Disclaimer: If you have never been in a controlling or manipulative relationship, this article might sound shocking to you, but I suggest reading it anyway - prevention is better than cure in matters of the heart.
I still remember the day very clearly. I don’t remember how my relationship with my ex-partner used to be, but I do remember the day I finally broke free. To say that it was a manipulative relationship is probably the least worst part when I think about all the things I had to face during those unfortunate eight months.
Why is it always so relatable whenever someone starts talking about that one ex who just wouldn’t leave you alone? My ex-boyfriend couldn’t leave my current partner or me alone for months after I had cut off all communication with him.
He would hang around in my neighborhood and land up on my dates with my current partner – I never want to go back to that part of my life. If you can’t relate, then you are probably in for some deep, deep shit.
Let’s find out…shall we?
The Beginning Of The End…
My relationship with my ex started out like every single gen-Z or even millennial relationship out there. To even understand the extent of how emotional manipulation works in such relationships, you have to understand how it all begins – the exclusive toxic relationship timeline.
- Boy meets girl and immediately falls in love.
- Girl obviously rejects because, well, there’s no reason except it’s way too soon.
- Boy goes back to playing the field and naturally becomes ‘friends’ with Girl.
- Girl is happy with the friendship until…
- Girl falls in love and ends up confessing all her feelings to Boy.
- Boy and Girl start dating.
Please Note: The above assumptions are applicable for all genders and sexualities - since I was in a heterosexual relationship, I have used gender norms that were applicable to me, but I personally believe these are assumptions that work for all!
Relationships are mostly messy, and red flags are common. In fact, I have had the fortune of meeting so many individuals who have claimed to fall for red flags. But, thinking back, I have realized that love is blind, and sometimes love can make you ‘unsee’ all the many red flags.
Yes, mistakes happen, and the first few months, the honeymoon phase was so potent that I was busy living a blissful life, unaware of all the red flags and toxic traits screaming at me, 🏃♀️🏃♀️“RUN, BARSHA…RUN” 🏃♀️🏃♀️
It was only after I had spent six horrible months with this man that I finally understood this relationship was going down the drain. So what was so irksome? Over time, I have understood how a manipulative relationship functions – the signs are there from the beginning.
So what are the signs of manipulation in a relationship? There are two major signs under which all the minor signs fall into place!
No Space. No Grace
I personally feel that if there are no boundaries in relationships, there is no way you can sustain the said relationship. I understand that in the first few months, there is this need to be around your partner all the time – well, that is exactly why this phase is known as the Honeymoon Phase.
But what if your honeymoon phase keeps extending? After feelings of a whirlwind romance settle down, do you not want to just pause for some time? Yes, that holds true for most people in the universe, except a few unfortunate individuals with no understanding of how boundaries work, including my ex-partner.
These people are unique in their own way – they will start making you feel guilt for claiming your space in the relationship. Yes, you have to meet them every day, talk to them multiple times a day and basically have no life of your own. Even writing about it makes me exhausted!
Priorities Or Bullsh**t?
Another sign of spotting manipulation in relationships is when the word ‘priorities’ keep appearing in your conversations every other day. Planning to meet your friends, and your partner starts acting clingy? Red Flag. Planning to go out with colleagues for dinner post-work, and your partner flips out? Red Flag.
Yes, these are not your priorities – if there was an emergency and your partner needed your support or help in any way, of course, you’ll be there. So that’s kinda given, but at the same time, it does not mean you have to be there for every minor inconvenience.
My ex-partner couldn’t leave me alone, even after the relationship ended, and every time I failed to give him time, priorities became a major concern. But that’s my point. I am not going to apologize for prioritizing my entire life over one person’s insecurities.
Escaping From A Major Faux Pas: How Did I End My Manipulative Relationship?
A few years ago, I was ready to tolerate manipulative behavior in a relationship because love is blind (sorry, I have no excuse. My apologies!). But the impact of manipulation and control can go a long way in making things harder than it has to be – to date, I am struggling with unknown insecurities, bouts of anxiety, and even unnecessary fear of being left alone.
These weren’t my issues four years ago, but today they are – it’s been more than four years, and I am still working on myself. So without wasting any further time, let’s check out all the innovative methods I implemented to end my manipulative relationship!
Please Note: Manipulative relationships function in a certain manner. You can’t just end things and walk out without any worry inside your head. In fact, breakups are now an entire process, a journey of sorts.
Self-Care, We Gonna Be Good…Hell Yeah, They Lettin’ Me Go-O-O-O-O-O-O-O
If you can’t love yourself, how can you expect someone to love you? That my friend is the problem, we face irrevocably while ending relationships. Am I just enough, or do I need him to make me feel enough every day? If you are feeling this, then it’s the universe asking you to run!
He is not making you feel enough. You are enough for yourself. And if the only reason you want to stay in this relationship is that you are scared to be alone, is this even a real relationship? Love yourself a little more every day, and soon, you will be happy on your own – don’t let this controlling, manipulative person take charge of your happiness and gaslight you in the process.
My wish for you: Selfcare is your best shot at love.
You Keep On Sayin’ You In Love, So…Tell Me, Are You Really Down?
Are you even in love, or are you falling for manipulative relationship signs because popular culture tells you that’s how it’s supposed to be? If you want to end this relationship, do it – your partner probably had several opportunities to improve things between you guys, but he didn’t really improve anything.
So if the fear of being alone is the only thing stopping you, opt for a clean break. My advice? Opt for a clean break and block your partner everywhere. Chances are, your partner might appear out of thin air in your locality – you just have to make sure that you don’t give in to these pointless overdramatic entreaties.
My wish for you: Stay firm. Stay strong.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Always keep it short – if the relationship was short then the breakup has to be shorter. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not. When you are ending things, it’s best to keep the conversation short and simple. Do not give your partner the space to even fight you back on this!
Here’s what you can do,
• Set some boundaries,
• Love yourself a little more,
• Keep the breakup short and simple,
• Grieve because you need it.
A controlling relationship always has the possibility of violence. So don’t entertain any aggressive behavior. Instead, keep it very, very short, best if you keep it over the phone instead of meeting face-to-face. Whatever you do, don’t entertain abuse, be it physical, emotional, or verbal.
The Only Ex I Need Is An Exfoliator…
The number of people looking for manipulative, controlling relationship quotes online is way too much. Sometimes, the metrics shock me, but at other times, I look at such trends as a way of identifying what’s wrong with us. Don’t we all have that innermost darkness that finds manipulation attractive?
It’s a shame, really. The faster you break free, the better for your mental health. End that annoying, manipulative relationship today, and the rest will fall into place on its own.
Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts on the same in the comments section below.
Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.