Being with a toxic partner and leaving them is not as easy as everyone says. After all, all that's on their mind are ways to keep you on a short leash.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on November 25, 2020. It has since been updated.
Lonely. Unworthy. Lost. Powerless. If you've ever felt like this in a relationship, then it could be that you were with a narcissistic or toxic person who knew how to press every button that made you feel like you were just worthless. Worse than that, if you ever felt like you were constantly doubting yourself, it wasn't because you didn't have faith in yourself, it was because your partner was constantly gaslighting you - manipulating you into believing that what they said was always true. It was his true power - the ability to control you emotionally.
According to Dr. Patti Feuereisen, a psychotherapist specializing in sexual abuse, a toxic relationship is one that is “clearly unhealthy, that feels wrong, that causes stress," and "a relationship that makes you feel sh*tty about yourself,” she tells Elite Daily. And if you've heard any of these phrases or variations of them, you were or are in one.
When you're constantly around a toxic person, they can actually make you question your sanity. According to a report from the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, it was found that 85.7% of people mentioned that a partner or ex-partner called them "crazy" while 73.8 % of people felt like their partner or ex-partner had made them feel crazy on purpose. And it is this dangerous trap that toxic partners can trap you in.
There is a clear line between what you can and cannot say even with your partner. Yet a toxic partner will blur those lines and say the worst things that are aimed at breaking your self-esteem. Not only do they make you feel bad, but they ridicule you for actually feeling hurt about it. From snarky comments to degrading statements, you're not safe in private or in public. It's their way of wresting control of the relationship and making you doubt yourself. They will find a way to make you lose the confidence you had in the start.
You never win with them. They are always right and you are always wrong - it's the way they have manipulated the relationship. Even if the mistake is theirs, they'll find a way to blame you and make you actually believe that it was your fault. Soon enough, you are saying sorry for things that you didn't even need to apologize for. And in order to keep the peace, you've given up on fighting for yourself.
When it comes to arguments, they love to bring up the past and batter you for it. The blame game is their favorite past time and all hands point to you, even if you didn't even have a hand in it. But if you bring up the past, they tell you to stop talking about it and instead turn the tables on you by telling you to "move on." The moment they say this though, they trick you into thinking that you can relax for a moment and that things will improve. Yet, it's like the eye of the storm because sooner or later, the same thing could happen again.
Gaslighting. This is the true term for what they're doing to you. They charm you into forgetting your own sense of reality while slowly tugging you into his, making you think that you're the reason for all the bad things that are happening. And if you try to call them out on it, they lash back at you. “Emotionally abusive partners cannot tolerate disagreement from their partner. They hear the opposing idea from their partner as a personal attack. Feeling victimized, they react with anger and intimidation. Emotionally abusive partners believe their partner is actually the emotionally abusive one," says Carol A. Lambert, psychotherapist, and author of Women With Controlling Partners, according to Huff Post.
They managed to isolate you from your family and friends, making it such that they were the only one you could ever depend on. From talking bad about them to even lying to you about them, they'll do anything to keep you from turning to them when you want help. And once that's done, they've got full control of you - to the point where you don't even have the courage to face your loved ones or tell them what's really happening behind closed doors.
You deserve far better than this and the moment you recognize these signs, you need to muster up what's left of your courage and confidence and leave. No matter how hard it is.
Disclaimer: This article is based on facts collated from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.