Have you been on a date with someone who seems to be interested in you but at the same time makes fun of you? With those snide and sarcastic remarks that don’t sound right? This is a weird form of flirting technique and you will surely find this behavior confusing and annoying. 

Everyone wants to be in a healthy relationship. But, in your quest to find The Right One, you meet different individuals with different personalities. You hold on to a person hoping that they are the one. But, when you think you’re being verbally or emotionally abused, you have to let go.

What is negging and why is it manipulative? If you read this post until the end, you may find yourself a victim of this emotional manipulation.    

What Is Negging?

Negging is an emotional manipulation tactic done through insults disguised as indirect or insincere compliments. This is used to control someone with the goal of making the victim very dependent on them. At first, you would think it is only a form of constructive criticism.

It may not be called an insult, but more appropriately a negative social value judgment. A value judgment is a judgment of whether someone or something is right or wrong. But, in the long run, negging can put the other person at the receiving end in immediate danger.

Negging is very common in romantic relationships. This term first surfaced in the pickup artists’ world. This tactic was used mostly by men to manipulate women to have sexual contact with them. Most men assume that women are not worth respecting and that they are merely sex objects to be used.

Negging is considered a form of emotional abuse. It is never a valid reason to flirt with someone. At present, negging can also be seen in relationships between friends, colleagues, and family members.

Signs of Negging

Not everyone is familiar with negging because it can initially seem like a harmless criticism and the abuser can easily go away with it by saying that it’s just his personality. The signs of negging are listed below to guide you.

They Give Backhanded Compliments

If the negger gives a backhanded compliment, you are more likely to feel bad, hurt, confused, and embarrassed instead of feeling happy. A backhanded compliment is defined as an insult camouflaged as a compliment. Neggers make backhanded compliments that highlight the person’s insecurities.   

They Seem to Give Constructive Criticism

They always have something to say about you. They will comment about your work, your clothes, the way you eat, basically everything. You would feel like a prisoner trapped in your own space. 

You have the urge to change just to please them. Their suggestions may seem like constructive criticisms. You are left feeling very confused as to why they do this to you.

A Narcissist

They enjoy talking down on you and giving you a questioning look. They only see the good in themselves and that nothing good comes from you. They are closely monitoring everything you do.

They Give the Approval

Before you entered the relationship, you knew you are worth so much and that you are a good person. However, your relationship has turned you into a clueless person. 

You don’t know who you are anymore. You constantly ask for your partner’s approval in everything. If you realize that you subconsciously seek the person’s approval, then be cautious and do something about it.

They Like Comparing Their Exes

Neggers feel that there should be competition between their exes and present partner. Their negging makes you feel insecure. You would do whatever they ask so you can feel equal to their exes.

They Are Abnormally Busy

They say there is no such thing as being overly busy. It is just about prioritizing or focusing on what matters most to you. Neggers, aside from always looking busy, don’t make any effort to make plans with you. They don’t find you important at all. Since they feel busy, you feel obligated to be considerate towards them. Because of this, you can’t leave them.

They Always Target You in Their Jokes

Making you the main topic of their jokes is fun for a negger. They often target your personality or the way you look. If you tell them that they are rude and disrespectful, they will just brush it off by saying: “You are overly sensitive. I’m only joking”. A person who has genuine feelings for you will always think of your best interest, admit their mistakes, and will never criticize or make fun of you.

They Tell You That It Is Only Them Who Will Like You

They play the role of the good guy. They make you feel that you are privileged enough that someone like them fell for your imperfections. They will do anything to keep you around because you make them feel good and you quench their insecurities.

They Show Small Gestures of Interest

A negger will try to tease you every now and then. They will come up to you looking and acting all desirable. However, they will not give you the chance to reciprocate these advances. They are doing everything to wrap you around their fingers.

Examples of Negging

Here are some examples of negging that you may hear:

  • “You would look prettier if you tried putting on makeup.”
  • “It’s great that you got promoted in your job. Though, you still don’t earn as much as I do.”
  • “You are no Angelina Jolie, but you will do.”
  • “You don’t laugh at all my jokes. You are not like my other women.”
  • “Wow, you are pretty smart. You don’t look like it.”
  • “Are we ordering food for a family of 10 or what?”
  • “If you get a decent haircut, your cheeks may look less chubby.”
  • “What’s the big deal with this look? Is it Halloween?”
  • “My ex is way better than you in bed.”
  • “Look at the size of your thighs. You must be an excellent cook.”

Can Negging Be Stopped?

Negging is a flirting technique that can easily persuade women. People neg to feel that they are the only ones who can make the victim feel complete. In reality, they are actually the victims of their own insecurities, and negging is their only emotional outlet.

Negging doesn’t work and can never lead to healthy relationships. If criticism is used as a communication tool, then don’t expect the relationship to last. If a relationship is built on manipulation, don’t expect that it will be a successful one.

Though, if you are sensitive enough, negging can be a good courtship marker. If someone negs you on your first date, consider it as a red flag. Negging can be a great tool to signal that the person you are talking to is insecure and abusive.

How to Deal With Negging?

If you are constantly being negged, you will most definitely lose your self-esteem and feel very insecure about yourself. How do you respond to negging? The first and effective way is to ignore and avoid all future interactions with them. Investing your energy and time talking to someone who doesn’t appreciate and respect you is a total waste.

Here are some ways you can make a person stop negging:

Don’t Fight Back With Insults

Avoid exchanging low-grade insults with each other. If the negger is insulting you, don’t fight back. Control yourself and just walk away.   

You Have to Express Your Feelings

You can test a negger if you are important to them by sharing your feelings with them. If they acknowledge what you feel, then you can reconsider the relationship. However, if they give you negative feedback, it is best to leave the relationship right away.

Tell Them Their Behavior Is Unacceptable

Not all apologies are sincere. An honest and true apology is coupled with change. You should demand change from your partner.

Avoid Pointless Arguments

Neggers would want to argue with you so they can trap you into blaming yourself. There is no point in arguing when it leads nowhere. It is better to end the conversation and leave the negative energy behind.

There Are Better Ways to Flirt

The healthiest form of flirtation is simply being genuine and honest towards the person you have an interest in. If you have the chance to talk to the person you like, respectfully and honestly compliment the person.

You can start the conversion by talking about possible common interests. Avoid asking about a person’s personal life during the first conversation because some find this very uncomfortable. Also, be very courteous if the person you like may not feel the same way.    

Self Confidence and Self-Esteem

Negging is a man’s way of breaking down a woman’s self-confidence and self-esteem. This way a man can easily make his move and control the woman. Negging degrades a person by damaging their self-worth. This can eventually lead to emotional and physical abuse.

You Have the Power and Control

Negging is harmful and forms toxic relationships. The very idea of negging is awful and disgusting. If you find yourself a victim of negging, it is best to leave as soon as possible. Don’t allow negative to use their power to manipulate you. Don’t allow them to make you vulnerable.

Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC) can guide you in recovering from a traumatic and toxic relationship. A therapist can help you list down goals for your future relationships. Take control of your life. You don’t need someone else to make you feel empowered.

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