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No one goes into a relationship expecting their partner to be manipulative or emotionally abusive. It’s something that often creeps in slowly and subtly, leaving you feeling confused, isolated, and unsure of yourself. If you’re worried that your partner may be emotionally abusing you, here are 9 warning signs to look out for, the long-term damaging effects it can cause, followed by some tips to help you. 

Constant Blame

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Manipulative partners are masters at shifting the blame onto their victims. They rarely take responsibility for their actions and, instead, find ways to make their partner feel guilty or at fault for any issues in the relationship. This can leave the victim feeling like they’re always doing something wrong and constantly walking on eggshells.

Effects: Victims of constant blaming will constantly second-guess their actions and feel dumb or like they can’t do anything right. This thought process leads to low self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. 

Isolation

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Abusers will often try to isolate their victims from friends and family for fear that they will discuss the abuser’s behavior with them. In doing so, the victim’s loved ones will try to convince them to leave. The abuser may discourage or even forbid the victim from spending time with loved ones, making them rely solely on the manipulator for support and validation. This not only weakens the victim’s support system but also gives the manipulator more control over their partner.

Effects: This type of abuse leaves the victim in constant fear and co-dependent on the abuser, which often leads to depression and mental health issues.

Gaslighting

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Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation where the abuser tries to make their victim doubt their own reality. They may twist facts, deny events, or even outright lie in order to make the victim question their own memory and perception of events.

Effects: This can be extremely damaging to one’s self-confidence and can leave the victim feeling confused and unsure of what is true. They will doubt the reality of the situation and start believing that the abuser is right.

Constant Criticism

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Emotional abusers often use criticism as a way to control and degrade their victims. They may constantly point out flaws or mistakes, even if they’re minor, in order to make the victim feel inadequate and dependent on the manipulator for validation.

Effects: This can lead to low self-esteem and a sense of worthlessness.

Emotional Blackmail

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Emotional blackmail is a common tactic used by manipulative partners. They may threaten to harm themselves, end the relationship, or use other forms of emotional manipulation in order to get their way. The abuser knows that playing on their victim’s emotions always results in a win for them.

Effects: This can leave the victim feeling trapped and fearful of standing up for themselves or leaving the toxic relationship.

What To Do

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If you feel you are being emotionally abused or you recognized any of the signs above, keep on reading for some helpful tips on how to handle your situation or the abuser. If you know someone who is being emotionally manipulated, share these tips with him and offer them support.

Trust Your Gut

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If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs in your relationship, it’s important to trust your gut and seek help. Manipulative partners are often skilled at hiding their true intentions and actions, making it difficult for victims to see the full extent of their manipulation. If something feels off or wrong in your relationship, don’t ignore it.

Seek Support

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One of the best ways to protect yourself from a manipulative partner is to surround yourself with a strong support system. This could be friends or family who can provide perspective and help you see through the manipulation tactics. Having a support system also provides a safe space for you to express your feelings and gain the strength to stand up against the abuser.

Speak To a Professional

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If you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s important to speak up and seek help. Manipulative partners thrive on their victims’ silence and fear, so breaking that cycle is crucial. Reach out to a therapist or contact hotlines for support and guidance on how to safely leave the relationship.

Find a Support Group

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Manipulative relationships can make you feel isolated and alone, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are countless resources and support systems available for victims of abuse. Seek help, speak up, and know that there are people who care about your well-being. You can find groups in your area on Facebook, the local library, church, or simply by asking a trusted friend. 

Talk to Your Abuser

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Sometimes, a heart-to-heart conversation with your partner might be all it takes for them to realize the damage they are causing to the relationship and your mental health. You could also suggest couples counseling and hope that your partner is open to this. If these two options don’t work or fall on deaf ears, it may be time to rethink your relationship.

Journaling

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Keeping your feelings bottled up inside of you is just as damaging as the abuse itself. It’s important to write out your feelings, thoughts, and emotions as a way to release them in a safe space. It would be good to read them afterward so you can see the damage that is being done, the decline of your mental health, and prompt you to take action against your abuser.

Do Things That Bring You Joy

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Try to do more things that bring you joy. Chances are, if you’ve been isolated from your friends and family by your abuser, you are no longer engaging in positive social interactions. Find some things that make you happy, such as gardening, volunteering, painting, knitting, or other activities to help you find balance and some inner peace and joy.

Make a Plan to Leave

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If your partner is opposed to getting help or unwilling to try to understand your feelings and the damage being done or work things out with you, it may be time to leave. Speak to a close friend or family member and get help making a plan to leave.

Conclusion

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Remember, you’re not at fault, and it’s okay to assert your boundaries and prioritize your emotional health. A manipulative partner might have made you feel otherwise, but you deserve respect, kindness, and genuine love in your relationships. If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs, trust yourself, seek out support, and take the necessary steps to protect your well-being. It may be a tough journey, but you’re never alone in it.

There are numerous resources waiting to help and a community of people who’ve walked in your shoes. You are stronger than you think, and you have the right to live free from manipulation and abuse.

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