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Jul 31, 2017


Paul Colaianni is host of The Overwhelmed Brain podcast and author of the book: The Overwhelmed Brain: Personal Growth for Critical Thinkers. He helps people all over the world become empowered so that they can make decisions that are right for them. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

In this episode, Paul talks with us about the damage of manipulation and emotionally abusive relationships. He offers signs and symptoms to help identify a toxic relationship. He also gives us two important keys in helping transform emotional abusive relationships.

(Please listen to the podcast episode or read the transcript to hear more explanations, stories and examples.)


Toxic relationship are when you feel bad more often than not.

“One of the main functions of an emotional manipulator is to get what they want, the way they want it by controlling people in the environment.” Paul Colaianni

Components of Emotionally Abuse Relationship:

  • Your partner is in control. You often feel like you are tagging along.
  • Your partner makes you feel bad about yourself, and you mistrust yourself. You believe your partner is the only person that you can trust.
  • You believe your partner is the only person that will show you love, and there is no one else that will love you.

Manipulators usually have a really old fear that is driving their manipulative behavior.


Each item alone does not indicate a toxic or abusive relationship. Emotional abuse tends to happen over a period of time. To get a more comprehensive assessment, check out the MEAN worksheet by Paul Colaianni. Here are a just few items that Paul shared with us:

  • “During and after a conversation with your partner, you can often feel (embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, anxious, angry, uneasy, and especially feeling like you are blamed or responsible for what is wrong in the relationship).
  • Before you met your partner, you felt pretty good about yourself.
  • Everything in the relationship seems so complex.
  • You allow your boundaries or your values to be violated.
  • You feel bad honoring your boundaries.
  • You are always trying to find ways to make your partner happy, even at the cost of your own happiness. You apologize a lot.
  • Your partner talks and talks and talks and talks.
  • You don’t know where your passion for life is.
  • You dread losing the relationship, even though you are mostly unhappy.
  • You feel like you are going crazy.
  • You feel guilty almost all the time.
  • You believe you are not worthy or lovable.”


If you are the victim:

  • Start trusting yourself and make a decision about what you are going to do about your situation. Trust your decision.

If you are the manipulator:

  • Put your focus on yourself. Take absolute accountability for your experience.



Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: ERP 113: How To Identify Manipulative & Emotionally Abusive Relationships with Paul Colaianni [Transcript]

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