Emotional Manipulation: Recognizing and Avoiding It
Many of us know love as an exchange of affection and desire, a balance between what's given and what's taken. If we're always the one giving, we feel empty and manipulated without the self-esteem necessary to find everyday happiness.
Emotions are what makes us human; wonderful sensations that range from overflowing happiness to devastating sadness. We’re often more vulnerable when we’re in love and it’s in relationships where we most frequently encounter emotional manipulation.
How do I know if I’m being manipulated emotionally?
You’d be surprised to know that emotional manipulation isn’t always easy to recognize. How can that be? Well, because we’re talking about the complex and intense dimension of the human psyche otherwise known as love. Many people, for example, confuse love with possession. “My partner is jealous because he/she loves me”… is, without a doubt, one of the most commonly heard phrases and signifies long-term problems. Let’s delve a little deeper into the subject.
1. Loving is not owning
There are couples that love to do everything together, going out, get-togethers, etc. This is all very positive, and even healthy, but not if the reason for doing everything together is to maintain “control.” There are people, for example, who can’t stand it when their partner leaves the house alone, has their own friends, or even their own professional or work life.
We have to be so careful. Love is not controlling the other person or forbidding them from doing things. In cases like these, you might hear phrases like “Are you really going out dressed like that?”, “Why go out with that friend of yours when you have me?”, or “If you do that you’ll be showing me that you really don’t love me. I give you everything and you don’t appreciate it at all.”
2. The need to care for your own self-esteem
Emotional manipulation directly attacks your self-esteem. In relationships, we give everything to the other person, love them more than anything and would do anything for them. This is all well and good, but we need to know how to protect ourselves.
If your partner puts their own needs before yours and acts selfishly, you’ll begin to suffer from the effects and you’ll feel a little worse every day. Most of us see love as an exchange of affection and desire, where a balance exists between what’s given and taken. If we find we’re the ones always giving, we’re going to feel empty and manipulated and our self-esteem will be too low to find everyday happiness.
3. Losing your identity little by little
Sometimes we fall in love with someone we shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s a love that we can’t control and we fall further into a carousel of intense emotions. There are people who are not mature enough to maintain a healthy relationship, and instead of feeling happy and growing as a couple, they erode away your identity little by little.
They don’t allow you to have friends, their interests come first, neglecting your own. They belittle you, tell you that you’re stupid and don’t do certain things well… they demean you so that you’re nothing like the person you were before: happy and full of dreams.
How to avoid being emotionally manipulatedIn order to avoid being emotionally manipulated, you need to clearly define your limits in a relationship. What is your limit? When you realize that you’re no longer happy. It’s easy enough to say, but many people will not leave a relationship, even if they are unhappy and know it. How can that be? Basically, for the following reasons:
- Despite their unhappiness, they still love their partner. Breaking up is always complicated and painful.
- Fear of loneliness, fear of being alone.
- They are afraid: they fear their partner will take the break up badly.
You have to be consistent and courageous. You need to ask yourself if you are willing to spend a lifetime with someone who suffocates and manipulates you for their own benefit. Someone that doesn’t respect you. You may not want to leave the relationship, even though you know it’s toxic. You need to carefully weigh the costs and benefits.
Get support. Seek help and support from your family and friends. They can give you strength when you need it. Ending a relationship is never easy and is always painful for both parties. But remember: we all have the right to be happy. And you will always deserve the best. You deserve to start each day at peace and full of dreams. We guarantee that there is someone out there who will make you happy and appreciate all that you’re worth.