Most people I know have been in a toxic relationship whether that be a partner, parent, or friendship. I am guessing we have all come into contact with someone who wants to control or change things about us in order to become the perfect image they envision.
I have encountered a few people who fit the standard of emotional abuse. Personally, I wish I had ended my engagement with these people sooner. But, I have learned a few things from these experiences that shape who I am today and how I will view new relationships that I take on in the future.
Look out for these signs if you are questioning emotional abuse happening in your own life:
1. They criticize who you talk to, what you wear, or how you look.
We have all been there, someone we love or a family member tells us the earrings we want to buy/wear look a bit odd. This seems normal.
But, I am talking about someone who constantly tells you what you're wearing is unattractive or they wouldn't dare to kiss you if you wore those shoes. How our pants look gross, they are too this or too that. If you gained a few pounds and auntie Chris comments on how your jeans look a little tight. They will ask why you still talk to someone after so many years, why you have random friends that reach out to you, and why you still engage in a conversation with a friend you haven't talked to since high school.
Because guess what, they think you don't need anyone else but them, right? Which leads to my next point.
2. They get jealous of the other people in your life.
Isolation, BABY. They think they are the only person you need and when they start seeing you as their whole world, whether that be a friendship or significant other or even a parent who doesn't want to let you go, they want no one else in yours. They try to explain how you two could conquer the world together, fly away and never return, and ask why you need other people to talk to in your life.
I mean, why would you? Apparently they are everything you need and more! #YIKES.
3. They think they are always right.
I cannot stand people who dismiss things I say because, yes, I am not the sharpest tool in the box but I can stand my ground on certain issues. If your family member or partner constantly says they're always right and your opinion is invalid... RUN. They don't care if you like big earrings over tiny studs, your opinion is automatically wrong, period.
4. They make you feel guilty for getting along with people in their life.
Does this sound familiar? This person you are thinking of may get jealous or uneasy when you get along with people they are close to. They may ignore or "punish" you by being cold and rude towards you after engaging in an interaction whether it be a family gathering or friend's party. They don't want people to like you because they know if you left them, you would be fine. They do not want you to realize this.
5. They control who you spend time with.
Wow, this is a big one.
An emotionally abusive person will want your constant attention. They will make sure your only times that are free consist of seeing them, talking to them, or having them on your mind. Make sure to keep an eye on this with any relationship you have.
6. They gaslight you.
If you haven't heard of this, just wait for me to explain it. Gaslighting is basically someone telling you a certain event, memory, or something they have said did not happen, period. It makes you feel as if you thought up the memory on your own or you're crazy to think they actually wanted you in their future. I can tell you I have had someone I looked up to do this exact thing to me and other people in my life I am close to. As I have said before if they do this... RUN.
7. You feel like you have to say sorry constantly.
Have you caught yourself constantly saying sorry because you are afraid of what this person may say?
Yes, yes you have.
I bet you feel as though you are on eggshells when you're around them. I always felt anxious and insecure. Safe to say I don't have to deal with this anymore but I can say I didn't realize this until I was out of my situation.
8. They will switch plans or events in order to "surprise" you.
Ah, I just love it when you have a nice weekend planned for some self-care, and then they show up unexpectedly. You told them what you were doing but they still decided to show up and "surprise" you anyway, because they are just that thoughtful… wrong.
They wanted to check on you and make sure you still needed them even when you said you wanted alone time.
9. You've lost the desire to spend time/talk to them.
You don't enjoy the time you do spend with them. You feel anxious and as though you cannot trust them. Most people want to have the support and feel confident when around someone they love or have a connection with. How on earth do you think you would want to be that vulnerable with someone when they make your body tingle and tense up?
10. Your gut tells you something is wrong.
I can safely say I have had a few relationships where I saw these signs, talked to people about them, and then went onto ignoring them. Because how could someone you love or have faith in truly want to use your own emotions against you?
I remember reading through some of these signs on another website and I can safely say I started crying.
Everything was so overwhelming because I knew something about these relationships I was in wasn't healthy but I didn't know the name/issue for it. Every emotion was flooding back from past issues I had felt/gone through and it took a while to come to terms with it and leave what I thought I needed.
Newsflash, you don't need them, honey.
Please, if you are going through this, reach out for help from a trustworthy person or if you need, call this hotline:
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Follow Swoon on Instagram.