Signs of teenage dating abuse
This insidious form of manipulation is called 'gaslighting', and it's designed to make you doubt your mental health.
You come home full of excitement because a great business opportunity has come your way or you've been asked to get involved with a project you feel passionate about.
Soon, your partner steps up the pressure to 'be careful' with money.
But somehow, it seems like it's always you who has to cut back, earn more and stop spending.
If you object, you're once again being 'oversensitive'.
But as time goes by, the compliments have become few and far between, replaced by comments about how 'wrong' your look is – that top doesn't suit you, you're putting on weight, what's going on with your hair?
Gradually, you get the feeling that things just don't quite add up – your partner contradicts something they have told you previously, or you suspect you're not getting the whole picture (about their last relationship or why they left their last job).
They may also deny doing or saying something that you clearly remember, but they deny it with such conviction and confidence that you start to doubt yourself.
When an abusive partner knows they have overstepped the line and you are questioning the relationship, get ready for a grand gesture – an expensive meal out, a surprise weekend away, an unexpected gift or bunch of flowers.
The original problem remains unresolved, or not even acknowledged – a grand gesture buys your silence, and your part of the deal is not to insist on talking things through.
Your other half loves to tell 'funny' stories at your expense – whether it's how hopeless you are at managing money/driving/being organized, or how you always overdo it/make a fool of yourself at social events.