Negging is a harmful way to treat another person because it demonstrates a contempt for the other person and their feelings.
It is dismissive and degrading to the other person and can eventually undermine their self-confidence. Usually the person doing the negging is insecure in their ability to attract [someone] without putting them down.
They also don’t feel ‘good enough’ on their own: they need to put other people down in order to feel better about themselves.”
It’s not a guys-only behavior: plenty of women neg their partners to keep them interested, also. But no matter your gender identity, negging is seriously sh*tty behavior, because no one deserves to have their self-esteem eroded by someone who they should be able to trust wholly.
If you’re concerned that your partner is guilty of this damaging and controlling behavior, here are six signs someone is negging you:
1. Their compliments are always backhanded
If your partner seems to exclusively give you backhanded compliments that leave you feeling hurt and puzzled instead of bolstered and happy, that could mean they’re negging you. “[Negging is] giving someone a compliment or at the very least a neutral statement while delivering an insult.
Examples? Wow, you’re actually pretty smart! or You can be so beautiful when you have makeup on! “By pointing out a negative, the [one being negged] focuses on the flaw and starts trying to fix it and gain [their partner’s] approval.
2. They constantly criticize you
In a healthy relationship, your partner will be supportive and accepting of you, and want to help you through your problems rather than criticize you for your mistakes — or even for things you can’t change, like your appearance.
“When your partner over-criticizes you… it demoralizes you and reduces your self-esteem. You then twist yourself into a pretzel to change [yourself] to please your partner. This pattern of behavior of constant criticism from your partner is a form of control to diminish you and make you dependent on them.
3. They’re a narcissist
If someone is a textbook narcissist, they spend all their time putting others down while talking themselves up, and are never in the wrong — all classic negging behaviors. A narcissist might seem “open” with you but in reality, they just love to talk about themselves, and aren’t actually interested in what’s going on in your life.
“If there is… a lack of vulnerability or sharing of true feelings or interests, not only can this start to paint the picture of what may be a narcissist, but you [might be] being negged.
4. You crave their approval
The main goal of negging is to undermine someone’s self-esteem, so that the person being negged will start to subconsciously seek their partner’s approval for everything. It’s a sneaky way for one partner to gain control of everything in the relationship — which, needless to say, is super unhealthy.
If you find yourself relying on your partner’s approval — on everything from what you eat to your haircut — in order to feel secure in the relationship, that’s a sign that your S.O. is guilty of negging.
5. They compare you to exes
Occasionally mentioning an ex when it’s relevant is totally normal in a relationship. But if you’re being constantly compared to an ex by your partner, it’s probably because they’re trying to make you feel insecure and second-best as a way to make you want to ‘prove yourself’ by sticking around.
When your partner begins to compare [their] previous lovers’ bodies to yours, these comments reduce your pleasure and leads to self-esteem issues. These comments surround you in negative energy and experiences.
6. They’re always “so busy”
Obviously, sometimes people are just genuinely also busy to hang out. But if you’re seeing someone who is always also busy for you and makes no real effort to meet up or plan dates, that’s a red flag. By making themselves seem unavailable, it makes you feel unworthy of their time, which is a definite negging move.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé