Millennium Post

Subjugated in a relationship?

If your partner is showing manipulative tendencies using a range of techniques, you do have certain options to escape victimhood

Subjugated in a relationship?

I eloped and got married to my partner nearly a decade ago, but I am extremely unhappy. In the beginning, my partner was like a hero from a romantic novel but, by the time we were married, he began to make me feel insecure about my looks, my body, my education and even cited that he was doing me a favor by being with me. Over the past few years, I cannot literally recount a fight where he took the onus upon himself. According to him, it's always my fault and he is the best person whom everyone likes and hence, he can never be wrong. Since he provides for me financially and my family doesn't accept me, he has me trapped to believe that this is it. If I feel hurt, cry or request him to be there for me, he is emotionally unavailable and even enjoys hurting me further with his words and actions.

Is there something wrong with me being in this toxic relationship or is something wrong at his end as well?

You can't clap with one hand. In the same way, a toxic relationship often requires one person who may be creating an unhealthy environment, and another who is staying put in such a situation. You are the latter. It appears that you may be subjected to narcissistic victim abuse by your partner.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a complex mental health condition that typically involves low empathy for others, an elated or grandiose sense of self, and a constant need for attention, admiration and the need to be right. At times, the narcissistic tendencies of such partners can show a pattern of manipulative and controlling behaviour. This may be in the form of verbal abuse, emotional neglect, financial abuse, emotional manipulation etc.

Here are some techniques that they may resort to:

Gaslighting: The act of undermining another person's reality by denying the facts, the environment around them, or their feelings, by turning the blame on to others. For example, they may try to change topics when they are cornered or keep highlighting your mistakes of the past and even trivialise your concerns.

Negging: A negative feedback or a backhanded compliment to another person to undermine and break their confidence. This way you constantly seek the validation of the manipulator.

Silent treatment: This is the classic technique used to leave you guessing without any closure.

Narcissistic victim syndrome

It refers to the effects of narcissistic abuse. It can cause serious trauma and a long-lasting impact on emotional and physical health. As an NVS, you may start exhibiting a trauma response. This can be present as:

❇You freeze up easily

❇You feel isolated

❇You forget how to ask for help

❇You have trouble making a decision

❇You may have unexplained presentation of depression and anxiety

❇You don't recognize yourself

❇You have difficulty setting up boundaries

What to do?

❇Set boundaries with your partner

❇Seek help, try to find allies who can help

❇Therapy: It can help process the emotions and pain

❇Work on self: Make yourself stronger — mentally and physically

❇Address the abuse: Take charge. Voice your concerns.

❇Find legal options: If you are in danger and experiencing physical abuse, address it legally

❇Find a safe space: Create your safe haven away from the person.

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