“Fear is a primal emotion that has the power to rob us of our ability to think rationally.”A.B. Admin
I have come to realise that my boyfriend has a habit of saying something very hurtful to me, then denying that he has said it. This happens frequently and I must admit that it is starting to become very confusing and I think manipulative. I doubt myself a lot and I find it difficult to confront him on the matter. When I try to talk to him about it, he becomes irritated and tells me that I am making a big deal out of nothing.
He has recently progressed to telling other people lies about me, only to deny these things as well.
I now see that this is not normal behaviour. What should I do?
Thank you for your help,
I am sorry to hear of your experience. I am very glad that you have identified this pattern of behaviour in your partner and appreciate that things need to change. It is highly likely that your partner is emotionally abusive and as such, it is important that you prioritise yourself and your well-being at this time. The sad truth is that tactics of manipulation like those that you have described is emotional abuse. It is incredibly common and potentially dangerous.
Relationships can be tough, especially if one person within a relationship is emotionally manipulative. Whether this person is your romantic partner, a family member, a friend or a colleague, their abusive conduct can be incredibly damaging and detrimental to your well-being.
Are you in the company of a manipulator?
So what exactly are the tell-tale signs of emotionally manipulative people? Consider Colette, whether you have also found your partner to behave in the following ways.
Emotional manipulators twist or contort the facts of what has been said in order to make you look or feel bad.
They say something awful, then deny that they said it.
- They use guilt tactics and victimise themselves in order to control people.
- They are experts of passive aggressive behaviours.
- They are unable to fully acknowledge your pain or the damage that they have caused.
- They can be aggressive or angry if confronted.
- They often surround themselves with sensitive, kind and gentle people. They take advantage of people who are genuine or trusting.
- They construct narratives that make them the hero.
I also encourage you to consider how you have been feeling in recent months in response to your partner’s behaviour. There are some key indicators that you are being manipulated: –
- You make excuses for your partner’s behaviour.
- You find yourself constantly apologising for your actions, in order to keep the peace and avoid confrontation.
- You frequently second-guess yourself and are often made to feel confused about your behaviour.
- You no longer trust your judgement or decisions.
- You are made to feel like you cannot do anything right.
- Your self-worth is very low. You feel like you are not good enough.
- You feel that you have lost your confidence and your happiness.
- You find it difficult to talk about your feelings with the person in question, because they always make you feel as if whatever is happening is your fault.
Essentially, if you feel that your boundaries are being crossed, that the person in question has no regard for your opinions or your needs and if you feel repeatedly disrespected, there is a strong chance that emotional manipulation is at play. Over time, this can dramatically impact your self-confidence and lead to impaired mental health, with experiences of depression or anxiety a likely result.
What can you do about it?
It is vital that you recognise your worth. You cannot control what others say about you, nor what other people believe. The only control that you have is that of your experience and your own view of self. Therefore, it is important that you maintain awareness as to the truth of your experience. It may help to note down in a journal things that have been said or how you have been made to feel. If you have a clear record of events, it is near impossible for any emotional abuser to twist or contort the narrative. It is also a great way for you to maintain validation of your feelings and your actions over time.
If you find that you are struggling, do not hesitate to reach out for therapeutic support. The therapy process will be incredible positive for you in rebuilding the confidence and self-awareness that can be lost in such a situation.
I also encourage you to confide in a person that you trust. It truly helps to have somebody that is on your side and that can support you through difficult moments moving forwards.
Prioritise your safety
It is common for an emotional manipulator or abuser to worsen over time, therefore if at any point you fear for your safety you must not hesitate to contact the police and you must find the strength to leave the relationship. Be it over a period of weeks, months, even years, emotional abuse must not go unchecked. This is particularly difficult if the person in question is an integral part of your life, as in your case Colette.
For others, it may even be a parent, a brother or a sister. Regardless of who the person is, if they are causing you distress, you have every right to walk away. At the very least, you must maintain awareness of their negative behaviours and how they impact you. If they must be in your lives, establish an appropriate distance so as to protect yourself from any further emotional abuse moving forwards. Make yourself the priority and remember, it is never too late to take back the control.
Wishing you peace of mind,
My Bi-Weekly Advice Column
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