Dealing with a condescending romantic partner can be challenging and painful. When someone is condescending, they act in a way that implies they’re better than you and talk down to you. It essentially displays a lack of respect since the person wants to show you you’re inferior to them. Their words, tone, and mannerisms all focus on making you feel less than them.

How do you recognize condescending behavior?

Condescending behavior may include belittling or insulting comments, failure to recognize accomplishments or strengths, a dismissive attitude, or a holier-than-thou disposition. Making someone feel like they can’t do anything right, name-calling, and phrasing insults as jokes also indicate condescending behavior.

Gaslighting your partner and making them feel crazy or second-guessing their experiences and perspective, or refusing to engage with your partner or compromise are also examples of behaviors a condescending partner will do. Eye-rolling, sarcasm, and playful behaviors taken too far and at someone else’s expense are condescending actions.

How a condescending attitude affects romantic relationships?

In an intimate relationship, condescending behaviors can cause a pattern of abusive communication, inflicting emotional pain on the one being talked down to. A person who experiences this behavior from their romantic partner suffers emotionally and mentally. If you have a condescending partner, it’s essential to protect your mental health, as being the target of someone’s condescension can negatively impact the quality of your relationship and your self-esteem. One of the dangers of being in a relationship with a condescending partner is the susceptibility to shut down and communicate less to protect yourself from your partner’s comments.

Why are people condescending?

Condescending behaviors typically come from people who are controlling, insecure, and afraid to be vulnerable. Research indicates that people with narcissistic personality disorder are usually condescending towards others. A condescending person might not even realize their behavior is hurtful and problematic. However, their words and actions speak very loudly.

How to deal with a condescending partner.

If you’ve been treated as inferior, insulted, and made to feel like your feelings and thoughts don’t matter, it can be upsetting to think about confronting the responsible party. However, staying in an unhealthy relationship can damage your emotional and mental health. Still, there are steps to take to operate from a healthier place.

The first step you can take is to confront your partner. The best response to condescending behavior is an even-handed, direct statement about how their behavior makes you feel instead of engaging by being condescending to them in return. Your next step should be asking your partner why they’re being condescending. Acting condescendingly might be natural to some people, so helping them understand what they’re doing and why can be another step toward changing your relationship dynamic.

When people act condescendingly toward others, they expect people not to fight their behavior. By genuinely asking someone why they want to be hurtful and unkind and why they would make a condescending remark, they might be caught off guard and think about a behavior pattern that could have become second nature to them. This discussion could be healthy for the relationship and lead to necessary boundaries.

The next step is finding a relationship therapist. A neutral third party who is professionally trained can help you get to the cause of the condescending behavior. If a partner is condescending because they feel insecure, threatened or have unprocessed trauma, a therapist can help solve those issues. A relationship therapist can also give each person the necessary tools to improve how you and your partner handle each other so you can work toward a stable bond. If both parties are willing to work, learn, and listen, attending sessions with a therapist can be a valuable experience.

After finding a relationship therapist, your next step should be protecting your mental health. You and your partner may be dealing with their condescending behavior, but you still have to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself includes building up your self-esteem and countering the negative impact of harmful actions and words by your partner. Spending more time with your loved ones is essential to protecting your mental health while dealing with a condescending partner.

If your partner makes you feel unsafe or threatened in any way, or there’s any risk of physical violence, you should get help. No matter what actions you decide to take, your health should be your priority. Other resources include local haven programs, safe shelter organizations, and support groups. Individual therapy can also help you leave an abusive situation and process.

Dealing with a condescending partner can make you question your self-worth, feeling like you’re inferior to them and that your feelings don’t matter. However, your feelings and thoughts matter; you don’t have to stay with someone who makes you feel bad. If you think your physical health is in danger, seek the necessary resources and leave. On the other hand, if you feel like your relationship is worth salvaging, make your partner aware of their behavior and seek therapy.

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