woman. Take some time for yourself and sit with them. 

Tell her how you feel when she is trying to control you. It will take time but if she really loves you, she will make some effort to understand your feelings. 

Every time she is showing some signs you must make her calm down and try to have a healthy discussion. 

Make some extra effort to make her understand your thoughts. If you are making certain choices in life try to make her understand the reasons behind them. 

Seek therapy

If you both want to continue the relationship and she is ready to improve her condition you can take her for therapy. 

Professional help will help you both to understand each other and develop a healthy relationship. You can go for a family therapy session or a couple therapy session. 

Psychodynamic therapy will help her to reach the core of her problem and understand the underlying reasons. 

The factors that are forcing her to behave in a certain way can come out through this approach with proper guidance and help her to improve them. 

Cognitive behavior therapy or behavior therapy will help her to modify her controlling behavior and change it. 

With professional help, she will be able to understand you and she will learn to consider your feelings and your thoughts before making certain choices. 

Break up 

Break up is always the easiest way out. If you feel that your partner does not have any feelings for you or does not care for you it is better to get out of this kind of relationship. 

Staying in a loveless relationship can be extremely painful and unhappy for both of you. Too much controlling behavior can make a healthy relationship extremely toxic.

You can feel suffocated and trapped inside a relationship when you are with a controlling girlfriend or a controlling wife. 

If you feel that you are not ready to make an effort to save your relationship you can always come out of it. 

It is better to move on rather than affect your mental health and peace when you are not ready to deal with any more controlling behavior from your partner. 


Being in a relationship with a controlling woman does not give any peaceful or pleasant experience most of the time. 

There are several signs that can help you to understand if your partner is trying to control you or not. 

Once you realize that you are being controlled by your partner it will be easier for you to think of the next step in your relationship.