Name-calling and a healthy romantic relationship don’t go hand-in-hand. No doubt about it.
But still, some indulge in this. A normal person may wonder why.
Name-calling is considered to be a type of verbal abuse and it has no place in a normal and robust relationship.
Sometimes one partner will indulge in name-calling without being aware of the consequences and how much this is hurting the feelings of their partner. They may be fooling around casually without giving much thought to the effects of their words. If this is the case, all you need to do is make them aware of the situation.
However, in most cases, this simple solution may not work as name-calling is a deliberate attempt to browbeat the partner. Moreover, the partner will be too scared to raise this topic or confront them, fearing their reaction and retaliation.
If you are finding yourself in such a situation, you need to know the right moves to get out of it without getting hurt. Read on to learn why your boyfriend is calling you names and how you can deal with verbal and emotional abuse.
Why does your boyfriend call you names?
A relationship is healthy and stable when there is love, trust, and mutual respect. When one partner’s behavior is disrespectful toward the other, the relationship will turn unhealthy and toxic.
Name-calling is clear evidence of a lack of respect. If your boyfriend calls you names, he doesn’t consider you an equal in the relationship. He believes that he is superior to you in some way or the other. When your boyfriend’s attitude toward you is wrong, he also commits another sin – he doesn’t see any value in your relationship. Make or break, he doesn’t care.
In a relationship, if both partners are okay with it, there is no harm in name-calling. The trouble brews when one partner finds it offensive. Even after making your discomfort evident to your partner, if they continue to indulge in name-calling, it is time for you to consider the next step.
Before you take action, it is better to be sure about the reason behind name-calling. Here are some common reasons why your boyfriend is calling you names.
It indicates his lack of respect
If your boyfriend continues to call you names despite your protest, it can only mean one thing – he doesn’t have respect for you. Name-calling is one way of verbal abuse to show disrespect.
If you care to notice his behavior towards you, you may find more evidence of emotional abuse toward you. Such as standing you up on dates, not asking your permission or opinion, or not paying attention to what you are saying.
On your part, you should have a conversation with him and let him know that you don’t like his name-calling. You need to tell clearly that name-calling isn’t acceptable for you and he needs to stop this. This may or may not work.
If he carries on with name-calling, you may have to get external help and support. In extreme circumstances, you may have to break up with him. There is no point for you to continue in the relationship if you are not getting the respect you deserve from your partner.
He’s pulling you down
In this case, your boyfriend is very much aware of the consequences of his actions and how his name-calling is affecting you. But continues to call you names for reasons best known to him.
Maybe he wants to control and manipulate you by playing around with your feelings. Or he deliberately wants to make you feel ashamed, guilty, bad, and blame yourself for the bad state of your relationship.
Men resort to name-calling and emotional abuse to subdue their partners and make them dependent. They take immense thrill when they feel needed by their partners.
If this is the reason for your boyfriend to indulge in name-calling you, it’s time you reevaluate your relationship. Even after multiple talks, if your boyfriend refuses to change his behavior and stop verbal abuse, you shouldn’t hesitate to walk out of the relationship.
What happens when your boyfriend calls you names?
- You feel scared to express your feelings and thoughts openly. Despite feeling sad, angry, and dejected, you wouldn’t have the courage to speak out. It is bound to affect your mental health. Instead of talking about how he makes you feel, you may hit out against him by calling him names.
- Name-calling is a form of verbal abuse and this is bound to make you feel bad about yourself. You may feel hurt, embarrassed, and belittled. This is a tactic used by him to control and manipulate you.
- When your boyfriend is abusive and makes you feel inconsequential, you may start doubting yourself. Gaslighting happens when you start doubting and questioning your own reality and sanity. Or you may doubt your abilities, ultimately affecting your confidence and self-esteem.
- You find yourself seething with anger and resentment. This is a consequence of feeling unsupported and helpless. Despite suffering ignominy at the hands of your boyfriend, you are unable to retaliate or help yourself. This can make you feel bitter.
- You stop communicating well in the relationship. As a result of your boyfriend’s name-calling, you either suffer silently or lash out at him. As communication is the cornerstone of a healthy romantic relationship, this will lead to a toxic situation.
- You are bitter and filled with negative feelings. There is nothing to be gained by calling your partner names. It will only make them feel horrible and hurt.
