Being in a relationship is all fun and games until who you are is being compromised for the other person. There’s obviously some give and take in a relationship, but there may be some manipulation happening if you find yourself forming into a different person. It’s really easy to not see the signs of manipulation when your blinded by love, but you HAVE to be more aware of your partner and how they treat you. If you stay blind, then that leaves you in a toxic situation where you are being controlled by your partner. Here are a few signs that you should look out for, so you don’t find yourself caught up in a bad situation.
Your BF/GF Is Emotionally Blackmailing You
Your partner may toss around, “I wouldn’t be able to live without you,” which can seem casual or dramatic, but it is really destructive and demanding. It could make you feel fear, guilt, or shame and leaves your partner in total control. It puts pressure on you to make their life worthwhile and better. Remember that you are not responsible for their entire life and well-being. It is not always your job to make them happy and they shouldn’t expect you to make that your sole priority.
Your Partner Forces Their Insecurities Onto You
It’s always about control. Manipulators will try to control how you react to them by bringing up their insecurities as an excuse. You obviously shouldn’t invalidate their feelings, but those insecurities shouldn’t define your relationship. A common phrased used is “I’m sorry I acted like that. I’m just scared you will leave me!” This distracts you away from pointing out their flaws and pulls you back into focusing all on him/her. Pay close attention to the language your BF/GF uses. Your partner could be manipulating you to feel how “they” want you to feel.
They always use, “If you really loved me….”
If your partner is constantly starting their sentences with, “If you really loved me,” then that is a big problem. They shouldn’t be making you prove your love for them by always giving them what they want. This form of manipulation guilts you into thinking that you HAVE to do something, because it’s for the best. Don’t allow your BF/GF to shame you into doing things. Try to have a conversation about using direct communication instead.
This is a big one! Gaslighting is when a person makes a victim question their reality to gain more power. In a relationship, this can look like constantly lying and denying the truth to the point where you don’t know what is true or false. Manipulators will take advantage of your confusion and call you crazy to make it seem like you are the bad guy. If you are experiencing this, it is probably best to let this relationship go because someone that ugly on the inside will never change.
By Kyla Hubbard, Senior, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
*This article is made possible by the support of Chicago Dating Matters Initiative. #DatingMattersChi