16 Sep Week 8: ARP (The 7th Red Flag of an Abusive Relationship – Criticism)
(At the time this photograph was taken, my boyfriend/toxic lover kept telling me that I had unattractive cellulite on my legs. I stopped wearing skirts and shorts and became incredibly self-conscious about my body. I took these photos to take my body back. And now, 25 years later, you can’t get me to stop showing them to everyone!)
Red Flag #7: He Makes You Feel Bad About Your Appearance and Your Personality.
Slowly but surely toxic people work to undermine your confidence.
They criticize the way you look, the way you talk, the way you eat, the way you do pretty much everything.
They’ll even criticize you for reacting negatively to their outrageous, emotionally abusive behavior.
My client Beatrice (not her real name) was living with her boyfriend of three years, Matthew.
Matthew had been inconsistent and unreliable throughout the course of their relationship, but when they moved in with each other (which Beatrice thought would be a cure) his bad behavior ramped up exponentially.
He began getting home from work several hours later than expected and wouldn’t answer any of Beatrice’s texts or phone calls to explain his whereabouts.
One night at 4 a.m. Matthew still wasn’t home and wouldn’t respond to texts or calls. In desperation Beatrice called one of Matthew’s colleagues, Jim, waking him up.
Jim told Beatrice that he’d been out with Matthew at a bar, but that they’d parted ways at midnight.
Matthew finally returned home at 7 a.m. to discover an infuriated Beatrice waiting up for him, yet he somehow managed to steal her thunder.
“Did you call Jim at 4 in the morning?” he asked angrily.
“Yes, I was looking for you and you wouldn’t answer your phone!”
Matthew rolled his eyes in disgust. “That’s incredibly embarrassing,” he informed Beatrice. “You’re acting like white trash.”
Oh yes he did.
And Beatrice, who’d grown up in a home filled with inconsistency and infidelity, and afflicted with the low self-esteem that can breed, actually felt ashamed for embarrassing Matthew and acting like “white trash.”
Toxic men (and women btw) tear you down so they can control you, to make you think you don’t deserve all that you want and even what you need.
It keeps you trapped by making you think no one else would take you with all of your flaws and that you’re the one who is damaged.
That is some pretty toxic behavior.