- 7 Behaviors That Ruin a Relationship
- When It’s Not You, It’s Them: The Toxic People That Ruin Friendships, Families, Relationships
- 5 Tiny Things You Do That Are Ruining Your Relationship Without You Realizing It
- 1. You Give Too Much
- 2. You Don't Have Good Boundaries
- 3. There Are No Consequences For Bad Behavior
- 4. You Let Lust Override Love
- 5. You Avoid Conflict Resolution
- 17 Signs You’re the Cause of Your Toxic Relationship
- 12 Ways Your Trust Issues Will Unintentionally Ruin Your Entire Relationship
7 Behaviors That Ruin a Relationship
Source: Dragon Images/Shutterstock
Why love fades and people in relationships grow apart is one of life’s great mysteries.
What prevents us from maintaining the passion, attraction, admiration, and closeness we once felt for our partner? What I've learned, through my own work and through a 30-year longitudinal study of couples and individuals, is that we can contrast the patterns of behavior between couples that result in long-term romantic love with those that signify that the couple has formed a “fantasy bond.” A fantasy bond is an illusion of oneness with a partner, a concept elucidated by my father Dr. Robert Firestone. When couples enter into this type of bond, they substitute a fantasy of being connected in place of real relating. They put form over substance, and the relationship starts to deteriorate.
The degree to which an individual in a couple enters into a fantasy bond exists on a continuum. In the beginning, people usually open up to one another. But at some point they become afraid and start to protect themselves from feeling vulnerable by shutting down and withdrawing from loving behavior.
They replace real love with a fantasy of being in love, which they support by insisting on the conventional markers of a relationship. The situation can deteriorate even further until the couple no longer manifests any observable loving behavior and often expresses a lot of animosity toward each other.
The good news is that if we catch on to the behaviors associated with a fantasy bond, a subject I talk more about in a free, upcoming Webinar “Real Love Vs. Fantasy: How to Keep Romantic Love Alive,” we can begin to challenge this defense and create a more satisfying relationship.
In order to truly change our relationships for the better, it’s important to look closely at these harmful behaviors and compare them to the more favorable ways of relating that characterize a healthy relationship.
When we interrupt these patterns and actively engage in healthier ways of interacting with our partner, we feel more closeness and contentment, and we can keep the spark alive in our relationships.
Here are the behaviors to look out for:
1. Having angry reactions to feedback instead of being open to it.
Communication is key to a close relationship. However, when we establish a fantasy bond, we tend to become increasingly closed off to real dialogue, or a kind and compassionate way of exchanging impressions and ideas.
Instead, we tend to be defensive and have angry or intimidating overreactions to feedback from our partner; these shut our partner down. Whether we punish our partner by emotionally breaking down, giving them the silent treatment, or screaming at them, we’re telling them that we don’t want to hear what they have to say.
We may provoke additional emotional distance by saying things we know will sting our partner the most.
In order to change this pattern, try to look for a kernel of truth in what our partner says, rather than picking apart flaws in the feedback. If he or she says, “I feel bad when you just watch TV all night. You seem distracted.
I feel disregarded and you aren’t interested in me,” consider what parts of that resonate with you instead of wasting time on everything that doesn’t. You may feel snapping back by saying, “Don’t be ridiculous and dramatic.
I’m just tired!” There may be some truth to that, but you could instead pause to consider, “I have been tired lately, but is more going on with me than that? Have I been distracted to the point of disregarding my relationship?” Your attuned response would then be, “I’m sorry you feel bad.
I’ve felt distracted lately by work and tired when I come home. I can see how my tuning out hurts you, even though I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
We can always make it our goal to hear everything. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with what someone else is saying. However, we can strive to be open and seek feedback from people we care about and trust, so that they feel comfortable to talk to us about the more difficult subjects.
2. Being closed to new experiences instead of open to new things.
In every relationship, it’s important to maintain a sense of ourselves as a unique person. When we get involved with someone new, it should expand our world, not shrink it. When we first fall in love, we tend to be open to new things.
However, when we start to engage in a fantasy bond, we tend to adopt roles and routines that limit us and close us down to new experiences. We may become more rigid and automatic in our responses. “You know I don’t that restaurant,” or “We always see a movie on Saturday night.
