There are times in life when you interact with someone with whom you simply do not feel emotionally safe. Emotionally safe. What does that mean?
*It means you feel that the person does not have your best interests at heart.
*It means that you feel the person is profoundly manipulative.
*It means that the person has no sense of who you really are.
When I feel that way with someone, my first impulse is to run away as fast as possible. But when that person is clearly a bully, it is vital to not turn tail and run, at least not right away. It is important to stand up to the person.
A bully will typically stand down when he/she sees that you are not going to go down without a fight.
It is important to acknowledge that feeling, when it surfaces. First and foremost, acknowledge it to yourself. Second, state it clearly to the person who engenders that feeling in you. Finally, come to a full realization of the implications of having that feeling.
If not feeling emotionally safe is a temporary phenomenon that has arisen with someone you love, then it is vital to confront the issue directly, explore it with your loved one in depth, and hopefully experience healing and growth in the relationship.
If not feeling emotionally safe is more of a permanent state you are experiencing in the presence of a person, then it is important to consider ending the relationship. This could mean leaving a job, if the boss is emotionally toxic, or an apartment, if the landlord comes across in that way. As far as marriage or other committed relationship is concerned, I would recommend competent counseling before any final decision is made. But in the end, it is important to go with one's gut in these matters, regardless of what the counselor may say.
Then, it is vital to explore one's own behavior, and to acknowledge any time when you have made someone feel emotionally unsafe. It can be easy to fall into the pot calling the kettle black pattern. It is easy to finger point, much harder to undertake fundamental change in one's own behavior.
One more point. Sometimes an online person comes across as emotionally toxic. I used to feel guilty for walking away from such a (faceless) person. No more.
Emotional safety: a prime ingredient in a healthy relationship.