Do people sometimes try to lower their partners self esteem on purpose? Thoughts?

I’ve had an ex boyfriend who would insult me habitually. After only a two months of dating, I dumped him. I don’t put up with toxic behavior, and I nip the problem at the bud instead of letting it grow (hooray for me). Do people do this on purpose, so their partner gets low self esteem so they don’t leave for someone else/believe no one else would want them?

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Most Helpful Guys

  • Well yeah. That's an important tactic. I wouldn't use insults though. Id be more tactical and subtle than that, though. Mix compliments with slightly degrading caveats or pointing out some flaw. I guess just letting her know she isn't perfect and im not her bitch.

    In the end a relationship is a power struggle, like everything else. The one with higher self-esteem and who cares less has the power.

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  • Unfortunately I've heard this story many times, thankfully hasn't happened to me personally. Some of my friends actually believed it and pretty much forced themselves to be happy in the relationship. Like you I wouldn't last too long in a relationship like that. I would rather try and help them grow as a person and be confident in themselves, even if they realize I'm not the one for them in the process. It would suck if it happened like that but life goes on as they say!

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Most Helpful Girls

  • Yes! I am so glad you did. I had a boyfriend who did this. I stayed or broke up and got back together and itnwasnthe worst ever. He would embarrass me in public and the last time he did, I ran out of a store crying all the way home. I told him don't ever call me again. He literally changed who I was. I became so fat. The day I dumped him I had friends support me. I went to talk therapy for 3 months, I became an advocate for women on my campus to get out of bad dating relationships. I started workout again and I dropped 45lbs in a year. He tried to commit suicide in new room t college. I called campus police and he left. He seen his father act likenthisnwith his mom. She called me after a week. I did not take anymore of her calls and I changed rooms again and my number. He has a control issue and that is someone you want to stay away from no matter what gifts he sends, the people he has talk to you. Stay away because he did hit me and abuse me sexually which is why I got help. I did not date, talk to nor make friends with guys for 3 years. The next guy I dated was awesome and he proposed to me before I could finish my last class before graduating I am happy for you. Please keep a written record of your voice mail, in boxes, text all contact in case you needntondile a police report. I am happy you got out early because it took me a while to heal.

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  • In abusive and toxic relationships, yes. I would never go out of my way to insult my partner just to make him feel shitty. It most certainly is to lower their self-esteem. The cycle of abuse is based on first bombing the other person with love, then to enter a cold/abusive period, and to after that make up and become loving again. Rinse and repeat. The victim starts desperately holding on to the love bombings because they're addicted to them, and whenever their partner enters a cold/abusive stage, they'll keep making excuses ("they're having a bad day", "I deserved that", "I shouldn't have said/done that" etc), and keep holding the love bombings as the "true" image of their partner. The victim will usually be led to believe that they don't deserve better, that it's normal, and that it's ok. And that's how the abusive partner traps them.

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What Guys Said 23

  • 1. "I’ve had an ex boyfriend who would insult me habitually. After only a two months of dating, I dumped him. I don’t put up with toxic behavior, and I nip the problem at the bud instead of letting it grow (hooray for me)."

    That's a good thing you did. That's the way to go.

    2."Do people do this on purpose, so their partner gets low self esteem so they don’t leave for someone else/believe no one else would want them?"

    Yes, I suppose some people do that.

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  • Thats called manipulation, a tactic of control for the purpose of ones own gain. Typically selfish in nature, based on either a insecurity or a need to be in control of others.

    I suspect you already know the answer since you mentioned "toxic people". In that case your here to toot your own horn.

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  • It wasn't my partner but a friend admitted insulting me to lower my self esteem so I would stay friends with them and not go for cooler people. So I guess it does happen sometimes.

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  • I think so that they begin to start believing it and think that no one will want them so the guy can control them and make them think he's their only option.

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  • Yes, it's a definite strategy employed by narcissists, amongst others.

    You did exactly the right thing.

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  • Not exactly. They have indirect intention to lower your esteem. Rather than caring about YOUR esteem, they care more about their OWN esteem and how they feel being the boss and in control.

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  • Yes I've had many girlfriends who've done it. They do it to instill fear and the idea that you need them... they did this then proceeded yo abuse me in everyway they could. But I just kept letting them cause I felt worthless and had nobody...

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  • Yes, some people do that as a way to control their partner, due to their own insecurity.

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  • A relationship is about power like it or not... Sometimes it's because low self-esteem or lack of confidence... And sometimes it's the contrary but yes

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  • Yes and no way to resolve that keep your mouth closed and they will run out of things to say and it will diffuse the situation and make it neutral again

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  • No, you just need to compromise and let your partner at least have some arguments to win sometimes, don't be right about everything.

