7 Ways to Deal With a Boyfriend That Bullies You

How to evaluate your relationship and make positive changes

When it comes to bullying and abuse in dating relationships, there are no quick fixes. But it also is not a hopeless situation either. And the sooner you recognize that your boyfriend is a bully and abusive, the better it will be for your self-esteem. Here are seven steps to dealing with a bullying boyfriend.

Call it like it is.

Learn to recognize the signs of bullying and abuse. By doing so, you will keep from blaming yourself or taking responsibility for your boyfriend’s actions.

Contrary to what he may tell you, you do not “cause” him to act the way he does. He has a choice. And if he is choosing to bully or abuse you, he is responsible for his actions, not you.

Change your reaction.

One of the first steps in dealing with relationship abuse and bullying is to realize what you that you cannot change the bully. You cannot love him more or try harder to make him happy. He is responsible for his actions and his feelings.

But, you can change your reaction to his behavior. Instead, of engaging in self-blame or feeling responsible for his feelings, put the blame where it belongs – on his shoulders. Next, decide how you want to respond to the bullying. Do you want to end the relationship? Find support from a counselor or friend? Only you can decide what is best for your situation. But you should be moving toward terminating the relationship. Bullying and abuse left unchecked will escalate over time.

Recognize your value and worth.

Being bullied and abused may cause you to lose self-confidence. You also may begin to doubt your worth and abilities. Remember, bullying is packed with lies about your value as a person. Reject those lies and replace them with the truth of who you really are. Focus on building your resilience and your perseverance.

Engage in positive self-talk and reframe your situation. The goal is that you begin to see that you do not deserve to be bullied.

Get help and support.

Remember, bullying and abuse are big issues that cannot be handled on their own. You need the love and support of your family and friends. Surround yourself with people who respect you and seek out healthy friendships. Engage with people that will give you the freedom to make your own decisions in your own time. Remember, you know what you need. Trust yourself to make good choices.

Set boundaries.

Setting boundaries involves communicating what will no longer be tolerated in a relationship. They also can guard against allowing others to take control of your life. The key is to be clear about your limits. Make sure your boyfriend knows what you will no longer accept.

For instance, if your boyfriends texts you excessively, let him know that he needs to limit his text messages. Or, if an over-eager friend is trying to control your life by making rules for you about your boyfriend, remind her that you are the one in charge of your life.

The key with boundaries is to guard against allowing others to take control.

Remember you are not alone.

If you are being bullied or abused by a boyfriend, you probably feel very alone and isolated. This happens frequently in unhealthy relationships. The bully or abuser will isolate you from your family and friends. But it is important to remind yourself that you are not alone and that others really do care.

What’s more, dating abuse is a widespread problem that affects one in three young women in their lifetime. Be sure you reach out to others for help. It helps to share your experiences with people who understand. And, even if your boyfriend says that no one cares about you, do not believe it. There are people out there that understand what you are going through and want to help. Tell people what you are experiencing and take steps toward a healthier, more peaceful life.

Be patient with yourself.

When it comes to bullying and abuse, there is no “one size fits all” solution. And while you may want to end the relationship right away, you need to consider your safety. You want to be sure when you make the break that you can do so in a way that keeps you from getting physically hurt. You also want to be sure you have the strength and self-confidence to stick with your decision. Think through your ideas and plan your course of action. Every relationship is different, so every plan of action will be different. But the goal is to get you to a healthier and safer place. And sometimes that takes time. Surround yourself with people who will help you make changes.

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