The Mating Grounds

Is Your Partner Negging You? 10 Signs and How to Respond

Understanding Negging: Signs Your Partner is Negging You

Do you ever feel uneasy after receiving a compliment from your partner? Or perhaps they always seem to emphasize your shortcomings when compared to others?

You may be experiencing negging, a form of emotional manipulation that involves backhanded compliments and indirect negative statements. Negging’s purpose is to reduce your confidence, increase your partner’s control over the situation, and make you curious to gain their approval.

This article will provide ten signs your partner is negging you.

Feeling Embarrassed by Compliments

Instead of feeling joy and appreciation after receiving a compliment from your partner, you may feel uneasy or embarrassed. You might even force a genuine smile, which your partner may misinterpret as acceptance.

In reality, these compliments make you feel even less attractive or valued.

Comparison to Others

Your partner might compare you to other people to make you feel like you’re not enough. They may mention how your friends or colleagues have better qualities than you.

When hearing these comparisons, you might lose self-confidence, which makes you easier to manipulate.

Destructive Criticisms

You and your partner might discuss your actions and decisions, but their feedback may not have any constructive solutions. Instead of helping you make improvements, your partner may provide criticisms with no resolution.

This can halt any progress you’re trying to make.

Insulting Questions

Your partner may ask questions to belittle you but disguise it in an innocent tone. You should pay attention to how your partner phrases these questions, and decipher if they’re sincerely curious or just undermining you.

Joking Excuses

Your partner may gaslight you and shift blame with a lighthearted or joking tone. They may not own up to their actions and instead pin the fault on whoever they can.

This leaves you questioning if you’re the one at fault.

Regretting Voicing Opinions

Your partner may twist your opinions or deny that you said anything significant to make you feel unintelligent or ignorant. They might even accuse you of lying or exaggerating.

This makes you regret voicing your opinions, which gives them even more power.

Turning Concerns into Victimhood

Your partner might use their physical appearance or health to turn concerns into victimization. They might manipulate you into thinking that you’re mistreating them or making them feel ‘say’ by bringing up past traumas.

Narcissistic Behavior

Your partner may make everything about themselves, dismiss your feelings, or put you down to make themselves feel superior. This type of behavior is selfish and can impact your self-esteem.

Needing Approval

If you’re continuously seeking your partner’s approval, it means they have reduced your self-esteem dramatically. You depend on their validation to feel better, which makes you more susceptible to manipulation tactics.

Ex-partner Comparisons

Your partner might negatively compare you to their ex-partners to dampen your confidence and coerce you into doing what they want. They might use terms like ‘they were more exciting’ or ‘they enjoyed doing things with me unlike you.’


It’s essential to understand the signs of negging to prevent yourself from becoming your partner’s emotional puppet. A good relationship is built on healthy communication, and you shouldn’t have to feel ashamed or inferior in your partnerships.

If you identify with any of the signs mentioned above, remember that there is nothing wrong with you and that your partner may be negatively manipulating you. It’s essential to communicate your concerns with them and seek the help necessary to regain control over your emotions and confidence.

By recognizing the signs of negging, It can prevent your partner’s manipulation tactics from reducing your self-esteem further, which can lead to breaking free from their grasp. Responding to Negging: Tips to Protect Your Emotional Health

Negging is a form of emotional manipulation that can chip away at your self-esteem while making you dependent on your partner’s approval.

While recognizing when negging is taking place is crucial, learning to respond to this behavior is equally important. In this article, we will explore different ways to respond to negging and safeguard your mental health.

Avoid Returning Insults

When someone insults us, the initial reaction can be to return the insults with even harsher comments. However, fighting fire with fire is likely to escalate the situation, making it even more detrimental to our emotional health.

Instead, we must exercise restraint and remember that our strength lies in avoiding the urge to engage in a verbal sparring match. The old adage of ‘never wrestle with a pig’ applies here; it’s pointless, and in the end, we both just end up dirty.

Express Your Feelings

When we’re the target of a neg, we might feel hesitant to speak up for ourselves. This is because the perpetrator might try to gaslight us, making us believe that we misinterpreted the comment or telling us that we’re too sensitive.

However, it’s vital to let our partners know how their behavior makes us feel. Being sincere and explaining how their negativity is impacting us emotionally and mentally can open up the channels of communication and stop the behavior from continuing.

Firmly Request Change

Sometimes, expressing our feelings isn’t enough. We need to demand that our partners change their behavior towards us.

By clearly stating that their comments are causing displeasure and negatively affecting our emotional health, we can inspire change. It’s important to note that we should only request change for actions over which the other person has control.

If they can’t change their behavior, we need to make an informed decision about our next steps. Don’t Argue Pointlessly

Neggers are often skilled at blame-shifting and manipulation, which can make arguing with them a futile effort.

If they’re unwilling to listen or accept responsibility for their behavior, the conversation will become an endless cycle of inaction. In such cases, it’s better to avoid the argument altogether.

By focusing on our emotions and asserting our boundaries, we can avoid falling into their trap of pointless arguments.

Understanding the Psychology of Insults

Negging is a concept that explains how people use negative comments to bring someone else’s self-esteem down. It’s essential to understand that even if negging isn’t as aggressive as physical violence, it can be equally harmful to our mental health.

By taking the steps we mentioned above, we can safeguard our emotional stability while combating negging.

Negging Works

Negging is an unhealthy behavior that can lead to greater control and dependency in a relationship. This only benefits the person doing the negging, not the person on the receiving end.

Anyone using negging as a way to control or manipulate their partner is not genuinely invested in the success of the relationship. In fact, this behavior is more likely to lead to its demise.

Additional Resources

If you’re struggling with negging, it can be helpful to seek additional resources. Dr. Tim Cantopher’s book “Depressive Illness: Fight Back with Positive Thinking” discusses the importance of positive thinking and how it can help individuals suffering from depression.

Additionally, other resources such as online videos and counseling services can also provide the necessary tools and support to help people cope with negging and maintain emotional wellbeing.


Responding to negging can be challenging, especially when the behavior is from a partner who holds particular emotional power. However, with the tips mentioned above, we can learn how to react effectively and prioritize our emotional health.

Remember, negging is an unhealthy behavior, and nobody deserves to be subjected to it. By recognizing negging and standing up for ourselves, we can provide ourselves with the emotional safety we need to thrive in our personal relationships.

In conclusion, recognizing the signs of negging and learning how to respond to this behavior is crucial to maintaining emotional wellbeing in our relationships. By avoiding returning insults, expressing our feelings, firmly requesting change, and not arguing pointlessly, we can establish healthy boundaries and prioritize our mental health.

Negging is a form of emotional manipulation that can lead to control and dependency, making it important to seek additional resources if necessary. Remember that nobody deserves to be subjected to negging, and the steps outlined in this article can provide the necessary tools to combat it and safeguard our emotional wellbeing.

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