When we get into a relationship, we go under the assumption that the person we are dating is emotionally mature and balanced. But sometimes we discover it later on that the person is emotionally unstable and not in a healthy mental and emotional place to hold a mature adult relationship.
It helps to look out for these early warning signs of emotional instability so that we can tread carefully and save ourselves a heartbreak later on.
1) They have low self-esteem and trouble trusting themselves
People who have a hard time trusting themselves and put their trust in others usually have suffered from trauma. Childhood trauma can lead to the intense fear of abandonment and rejection in a person making them susceptible to extremely low levels of self-esteem. They grow up to become adults who idealize other people and give their power away, hoping the other person would take care of them. And this, in turn, causes resentment because no one can really match up to their idealized image or be there to provide for them 24*7.
Though it might feel good to be put on a pedestal and trusted by someone so deeply if that trust comes from their lack of self-confidence and not because of intimacy that’s developed between the two of you over time, then that trust is really not about you.
They are just trying to heal their wounds and looking for a rescuer.
You want to be in a mature and interdependent relationship with someone who takes accountability for themselves and not someone who is looking for a rescuer.
2) They lack physical wellness
Physical and emotional health feed into each other. A person who is emotionally unhealthy will have a hard time keeping up his physical health and lack of physical health will again lead to unbalanced emotional health.
This can become a very vicious circle until a person takes responsibility to break the chain and addresses these issues.
Inability to keep up with the basic routine of healthy diet, sleep and exercise is a sign that a person doesn’t prioritize his physical health. That again could be a symptom of lack of self-love and low self-esteem or emotional instability.
All these things can weigh heavily on a person’s emotional and physical health and they would be left with very little energy to devote to nurture relationships.
3) They cancel on plans and fail to keep up commitments
Though all of the can falter to keep up our commitments sometimes if someone constantly fails to show up and do things they committed they would do, it could be a sign of deeper issues stemming from emotional instability and low self-worth.
4) They have addiction issues
Addiction could be to food, substances, prescription drugs, caffeine or alcohol. But the underlying theme is that a person is using an external stimulant to soothe his pain or to get high.
A person who is dependent on chemicals cannot show up fully and authentically in relationships because his mind will always be preoccupied with getting his next fix.
He is just looking for a way to soothe his pain more than anything else and he would approach the relationship also with the same space.
He would be so needy and desperate and clingy and look up to you as his rescuer instead of showing up as a mature and interdependent partner.
5) They lack boundaries and stay in disrespectful relationships
If you carefully observe the personal and work relationships in a person’s life, it would give a clue about how they feel about themselves.
If a person stays in disrespectful relationships and doesn’t know how to draw boundaries, they are suffering from low self-esteem and feel they are not good enough at some level.
It is important to be humble but it is also important to have a reasonable amount of self-confidence and a healthy self-image.
A person who has healthy self-esteem and self-confidence doesn’t stay in disrespectful or uninspiring relationships. Only a person who feels he is inadequate or unlovable would stay in disrespectful relationships.
They would also have a hard time receiving and appreciating love when it comes their way because they inherently feel that they do not deserve love.
Another way to figure out if a person has healthy self-respect is by observing how they deal in business relationships.
Someone who is confident and values his work charges an appropriate amount for their work and works with people who respect his craft.
But if someone gives his service or product at an undervalued price or free of cost, it is a clear sign that they put others needs above their own and operate out of lack and survival mentality.
These signs of lack of self-worth point out to deeper issues that need healing before a person can get into a mature, healthy, happy, fulfilling and interdependent relationships.
6) They have a pessimistic approach to life
Faith is a very powerful ingredient for a healthy and fulfilling life. It enables a person to face any obstacle in life and come out stronger.
An emotionally balanced and mentally strong person has a reasonable amount of faith in his own capabilities and/or higher power which gives him the strength to face the challenges life throws at him.
A person who lacks faith in himself and/or a higher power and has an overall pessimistic attitude towards life would not be able to deal with the demands of an intimate relationship and would break down at the slightest difficulties.