” It actually hurts the relationship when we stop being free and open to developing new shared interests. It can foster real resentment between partners.
While no one should force themselves to do things they really don’t want to do, shutting down the part of ourselves that seeks new experiences and responds to a spark in our partner can drain us of our aliveness and spontaneity.
We should always be open to exploring things that expand our world and be careful not to limit our or our partner’s experiences. Try activities each of you enjoy and see if they add to the arsenal of things you can do together and share in a lively way.
This doesn’t mean that you have to share all of your interests or meet every one of each other’s needs. In fact, it’s essential to maintain your independence and individuality. We don’t need one person for fulfillment, but we do need shared activities.
A relationship doesn’t exist in a vacuum; being open to new experiences keeps it alive.
3. Using deception and duplicity instead of honesty and integrity.
Most of us know from experience that we can drive each other crazy when our words and actions fail to match. Unfortunately, deception and duplicity are common in relationships. There are a lot of mixed messages people saying one thing and doing another. Examples include:
- Saying “I really love you,” but acting you don’t have any time to spend with your partner.
- Saying “I want to be close to you,” then constantly criticizing your partner when he or she is around.
- Saying “I’m not interested in other people,” but flirting with everyone else at the bar.
The actions that contradict these words do not look love. They represent a fantasy of being close but without real relating, essentially putting form over substance. Double messages these mess with another person’s reality, which can be considered a basic human rights violation, not to mention a huge threat to lasting, loving relationships.
Admittedly, honesty in a relationship can be tricky because it doesn’t mean saying every little critical thing to our partner that pops into our head. We have to know our real intentions and what our real truth is. This means we have to know ourselves.
We have to consistently ask ourselves, “Am I being honest? What’s my motivation? Do my words and actions really match?” If we say we really love someone, there should be actions we take that, to an outside observer, would be viewed as loving.
When our actions are honest, we can create genuine closeness.
4. Overstepping boundaries instead of showing respect for them.
In a fantasy bond, couples tend to overstep each other’s boundaries and form a fused identity. They start to see themselves as a we, instead of a you and me. “We to go there.” “We don’t want to go that party.” “We that kind of food.” Many of us unintentionally lose track of where we leave off and our partner begins.
Without noticing it, we may be intrusive or controlling toward our partner, acting in a manner that is disrespectful or demeaning to the other person’s sense of self. When this happens, it not only hurts our partner and his or her feelings for us, but it undermines our strength and feelings for our partner.
Many couples come to hold their partner responsible for their happiness, which leads to demands, complaints, and a sense of powerlessness.
In order to be a loving partner and maintain your own feelings of interest and attraction, you should have regard for what lights your partner up and matters to him or her. You should see your partner as a whole and separate person who matters to you, independent of your own needs and interests.
You can both encourage each other to engage in pursuits that really express who each of you are as individuals. Whether it’s learning a language, climbing a mountain, or writing a book, you can see each other for who you really are and support each other’s unique goals and capabilities.
When we give another person this space, regard and respect, we actually draw that person closer to us.
5. Showing a lack of affection, and inadequate, impersonal, or routine sexuality instead of physical affection and personal sexuality.
In a fantasy bond, there is often a lack of personal relating and affection. The sexuality can start to feel inadequate and impersonal or become hardly existent. Some couples describe their sex lives as becoming mechanical or highly routinized. This takes much of the excitement their attraction.
Obviously, there are real outside circumstances that can affect or change one’s physical relationship. However, there’s often a lot of negative self-talk or “critical inner voices” that discourage us from pursuing our sexuality.
It’s important to filter out the negative messages and stay in touch with this vital part of ourselves and our partner. Ideally, we strive to stay in touch with our own feelings and with those of our partner. There would be a give and take, with real contact being made, that sparks intimate and loving feelings.
The more free flowing and spontaneous our expressions of love can be, the less ly you and a partner are to grow apart.
6. Misunderstanding instead of understanding.
In a fantasy bond, we tend to see our partners for who we need them to be rather than who they are. We may distort them by idealizing or putting them on a pedestal. We may pick them apart, denigrating them by projecting negative qualities onto them.
We may even see them as more critical, intrusive, or rejecting than they are, because we grew up with people who had these qualities.
When we disrespect the boundary between ourselves and our partner, we’re more ly to see them as an extension of ourselves, and we may mistreat or criticize them in ways we mistreat or criticize ourselves.
