Controlling, unhealthy, abusive relationships share the characteristics of destructive cults. They are sometimes called one-on-one cults, micro-cults, or cults of personality. Abusive people use tactics listed in the BITE Model to control and exploit others. Isolation from family and friends, secrecy, and estrangement are tell-tale signs. For this reason, it often takes the family of a victim a long time to realize that they are in a controlling relationship.