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10 Things To Understand When You Love Someone From A Broken Family

10 Things To Understand When You Love Someone From A Broken Family

No one person that comes from a broken family is the same as another. For some, a broken family was caused by a divorce, abuse, neglect, or the death of a parent at a young age. For others, a broken family is the only thing they know.

For many, it came at a young age, and a big cost to who they would become. There is no definition that explains what it feels like, or what it means to come from a broken home.

It’s not simple to explain, it’s not what most would see as normal, and it’s something that can bring both happiness and pain. Those who come from a broken home are doing their best to figure life out, just like everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong here, loving someone who comes from a broken family can be work, but they will love you and cherish you with all of their heart. You are their safe place, and they will always have your back for that.

To be able to give back the love and loyalty you are getting, here are a few facts of people from broken homes that will help you to better understand how to love someone who comes from a broken family.

1. They don’t trust easily

Trust is something that is earned for them, and it is taken very seriously. This will be relevant throughout your entire relationship.

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At some point in life, someone they trusted ended up disappointing them big time. For this reason it’s hard for them to just give up their trust to you.

This might be hard to crack at first, but when they let you in, they likely won’t hold anything back.

2. At the beginning of the relationship, they won’t think they deserve you

You are simply too good for them. They don’t deserve the love, or even the attention that you are showing them. This can last for a very long time, but it is likely that you won’t even know they feel this way.

Those who come from a broken family are used to holding in their feelings and covering up with a smile. When they seem down to you, just give them a compliment and hold them close.

3. While in the early stages of dating, they will focus on you, and avoid long conversations about themselves

At some point at the beginning of dating, you will feel like they know everything about you, but you don’t exactly know everything about them. This is normal. When they get into a relationship it’s easier for both sides to talk about positive things, and their home life is not positive, so they avoid it.

You might be told names of family members, or a funny story here or there, but you will have no idea that their parent is or was an addict, or whatever their home situation might be. Don’t push on this subject.

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When they trust you, they will tell you what growing up was like for them.

4. They will be the independent one in the relationship

If at times it seems like they don’t act like they need you, it’s because they don’t, technically. They had to grow up at a young age, and some of them even had to take care of themselves and their siblings on their own.

They can get by without you, but they don’t want to. Don’t hold this against them, as it will benefit them when they have a family of their own. And if you’re lucky, that family will be with you.

5. Meeting your family will be hard for them

A normal family is something only dreams are made of for them. Talking about your family is uneasy for them, and meeting them is terrifying.

They don’t know what to expect, and your stories of childhood and good relationships are a far cry from their reality. Be supportive, and introduce them to the family slowly. Once they see how your family interacts, they will open up to you about theirs, giving you a better understanding of who they are.

6. Arguments will either be filled with emotion, or be completely shut off

Depending on the topic, and how comfortable they are with you, an argument will go one of two ways. Earlier in the relationship it is likely that when an argument arises they will tend to listen more than they talk.

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They don’t necessarily want to disagree with you, and they want two things to happen. They want you to be happy at the end of the argument, and they want the argument over NOW.

In the heat of an argument at this point, they will feel extremely anxious, and wonder if this might lead to you leaving them – just like everyone else has left them. The second way this can go is with extreme emotion.

By this point in the relationship it is likely they are comfortable with you. They no longer worry about you leaving them just because of this fight, and they will let you know how they feel. Regardless of the situation you find yourself at, don’t leave things unsettled. At the end of the day, they need to know that everything is okay.

7. Once they fall in love with you, they are done hiding from you

However long it might take for this to happen, when it does, you will know. Letting someone in enough to fall in love is a big thing for them. At this point in the relationship they will have started to open up to you about their past, and their family.

You will know exactly how they feel about their home life. It might feel to you like this came out of nowhere, but it most certainly did not. They thought this over in their heads many times, and they came to the same conclusion each time.

You are worth letting in. You are understanding and non-judgmental, and they know you love them back.

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8. Marriage will be an awkward conversation for them

By this point, they love you, you know everything that makes them who they are, you’ve both met each others families, but something is still off. First of all, try not to get frustrated with them. To most, marriage is a fairy tale, and one that didn’t go so well in their family.

Don’t get mad, as it’s all they know. Over time they will start to see a long future with you, and they will be more open to trying to understand what marriage with you could be like.

9. Marrying you will be the happiest day of their life

Once they get over the initial shock that they are actually getting married, they will be overjoyed. At this point, they have moved on from their past, and they are looking forward to starting a new life with you.

They are all about you, and this will genuinely be the happiest day of their lives – until the two of you have kids.

10. They will make an amazing parent

Because of all they have gone through as a child, they will know exactly how they want to be with their children. They will want to give their children the life they wish they would have had.

Becoming a parent can be terrifying for anyone, but they will take it in stride. If you are lucky enough to make it this far with them, they you are their everything, and they will look forward to making your little family the best it can be.

Featured photo credit: Cute couples via blog.lib.umn.edu

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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