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  • Yes they do that. It is a kind of emotional abuse people use on each other.

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  • Unfortunately, some do. It seems to be part of their means of control. But it proves that such are not ready for a relationship.

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  • lowering someone's self esteem,
    is it real, or just a dream,
    if it's real then cut it out,
    cause it's mean with-out a doubt.

    all these hat-ers, they're just mean,
    all they want is to be seen
    by every-one so they can lie,
    a-bout how they won't hurt a fly.

    if you hate then take a hike,
    hat-ing things that oth-ers like,
    tox-ic in-sults, just ain't right,
    all they do, is start a fight.

    if one tries to in-sult me,
    I'll ignore it bla-tentley,
    If it's not once, but it's twice,
    that just is not being nice.

    if you hate, I won't hate back,
    no I don't like to att-ack,
    cause I would-n't hurt a fly,
    that's just me myself and I.

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    • If someone insulted me,
      I wouldn't hate back,

      but I would not associate with them from that point forward.

      people who insult need to get a life.

  • Many do, yes

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    • Any other thoughts?

    • Well it's a common thing, but I think you said why. It's a means of power, through abuse and manipulation. It's game playing and very bad. It creates something akin to Stockholm syndrome. Make people feel badly about themselves, and they are easier to control.

    • Thank you

  • You hit the nail on the head

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  • Sounds like you dated a narcissist

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  • Yes many people do it

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    • Any other thoughts?

    • Not really it's a shit tho g to do but it's known people do it just avoid people like it

    • Thanks

  • Also to rule over them.

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  • Sometimes, and sometimes some don't even notice

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What Girls Said 16

  • yup. absolutely happns.

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  • I've noticed this too within a few relationships I've had, It's almost like it makes them feel so much better about themselves if they can try to tear you down. As soon as I recognize that type of behavior I call them out on it and leave. It's literally such a low ball move. Mutual respect is key

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  • Yes. Some people will try to justify "putting you down" by "being realistic" or really minimizing how high of a pedestal they put you on so they can deal with their own "but my self esteem is so low I don't deserve her". By pointing out anothers flaws and lowering anothers esteem they believe that you're both more "deserving of that person" because they cannot handle genuine honest happy people or the idea of the same person liking them.

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  • Yes, sometimes they do.
    It’s either because they have a huge ego or they’re extremely insecure... possibly both.
    If it’s the ego, they feel the need to assert their dominance by making sure you don’t understand your own worth.
    If it’s the low self esteem, they have to put you down because they want to make sure you feel like shit the way he/she does.
    Misery loves company.

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  • Yes, definitely. It's probably because of their own insecurities and them always being submissive to their own demons in life, so they take it out on the one person who would actually be submissive to them and listen. It's probably because of their low self-esteem. They make others feel bad so that they feel good about themselves. But not everyone is like this of course!

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  • Yes, they do. It's called an abusive relationship. I Had a guy like this. You did good by leaving him, you saved yourself, well done.

    I Have to admit, I can also be known to do this sometimes... Only on occasion when I'm mad though, not habitually, though I know it's still wrong.

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  • I’ve had it and feel it is due to low self esteem, lack of respect and they usually have a chip on their shoulder about something. Yes they do it on purpose. Makes them feel powerful. We all have the ability to say the odd cutting remark when we are angry but well balanced People apologise and don’t make a habit of it.

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  • Yes I have had an ex like that. I was too young and ignorant. He started doing that when he realized that I was cold towards him because I thought that we should break up for some reasons. I guess he felt insecure and assumed that I was going to dump him for someone else when that was not the reason. He managed to do that but only temporary because I kicked off his ass out of our relationship. It happened like 5 years ago and now once in a while he still stalks me. Seems like he holds grudge on me that he can't move on.

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  • I know some people do. One of my exes did to "make sure I didn't cheat."

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  • Of course, some people are dysfunctional.

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    • Any other thoughts?

    • Only unhealthy and immature people to do this to their partners... that could translate into a lot of different dysfunctions (mental illness, personality disorders, insecurity, etc.). There really isn't much to it.

  • Yes. Most of my exes did that to me.

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  • Yes they do bc they're jealous and narcissistic

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  • Never did that

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  • yes stay away from those people

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  • Weak people do this. If you actually have confidence and value then you’re naturally a boss 💁🏼‍♀️

    I’ll stop talking to a guy or dating a guy if he does that to me one time. I don’t tolerate that crap and it shows his true character.

    If he’s weak he can’t be on my team.

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  • I dont know about everyone else but i do. definitely. Guys think they are the shit when they are really just a piece of shit lmao

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