In an ideal relationship, we see our partner realistically, both their strengths and their foibles, and accept them for who they are. We don’t allow ourselves to create a negative caricature, which means not focusing in on their flaws and indulging in critical thoughts.
However, it also means not creating a grandiose image of them. No one can really feel loved unless they feel they're seen realistically. When a partner builds us up or tears us down, we can feel we’re on shaky ground, not really being loved for who we are.
This is why it’s so important not to distort the other person.
7. Being manipulative, dominant, or submissive.
Due to people’s defenses and desire to protect themselves, it can be easy for couples to play games and be indirect about their wants and needs.
They may engage in manipulative maneuvers to get what they want, such as trying to control a situation by crying and falling apart or blowing up and being intimidating. They may adopt roles that hurt or limit them in their relationship.
For example, couples often polarize each other, with one person becoming domineering and controlling, while the other acts passive and submissive. This may take different forms in different aspects of the relationship.
One partner may be seen as the “boss” of finances; another may be the one who controls the sexuality between them. They may be drawn to assuming certain roles familiarity or as a way to feel secure, but this undermines their ability to relate as two equal individuals.
In an equal relationship, it’s important to directly ask for what we want and need from our partner, so they have the opportunity to respond to and meet our needs. Many of us make the mistake of expecting our partner to read our minds and know what we want, which only leads to disappointment.
It’s important to say what we want without trying to dominate or control a situation. We usually feel vulnerable when we’re open about who we are, what we want, and how we really feel.
But this directness is the best way to maintain an honest and authentic way of relating that gets us what we want in life.
By being aware of all of the behavior patterns that contribute to relationship distress, we can hold ourselves to a standard of remaining both true to who we are and sensitive to another person.
We can encourage an atmosphere of love and support, while maintaining the unique, individual qualities that drew us to each other in the first place.
We can avoid the traps of a fantasy bond and enjoy the raw and real adventure that is a loving relationship.
When It’s Not You, It’s Them: The Toxic People That Ruin Friendships, Families, Relationships
One of the joys of being human is that we don’t have to be perfect to be one of the good ones.
At some point we’ll all make stupid decisions, hurt the people we love, say things that are hard to take back, and push too hard to get our way. None of that makes us toxic. It makes us human.
We mess things up, we grow and we learn. Toxic people are different. They never learn. They never self-reflect and they don’t care who they hurt along the way.
Toxic behaviour is a habitual way of responding to the world and the people in it. Toxic people are smart but they have the emotional intelligence of a pen lid.
It’s no accident that they choose those who are open-hearted, generous and willing to work hard for a relationship.
With two non-toxic people this is the foundation for something wonderful, but when toxic behaviour is involved it’s only a matter of time before that open heart becomes a broken one.
If you’re in any sort of relationship with someone who is toxic, chances are you’ve been bending and flexing for a while to try to make it work. Stop. Just stop. You can only change the things that are open to your influence and toxic people will never be one of them. Here are some of the ones to watch out for.
Nobody should have to ask for permission or be heavily directed on what to wear, how to look, who to spend time with or how to spend their money.
There’s nothing wrong with being open to the influence of the people around you, but ‘the way you do you’ is for you to decide. Your mind is strong and beautiful and shouldn’t be caged.
Healthy relationships support independent thought. They don’t crush it.
All relationships are about give and take but if you’re with a taker, you’ll be doing all the giving and they’ll be doing all the taking. Think about what you get from the relationship. If it’s nothing, it might be time to question why you’re there.
We all have a limited amount of resources (emotional energy, time) to share between our relationships. Every time you say ‘yes’ to someone who doesn’t deserve you, you’re saying ‘no’ to someone who does.
Give your energy to the people who deserve it and when you’re drawing up the list of deserving ones, make sure your own name is at the top.
These versions of toxic people won’t return texts or phone calls and will only be available when it suits them, usually when they want something. You might find yourself wondering whether they got your message, whether they’re okay, or whether you’ve done something to upset them. No relationship should involve this much guess-work.
Manipulators will steal your joy as though you made it especially for them. They’ll tell half-truths or straight out lies and when they have enough people squabbling, they’ll be the saviour. ‘Don’t worry. I’m here for you.’ Ugh.
