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What if You Are In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?

What if You Are In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?

“It’s like a dream. I always wanted to be together with an independent partner like you are. And now I’ve met you.” He said this after we had talked intensively about our lives. And he was right. It had been a beautiful start for a relationship. I thought that he was honest. And this stage, I had no reason to doubt his words. I felt happy and very lucky.

Toxic dynamics are not visible in the beginning

The relationship seemed to continue in a good direction. We planned our future and did many activities together. We went hiking and spent our summer holidays at a meditation retreat. Then, I went away for a weekend because I attended a wedding of a friend. When I returned, he picked me up at the airport. Everything had changed.

Trust your inner voice

I was excited to see him, and saw a man with a different face. He started to argue. I felt confused in the beginning. Each day, he found another thing I didn’t do right. I became angry because I didn’t want to be treated like this. No matter what I did, it was not right for him. I felt drained. I gave him a warning. He apologized and promised to change. However, he continued with the same manipulative game. My inner voice said, it’s time to go. This situation isn’t good for you at all. The one thing I learned from dealing with manipulative behaviour is to trust my gut. If it says something is off, I take action.

Do they keep their promises?

The problem with people who have manipulative behaviour is that they promise a lot but they do not change their behaviour. He apologized constantly for his behaviour, but the next moment, he behaved the same way. Luckily, I was able to see the toxic dynamic very early. I didn’t doubt my decision to leave him for a moment. There is one rule I have for relationships: I do not tolerate any form of violence – and manipulation is a form of violence. As a child, I grew up with emotionally abusive relationship, I did not have a choice. I did not know anything else. As an adult, I have a choice. I choose healthy relationships. This is a promise I gave myself many years ago. How about you?

Keep firm boundaries

My ex-partner couldn’t believe it. He waited for me in a park where I volunteered to feed a colony of abandoned cats. He wanted another chance; he promised to change, just another time. Just give me a month, he said, and I rejected. But he did not stop there and continued to disrespect my boundaries. Your partner’s promises may sound sweet and tempting but don’t fall into them. They are part of the game.

Resist the presents

I sat in a workshop. The doorbell rang. My spiritual teacher opened and came back with a huge bouquet of flowers. She said, It’s for you. I had just told her the story about my ex-partner and those flowers were the last thing I ever wanted to receive. I felt angry because he didn’t respect my boundaries for another time. I said, I don’t want them. She looked surprised and said, you can’t do this. They are beautiful. I replied, you know that they come with the wrong intention, don’t you? Living compassionately doesn’t mean that I allow somebody to manipulate me. She sighed, you’re right. Giving gifts is another way to control you. Do not buy into them.

Work through your emotions

Even though I wasn’t responsible for his manipulative behavior, it took me a while to release shame, guilt and humiliation. Luckily, I was able to identify his toxic behaviours very early in our relationship. However, it is never easy to be around people with manipulative behaviour. The relationship lasted only a couple of months, but I needed some time to forgive myself for having fallen in love with him.

Love yourself more than a partner with manipulative behaviour

Emotional abuse is difficult to spot in the beginning and you may notice it when you are already in a committed relationship. While you can’t choose who you fall in love with, you have a choice on how you want to handle it when you recognize manipulative behaviour.  You have many different options on how to deal with it. Important is that you make choices that are good for you. Emotional abuse leaves deep wounds on your soul, eats away your sense of worthiness and your belief in yourself. You can’t change your past but you can start today to heal yourself and become whole.

Seek help

Manipulative behaviour is confusing and it is good if you do not handle it alone. It is a sign of strength to ask for professional help. It will help you to handle the toxic dynamics in a way that is good for you. You have many different options.  However, if you do not take action, nothing will every change. Yes, change is scary, but what price do you pay if you stay where you are?

You are interested in getting help? Find out more about our program for people who are in unhealthy relationships.

Do you want to read more? Check the article How to Become a Modern Hero

6 Ways How You Can Deal With Negative People

Do you have friends who always complain about everything? Or do you know the perfect drama queen who always runs from one catastrophe into the other? Or the poor victim who always ends up in the dark corner left alone?

During my life, I have met many negative people, it all started with close family members. To give you some examples: The partner of my late grandfather was a woman who always saw the negative. Once, we watched an inspiring story about a former athlete who had rebuilt his life after an accident with spinal cord injury. He was a role model for strength and positive attitude. She watched the report without a word. When it had finished, she said: Why haven’t the doctors let him die after this accident? I sat next to her and didn’t know what to say. Every phrase she said reflected her negative perception of the world. I tried my best to cheer her up and change her perspective. Needless to say that it wasn’t successful. I left our conversations feeling exhausted and tired.

We all face short periods of negativity in our life, however, a person who transmits constant pessimism can drag you down.

What can you do to avoid this?

These six tactics will help you to decrease the impact of negative people in your life.

