Negging: What It Is And How to React to It


Negging: What It Is And How to React to It

This is known as negging if you feel your partner is frequently making negative comments about you indirectly. It may not be easy to discern these actions because they often appear flirting or joking. However, it's important not to mistake the intentions behind them - which are part of the manipulation. It's a feeble try to make themselves feel better by putting you down.

If you're unfamiliar with the negatives of negging, it's time to become acquainted. This destructive behavior has wiggled into dating culture and social media, often disguised as a joke or backhanded compliment. Negging is upsetting and can cause concern about what lies ahead in a relationship.

‍Is Negging a destructive behavior?

Negging is an underhanded method of manipulation that uses insults disguised as compliments to tear down someone's self-esteem and sense of security. This leaves them vulnerable and longing for the approval of the person who did the negging.

Negging is when somebody targets your insecurities to make you feel bad about yourself so they can receive validation from you. According to psychologists, "negging is a form of abuse." And even though it's not physical, negging is still considered verbal and emotional abuse.

Negging gets its meaning from the word "neg," which refers to negative feedback.

Negative comments and actions can have a lasting impact on your mental health and well-being and can lead to more severe problems down the road. Here are some examples of negging and what you can do if you encounter it.

Examples of negging

Negative comments disguised as compliments can be hard to spot, but they can be just as harmful. Here are some examples of negging and how to identify it in your relationships. Remember, negging doesn't only happen in romantic relationships - friends and families can do it too.

They give you compliments that are meant to be insulting.

When unsure if a remark is an insult or compliment, it's considered a backhanded compliment. These comments are also called left-handed compliments because they can be interpreted as compliments, but they actually contain a hidden message that is insulting.

For example:

  • "You look like a whole different person with makeup on!"
  • "It wouldn't surprise me if people thought you were a model from a distance."
  • "This dress is amazing! You look effortlessly thinner in it."

They try to cover up their insult by calling them "constructive criticism."

Narcissists love to put themselves in the role of "chooser" and often criticize others in a hurtful way, allowing them to feel a sense of power or control.

For example:

  • "You'd look more aesthetically pleasing if you lost 7 pounds."
  • "I think you should know that your new haircut style makes you look different. In my opinion, it's not a good look on you . . ."
  • "After reading through this report, I can tell that a lot of time and effort went into writing it. With that being said, I do not like it."

‍They constantly compare you to others.

‍Constantly evaluating yourself against others is exhausting and, more importantly, detrimental to your well-being. Whether the thoughts are accurate, you shouldn't analyze yourself with anyone else--nor should your partner.

For example:

  • "Your best friend has been looking great recently — she must work out a lot. You should join her sometime!"
  • "I like Mary's outfit today, you have similar taste in clothes, so maybe you could try wearing stuff like that too."

They mask insults as questions.

‍The question is worded so carefully to make you feel like you're overreacting and that there's nothing actually wrong. For example:

  • "I'm surprised you managed to finish the annual report by yourself. Who helped you with it?"
  • "You must be really hungry! Are you sure you're going to finish all that food?"
  • "Why don't you wear something different today?"

‍How to respond to someone who is negging you

One of the best ways to deal with negging is by ignoring it altogether. Don't take the bait if someone is trying to get a rise out of you. Trying to explain things to someone who doesn't respect you is also a waste of time. Take care of yourself first- you're not responsible for changing their abusive behavior.

If you feel confident enough, you can let them know that their words or actions are not acceptable. Keep in mind, though, they might then react with more harmful behaviors like gaslighting.

If you think the other person will be receptive, something like "I feel humiliated and disrespected when you say things like that" could work. Remember to always focus on how their actions make *you* feel rather than throwing accusations. It's also essential to express that their attempts at manipulation won't affect you in any way.

Negging often takes place early in a relationship, serving as a foreshadowing of potential future abusive behavior. However, it is crucial to be cautious when confronting someone who is negging you, as they may react negatively. Be sure to set boundaries and expectations with this person if you decide to confront them about their behavior. If you need help, please reach out to a friend or call for assistance.

We all want and deserve a healthy relationship free from toxicity or abuse. Unfortunately, sometimes we find ourselves in relationships with someone who takes advantage of our weaknesses emotionally. This is not an accident; it's something that the perpetrator does deliberately to control and harm you.

The Bottom Line

Negging is an insulting put-down that makes you feel wrong about your positive qualities, whether your looks, intelligence, academic achievements, job, interests, talents, or charm.

Take note if someone consistently makes you feel increasingly insecure when you're around them. This person probably isn't worth having in your life.

Author profile

Lisa Halpert

Online dating expert

Lisa Halpert is a seasoned online dating expert, offering practical advice and insightful tips to navigate the complexities of digital relationships and find meaningful connections in the virtual world.

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