They’ll listen, they’ll comfort, and they’ll tell you what you want to hear. And then they’ll ruin you. They’ll change the facts of a situation, take things context and use your words against you.
They’ll calmly poke you until you crack, then they’ll poke you for cracking. They’ll ‘accidentally’ spill secrets or they’ll hint that there are secrets there to spill, whether there are or not.
There’s just no reasoning with a manipulator, so forget trying to explain yourself. The argument will run in circles and there will be no resolution. It’s a black hole. Don’t get sucked in.
You: I feel you’re not listening to me.
Them: Are you calling me a bad listener
You: No, I’m just saying that you’ve taken what I said the wrong way.
Them: Oh. So now you’re saying I’m stupid. I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. Everyone told me to be careful of you.
They’ll only hear things through their negative filter, so the more you talk, the more they’ll twist what you’re saying. They want power, not a relationship.
They’ll use your weaknesses against you and they’ll use your strengths – your kindness, your openness, your need for stability in the relationship.
If they’re showing tenderness, be careful – there’s something you have that they want. Show them the door, and lock it when they leave.
They talk themselves up, they talk others down and they always have a reason for not doing what they say.
They’ll lie outright or they’ll give you versions of the truth – not a lie, not the truth, just that feeling in your gut that something is off. You can’t believe a word they say.
There’s no honesty, which means there’s no intimacy. At worst bullshitters are heartbreakers. At best they’re raving bores.
It’s nice to be needed. It’s also nice to eat peanut butter, but it doesn’t mean you want it all the time. The attention seeker always has a crisis going on and they always need your support. Be ready for the aggression, passive aggression, angst or a guilt trip if you don’t respond. ‘Oh.
You’re going to dinner with friends? It’s just that I’ve had the worst day and I really needed you tonight. Oh well, I suppose I can’t always expect you to be there for me. If it’s that important to you then you should go. I just want you to be happy. I’ll just stay in by myself and watch tv or something (sigh). You go and have fun with your friends. I suppose I’ll be okay.
’ See how that works? When there’s always a crisis, it’s only a matter of time before you’re at the centre of one.
It’s one thing to let you know that the adorable snort thing you do when you laugh isn’t so adorable, but when you’re constantly reminded that you aren’t smart enough, good-looking enough, skinny enough, strong enough, you have to start thinking that the only thing that isn’t good enough about you is this loser who keeps pointing these things out. You’ll never be good enough for these people because it’s not about you, it’s about control and insecurity – theirs, not yours. As long as they’re working on changing you, they don’t have to worry about themselves, and as long as they can keep you small, they’ll have a shot at shining brighter.
These people will make you doubt yourself by slowly convincing you that they know best, and that they’re doing it all for you. ‘You’d just be so much prettier if you lost a few pounds, you know? I’m just being honest.’ Ugh.
Unless you’re having to be craned through your window, or you’re seriously unhealthy, it’s nobody else’s business how luscious your curves are. If you feel heavy, start by losing the 160 pounds of idiot beside you and you won’t believe how much lighter you’ll feel.
These ones aren’t looking out for you, they’re trying to manage you. The people who deserve you will love you because of who you are, not despite it.
People aren’t channels, hairstyles or undies. You can’t change them. Someone who snarls at the waiter will always be the kind of person who snarls at the waiter – whether they’re snarling or not. People can change, but only when they’re ready and usually only when they’ve felt enough pain.
It’s normal to fight for the things that are important, but it’s important to know when to stop. When a relationship hurts to be in, the only thing that will change will be you – a sadder, more unhappier version of the person you started out as. Before it gets to this, set a time limit in which you want to see change.
Take photos of yourself every day – you’ll see it in your eyes if something isn’t right, or check in at the end of each week and write down how you feel. Have something concrete to look back on. It’s easier to let go if it’s clear over time that nothing has changed.
It’s even easier if you can see that the only thing different is that the lights have gone out in you.
The signs might be subtle at first but they’ll be there. Soon, there will be a clear cycle of abuse, but you may or may not recognise it for what it is but this is how it will look:
>> There will be rising tension. You’ll feel it. You’ll tread carefully and you’ll be scared of saying or doing the wrong thing.
