Sometimes it takes a long time for us to understand that we are emotionally manipulated in a relationship. Not all relationships are healthy and full of safety – some are based on guilt trips, manipulations and a lot of toxic behaviors. Addressing this, Therapist Maria G Sosa wrote, “If it feels like love but actually looks like a combination of chaos, guilt trips, a sense of indebtedness, silent treatments, punishing behaviors or constantly walking on eggshells to prevent the next thing that will set them off…it’s not what we think it is.” We often confuse emotional manipulation with love. In the initial phases of a relationship, it is very difficult to differentiate the two – but with time it starts to get clearer.
Constant confusion: We are constantly confused with the state of the relationship. We are never sure of the way our partner may be feeling – this makes us walk on eggshells and have constant guilt on how to behave so as to not anger the other person or be the reason for chaos.
Controlling behaviors: We are constantly put in the corner with guilt trips and isolation tactics. This makes us be in threat at all times to not tip the other person off. If this is the normal in the relationship, it is bad news.
Rigidity: It is a very rigid relationship with no scope for flexibility – the attitude of others is that we need to compromise at all times to match their expectations and plans. In such cases, it is a red flag.
Transactional dynamics: It is always a give and take relationship – we are constantly reminded how much we owe to the other person.
Intolerance for conflict: Conflicts are natural in any relationship but the way we handle it and the way we make up to it afterwards matter a lot.