By Chris Seiter

Published on November 20th, 2023

Understanding why an ex-girlfriend might wish to control you after a breakup involves understanding the mind of your ex.

The short answer to this relationship issue is that it often stems from unresolved feelings, a need for power, jealousy, or difficulty accepting the end of the relationship. These motivations reveal deeper psychological issues that extend beyond the surface of the breakup

While every situation is unique, there are common psychological factors that might contribute to this behavior. Let’s delve into them in detail.

Psychological Factors Behind An Ex Trying To Control You

  1. Need for Power and Control: After a breakup, the loss of a relationship can feel like a loss of control. Your ex may be trying to regain that sense of control by attempting to influence your actions or decisions. This need for control can stem from personal insecurities or a desire to maintain a connection, albeit in a dysfunctional way.

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  1. Unresolved Emotional Attachment: Even after a relationship ends, emotional attachments can linger. Your ex might be struggling to let go and, by exerting control, is trying to maintain some form of attachment to you.
  2. Jealousy and Possessiveness: If your ex is jealous of your post-breakup life or new relationships, she may try to control you as a way of keeping you emotionally tied to her. This possessiveness is often rooted in insecurity.
  3. Difficulty in Handling the Breakup: Everyone handles breakups differently. Your ex might be finding it hard to accept the end of the relationship and, as a result, is trying to exert control as a way of coping with her feelings.
  4. Desire for Retaliation or Punishment: If the breakup was contentious, your ex might want to control or hurt you as a form of retaliation. This is especially true if she feels wronged or hurt by the breakup.
  5. Manipulative Behavior: Some individuals have a tendency towards manipulative behavior, which can become more pronounced after a breakup. This could be a pattern that existed even during the relationship. This is one such way your ex may try to control just about every aspect of the relationship.

The Impact of Control Tactics Used By Your Ex

Experiencing control from an ex can be mentally and emotionally draining. It can lead to stress, anxiety, and a feeling of being trapped.When an ex tries to exert full control over you, it can significantly strain both past and current relationships.

This control can manifest as constant interference, leading to stress, anxiety, and a feeling of being trapped. It undermines your autonomy, affecting your self-esteem and decision-making.

Such behavior can also hinder your ability to move on and form new, healthy relationships, as the lingering influence of your ex creates an invisible barrier. The impact extends beyond just you, potentially straining relationships with friends and family who may also be affected by the ex’s intrusive behavior. Recognizing and addressing this issue is crucial for emotional well-being and personal growth.

It’s crucial to recognize these tactics and understand their impact on your recovery and what you should do about it.

How to Deal with a Controlling Ex

  1. Set Clear Boundaries: Establish and communicate clear boundaries with your ex. Let her know what behaviors are unacceptable and stick to these boundaries firmly.
  2. Avoid Engaging: Do not engage with manipulative behavior. The more you respond, the more you might unintentionally encourage her to continue and before you realize it, the cycle of control is running rampant in both of your lives.
  3. Seek Support: Talk to friends, family, or a professional counselor about the situation. Support systems are crucial in dealing with emotional stress.
  4. Legal Measures: If the control attempts escalate to harassment or stalking, consider legal measures such as a restraining order.
  5. Focus on Your Well-Being: Prioritize your mental and emotional health. Engage in activities that promote your emotional health and help you move forward in peace.
  6. Reflect on the Relationship: Understanding the dynamics of your past relationship can provide insights into why your ex might be behaving this way. However, remember that understanding does not mean you have to accept or tolerate the behavior.  No one should be under someone else’s thumb to the detriment of the relationship.
  7. Communication: If it’s safe and you feel it might be constructive, have an honest conversation with your ex about her behavior and its impact on you and how you feel that your choices are diminishing because of her desire to manage everything.

Moving Forward and Away From Control

Moving forward from a relationship where control is an issue can be challenging but is essential for your personal growth and future happiness.

Learning from this experience, understanding your own needs, and recognizing red flags in future relationships will help you in forming healthier connections.

It’s important to understand that while these reasons might explain your ex’s behavior, they do not justify it. Taking steps to protect yourself, setting boundaries, and focusing on your own well-being are key to moving forward.

Remember, it’s okay to seek help and take the time you need to heal and regain your sense of self.

The Expert’s Corner:  FAQs Regarding An Ex Who Wishes To Control You

  1. Why does my ex-girlfriend still try to control me after we’ve broken up?
    • Your ex-girlfriend may still be trying to control you due to unresolved feelings, a desire for power or connection, jealousy, or difficulty in accepting the breakup. This behavior often stems from her own insecurities or emotional challenges.
  2. Is it normal to feel overwhelmed by my ex’s controlling behavior?
    • Yes, feeling overwhelmed is a normal response. Such behavior can be emotionally taxing and can create significant stress and anxiety.
  3. How can I set boundaries with a controlling ex-girlfriend?
    • Clearly communicate your limits in a calm and firm manner. Be consistent in enforcing these boundaries and avoid engaging in arguments or conflicts that arise from her attempts to control you.
  4. What should I do if my ex-girlfriend’s behavior is affecting my current relationship?
    • Discuss the situation openly with your current partner. Work together to establish boundaries and consider seeking support from a counselor to navigate this challenge.
  5. Can a controlling ex-girlfriend change her behavior?
    • Change is possible, but it depends on her willingness to recognize her behavior and seek help. However, your primary focus should be on your well-being, not on changing her behavior.
  6. Should I completely cut off contact with a controlling ex-girlfriend?
    • If her behavior is toxic and negatively impacts your life, cutting off contact might be necessary. This step should be considered especially if communication and boundary setting have not been effective.
  7. What are the signs of controlling behavior from an ex?
    • Signs include excessive texting or calling, trying to influence your decisions, unwanted interference in your personal life, and attempts to manipulate your emotions.
  8. How can I emotionally detach from a controlling ex-girlfriend?
    • Focus on your personal growth, engage in activities you enjoy, seek support from friends and family, and consider professional counseling. It’s important to process your emotions healthily and rebuild your sense of self.
  9. Is it advisable to seek legal help against a controlling ex-girlfriend?
    • If her behavior crosses into harassment or stalking, it’s advisable to seek legal help. Laws vary by location, so consider consulting with a legal professional about your options.
  10. How do I deal with mutual friends who are influenced by my controlling ex-girlfriend?
    • Communicate your perspective to these friends without bad-mouthing your ex. Set boundaries regarding what is shared with her and decide how to maintain these friendships under the new circumstances.
  11. Can talking to my ex about her controlling behavior help?
    • It might help if you believe she is open to understanding your perspective and changing her behavior. However, prioritize your safety and emotional well-being, and avoid such conversations if they might lead to further conflict or stress.

12. How can a Relationship Coach help me deal with a controlling ex-girlfriend?

      • A Relationship Coach can provide valuable guidance and support in dealing with a controlling ex. They can help you understand the dynamics of your past relationship, identify patterns of behavior, and develop strategies to effectively set boundaries and communicate. Coaches also offer emotional support, helping you to regain confidence and move forward. Their objective perspective can be crucial in recognizing unhealthy patterns and learning healthier ways to interact or detach from your ex, contributing significantly to your personal growth and emotional healing.
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Chris Seiter
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