1. You spend a lot of time apologizing. For some reason, you always feel like fights are your fault. Even when you start out angry at your person for hurting your feelings, they always find a way to turn the situation around to make you look like the bad guy. They never take the blame themselves. You’re always the one saying sorry, the one feeling guilty, the one begging for the relationship not to end.
2. Your self-esteem drops significantly. Before you started dating your person, you considered yourself strong and independent. But now, you aren’t so sure of yourself. You spend a lot of time questioning your opinions, your emotions, your memory, and your worth. Your person’s constant backhanded compliments and silent treatments have taken a toll on you.
3. You spend most of your time disappointed. Sometimes, your person promises you things without following through. Other times, ‘fun nights’ are ruined with intense fights. Whenever you experience a little bit of happiness, it gets taken away rather quickly. Your relationship is a roller coaster with a million little ups and downs. Mostly downs.
4. You start to lose your sense of self. Your person always gets their way. No matter what, they end up on top. They pick movies. They pick restaurants. They pick road trip music. No matter what the argument is about, there’s never any compromises. They always win. Your opinions slowly stop mattering.
5. You cover for them with friends. Whenever you retell stories about fights you’ve had, you censor them. You make sure you don’t say too many negative things about your person. You make sure they look like a better partner than they actually are.
6. You make sacrifice for them (even when you don’t really want to). If you don’t give your person exactly what they want, they whine about how you must not really love them. They trick you into thinking if you really cared about them, you would do what they asked.
7. You become convinced you’re the crazy one. Your person accuses you of overreacting to situations — and you’ve started to believe them. You’ve started to wonder whether their calm, cool attitude means they’re the ones in the right and you’re the one in the wrong.
8. You might become manipulative yourself. You might start telling little white lies to avoid setting them off. You might get sneakier about your behaviors in order to feel like you have a little bit of freedom. You might end up manipulating them back in your own way.
9. You feel like your only choice is to stay with them. Maybe they have said they would hurt themselves if you broke up with them. Or maybe they have insinuated no one would ever love you as strongly as them, no one would ever put up with you for as long as them, no one would ever give you as much as them. Either way, you’re wrong in thinking you cannot leave. You can always leave. You can always make the choice that’s best for yourself.