Protective Vs Possessive – 4 Important Differences

There is a thin line between being protective and being possessive, and it’s quite easy to step over it. However, there are some actual differences between those two, and once you know them, it will be easier not to confuse being protective with being possessive.

So I will try to explain why sometimes they might seem the same thing, but they are totally different, and how to stop being possessive since this is a toxic trait.

protective vs possessive

4 Differences between being protective and possessive

Here are the four biggest differences between someone that is possessive and someone protective that will make clear why one is a toxic trait while the other one is a healthy trait.

1. The intention behind

This is the biggest difference between protective and possessive in many circumstances. 

When you are protective, you have a good intention behind your actions, you want the person you care about to be safe, while when you are possessive, all you want is to control them and make sure you don’t lose them.

When you are protective, you don’t want to control them but rather help them decide what is safer and best for them without being selfish.

2. Where does it come from

Protectivity comes from love and cares for the other person, while possessivity comes from our insecurities and a lack of confidence, and selfishness combined with the need for control and being superior.

3. Frequency

-There is no need to be protective as often if we are realistic, while a possessive person will look for every small reason to be possessive just to show the other person that they own them in a way.

Many times possessive people will say that they are protective while they want to take your freedom, so we should pay more attention to other details, not what they say.

4. The result

When someone is possessive, the other person will feel overwhelmed and pushed to make drastic decisions, usually to choose between the person that is possessive and what they want to do. So it’s quite easy always to feel stressed, and under pressure when you live with a possessive person, this is not normal, in a relationship, you should feel safe and free, not under pressure.

In contrast, when you live with a protective person, you have the confidence that they will be there for you, but they will not put you to make such a drastic decision only to show them that you would choose them. Usually, people that live with protective people are happier and have an easier time opening up and talking more honestly.

So the results when you are possessive will always be a toxic relationship, while when you are protective will be a happier and healthier relationship.

This can apply to friends, not only in a relationship. Here is an article about different power dynamics in friendships that you should know about.

Read Also: Is Being Assertive Attractive? 

How to stop being possessive?

If you think you are possessive and you want to change that, the first thing I want to do is to congratulate you, it is not easy to realize that and want to change it.

The first step is to be more confident and understand that your partner or friends chose you in the first place because they liked you. Do not focus on forcing them to stay with you from now on, but rather focus on improving yourself, so you will still be likable, and they will stay with you because they want, not because they feel forced.

When you start to believe in yourself, you will start to believe in people around you as well, and this is great since in order to be protective and not possessive, you have to believe in people around you, not always be worried that you will lose them.

Think about the long term, one of the biggest problems with possessive people is that they think short term, they don’t care how their actions will affect their future, all they want is to secure the present.

If you really love a person, even as a friend, it is only natural that you will want them to be there as much as possible. Being possessive is just a sure way that you will make them want to distance themselves from you, or even if they stay, they will not be as you knew them since that relationship will become toxic quickly.

Read Also: Quiet Vs. Talkative Person


Being protective and possessive seem similar, but they are so different regarding why someone is one way or another. Being able to see the difference between them is great since you are able to avoid people that will tend to be possessive, since this is a trait that is not easy to change, not impossible, but many times it is not worth your time and effort.