Often it’s difficult to realise that we may be being emotionally manipulated to fulfil the low self-esteem or narcissistic tendencies of another. You may be told it’s all your fault, you are the reason why your partner or friend behaves in a certain negative way, that you have ‘driven’ them to act in this way and that you must constantly attempt to make amends for being… ‘abusive or thoughtless’ of their needs.
They might praise you in one breath and then subtly attack you in another leaving you confused and doubting yourself. They might display behaviours such as giving you the silent treatment or ignoring your messages but demand that you remain in constant contact with them as if there are two sets of rules at play.
Often in such relationships you might feel like you are treading on eggshells or feel the need to constantly ‘check in’ with your friend or partner for fear that you have somehow missed some important information about their well being which they expect you to be aware of despite being unable to read their minds.
Such relationships can severely undermine your self esteem, self worth and confidence. It can be difficult to challenge such behaviours in another person and counselling can help you to step back and review what you are prepared to accept in your relationships and what you are not. Such personal boundaries can then form a blueprint for future relationships and as such a healthier way of relating to your self and others.