>> Eventually, there will be an explosion. A fight. There will be physical or emotional abuse and it will be terrifying. At first you’ll make excuses – ‘I shouldn’t have said that/ did that/ gone out/ had an opinion/ said no.
>> Then, the honeymoon. The abuser can be wonderfully kind and loving when they need to be, but only when they need to be. You’ll be so desperate for things to get better that you’ll believe the apologies, the tenderness, the declarations of love, the promises.
>> The tension will start to rise again. Over time, the cycle will get shorter and it will happen more often. The tension will rise quicker, the explosions will be bigger, the honeymoons will be shorter.
If this is familiar, you’re in a cycle of abuse. It’s not love. It’s not stress. It’s not your fault. It’s abuse. The honeymoon will be one of the things that keeps you there.
The love will feel real and you’ll crave it, of course you will – that’s completely understandable – but listen to this: Love after abuse isn’t love, it’s manipulation.
If the love was real, there would be mountains moved to make sure you were never hurt or scared again.
Your partner is important and so are other people in your life. If you act in a trustworthy way, you deserve to be trusted.
We all get insecure now and then and sometimes we could all do with a little more loving and reassurance, but when the questions, accusations and demands are consistent and without reason, it will only be a matter of time before your phone is checked, your movements are questioned, and your friends are closed out. Misplaced jealousy isn’t love, it’s a lack of trust in you.
These people will always have problems that are bigger than yours.
You’re sick, they’re sicker; you’re exhausted from working late every night this week, they’re shattered – from the gym; you’ve just lost your job, they’re ‘devastated because it’s really hard when you know someone who’s lost their job’. You’ll always be the supporter, never the supported. There’s only so long that you can keep drawing on your emotional well if there’s nothing coming back.
Ok. So the human form is beautiful and there’s nothing wrong with admiring it, but when it’s done constantly in your company – in your face – it’s tiring, and it feels bad.
You deserve to be first and you deserve to feel noticed. That doesn’t mean you have to be first all the time, but certainly you shouldn’t have to fight strangers for your share of attention.
Some things will never be adorable.
Infidelity doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship – that depends on the circumstances and the people involved and it’s not for anyone else to judge whether or not you should stay.
It’s a deeply personal decision and one you can make in strength either way, but when infidelity happens more than once, or when it happens without remorse or commitment to the future of the relationship, it will cause breakage.
When people show you over and over that they aren’t capable of loving you the way you want to be loved, believe them. Move them the damn way so that better things can find you.
Let’s be realistic – little white lies happen. In fact, research has found that when lying is done for the right reasons (such as to protect someone’s feelings) it can actually strengthen a relationship. ‘So that’s the orange cocktail dress you’ve spent a month’s pay on? Wow – you weren’t kidding when you said it was bright.
Oh, it has pandas on it. And they’re smiling. And the shop doesn’t take returns. And you love it. Well keep smiling gorgeous. You look amazing!’. However, when lies are told with malicious intent and for personal gain, it will always weaken relationships. Relationships are meant to be fun, but none of us are meant to be played.
Whether it’s being a merchant banker, a belly dancer, or the inventor of tiny slippers for cats, the people who deserve you are those who support your dreams, not those who laugh at them. The people who tell you that you won’t succeed are usually the ones who are scared that you will.
If they’re not cheering you on, they’re holding you back.
If they’re not directly impacted by your dreams, (which, for example, your partner might be if your dream is to sell everything you both own, move to Rome, and sell fake sunglasses to the tourists) then you would have to question what they’re getting dampening you.
Being human is complicated. Being open to the world is a great thing to be – it’s wonderful – but when you’re open to the world you’re also open to the poison that spills from it.
One of the things that makes a difference is the people you hold close. Whether it’s one, two or squadron-sized bunch, let the people around you be ones who are worthy of you. It’s one of the greatest acts of self-love.
Good people are what great lives are made of.
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5 Tiny Things You Do That Are Ruining Your Relationship Without You Realizing It
My two greatest skills are getting into relationships and then quickly ruining them.
I can be normal for about two weeks, but soon after, I start to engage in all sorts of bad relationship behaviors. I get jealous, I micromanage, I can be passive aggressive, and I use sex as a weapon.
Don't I seem fun to date?!
The thing is, I don't even intentionally do these things while dating. It's almost subconscious! I just know that the result is a guy who once really d me all of a sudden hates me, breaks up with me, and unfriends me on all forms of social media.
