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The Exhausted Woman
with Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

30 Different Types of Controlling People

controlling people“This person is so controlling,” is stated about someone who instructs others on who they are, how they feel, what to think, and how to act. It is exhausting to be around this type of person. But how do they operate? Controllers tend to use the same tactic over and over in multiple environments. Once a person catches onto the method, it becomes easier to dodge. Here are 30 examples.

  1. Aggressive – Physical intimidation, temper outbursts, bullying, and verbal threats are used to frighten a victim into compliance.
  2. All-or-nothing – There are no shades of grey the controller will recognize, it is either their way or a complete opposite extreme.
  3. Assumers – The controlling person assumes they know what the victim thinks without asking and refuses to accept any dispute to the contrary.
  4. Attention-seeking – No amount of attention is enough or done in the right manner and it is the fault of the victim for not supplying the exact amount.
  5. Blamer – The victim is blamed for nearly everything while the controller accepts no responsibility.
  6. Charmer – The controller uses flattery and charisma to draw in the victim. Once the victim begins to crave the attention, the controller withdraws to keep the victim in line.
  7. Competitor – There is a constant competition the controller has set up between them and the victim where only the controller knows the rules.
  8. Credit taker – When the victim has an accomplishment, the controller demands significant credit and recognition for their contribution.
  9. Critical – An overly judgmental attitude is used to elevate the status of the controller and demean the victim.
  10. Degrader – Embarrassment, humiliation, and shame are used to make the victim feel small in comparison to the controller.
  11. Denier – The controller denies any problem they are unwilling to address despite all attempts by the victim to bring the issue forward.
  12. Dominator – Any disagreement is considered to be a challenge to their authority and must be squashed.
  13. Exploiter – Deliberately setting up scenarios where the victim explodes so the controller can justify their domineering behavior.
  14. Gift-giver – Elaborate gifts are used to manipulate the victim into performing. Gifts are given with the expectation of some type of return on the investment.
  15. Guilt tripper – The controller tries to make the victim feel guilty for thinking, speaking, or acting a certain way.
  16. Historian – The controller seeks out secret information about the victim to be utilized later as a tool for embarrassment when the victim is non-conforming.
  17. Interrogator – “20 questions” is a game frequently played even over the smallest of issues. The controller is the only person allowed to question, the victim cannot.
  18. Isolator – The controller tells lies about the victim’s family members or friends in an attempt to create a dependency on their opinion.
  19. Jealous – A controlling spouse is envious of their spouse’s best friend or a friend is resentful of other relationships in the victim’s life.
  20. Minimizer – The controller does just enough of a task so the victim can’t complain but refuses to complete it fully.
  21. Moody – The controller justifies their glum behavior with explanations of perceived injustices that the victim has committed.
  22. Name caller – This can get a bit nasty as the controller will often use harsh vocabulary to shock the victim into agreement.
  23. Needy – The victim is expected to read the mind of the controller and meet the controller’s needs ahead of their own.
  24. Never agreeing – The controller refuses to admit they understand the victim even after several clear attempts on the victim’s part.
  25. Over-explainer – Hour long explanations are given for simple issues in an effort to wear the victim out.
  26. Passive-aggressive – This is a sneaky undermining where the victim is often unable to point out specific events and when they do, it sounds trivial. It is not; rather this is like a constantly dripping faucet.
  27. Pressure pusher – Constantly pressuring the victim to give into the desires and wishes of the controller even after they have said, “No.”
  28. Silence – Instead of acting out, the controller ignores, underplays, or disregards the victim so they become insecure and are more willing to submit.
  29. Urgency – The controller insists on immediate action not giving the victim enough time to think through a scenario.
  30. Victim – The controller pulls out some traumatic event as continued justification for their behavior and refusal to accept accountability.


30 Different Types of Controlling People

Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

Christine is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor by the State of Florida with over fifteen years of experience in counseling, teaching and ministry.

She works primarily with exhausted women and their families in conflict situations to ensure peaceful resolutions at home and in the workplace. She has blogs, articles, and newsletters designed to assist in meeting your needs.

As author of the award winning book, The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook, Christine is a guest speaker at churches, women’s organizations, and corporations.

You can connect with her at her website Grow with Christine at


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APA Reference
Hammond, C. (2017). 30 Different Types of Controlling People. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from