Toxicity and abuse within relationships can present in many different forms. You may not even know a dynamic is unhealthy until you’re years deep into the relationship. Many of us were raised without the awareness or language to call out and identify manipulative, exploitative or abusive behavior. Therapy can help you understand your relationship dynamics and set appropriate boundaries.
What is Emotional Manipulation?
Emotional manipulation is behavior that aims to control, exploit or coerce others into behavior that suits the manipulator. Emotional manipulation tactics include utilizing guilt, complaints, shame, comparisons, denial and lies to make you feel obligated to give in to their requests and avoid holding them accountable. Like many forms of abuse, emotional manipulation can be cyclical, or inconsistent. Emotional manipulators may go through periods of “love-bombing” otherwise known as phases of intense declarations of love and intimacy, only to return to the more negative behaviors shortly after.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a common form of emotional manipulation that aims to undermine, question, or dismiss the lived experience of an individual. Gaslighting can be incredibly dangerous because it causes the victim to question their perception of their experiences which in turn gives the manipulator more control in the relationship.