What am I doing to destroy all these relationships?
I reached out to dating and relationship coach Monica Parikh, (who even has a course on attracting your best relationship), about the things you might be doing that are ruining your relationship without you even realizing it.
1. You Give Too Much
Your role in dating is to bring happiness and levity to your relationship, not to micromanage or mother your partner.
“Many women are natural givers. They automatically default to doing 90 percent of the work of a relationship — texting, planning dates, making dinner, cleaning the home, paying the bills, etc.” Parikh explains. “Over-giving causes anger and resentment. Plus, all that work doesn't make a woman happy or playful — her #1 job in the relationship.”
Although, if you're not getting what you want a relationship, or if it's not moving as quickly as you hoped, sometimes, your inclination might be to try to force things along.
To counter this, Parikh suggests, “All women should focus on their self-care as their #1 priority. As she works less, a man will be motivated to give more.”
2. You Don't Have Good Boundaries
Having good boundaries is an absolute necessity for having a healthy relationship with others and yourself, whether it be professionally, personally, or romantically.
Parikh says, “Every woman should have standards — the baseline behaviors she demands in a relationship. Far too often, I see women sacrifice their dignity and self-respect for a relationship.”
According to her, lowering your standards is not a good look, and can even be ” the death knell for a relationship.”
So what is it that men are actually looking for in a relationship? You'd be surprised.
“The most attractive quality to a man? Confidence and self-respect. I work with a lot of exceptional men (including world-ranked athletes, doctors, and leaders of companies), and they all fall hard for feisty women who know their worth,” she explains.
Who knew the key to a healthy relationship was just being the best version of yourself and having standards? I guess I didn't need to keep dying my hair and buying new clothes to impress the guys I d. I just needed a little self-respect!
3. There Are No Consequences For Bad Behavior
This one is easy.
“Good behavior should be rewarded, but bad behavior should not. Further, bad behavior should have a consequence,” Parikh says. “Rewarding a man for poor behavior trains him being chivalrous, courteous, attentive, loyal, and kind.”
So if he does something good, give him some positive reinforcement. If he does something you don't , make sure you let him know.
She continues, “Develop an understanding for your own standards. Never reward disrespectful behavior with kindness, food, sex, money, or attention!”
At the end of the day, knowing what you want from others is about knowing what you deserve for yourself.
4. You Let Lust Override Love
“In today's online dating culture, sex is happening as early as the first or second date. If you're only interested in casual sex (and know you can handle the emotional ramifications), feel free to have sex early,” Parikh says.
But don't mistake good sex for a good relationship. If you're looking for a healthy, long-term, monogamous relationship, then might want to wait.
“Sex releases oxytocin and serotonin, the body's 'feel-good' chemicals. These chemicals bond you to a virtual stranger, making it very difficult to make a rational decision about their viability as a healthy partner,” she says.
Another way to demonstrate your worth and self-esteem could be waiting to have sex until you're both committed, or at least until you actually know the guy is right for you.
“Plus, postponing sex signals that you have high standards (very attractive) and expect to be treated very well,” Parikh explains.
5. You Avoid Conflict Resolution
I am horrible at asking questions. I once kept finding women's clothing in my boyfriend's bedroom for nearly a year without asking him any questions about it because I feared conflict so much.
But when I finally found out he was cheating on me, I was , “Yep, that makes total sense!”
“I see women afraid to ask difficult questions. This is very dangerous!” says Parikh. “A long-term romantic relationship is only viable if the partners share common values and have a similar vision.”
How are you supposed to find out if you have the same goals for your relationship? Parikh says to “be bold”: “When the time is right, ask about children, finances, religion, monogamy, emotional health (including counseling and therapy), and ensure that you're on the same page.”
You can't expect to be in a relationship with someone you can't communicate with. So if you have a question, be direct and ask it. Questions are how you get to know someone! It's normal!
Plus, as Parikh points out, “it's better to end a relationship early than marry the wrong person.”
So if you find that your relationship is in trouble, ask yourself if you or your partner are engaging in bad relationship behaviors. Thankfully, most of them are pretty easy to resolve.
It's all about good communication, healthy boundaries, self-love, and high standards.
