Dear Deserving Woman,
I know that post royal wedding, we are on an all-time high of fairytale romances, daydreaming of a solid relationship, and questioning why our friends have never set us up with a literal prince. Before you go trailing off into happily ever after, you must be aware that modern dating is a labyrinth of social media, dating apps, and a plethora of new terms that all fall under the psychological abuse umbrella. Times have shifted to include a multitude of mind games which further complicate relationships and virtually rage war on your psychological well-being. I am not immune, and unfortunately neither are you.
As women, we need to be aware of the following terms in order to appropriately recognize the signs:
- Ghosting- The mother of all mind games. Ghosting practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. I am sure we all know a Casper or two.
- Haunting- The subsequent action of ghosting, haunting is the appropriately named term that to having an ex still keep close tabs on your social media after they’ve ghosted you. This is also known as orbiting, but we commonly know it as cyberstalking. We can usually tell this happens thanks to the modern invention of Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook stories. Often times, a partner will take the information found to use it against you later.
- Cushioning- The newly coined dating term wherein a partner in a monogamous relationship still flirts with other people so if their main relationship goes ends, there’s a backup ready.
- Several Night Stand- A trend made worse by the invention of Tinder and other like dating apps, this is a casual recurring hook-up situation that imitates a relationship but is definitely not a relationship. Usually, this occurs when one partner recently got out of something long-term, is not looking for anything serious right now, or wants to keep doing this without a label.
- Breadcrumbing- This term is the equivalent of leading someone on by leaving flirtatious digital crumbs via text, direct message, or a like/comment on Instagram (on an old picture at that). This is done just frequently enough so you don’t lose interest, but not too much to the point of moving a relationship forward.
- Stashing- This tends to happen at the stage during a relationship when you’re basically “official”. Despite the fact your “other half” has met your friends and possibly your family, you haven’t met a single person in their life. Not only that, they haven’t shared anything socially that even remotely suggests you’re together. In this case, you’re probably not the only person they’re dating and as a result, they are literally stashing you away.
Recognize any of these? Most, if not all, of the above situations, can be especially infuriating if you’re in search of a genuine connection. Many of them waste your time and introduce a sense of falsehood into a relationship that you may have conceived as real, in other words, emotional manipulation.
Emotional manipulation is a form of psychological abuse and can be perceived by us as rejection. According to Psychology Today, social rejection activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain. In addition to this biological link between rejection and pain, the above situations can contribute to other psychological distress such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and trauma.
I have seen too many friends, associates, or even myself get caught up in the idea of this unmatched love and that he or she just needs time. In any of these situations, it is important to remember that none of them attest to your worthiness to love and be loved. It shows he or she doesn’t have the courage to deal with their emotions or yours. Even worse, they don’t care about the impact of their behavior or understand how it creates a domino effect of chaos that can affect you personally or professionally. Retain your dignity and let him or her go. Don’t allow someone else’s behavior to rob you of a better future. Know that if you are someone who exudes positive energy and treats people with respect and integrity someone better (possibly a prince) is coming your way.
A Woman Exceeding
For more information on signs and solutions on psychological abuse, visit Psychology Today.