Quiz: How to Identify if You Have a Controlling Partner

February 17, 2017

If you're wondering if you have a controlling partner, we've created this Quiz just for you.

Go through the following statements and add the total number of occasions that you answered yes to.


  1. Your partner tells you in subtle or not so subtle ways that your perception of reality is wrong or that your feelings are wrong.


  1. Your partner seems irritated or angry with you often, even though you haven’t done anything that you know of to upset him/her.


  1. You often feel that issues don’t get fully resolved so that you can feel happy and relieved.


  1. You frequently feel confused, sad, frustrated or outraged because you can’t get him/her to understand your intentions.


  1. You are upset not so much about concrete issues, but about the communication – what he thinks you said and what you heard him say.


  1. He/she rarely wants to share his/her thoughts or plans with you.


  1. He/she often denies things that you know he/she did or said.


  1. He/she seems to take the opposite view from you on many things you mention, but the way he/she says it, your view is wrong and his is right.


  1. You often feel unseen or unheard, and sometimes wonder if he/she perceives you as a separate person.


  1. He/she is either angry or has no idea what you are talking about when you try to discuss an issue with him.


  1. You feel abused or negated by him/her, but he/she insists how much he/she loves you.


  1. When you try to communicate how you feel about something, you feel no empathy from him/her, or he negates your feelings.


  1. He/she often frightens you with rage to silence you.


  1. You often feel no empathy from him/her when you are describing how you feel about something..


  1. He/she often manipulates you by ignoring you or withholding affection.


  1. You feel diminished by the time he finishes his/her conversation with you.


  1. He/she always needs to be one up or right.


  1. He/she attempts to define you eg  You’re only doing that for attention.


  1. He/she blames, accuses, judges or criticises you.


  1. He/she counters, blocks or diverts your conversation.


  1. He/she confabulates, ie makes up something negative about you and speaks it as if it is the truth.


  1. He/she often is well behaved in public, but abusive in private.


  1. He/she will not ask for what he/she wants, so that you can negotiate fairly.


  1. He/she will not respond at all to your requests, or will respond with frustration, or will only seem to respond, but not follow through.


  1. Your attempts to enhance the relationship, improve communication, and find some happiness all lead to difficulties.


  1. Whenever you try to explain that you are not thinking what your partner is saying you are thinking or doing, your partner will not hear or understand, or negates you in some way.


  1. You partner behaves well towards you when you are of one mind with him/her, but the trouble starts when you express either different views from him/her or your own feelings.


  1. You often find him/her angrily accusing you of the very things he/she is doing himself/herself.


  1. The way your partner treats you has deteriorated radically since you became more settled together (moved in together, got married, started having children)



How did you score? Add them up, and see which score relates to you below.



0 -5 - There is likely to be some misunderstanding between the two of you. Learning some communication skills should be all you need.


6-10 – There is some level of a control connection in your relationship. It is likely that your partner is trying to test how far he/she can go in developing a control connection with you. You might like to read more about this topic in the articles here, or I highly recommend both of Patricia Evans books The Verbally Abusive Relationship, and Controlling People. The best practical advice is to nip it in the bud on each occasion, as soon as he/she starts by saying something like “Cut it out!” or a repeated “What?”


11 - 20– Your partner is almost certainly attempting to control you to a reasonable degree.   Also, in not being able to see or understand fully what has really been going on, you have unwittingly allowed it to continue. I suggest you read the next blog “Why do we unwittingly let ourselves be controlled? And also get help from a Relationship Psychologist on your own first, as soon as possible. We can help you form an Agreement with your partner against controlling and abuse, and can also help each of you individually in managing this process.


20 and above –Your partner is very controlling. Get help from a Relationship Psychologist on your own first. There is only a small chance that you will be able to re-engineer a more healthy relationship while still living with him/her.



Before you can have a loving relationship with someone, he or she has to see you as a separate person.


If you would like help in dealing with a controlling partner, click here. Our Psychologists are trained to identify controlling behaviour and can help support you, and give you strategies via an Agreement on managing your relationship. We also offer help to the controlling partner in exploring why, and assisting him/her in developing a more respectful and healthy communication style.