17 Signs You’re the Cause of Your Toxic Relationship
Having a superiority complex could be a sign of a toxic relationship waiting to happen. Contemptuous people destroy relationships because they see their partner as inferior. Rolling your eyes, curling your lip in disgust, or using a sarcastic tone with your partner are just a few telltale signs of a toxic relationship.
“Contempt is degrading,” says Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, developer of A Psychological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT). “It says, ‘You’re an idiot.
’” In fact, University of Michigan researchers surveyed 373 newlywed couples and found that couples who screamed at one another, showed contempt, or withdrew themselves from conflict within the first year of marriage were more ly to divorce.
If you find that you're always trying to manipulate things it could be a sign of a toxic relationship. It’s no secret that compulsively lying to your partner is detrimental to the success of your relationship, but gaslighting takes it to a whole other level of destruction.
Gaslighting is when you accuse your loved one of being crazy or paranoid to keep them off your trail of lies in a toxic relationship. “It’s a triple threat when you withhold information, lie about it, then gaslight your partner and make them think it’s them,” says Dr. Tatkin. “They’re damaging the relationship irreparably.
” Make sure you also know the signs of a codependent relationship.
People who are insecure tend to sabotage a perfectly healthy relationship by overanalyzing every kiss and word or harbor irrational fears that their partner wants to break up. If you or your partner has these thoughts it could be a sign of a toxic relationship.
Studies suggest that individuals with low self-esteem may be more ly to expect rejection from their partner and avoid behaviors that risk rejection, telling their partner how they truly feel, than individuals with high self-esteem.
If you show these signs of a toxic relationship, it may be best to take a break from the relationship to work on yourself, unless your partner is willing to help you work through your self-doubts.
“The key to change this is to surround yourself with positive people who care for you and value you,” says Sadie Leder-Elder, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at High Point University in North Carolina. “Spend your time with friends and family and not new relationships.” Do something that makes you feel good about yourself a new exercise class or volunteering at your local animal shelter. Check out these science-approved tricks for building confidence.
No one s to waste their time and energy arguing, but you can’t draw the break-up card every time things get tough. If you do, that's a sign of a toxic relationship. Threats of taking a break or ending the relationship aren’t going to solve anything and are signs of a toxic relationship. “People use threats as a way to get their partner in line,” says Dr. Tatkin.
“People should never threaten the relationship unless they intend to get out. It’s only valid if you mean it and do it, otherwise it just damages the safety and security of the relationship.” Instead of using threats to get your way, walk away to cool down and think rationally before you start spouting off erratic thoughts that you may regret later.
These are toxic signs you're in a bad relationship.
You may find it doesn’t take much to get your blood boiling and that could be a sign of a toxic relationship. One wrong move and suddenly you snap and blurt nasty remarks you don’t mean.
“You continue to have these cycles of anger, remorse, shame, and provoked anger without understanding,” says Sari Cooper, a licensed clinical social worker and director of Center for Love and Sex in New York City. “You have to look at yourself and ask, ‘What’s going on here?’” Dr.
Cooper suggests journaling when you feel your anger emerging to figure out the cause or “taking your temperature” on a scale of 0 to 10. If you know you fly off the handle at a 9, try to figure out how you feel at a 2 and then pinpoint what aggravated you to bring yourself down to a calmer state.
When you reach a 6 or a 7, take a time out to gather your thoughts and emotions. If you don’t, you may skyrocket to that dreaded 9. See if you can trust your partner using these telltale signs.
If you neglect to nip problems in the bud, they’re just going to fester and blow up in your face down the road, which can cause your partner to resent you. Something in our brain called the negativity bias may be to blame for this resentment because our brains are more ly to remember the negative aspect of things, according to Dr.
Tatkin. In fact, research has shown that adults tend to use negative stimuli more than positive information to help them learn, form first impressions of others, and make sense of their experiences.
This may be because the amygdala, the emotional processing center of your brain, tends to be slightly more attuned to negative emotions because they’re often a bit more intense than positive ones.
“If you never apologize or admit that you’re wrong and make things right, your partner will accrue a host of negative memories related to being unfairness and injustice,” says Dr. Tatkin. “That will break the relationship.” Avoid these mistakes after fighting with your significant other.
We’re constantly on and Instagram snapping selfies and posting statuses without a single thought about the consequences. But studies show that engaging in social media can create ambiguity in the relationship, which can cause jealousy and spiral into signs of a toxic relationship.