  • Be aware of the negativity and acknowledge its influence.
    The negativity of another person will influence you dependent on your level of sensitivity. I am highly sensitive and take on negativity like a sponge. I tried to tell myself many years that it wouldn’t influence me and it was wrong. True is that it always did until I learned to set boundaries. What happens if you are around negative people? How do you feel after you have been together with them? How is your level of energy afterwards? Be aware of the impact the negativity has on yourself and acknowledge it.
  • Set clear limits.
    If you acknowledge the negativity, you can react in a way that is compassionate towards yourself. We want to be kind, and this means that we are kind to others while being kind to ourselves. You should manage your energy level well. Limit the duration you are together with a negative person, see them or talk to them less frequent. How often do you want to be around with them? How long do you want to stay with them? Always keep in mind that you can’t change the negative attitude of another person. They have to decide that they want to change. You can only take care of yourself and your energy, and avoid to getting drowned by their negativity.
  • Clear yourself energetically.
    I experienced a fast recovery from negativity when I learned to clear myself energetically. How can you do this? If you have been together with a negative person, do a short visualization afterwards. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Imagine that you stand in a shower with white light. The light washes away any negativity from your body into the earth. Visualize dark or grey shadows that slowly sink into the earth. Continue with your visualization until the white light fills your complete body. Thank the light for its help. Feel free to change the visualization in a way that it feels right for you. Just listen to your intuition.
  • Explore the other person’s world.
    A very compassionate strategy you can use is to explore the other person’s world. Which stories are hidden behind the negative attitude? What are the hidden desires that haven’t been fulfilled yet? Strive to understand them. Explore their world with love and compassion. Listen to them, don’t judge them and don’t try to find a solution. Mirror them what you understood. Reflect the pain or the resentment you may perceive.
  • Acknowledge the difference.
    Another way to deal with negativity is to acknowledge the difference. There is no need that we all have the same opinion. That’s not possible. So just say, I think we see life very differently. I want to celebrate it. I want to enjoy it fully. You can’t control what they will do and you can’t convince them to follow you. You can just stay true to yourself.
  • You always have a choice.
    We are all adults. We can choose with whom we are spending our time. We are also responsible for the energy we send into the world. If the negativity of a person persists for years and there is no change, you don’t have any obligation to spend your time with them. You can’t change them. Practice compassion towards yourself. Is it compassionate to continue this relationship? Stop finding excuses for the other person’s behaviour. Everybody went through some crisis. I am sure you also had bad times in your life. Each of us is responsible how we deal with negative experiences and what attitude we choose towards life. Your time is limited and valuable. You have the choice to walk away from the relationship. You can choose whether you spend it with positive or negative people. With whom do you want to spend your time?

 

4 Easy Ways To Say No

Some time ago, a friend asked me, “You have to come to our karaoke party this Saturday. I miss you.” I hate karaoke parties, and I knew that I would need time to relax. One voice in my head told me, “You are egoistic. You have to be there. Be nice!” The other one said, “I just don’t want to.” In the past, I would have gone to a party where I felt at the wrong place all the time, and I would have felt drained. Now I simply said, “No, I can’t.”

Do you fear to say “no”? Do you want to be nice to others? Do you fear conflicts?
If you struggle with saying “no,” don’t worry, you are not alone. Many times the difficulties exist due to learnings in our childhood. Were you allowed to say “no” as a child? How did your family use it? How did people react to it? As a child, I learned that “no” was a word that I wasn’t allowed to use, and that it might provoke a punishment. As an adult, I feared that the other person would either reject me or explode in a rage of anger, so I had major difficulties to say “no”. Was it good for me to say “yes” even though I should have said “no”? No, it wasn’t. I abandoned myself and lost the focus in my life because I tried to please other people. Furthermore, I made the activities with resentment like a recalcitrant horse because I didn’t enjoy them. Then, I learned to respect my needs and to say no.
The voices of fear and guilt are inappropriate advisors, and they shouldn’t be your motivation to decide what you are doing. There is a difference between doing things because you have to do them or because you want to do them. How often do you do things because you feel obliged to do them? How often do you please others? If you try to please others at the expense of yourself, you are not nice to you at all.

Healthy boundaries are a key for healthy relationships!
If you say “no” to what you don’t want, you respect your boundaries and priorities. You can’t control how the other person will react or how they will feel about it. You can just take care of your needs and priorities. If you start to respect your needs and your boundaries and say “no” when you want to, other people will get to know you in an honest and authentic way. Honesty is the key. Learning to say “no” is a healthy habit that will improve your relationships. Try out different occasions and find a way to say “no” that makes you feel comfortable!

How can you say “no”?
Here are four effective ways that helped me to learn it:

A simple “no” without any explanation is enough.
Say gently and firmly: “No, I can’t.” That’s it. There is no need to be aggressive or angry. You have the right to say “no” and you do not owe the other person an explanation.
“I don’t know yet, I’ll think about it. I’ll let you know tomorrow, next week,… ”
This way helped me when I felt pressured and gave me the time to become aware what I wanted. Use this method with people you have difficulties with or if you do not yet know what you want. Then, tell them your answer. Nobody can oblige you to do something that you do not want to do.
If the other person insists, repeat it.
Especially, if they are not used to it, it is likely that other persons insist on what they want, or they simply ignore your answer. In this case, repeat your answer firmly. Don’t capitulate. You don’t have to explain it, just repeat it.
“No, I can’t but what do you think about… “
Say no, and make a counter proposal that fits with your need. Your friend wants to meet you this weekend and you can’t? Make a proposal for a day when it is convenient for you or propose another activity you prefer. Don’t give in but start to negotiate a solution that fits you both.

The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel. Start with an option that feels right for you and play with it. See it as an adventure on your journey. Saying “no” and respecting your boundaries will increase your self-esteem and self-confidence. You will experience a higher degree of contentment because you allow yourself to do what you really want. Live your life in an assertive way, respecting your needs and the needs of others.

Would you like to give it a try?

I love to read your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post Do you know your rights in a relationship?