You married your spouse, believing that “This is it. This is my Happily Ever After.” Your spouse was the sort of person who made your heart flutter, the sort of person you felt you could spend the rest of your life with.
But now, you’re not so sure. You feel like there’s something terribly, horribly wrong, and you can’t quite put a finger on it.
1. You don’t feel safe in your own house, because you’re afraid your spouse will hurt — or worse, kill — you.
2. You’re confused by your spouse’s behavior. One moment, they’re the happiest person in the world; the next, they want nothing more than to throw the nearest dangerous object at you.
3. You feel like a dog with a leash around your neck. You can’t do anything without your spouse’s express permission.
4. When you do something on your own, you always think “How would my spouse feel about this?” You rarely think about how you can be happy, because you’re always in “Put the Spouse First” mode.
6. You have strong passive-aggressive tendencies. Because you couldn’t take out your anger directly on your spouse, you learned to project your inner resentment on others.
7. You feel worthless. You often have thoughts like “I’m never good enough” or “I’m the worst human being who ever existed.”
8. You feel like your accomplishments, when you have them, are nothing to be proud of. You play them down as a result of “luck,” or “If it wasn’t for this incident or that person, I wouldn’t be able to do this!”
9. You feel like you have to put on a front to protect the appearance of a happy marriage. Otherwise, you feel ashamed of yourself, and on behalf of your spouse.
10. Your concept of right and wrong can be summed up as “My spouse is always right, and I’m always wrong.” Continue reading
It’s painful to think that your husband may actually hate you. After all, his is the first face you see in the morning, and the last before you go to sleep. When he seems to think badly of you every single day, it can be an uncomfortable experience, to say the least.
But does he really hate you? Or is he stressed out at work, or feeling inadequate about something?
He ignores you.
Every time your husband comes home, he walks past you without even saying “Hi.” If you try to talk to him, he can only spare you a grunt or snort. Granted, there are things that even spouses shouldn’t share with each other, but for him to do that to you every single time? That’s not fair.
Also, he seems to be making more and more decisions without your input lately. Whether it’s because he thinks you’ll contradict/upset him, or he thinks you don’t have anything valuable to say at all, that’s not a good sign. Continue reading
Your lover is perfect in every way. They shower you with gifts. They flatter you with compliments. And they wait on you hand and foot. It’s almost like a fairy tale, isn’t it?
But, even in fairy tales, nothing is what it seems. The beautiful queen is a witch. The frog is a prince. And the ugly old beggar is a fairy in disguise.
It’s the same thing with love.
Sometimes, gestures that seem to be out of kindness and compassion are, in fact, elaborate schemes to trap you in a web of lies and deceit. That’s how narcissists operate: They’re “kind” to their victims only for as long as it serves them. Once they get what they want from you, and they no longer see any benefit from keeping you around, that’s their cue to say Adios.
As a potential narcissist’s lover, how do you know what’s real and what’s not? How do you know if your lover is genuinely kind and loving, or is just pretending to be?
Your relationship is moving too fast.
As far as your lover is concerned, it’s not just love at first sight. It has to be love at the first second. The moment you exchange numbers, your inbox gets flooded with 100 messages from your lover alone!
From a certain point of view, that may seem romantic. That may also be a sign that your lover is too inexperienced or socially inept to express affection like most people do. But when it comes to something where your heart is at stake, it’s better to err on the side of caution, and assume that your lover may have less-than-pure motives for escalating things too quickly.
You never hear anything negative from them at all.
Now, that’s not to say you should only accept criticism. Of course everyone should receive compliments on a regular basis! But if your lover can’t be honest with you about the not-so-pleasant aspects of your relationship, you have to wonder what else they’re not being honest about.
For example, let’s say you had to miss a date because of overtime work. If your lover truly cares about you, they’ll tell you afterwards: “I don’t mind you working overtime, but could you at least text me about it in the future?” Aside from showing good communication skills, this also suggests that your lover cares about both your needs.
On the other hand, a narcissist would say “Oh, it’s okay, you can work as late as you want!” and then give you the cold shoulder afterwards. They tell you what you want to hear, not because they care about your feelings, but because they’d rather not deal with conflict.
Your lover wants you to focus on them — and them alone.
