Emotional bully

Usually when we hear about controlling relationships, often we picture men as the controller in the relationship. But it doesn’t matter if you are dating a girl or a guy; at one point or another, you may date someone who takes control of the relationship and your life, leaving you confused and hurt.

Like many emotionally or physically abusive relationships, your new beau might seem like the perfect girl or guy when you first meet. They are pretty, outgoing, smart, and incredibly generous and caring. Once you seal the deal, things can start to get ugly. Here are some things to look out for if you think you are dating an emotional bully.

Extreme Jealousy and Overprotectiveness

It is perfectly natural to get a little jealous when your boyfriend or girlfriend is talking to someone new. But if they feel like they need to be by your side at all times or are constantly accusing you of flirting, looking at someone else, or even cheating, it means they are insecure and lack trust.

Constant Calling and Texting

Nowadays it is normal to text your significant other frequently. However, if they’re constantly calling you, texting you non-stop, or leaving voicemails to check in on you, asking who you’re with, where you are, what you are doing and when you will be back, it is another sign of mistrust. You start to feel like you can’t put your phone away for one second or else you will be accused of doing something behind her back.

Isolating You From Your Family and Friends

When you first meet someone new and fall head over heels, sometimes our family and friends go on the back burner for a little while until you start to come back down to earth. Your girlfriend or boyfriend should encourage your relationships with your parents, siblings, and old friends, as well as when making new friends. The controlling significant other manages your time and decides who you spend it with, and makes you feel guilty if you leave them to be with friends or family. You begin to become more and more isolated from them, and they begin to feel distanced from you and concerned about your behavior.

Changing Who You Are

You may start to feel like you are never good enough. Not smart enough, not rich enough, not romantic or sensitive enough. An emotional bully will put down your accomplishments and discourage your goals, and tell you what to do. They might tell you what music to listen to, challenge your beliefs, tell you how to spend your money, or insist that you wear different clothes. Soon enough, it will start to feel like they want to change everything that makes you who you are.

Verbal Assaults

When you and your partner argue, they insist on always being right and that things go their way. You are under constant criticism; they make threats that they might destroy your things or break up with you, call you names, and make you feel guilty. They tend to put you down, even in front of your friends and family and humiliate you.

Constant Chaos and Fighting

If you are dating a girl or guy who is controlling and jealous, it is likely your relationship is in a constant state of chaos. Days when you don’t fight seem rare because it seems like they are constantly nagging at you and starting a fight. When you fight they tend to play the victim to make you feel guilty and punish you by rejecting affection and ignoring you. They may blame you for the way they are feeling and become angry if you show frustration. Often fights can seem explosive, with lots of crying, and might become physical if they hit you or throw things at you. The constant state of fighting leaves you feeling confused and like you need to have your guard up all the time.

You Make Up Excuses For Their Behaviour

When you talk to your friends or family about your fights with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or how they might not allow you to go out and spend time with them, you find yourself making up excuses to defend their behaviour to others. You may say things such as, “She’s just emotional”, “He’s just really stressed out right now”, or “She has trust issues” in order to avoid concern.

These are just some of the general signs you may be dating a girl or guy who is an emotional bully. A relationship where one partner is extremely controlling, manipulative, and jealous can lead to verbal, mental, and physical abuse and complete isolation from one’s family and friends. Typically both men and women in such relationships tend to feel like they have no out from the relationship. Their partner may threaten them with blackmail, hurting themselves, or physical threats if they choose to leave. If you truly feel concerned for the individual’s well-being, it is best you speak to someone who can intervene. At the end of the day, it is up to you to look past blind affection or what the person once was, and see how he or she is impacting your life.

Ask yourself:

  • Who do I become when I am with this person?
  • Do they bring out the best or worst in me?
  • Do they encourage me to achieve my goals?
  • Do they accept me for the person I am?
  • Does my relationship constantly stress me out?

If the answers to these questions are negative, then it is up to you to break the cycle.

If you are unsure or questioning the healthiness of your relationship, loveisrespect.org, which empowers youth to end abusive relationships, has quizzes, a relationship spectrum, a power and control wheel and various other resources as well as a phone line and 24/7 online chat available to help solve any issues you may be facing. Other resources include helpguide.org, which offers plenty of websites and information on a variety of relationship-related issues.

Written by Adela Czyzewska