In the realm of dating, the term 'negging' refers to a manipulative tactic employed by both men and women to undermine their partner's confidence. Many of us have experienced a growing sense of discomfort when our partner frequently delivers backhanded compliments or consistently offers what they perceive as 'constructive criticism.'
Individuals who resort to negging as a means of emotional manipulation often struggle with their own self-esteem. They find a sense of security in making you doubt yourself. When someone continually puts us down, we may find ourselves seeking their approval, inadvertently providing a manipulative or insecure partner with an ego boost. An example of negging could be when, despite your consistent efforts to look fabulous on date nights, your partner consistently finds faults instead of offering genuine compliments.
Essentially, if your partner frequently belittles you, it's likely because they lack the confidence to let you shine. Deep down, they feel unworthy of you and need you to forget just how fabulous you truly are.
For your own happiness and self-esteem, it is crucial to exit a relationship built on manipulation and power games. Hold out for someone who possesses the ability to genuinely love and support you. However, even within the healthiest relationships, there may be moments of criticism towards each other. Relate, the UK's largest provider of relationship support, offers the following advice on effectively communicating critical thoughts:
Focus on the situation or action, not the person: Instead of simply accusing your partner, comment on the consequences or context. For example, instead of saying, "You never want to go out anymore," say, "I feel like we haven't been out in a while. Would you like to go to the cinema next Saturday?"
Emphasise the positive along with the negative: Remind your partner of what you appreciate about them, in addition to expressing your concerns. For instance, say, "I really enjoy spending time with your friends, but I think it would be nice to do something together this weekend," rather than, "We always hang around with your friends! I'm sick of it!"
Share how their behaviour has affected you: Again, avoid phrasing your comment as an attack. Communicate how their actions make you feel. For example, say, "When I feel like the bad guy in front of the kids, it makes me feel upset," rather than, "Stop making me look like the bad guy!"
Be open to receiving feedback: If your partner is providing you with feedback, try to approach it with a constructive mindset. Don't assume they are intentionally trying to hurt your feelings. Instead, listen to what they have to say and genuinely consider whether their points have validity.
Relate offers a network of counselling centres across the UK, providing services such as relationship counselling, family counselling, meditation, and counselling for young people. Furthermore, our dating coaches are available to offer support and guidance regarding relationships and dating. Contact us to learn more about our services.