Accusations of dishonesty can ruin a relationship, whether it is personal or professional. You have to have trust in any relationship, otherwise, the bond between partners becomes tenuous and weak.
Anyone can suffer the psychological effects of false accusations in a relationship. It doesn’t matter if you are a confident, well-balanced person or if you have low self-esteem.
Eventually, not being believed wears down your psyche and identity.
So, what happens when someone you love or work for falsely accuses you all the time?
5 psychological effects of false accusations in a relationship
1. You change your behaviour
Changing your behaviour is the most obvious effect of constant accusations.
When I was in a coercive controlling relationship, my partner would accuse me of everything from sleeping with the postman to running away with my boss. As time progressed, I began to modify my behaviour to assuage his accusations.
For instance, I was completing a degree, which entailed going to classes every Monday. After the lesson, the group would relocate to a local pub to continue the lesson in a more casual setting.
The first time I attended, I was late home from the lesson. My partner wanted to know where I had been. When I told him, he sulked for two days, making it impossible for me to continue the impromptu meetings.
2. You lie about the truth
I began to lie about the truth, even though I knew I was in the right and I’d done nothing wrong.
So, if I met my sisters for lunch, I would lie and say I had eaten at my desk. It simply wasn’t worth all the hassle of explaining when they called me, who we sat next to in the restaurant, who served us, etc.
Research describes this as ‘innocent guilt‘, where you feel guilty even though you haven’t done anything wrong.
3. You are anxious all the time
Because you are always walking on eggshells, stress and anxiety levels increase. I never knew what mood my ex would be in when I came home. I also never knew what would set him off during the day or night. As a result, my anxiety rose.
4. You feel frustrated with your partner
How can you argue with someone who won’t listen to the truth? It can be incredibly frustrating dealing with someone with a twisted mindset. It is also exhausting trying to justify your actions all the time.
5. You question whether the relationship is worth it
By the time ten years had passed, I was ready to walk away from all the drama and accusations from my ex. I had become isolated from my family and closest friends.
However, when I did meet up with them, they would worry and say I had ‘lost my sparkle’, which is exactly how I felt. It was so tiring explaining every movement, worrying about the next accusation. I felt worn down with it all.
6. You begin to doubt your version of events
Clever, manipulative people may falsely accuse you as a gaslighting tactic. These types of people are not coming from a place of insecurity, far from it.
Practiced manipulators are supremely confident. They want you unbalanced and questioning your sanity. They do it to undermine your confidence. After all, someone with a strong sense of identity is harder to manipulate.
What sort of person makes false accusations?
I believe there are two types of people who make constant accusations in a relationship:
- Desperately insecure people
- Supremely confident people
In personal relationships, constant accusations arise from a feeling of insecurity. Your partner may think that they are not good enough for you, and it is only a matter of time before you cheat on them.
As a result, they are hyper-vigilant around you. Checking your text messages and putting you on a time limit is the norm.
In professional relationships, they can come from a place of jealousy or sabotage. For example, work colleagues can lie about your performance to elevate their position in the company.
From a manipulative standpoint, always having to justify your actions leads to low confidence and isolation. As such, it is the perfect tool for sociopaths, psychopaths, and narcissists.
How to deal with constant accusations in a relationship?
1. Look at your behaviour
It is important to look at your behaviour before addressing your partner’s concerns. Are you perpetuating this feeling of insecurity in your partner with your actions?
Perhaps you have felt detached and distant recently, and your partner is sensitive enough to pick up on the signs? Examining your feelings and behaviour is key before moving on to any next steps.
2. It’s not you, it’s them
If you are perfectly happy with your feelings and behaviour and there are no underlying issues, understand that the person accusing you has issues, not you.
So, rather than getting indignant and emotional, try and find out where their insecurity comes from.
Perhaps they are bringing baggage from an old relationship into yours. Maybe something you have done has triggered them into the past. You know you are telling the truth, so find out what prompted their disbelief.
3. Stay rational, don’t get emotional
One of the psychological effects of false accusations in relationships is heightened emotions.
It can be difficult when you are protesting the truth not to become over-emotional. After all, this person is questioning your integrity. They are demonstrating that they don’t know you at all.
Stick to the facts, leave emotion out of the situation and ask for evidence. Remind this person that rumours or gossip are not facts.
4. Remember, you are not what you are being accused of
My ex used to make me feel like a worthless tart, always looking for sex and having affairs. He continually accused me of cheating. Eventually, I began to believe I must be doing something wrong.
I wasn’t doing any wrong, however, his words had consequences for me. I felt belittled and stupid. Just because someone calls you something awful or accuses you of dreadful things, doesn’t mean this is who you are.
As you can see, the psychological effects of false accusations in a relationship are very real. Being constantly accused of something you didn’t do tears into the very heart and core of your identity.
However, it is crucial to remember that in most cases, the issue is with the perpetrator, not the accused.
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