One of the most important things for women in the modern age to be mindful of is the likes of gas-lighting and other forms of emotional manipulation conditioned to us through the media.
We are entering into implicit comparisons and competition with our fellow women and peers. In short, we have to be mindful that we remain in control of our own narratives. Don't let people control us or disempower our lives.
Just because someone might be offering us a new fabulous opportunity, doesn't mean that we are scot-free. Also, it's not a problem exclusive to romantic relationships. You will often find that platonic relationships or friendships, even filial bonds are the most tightly bound around abusive principles.
It's often because we can't predict or anticipate our nearest and dearest having anything other than our best interests at heart that we are short-sighted.
This is not something that we can particularly control, or anything that our inherent nature attracts in another person. It's just – and brace yourself for a truly terrible phrase – one of those things.
There are ways that we can arm ourselves against the nonsense of this world – people are going to try to control us either way so we might as well be prepared…
Here are 3 neat ways to identify if someone is abusing you and disempowering you!
1 – You can't do anything without them criticising you
If you feel like you can't do anything without being criticised or you sense that you can't take a risk in your public or personal life for fear of ostracising, it's time to take a step back.
Unpack that feeling. Is it coming from within you, or is your anxiety and self-sabotage really the result of being put in constantly uncomfortable positions. Those people around you that don't really want you to thrive are just disempowering you.
It's a disconcerting realisation to come to, but so is the reality that you might have been internalising all this toxic negativity in your life. It's time to take a breather and get some space from these people and identify whether your life benefits from their presence.
If not, get the hell out of there. It's a slippery slope, and a dangerous one at that.
2 – You have more rules attached to your relationship with them than any other person you know
If you have to let them know before you do anything or ask permission before going out with the girls just because of your boyfriend's insecurity then, there are questions you must ask yourself. That is another classic example of attempting to disempower you, right there.
These anxieties are clearly coming from a place that utterly lacks trust. Without trust or communication in a relationship, it can very easily veer into abuse and toxicity.
If you feel guilty more than you feel happy when you're with this person, it's extremely likely that you are bearing the brunt of their own micro-aggressions.
You are a complex and capable human being. You do not deserve to be someone's punching bag, physically or emotionally.
3 – They stunt your growth and can't stand conflict
It's basically the evidence of their own hypocrisy. They introduce rules that they don't keep to themselves. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen – as they say.
Well, it works both ways, if you don't enter the kitchen, you don't risk getting burned. Start realising that these rules are arbitrary and impossible. Talk to your friends if you have worries. Get some perspective and put the matter to bed.
It's much better to get self-aware at this stage than later, but remember one golden rule… It's never too late to do something about a bad situation.