What can you do when your partner keeps putting you down? When they make fun of your ideas or appearance, and belittle you at home or in public? After all, they are the one who is supposed to love and support you, no matter what. If you are constantly at the brunt of their negative feedback, what does that say about your relationship, and how they really feel about you?
How to pull yourself up after being put down
First of all, you need to take a step back and assess what’s going on. Are the put-downs a pattern of behaviour that has been established for some time, or are they a recent phenomenon? Do they seem to be designed to damage your self-esteem, or are they more like careless throw-aways with little conscious intent to wound? How do you respond to them, and what effect does all this have on your relationship dynamic?
In some cases, relentless put-downs can be part of an abusive relationship, in which one partner systematically works to reduce the other’s self-esteem and establish dominance over them. The abused partner may come to believe in the negative feedback they are hearing about themselves, which can lead to severe emotional distress. They can become dependent on their partner for positive feedback, and cling to every scrap they get, while accepting negative remarks and criticism as reflecting their true worth. They are likely to lose touch with friends and become estranged from family members, especially if the put-downs are often given in public, or if their self-esteem becomes so damaged that they start to fear that they don’t “deserve” to be loved or have friends.
In other cases, especially if the behaviour is relatively recent and not part of a concerted display of unpleasantness, it might come from underlying feelings of inadequacy on the part of the person engaging in it. In other words, the real problem is not the one whom they are lashing out at, but a personal issue that they are failing to manage. However, while there may be an explanation, this is an unacceptable and less than helpful approach to their feelings. Trying to feel more capable by making someone else look less so is not a winning technique. They will need help in finding a more useful approach to their own negative emotions; one that doesn’t hurt you.
If you find yourself being the butt of constant put-downs, you need to take action, and you need to do so quickly. Assert yourself, and make it clear that this is not something you are prepared to accept, because you deserve to be treated better. If the behaviour is entrenched, but you feel that the relationship is worth saving, couples counseling could be a good way for you both to explore your relationship dynamic, and work on ways to support each other more positively. If, when you’ve tried everything, the behaviour is ongoing, you may need to find a way to end the relationship, because nothing is worth damaging your own emotional well-being.
Who can I speak to about how to pull yourself up after being put down?
For help on how to pull yourself up after being put down, speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.
Pull yourself up after being put down! was last modified: January 7th, 2021 by Private Therapy Clinic
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