7) They move too fast too soon
Though it might be very exciting to meet a guy who claims that he is head over heels in love with you the moment he meets you.
But instant attention does not necessarily translate into the instant connection.
If he over shares and wants to know all your stories from the word go, he might be just mining for your weakness to work you.
Healthy relationships have a natural and organic rhythm to them.
Take your time to know someone before you start pouring your heart and raw stories to them.
Healthy intimacy and trust are built over time.
If he starts talking about how he wants to marry you or have children with you right in the first or second date, you might need to tread cautiously.
These gestures might look cute but they are actually a sign of emotional instability and personality disorders.
8) They don’t show any emotion at all
Not showing any emotion is as much an indicator of emotional instability as overreacting.
If you are sharing your problem with someone and find they just don’t show any reaction and in fact start diverting the discussion back to some other topic, it is a clear sign that they are lacking emotional sensitivity and empathy.
Sensitivity and empathy are cornerstones of emotional intelligence and an important ingredient to building healthy and loving relationships.
9) They don’t take ownership of their behavior
An emotionally healthy and mature person takes ownership for their behavior.
They acknowledge when they make a mistake and try to correct their behavior.
A person who feels that nothing is his fault and everyone else in the world needs to change lacks emotional health and maturity to hold a happy, healthy and long-lasting relationship.
10) They try to create drama to seek attention
A person who doesn’t have a healthy self-image doesn’t approach a relationship as a partnership between equals.
He would either engage in a one up or one down game.
He would try to create unnecessary drama to get a reaction from you to feed his ego. Although relationships filled with highs and lows appear to be very passionate initially they cannot constitute a happy, healthy and long-lasting relationship.
11) They are highly imaged focused
People who are highly focused on their image and external appearance are internally insecure and suffer from low self-worth.
They would base their self-love and esteem on these superficial things which are bound to fluctuate and then their self-worth and love keep on fluctuating.
A person who is not comfortable in his own skein and loves himself for what he is will have a hard time extending that unconditional love and support to another person.
12) Something just seems off
Ok, so this one is all about listening to your intuition and gut instincts.
Our intuition and gut feelings are way stronger than what we give them credit for.
Our bodies have a way of picking or rejecting vibes.
If you feel a contraction or tension in your body, when you’re around someone, pay attention to what your gut feeling is trying to tell you and tread cautiously.
Originally published on The Minds Journal
Here are more ways to become a part of The Good Men Project community:
Request to join our private Facebook Group for Writers—it’s like our virtual newsroom where you connect with editors and other writers about issues and ideas.
Click here to become a Premium Member of The Good Men Project Community. Have access to these benefits:
- Get access to an exclusive “Members Only” Group on Facebook
- Join our Social Interest Groups—weekly calls about topics of interest in today’s world
- View the website with no ads
- Get free access to classes, workshops, and exclusive events
- Be invited to an exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” with other Premium Members
- Commenting badge.
Are you stuck on what to write? Sign up for our Writing Prompts emails, you’ll get ideas directly from our editors every Monday and Thursday. If you already have a final draft, then click below to send your post through our submission system.
If you are already working with an editor at GMP, please be sure to name that person. If you are not currently working with a GMP editor, one will be assigned to you.
Are you a first-time contributor to The Good Men Project? Submit here:
Have you contributed before and have a Submittable account? Use our Quick Submit link here:
Do you have previously published work that you would like to syndicate on The Good Men Project? Click here:
Join our exclusive weekly “Call with the Publisher” — where community members are encouraged to discuss the issues of the week, get story ideas, meet other members and get known for their ideas? To get the call-in information, either join as a member or wait until you get a post published with us. Here are some examples of what we talk about on the calls.
Want to learn practical skills about how to be a better Writer, Editor or Platform Builder? Want to be a Rising Star in Media? Want to learn how to Create Social Change? We have classes in all of those areas.
While you’re at it, get connected with our social media:
However, you engage with The Good Men Project—you can help lead this conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Join us!
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Photo credit: Shutterstock ID 604726124