It’s natural for your lover to want to feel special. After all, what you feel for your lover should be different from what you feel for your friends and family. But if your lover wants to be your only special someone, rather than just a special someone, be careful: You might be dealing with a narcissist.
For example, a good lover would say: “Oh, we can’t have our date on Friday night because you’re out with friends? I understand. Can we move our date to Saturday or Sunday instead?” A narcissist, on the other hand, would complain: “Why do you have to go out with friends? You have me, don’t you? Am I not enough for you?” If your lover is really serious about you, they’ll understand that, as special as they are to you, you also need to maintain a life outside your relationship.
Your lover paints an unrealistic picture of your relationship.
They tell you things like “From the moment I laid eyes on you, I knew you were the only one for me.” That sounds great — if you’re a character in a romance film.
In reality, even “perfect” relationships have their ups and downs. You and your lover will fight, kiss, make up, and fight again. The measure of your relationship is not what your lover says during the good times, but how they act during the bad times. If your lover sticks with you through thick and thin, and does their best to support you every step of the way, that’s when they’ve earned the right to say they’re the “one” for you.
Relationships are complex beasts. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell where you stand in them until it’s too late. But if you watch out for the signs of love bombing, and you keep your eyes open, your gut sharp, and your head on your shoulders, it’s not likely you’ll get heartbroken as easily or hopefully not at all.
Dealing with emotional abuse is never easy. When you’re wounded on the inside, rather than the outside, it’s hard to convince people you have a legitimate issue. So you’re forced to handle your issue alone, and feel hopeless, trapped and defeated.
Fortunately, not all hope is lost. You can still get back up and stay up, even if you’ve been knocked down so many times before. You can still be the amazing, happy person you’ve always dreamed of being, even if your abuser has convinced you otherwise. Best of all, you can start healing with the steps below.
Let Yourself Grieve
Grief is a natural, human response to loss. You’ve lost a lot — your self-esteem, identity, drive to succeed, among others. So it’s only fair that you allow yourself to go through the five stages of grief.
Bear in mind that accepting your situation is not the same as “being okay” with it. Being okay suggests that you’re willing to leave things as they are, while acceptance means you know things can be better, and that you have the power to make things better.
Be Willing to Draw Lines, and Stick to Them
As long as someone feels they can get away with abusive behavior towards you, they will push your buttons again and again — unless you set boundaries.
Let your abuser know which behaviors you’re willing to tolerate, and not tolerate, from them. For example, if they tend to make a big deal out of every tiny mistake you make, say: “Yes, I know I’ve done something wrong, and I’m about to fix it. Now can you please stop nagging me about the fact?”
If they decide to trample on your boundaries regardless, find ways to minimize contact with or avoid them altogether. You have better things to do than get involved in drama, and life is too short to let toxic people drag you down. Continue reading
Bullying doesn’t just happen on the playground. When you’re subjected to repeated instances of hurtful behavior over time, that’s bullying. If those hurtful behaviors don’t leave any physical marks on you, but leave you feeling undermined nonetheless, that’s also bullying — albeit the emotional type.
Unlike playground bullies, emotional bullies are more likely to get away with their behavior. That’s because it’s more socially acceptable to hurl controlling barbs at a person than to punch that person in the face.
Still, the effect is the same. The victim not only becomes afraid of the bully, but also feels guilty for having been bullied in the first place. The victim is left wondering why someone would bully them if they didn’t do anything to that person.
One word: Power. Although everyone wants power to a certain extent, bullies feel that the only way they can be powerful is to make someone else feel powerless by comparison. As the bully’s victim, you will always be worse off, unless you take some steps to break the bully’s power over you.
Recognize Bullying for What It Is
Every time someone bullies you, remember this: No one deserves to be bullied. You are a wonderful person in your own right, and if the bully refuses to acknowledge that, it’s their loss, not yours.
So stop making excuses for the bully. Stop rationalizing their behavior. Whatever the reason for their bullying, the fact remains that they chose to hurt you, and that is not acceptable.
Once in a while, you and your partner may not see eye to eye on certain things. And that’s fine.
After all, these little differences are what make the relationship even more interesting and exciting.
However, if you feel heavy-hearted because you can never reach a healthy compromise, or you end up feeling guilty after every argument, then you’re probably at the receiving end of an emotional blackmail.
