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When we talk about emotional abuse, most times we associate it with romantic relationships. We take advice on ways to identity if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship and what to do about it. What we forget is that, even friendship can be emotionally abusive. Most emotionally abusive people have low self esteem, and therefore poke at your emotions to lower your esteem too and bring you down to their level.
This results to a toxic friendship; where your friend feeds you all the negative juice and you drink it up. As a result, you become emotionally bruised and drained. It’s hard to tell if a friendship is toxic, but once you are out of it, it feels like a breath of fresh air. You may need some time away from this person to detoxify.
Here is how to identify emotional abuse from a friend:
Pointing out your insecurities
We all have some insecurity that we are sensitive about. Though it may come out as a joke when a friend points some of them out, sometimes it is not so funny, especially if it is on issues on your weak areas. If your friend always comments about your weight, knowing you have weight issues, or your cellulite, your broken nose which you are really sensitive about, they may be using these features to bring you down. Try and note under which context such comments come up. There is a difference between an honest friend and one who is intentionally bringing you down.
Bad mouthing your other friends
This person always bad-mouths your other friends, so that all you see are their faults and choose to avoid them. Before you know it, you have cut off most of your friends and are totally dependent on this friend. This way, it seems as if it is the two of you against the world, while in reality, you are stuck with their friendship as you don’t have much of a choice.
Reminding you constantly of your past mistakes
We all have that one boyfriend we regret ever dating, or that one time you may have betrayed someone and felt really bad about it. Though some of these things are laughable today, some are best kept in the past. This is especially if you felt really bad about them and you have already forged a way forward into better decision making. If this friend keeps reminding you of that terrible ex-husband, and point out your poor decision making, it may make you relive the past which is best left there, in the past. Good friends commend your effort to make better choices and try to see the good in you, especially if you struggle with your past choices.
Playing victim at every circumstance
Reverse psychology is an old trick when one intends to take you on a guilt trip. This friend plays victim in each situation that you go through and makes you feel guilty over things that are not your fault. They take everything way too personal and make it look like your fault that things did not go your way. This is a form of manipulative behavior to coerce you to do things their way.
Help you so that you ‘owe’ them
A gift or some assistance may look innocent some times, thought other times it can be meant to hold you hostage. A toxic friend will always remind you of that time they helped you out so that you feel that you owe them. This ‘debt’ could run for years, or they will constantly jump to help so that you are more and more indebted to them. It is important to differentiate between someone helping you from the goodness of their heart and someone who intends to use their ‘help’ against you.
Sarah is a self improvement enthusiast. She is also a lover of life, food, coffee, books and travel (not necessarily in that order). Introvert. Lifelong student.
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