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Have you ever looked at one of your most confident, most intelligent friends get caught in a relationship with a controlling man and thought, “How could this have happened to her?” Controlling men are tricky! And they’re usually seasoned in their game so while a lot of these behaviors are sweet and harmless in and of themselves, they could represent a bigger issue if not rooted in love. Here are 8 ways controlling men trick women into loving them.

Lending you money

A controlling man will not only lend you a large sum of money for something you need or want, but he will convince you that you need or want that thing. These will usually be things that enhance your lifestyle; think anything from a professional cleaning service to plastic surgery to a nicer apartment.




Why it works

Any sane man shouldn’t be offering to lend large sums of money to a woman who, let’s face it, isn’t his wife yet—let alone someone he’s only been dating for a few months! But a controlling man will do this because he knows that, should you sense anything is wrong with the relationship down the road, you’ll feel too guilty to leave him since he lent you that money. He might even make you dependent on him for essentials.







Helping your friends

A controlling man will go out of his way to be helpful to your friends. He’ll get them meetings with people who could benefit their careers, he’ll help negotiate the price on their new cars, he’ll show up to help fix their washing machine because you mentioned it was broken…but they never asked him to be there.








Why it works

A controlling man knows he needs to win over your friends so that, should they later pick up on the fact that the relationship is no good, they’ll feel too guilty to say anything to you about it.










Helping your family

A controlling man will offer to do things for your family that normally only close friends or family should help them out with, like taking care of one of them after an operation or helping them get a better price on a renovation project.

Why it works

Similar to his technique with your friends, a controlling man wants to charm your family so much, that they wouldn’t say anything was ever wrong with the relationship. Of course, family is trickier: most parents, no matter how charming their daughter’s boyfriend might be, will speak up if they feel their child is being abused or controlled. So your boyfriend will be so over the top charming to them that they are even blinded to anything wrong with the relationship.

Telling you your friends don’t appreciate you

A controlling man will slowly, subtly point out how your friends take you for granted, mistreat you, don’t do enough for you and so on.

Why it works

A controlling man wants to put the idea into your head that the world is not a safe place and that you can’t count on anyone but him, and he does this by manipulating the way you see the people you thought you trusted—by making you feel like you have no real friends, and you have to lean on him.



Telling you your job doesn’t appreciate you

A controlling man will slowly, subtly start to point out that other people received promotions before you did—people who, he says, were less qualified than you were. He’ll tell you your coworkers and boss mistreat you and take advantage of you.




Why it works

This is similar to how a controlling man will tell you your friends mistreat you—he wants to make you first feel like you need protection, and second swoop in and offer to be that protection. He wants you to feel like without him, you’d be lost.



Comparing you to their ex

A controlling man will often mention awful things his ex did, and how you are so much better. Or, he might just talk about his friends’ girlfriends, how awful they are, and how much better you are.

Why it works

He is using flattery to win you over. He wants you to feel like you came in and “saved him” from all the awful girlfriends out there. He knows it’s hard for you to walk away from flattery like that.












Getting angry at you

This will usually happen a little later on—once he’s locked you down—but a controlling man will begin to get angry at you when you feel certain you didn’t do anything wrong. He’ll get angry at you for small things, like forgetting to pick up the juice he wanted, or for running 15 minutes late. He’ll tell you that means you “don’t care enough about the relationship.”


Why it works

He’s conditioning you to constantly be thinking about the relationship and revolve your life around it. He’s essentially hoping to exhaust you into submission. After walking on eggshells and feeling like you’re on damage control all of the time, doing everything you can to keep him from getting upset, you’ll be too tired and manipulated to see the relationship clearly. You will believe that you do things wrong all the time—that he is right, and you are wrong.

Charm you with gifts

At every stage of the relationship, a controlling man will charm you with elaborate gifts. In the beginning, he’ll give you gifts that seem a little too much for a new relationship. Later, he’ll give you gifts right after he’s been harsh with you or critical of you.



Why it works

In the beginning, when you receive a huge gift from a controlling man, he knows that you’ll just tell yourself, “He’s so generous. He’s just old fashioned. He’s a gentleman! He must just be madly in love with me!” And later, after he’s begun to emotionally abuse you, when he gives you gifts it will confuse you and manipulate you into staying.

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