It does not matter if it’s subtle or direct, emotional blackmail can make you feel crazy and insecure. A partner who does this wants to get in your head, as a way to control you and make you acquiesce to whatever he or she wants.
1-Your partner won’t accept anything less than a “yes.”
Requests between couples are normal, especially on matters where they don’t always agree.
When you and your partner disagree on certain issues, both of you should try to look at it from the other’s point of view. In the end, you may reach a compromise, or you may both agree to revisit the issue another time.
These conversations can go back and forth between you and your partner, creating a dynamic of a healthy, two-way relationship.
However, emotional blackmailers don’t see it this way. For them, with every single issue or request, they need an immediate affirmative answer.
Regardless of what they want, they expect you to say, “Yes” without arguing or disagreeing.
If you do push back and tell them why you feel uneasy or don’t want to comply, they try to guilt-trip you by showing extreme disappointment, pouting, or even shouting angrily. It’s clear that when you don’t give in, you’re partner is going to make you feel really bad.
2-Your partner transfers the weight of the blame to you.
Obligation and guilt are two of the major emotional responses a manipulator wants his partner to feel. By tapping into these vulnerabilities, the controlling partner knows that they will eventually get what they want.
When you passionately try to get your point across, he or she will turn the tables to make it appear that you are overreacting.
Your partner may argue that you wouldn’t be fighting if you just agreed with him in the first place. When caught cheating, your girlfriend will defend that you didn’t give her enough attention, so she slept with someone else.
Just by changing the perspective, a manipulative partner can easily shift the blame to the unwitting partner.
Two different scenarios occur when you allow your perception to be swayed.
If you believe in your partner’s justification and assume that you did something wrong, then you become guilty and apologetic. Manipulators delight in the idea of “forgiving” their partners, as it makes them feel they have the upper hand.
If you feel obliged to make your partner happy and satisfied at all times, you become the only person accountable for the stability of the relationship, including the well-being of your partner.
3-Your partner constantly threatens unpleasant consequences.
Using threats is a common tactic for emotional blackmailers. The subtlety or directness of the threat depends on the tactics used and the personality of the manipulator.
For example, a controller who wants to explicitly intimidate you suggests that a punishment awaits if he doesn’t get what he wants. When you don’t comply, he will straightforwardly tell you that he’ll cause a scene, end the relationship, or even cause physical harm to you or your loved ones.
A self-punisher, on the other hand, will pressure you to constantly give in to her whims, or she will hurt herself or even commit suicide.
And then, there’s the subtlest tactic where your partner promises to reward you rather than threaten you, through material, physical, or emotional means, using whatever enticement they think will best tap into your vulnerabilities.
4-Your partner wants you to always feel pity.
Not all emotional blackmailers are overtly intimidating and dominant.
On the other side of the spectrum is a controlling partner who clings on to you for dear life and acts needy and pitiful.
This can be confusing since their go-to strategy is to make you feel loved and cared for — but then create a “bait and switch.”
Constant declarations of love and showering you with gifts are great. However, for each “I love you,” and for every gift that you receive, you’ll hear a story about how your partner will be devastated if they lose you.
He constantly reminds you of the time he was cheated on by a past girlfriend and presents this as a justification for his reactions.
She gets jealous when the name of another girl comes up in a conversation with your buddies and behaves like a tearful schoolgirl to get your attention.
Your partner inserts daily doses of drama into your relationship, even during those moments that should be fun and light.
5-Your partner consistently use the same tactics to get what they want.
The thing about emotional blackmail is that it is repetitive in nature.
When a manipulator gets what he or she wants the first time, using their preferred methods, he or she will employ it again and again because they know it works. When you oppose them, the pressure to say, “Yes,” will grow more and more intense, until you yield to their demands.
No matter how much you love your partner, there is no denying that emotional blackmail can destroy the strength of your relationship.
What is quite surprising is that many manipulators do not have malicious intentions, and their needs within the relationship are often legitimate.
The problem arises when they use certain manipulative tactics to get what they want without considering the feelings and opinions of their partners.
What made you take notice that your partner is possibly manipulating your emotions? Were there any steps that you have taken to break the cycle of emotional blackmail? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.