The dizzying pace of life, marked by immediacy, increases impatience for immediate gratification, and prevents relationships from taking their natural course. There are several behaviors in this area that have a very harmful background, although they can go unnoticed if they are not easily identified.

From an emotional point of view, you can be within a circle of abuse if you have been a victim of ghosting, haunting, gaslighting, stonewoling, breadcrumbing, love bombing and honey moon. Becoming aware of these toxic behaviors will allow you to set limits to avoid them.

The order of the day

The duration of relations, with increasingly fragile ties, has been diminished by lack of effort. They break easily because they lack solidity. The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman defined this transience as liquid love in 2003.

In addition to this, in some relationships, which hide harmful habits, there is a manipulation considered covert emotional abuse: the victims do not suffer direct aggressions, since there is no physical or verbal violence, however, there is psychological abuse that generates great suffering. The psychologist María Redondo, from María Esclápez's professional team, says: "There is a great tendency to normalize and, consequently, to go unnoticed, since it leaves no visible trace."

Who loves you well...

These harmful behaviors, which especially affect when there is an emotional bond, have increased. Sara Montejano, founding psychologist of Psicoglobal, argues: "There are more cases, but perhaps also because we recognize them a little better. We now have the most fine-tuned radar regarding what behaviors can be part of emotional abuse. Before we didn't see it as something so toxic, because in our culture there is a certain association between love and pain. Sayings like 'whoever loves you well will make you cry' normalize things that aren't really normalized."

These actions sometimes occur separately, although in chain they form a vicious circle "systematic and continuous", points out Montejano. Ghosting, which causes so much damage, is a trend. Disappearing without explanation, completely cutting off communication, leads to a dubious end that even suggests guilt in the victim. "It's super common and one of the most powerful emotions to manipulate a person," says Redondo.

Open grief

This imposed distancing is caused by various reasons that mask a lack of emotional responsibility. Sneaking out of laziness or cowardice is common, but there are other reasons for remorseless behavior. Sara Montejano points out that these people "have a lack of awareness about the damage they can do, because they think they are not wrong, so it is difficult for them to repent. There is a certain dose of narcissism. Without an explanation, the person who suffers it cannot close a duel."

The relationship ends abruptly. However, after a while, they can reappear and fan the flame. They follow an indirect strategy through social networks to make their presence known, because "narcissistic people do not look for relationships, they look for fans" clarifies the psychologist. This practice, baptized as haunting, only reflects the contact through a like in a publication or the visualization of the stories on Instagram. Thus they continue to leave their mark and prevent the victim from forgetting the past. It is a technique to hook in a disguised way the victim who, without being aware, enters a circle of abuse.

Another form of manipulation

The manipulator avoids compromise to make reality seem different through gaslighting. The RAE defines it as follows: "Trying to make him doubt his reason or judgment through a prolonged work of discrediting his perceptions and memories." At first, disbelief arises, due to the discordance that exists between the facts exposed. Reality is distorted and, when it is not conceived, there is usually a defense. The mental conflict generates great confusion in the victim, who is devastated and overcome by the situation.

When manipulated, she thinks that the emotional bond only exists in her imagination. María Redondo affirms that "it is very painful to go through that and have to assume that everything someone had promised you is no longer going to happen; or that the person you were with really isn't how you thought it was." The mind wanders between ambiguities without knowing what to expect. It takes time and space to gain perspective on distorted truth.

Increased suffering

Suffering can be increased by stonewalling. This term encompasses the cold and distant behavior to which the victim is subjected. It literally translates as a stone wall and is interpreted as an obstructionism of communication through evasions. The answers are unclear and sow doubt. Misunderstanding creates a great distance and reflects greater uncertainty that increases the obsession with understanding. Psychologist Pilar Guerra states on her website: "There is no empathic mind that can understand a psychopathic mind."

Settle for crumbs

A selfish behavior that generates addiction through intermittent reinforcement. They don't get involved, but they want to have you at their mercy. This leads to conformity with the minimum, breadcrumbing, the 'breadcrumbs'. They maintain interest with little effort. With emotional deficiencies and low self-esteem, the crumbs of affection are accepted. "In a toxic relationship, you create the idea that you're not lovable, that you're not a person worthy of love," Sara Montejano notes. An "inequality gap is formed, which places the victim in an insignificant place," he clarifies.

The false reconquest

Overcoming these situations, and getting away from them, is complicated if love bombing occurs. "When it seems that you go back the other person appears," says Montejano about this situation. After devaluing the victim, modify the speech so that he changes his mind. Magnify feelings to show attention, admiration, and affection.

With emotional messages, try to influence and convince the victim to return. "That creates a huge emotional breadth, which makes the bad things very bad, and the good things very good." It feeds hope to get him to hold on to the relationship. The psychologist explains that, the manipulators, "are people with a great interpretative capacity, who have the ability to reset, because their way of wanting is perverse."

Back to square one

The victim, unable to see the danger, relapses into the relationship by idealizing the connection. To reinforce trust, the abuser shows love with highlights that occur in perfect scenarios. It is the honeymoon phase, honey moon, in which it is emphasized how different and special it is, key arguments to hook again. The person in love extols reality and hides, or justifies, abusive behaviors. Without imagining that ghosting will return, she is trapped in a cycle of emotional abuse.

Harmful effects

This "can have serious consequences on the victim. On a psychological level it is possible to trigger anxiety or depression. And on a physical level, signs of chest pressure, muscle tension, nausea, stomach pain or exhaustion may appear, "says María Redondo about the effects caused by the somatization of emotions.

Take action

The loss of values and signs of respect in the new generations have had a very negative influence on the construction of solid relationships over time. To avoid the circles of emotional abuse Sara Montejano advises to establish clear limits, "regarding the behaviors that are permissible within the relationship", without forgetting that you are more than enough. "The vision you have of yourself and how you treat yourself, influences the vision you transmit to others and the way you allow them to treat you," concludes María Redondo so that you always remember.

  • Couple relationships
  • Psychology