That may be because you’re posting scandalous selfies, neglecting to post about your relationship, or flirting with exes and random strangers on the Internet. “Letting technology get the best of you can make you accidentally be the toxic one in your relationship,” says Dr. Leder-Elder.
“Your desire for other people to validate you may cause unnecessary jealousy in your relationship.” It’s best to sit down and talk with your partner about how social media could play a role in the success of your relationship.
It's probably best to never post these things about your relationship on social media.
If you find that you're only spending time with your significant other and your other relationships have fizzled, it's probably a sign of a toxic relationship. Take a step back and look at who surrounds you.
Do you have family and friends or have you burned a lot of bridges? If so, you may want to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re the problem. “A lot of people who are engaging in these bad behaviors don’t realize that they’re bad behaviors,” says Rachel Sussman, a licensed clinical social worker and marriage/family therapist in New York City.
“You can’t come up with a game plan if you don’t know what’s wrong.” Try calling a friend or an ex to ask where things went wrong so you can see the error of your ways.
Narcissists are extremely self-serving and feel no remorse when they hurt others, which makes them difficult to be around. “You’re only aware of what your partner does to you and not aware of what you do to them,” says Dr. Tatkin.
Narcissism is a behavior that’s difficult to overcome, but it can be done if you identify that you’ve treated others unkindly and are self-serving in relationships. The first step to changing any behavior is recognizing you have a problem and finding ways to resolve it.
Here are signs you're a narcissist. Knowing this will help you curb the signs of a toxic relationship.
Nothing irks people more than someone who is indecisive. Your rewarding relationship gets snatched away the instant you start going hot and cold on your loved one. “People don’t breakups,” says Dr. Leder-Elder. “They don’t being alone. We want social connections.
” This way of thinking turns into signs of a toxic relationship when you end up stringing someone along when you’re not ready for a relationship but still want companionship. Make sure you’re honest with your partner in the beginning about your uncertainties in regards to your wants and needs from the relationship.
That way they’ll know what they’re getting themselves into.
12 Ways Your Trust Issues Will Unintentionally Ruin Your Entire Relationship
1. You’re going to accuse him of things he’d never do. And you know he’d never do them, but that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t silence the paranoia in the back of your brain. And when you make unfair accusations, he’ll get offended. He’ll hate that you don’t trust him.
2. You’re going to push him away. You have a habit of ruining relationships before they even begin. If you leave him, then he doesn’t have the chance to hurt you. He doesn’t have the ability to break you.
3. You’re going to read too much into the little things. He’s been staying late at work? Going to the gym more often? Adding pretty girls on ? He must cheating. There’s no other explanation.
4. You’re going to hide your feelings. If you were 100% honest with him, he’d leave you. Such crazy thoughts run through your mind. You aren’t going to risk sharing them with him. They would make you sound psycho.
5. You’re going to convince yourself something is wrong. Your relationship is perfect. He is perfect. But the universe never lets you be happy for this long. It’s only a matter of time until everything falls apart.
6. You’re going to imagine the worst case scenarios. You picture him flirting with somebody else. Kissing somebody else. Sleeping with somebody else. In reality, you know he’s not doing any of those things, but the idea alone makes you want to scream.
7. You’re going to cross a line. Every once in a while, you’ll pick up his phone or read through his emails. And if he ever finds out, he’ll be pissed. He’ll stop trusting you.
8. You’re going to ask too many questions. Where were you? Who were you with? What time were you out until? You’re just trying to comfort yourself with answers, but he’ll feel he’s being interrogated.
9. You’re going to feel alone. You’ll feel you have no one to talk to, even though your partner is right there. Right there. You’ll feel no one else understands the emotions plaguing you.
10. You’re going to get jealous over everyone. Your waitress? His co-worker? His best friend’s younger sister? You’re going to wonder what he talks to them about. If he flirts with them. If he prefers them.
11. You’re going to become controlling. You won’t want him to spend too much time with certain women, because you don’t the way they look at him. You want him to yourself. You don’t want to lose him.
12. You’re going to end up alone. You’re going to convince yourself that you’re better off single. That it’s easier. That there’s less stress. That you’re not meant to be in an everlasting relationship.
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