I’m the first to agree that relationships can be very hard.
I’ve been through enough to know that while some can be a real joy and ease, like a Sunday morning, many can be a real struggle.
That doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad or poisonous. It just means they need a lot of work to succeed.
But some relationships give rise to certain behaviors that no amount of work can save.
People come together for so many reasons and unfortunately love and respect are not the top priorities for everyone. Instead, you get the use of people, fear of loneliness, a desire to control others, and other very negative motivations that drive people into relationships.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, you may not know it at first, but over time your partner’s behavior will reveal his true intentions.
So while healthy, developing relationships have their obstacles to overcome, these truly negative relationships introduce completely unacceptable behavior.
If you stay in these types of relationships, you will end up getting hurt and likely taking a huge blow to your self-esteem.
So here are six behaviors that psychology says you should never tolerate in a relationship. If you encounter this in your partner, you should get as far away from it as possible.
Gaslighting has been used by psychologists to describe a form of abuse featured in a 1938 play called Gas Light.
In this play, a husband uses a certain kind of manipulation to convince his heiress wife that she is mentally unhappy so that he can divorce her from her money. He denies her experiences and convinces her that she is imagining things, causing her to lose confidence in her sense of reality.
That’s what the term now means in psychology.
Although the term gaslighting has only been around since the 1940s, don’t think that this behavior has been around since time immemorial.
When one partner tricks another partner, they attack that person’s sense of self, causing him or her to lose self-confidence and the ability to trust others.
They typically use love bombing, isolation, unpredictability, and cold shoulders as weapons to gain control over the other person’s sense of reality. They blame their partners, calling them crazy and overly emotional to make it seem like they are the problem.
Why do people do this to their partners, or anyone else for that matter?
Generally, partners who gaslight do so to avoid responsibility for their bad behavior and/or to exert control over their partners.
According to psychological investigations, the best thing you can do if you are confronted with gaslighting in your relationship is to detach yourself from the abuser, seek healthier relationships, and try to rebuild yourself as best you can.
We just discussed how isolation is used as a tool by gaslighting partners.
But what is isolation, and what does it mean if you encounter this behavior in your relationship?
According to one definition: insulation is when an “intimate partner tries to weaken the woman’s support network, distances her from social interaction, and forbids her from socializing with family and friends.”
Of course, it’s not just women who can become isolated by their partners, and isolation can happen in any type of relationship, opposite-sex or same-sex.
Again, isolation is a behavior used by one partner to exert control over the other. The perpetrators use various means, such as psychological manipulation and lying, threats of harm, and strict rules that limit their partner’s freedom.
But why would they want to separate their partner from others, especially people who can make their lives happier and healthier?
This could be part of their plan to trick their partner, as we saw earlier. It can also be used as a way to cover up other forms of abuse, as we will see later.
But for the most part, isolation is simply a form of self-control. It is a way to disempower the partner and ensure that he or she continues to bond with the perpetrator.
The results of isolation are striking.
Research into social isolation of all kinds has been linked to poor health outcomes (ranging from cancer to heart disease and stroke) and an overall increase in mortality. It is also linked to depression and hopelessness.
So even though it seems mild, we are talking about a pretty dangerous form of abuse that you should never tolerate in your relationship.
3) Verbal or emotional abuse
We now delve deeper into behavior that is extremely serious and can lead to triggers, so read on carefully.
Verbal and emotional abuse are certainly behaviors that you should never tolerate in a relationship. However, they are much more common than you might think.
So, what are these behaviors?
According to a study into the consequences of verbal abuse behavior is “a form of emotional abuse intended to induce intense humiliation, belittlement, or extreme fear as perceived by the victim.” It is carried out through words that can be accusatory, mean, insulting, and aggressive.
Verbal abuse is therefore a form of emotional abuse that many of us are unfortunately familiar with.
Emotional abuse general, is “any non-physical behavior or attitude designed to control, subdue, punish, or isolate another person through humiliation or fear.”
Emotional abuse is a constant bombardment of negativity from your partner that makes you feel worthless. As such, it erodes your self-esteem and makes you feel like you have no value, which can even cause victims to agree with and validate their abusers.
That’s what makes verbal and emotional abuse so hard to walk away from. However, this abuse is harmful and can destroy self-esteem, make a person feel worthless, and even encourage alcohol abuse.
4) Physical or sexual abuse
The most terrible form of abuse there is physical or sexual abuse.
This is because it causes both damage to a person’s body and emotional damage to their mind.
The American Psychological Association defines physical abuse as:
“intentionally aggressive or violent conduct by one person toward another that results in bodily harm. Physical abuse may involve actions such as punching, kicking, biting, choking, burning, shaking and hitting, which can sometimes be severe enough to cause permanent damage (e.g. traumatic brain injury) or death.”
Sexual abuse is considered “any non-consensual or exploitative sexual behavior or activity imposed on an individual without that individual’s consent” and can occur in a trusting relationship such as that of intimate partners.
Sexual abuse often goes hand in hand with other forms of physical abuse and intimate partner violence.
Research shows that victims of this type of abuse are at risk for more than just physical harm. They often develop depression, PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse problems.
If you have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse in your relationship, you must get away and seek help. This can be scary to even think about, but you are a valuable person and you don’t deserve to be treated this way.
Manipulation occurs in many relationships and is much harder to identify than many of the other negative behaviors we have seen so far.
But it is still something that you should not put up with in your relationship in any way.
So, how do you know if your partner is manipulating you?
Manipulation is the act of controlling or exerting harmful influence over another person by using devious, unfair, or treacherous means.
Studies have shown this in intimate relationships 12 different instruments that manipulators use to get their way, namely charm, reason, coercion, silent treatment, humiliation, invocation of responsibility, reciprocity, monetary reward, pleasure-inducing, social comparison, and hardball (a mix of threats, lies, and violence).
Manipulators can use all of these tools to prey on their partners’ weaknesses and take advantage of their vulnerabilities.
This is something to be aware of and certainly never to tolerate in a relationship.
The last behavior you should never accept from your partner is disrespect.
This is difficult to define because respect looks very different in different relationships.
However, there are some clear signs that your partner doesn’t respect you, such as ignoring your boundaries, talking down to you, being inconsiderate, ignoring your feelings, or treating you with contempt.
Without your partner’s respect, your search for happiness in the relationship will certainly be fruitless, and unhappiness will certainly follow. Get out of a disrespectful relationship as quickly as possible!
These six behaviors that psychology says you should never tolerate in a relationship range from mild (disrespect) to extreme (abuse). But they have one thing in common.
These are all behaviors that are huge warning signs that should alert you to get out of the relationship quickly.
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