- When you also resort to name-calling, it will be an ugly fest. Your time together will become undesirable and unbearable with arguments and counterarguments. The only thing you want to achieve through these fights is to win and gain the upper hand.
When your boyfriend calls you names, he is indirectly revealing his genuine feelings for you. Irrespective of the names and words he uses to call you, this can be a sign of love or his attempt to manipulate you. Which one it is depends on how he reacts when you express your displeasure.
If he is calling you names as a means to be more intimate with you and you understand this, well and good. Take up the chance to be vulnerable and open with him. This can bring you closer.
On the other hand, if your boyfriend is using this behavior to control and manipulate you, it’s not good for your romantic relationship. This is toxic behavior and it is not a healthy situation to be in.
What can you do when your boyfriend calls you names?
Calling names is abusive, hurtful, and most of all immature behavior. The natural reaction to name-calling may be to remain silent to retort in a similar manner. But both will lead to deterioration in the romantic relationship.
The question is how can you deal with abuse in a mature and positive way?
- Communication is the best way out of this situation for you. Let him know how his name-calling is making you feel. If he is doing this without realizing the consequences, this should help him realize his mistake and make amends.
- If he doesn’t change his ways, you have a harder task ahead. Here are some tips on how you can handle the abuse.
- Don’t react to his name-calling aggressively or angrily. Stay calm no matter what he calls you. Remember you achieve nothing with anger and belligerence. Take a deep breath or count to 10. Do whatever works for you. But don’t take the bait and lash out at him.
- Once you have your emotions and thoughts under control, make an effort to communicate with him about your feelings. Use a matter-of-fact tone and talk in a straightforward manner. Ask him to stop name-calling. You may have to repeat this a few times before he realizes its importance.
- Don’t be submissive and accommodating while talking to your boyfriend. Assert your stand and make your feelings clear. Don’t get too emotional or aggressive. Try to maintain a calm and confident demeanor. Make eye contact with him to show how serious you are.
- Focus on how his words make you feel rather than accuse him of toxic behavior. Make “I” statements and desist from “you” statements. Your accusatory behavior can make him turn defensive and it will not help you resolve the situation.
- Take a clear stand openly. Every time your boyfriend calls you names, you can say “Stop this immediately”, “You’re hurting me”, or “Enough of this name-calling”.
- Ask your boyfriend to explain why he is calling you names. If he’s doing this unintentionally, he will realize his mistake with this exercise.
- Set clear boundaries. Make it clear to him that you will not tolerate name-calling. You can also add your reaction if he violates the boundaries. Such as, you will discontinue the conversation, walk out of the room, or sleep separately.
- Make sure that you see through the ultimatums. Whatever you said you would do if he oversteps the boundary, you should follow through with it. Or else, you will lose value in his eyes and he will try to dominate you more.
- Acknowledge and appreciate any positive changes in his behavior. This will encourage him to work harder to reform his behavior.
- Develop a support system for yourself among your friends and family. This support system can help you survive the bad times in the best way possible.
- Build on your confidence and self-worth. You won’t allow others, especially your boyfriend to browbeat, control, and manipulate you, if you are confident and realize your worth.
- You can try couples therapy or seek the help of a relationship counselor to resolve the situation. They can help you see where you are going wrong and what can be done to set the situation right.
- If none of the above approaches is working, you should consider walking out of the relationship. Name-calling may not be the only issue in your romantic relationship. If you care to pay attention, you may find other toxic behavior from him.
- If you feel your physical safety is being threatened by your boyfriend, call the abuse helpline for support and assistance.
The Bottom Line
When someone consistently demonstrates disrespect or employs hurtful language towards you, it may indicate a lack of regard for your equal standing within the romantic relationship. This behavior is commonly referred to as ‘gaslighting,’ and it constitutes a harmful form of emotional and verbal abuse.
If your partner frequently resorts to name-calling and other forms of verbal abuse, it’s imperative to take steps to safeguard yourself and the health of your romantic relationship. Or else, this will affect your mental health.
Addressing this situation involves several key actions. First, engage in a candid conversation with your partner to understand the reasons behind their use of hurtful language. It’s crucial to approach this discussion calmly and honestly, avoiding defensiveness.
Additionally, establish clear boundaries with your partner, communicating your firm stance against tolerating such behavior.