I had this thought the other day.
They never taught us in school how to be a good boyfriend or girlfriend.
There was no class on “healthy relationships” in high school.
In fact, it took a lot of trial and error for me to get to just one healthy relationship.
So, what exactly does a toxic relationship look like? Well, if your any of these signs fit, you may be in danger of being in a toxic relationship.
#1. Keeping score.
Are you in a relationship where you constantly blame one another for past mistakes. Or just one of you does this? If your relationship is becoming a battle to see who has screwed up the most…that’s a problem.
Not only is it toxic to keep bringing up past mistakes, but you are deflecting current issues by focusing on previous ones. Why spend so much time trying to see who is less wrong? You should be trying to spend your time being more right for each other.
How to fix it: Deal with each issue individually, unless they really are connected issues. But many times a mistake in the past has little to do with the one in present. Unless of course we are talking about cheating in the past and it happened again. Then, that is obviously a recurring problem that is connected.
By choosing to be with someone, you have to accept all of their past actions and behaviors. You can’t keep bringing up the past, especially if you already forgave them. Focus on the current issues without rehashing the past ones. If something bothered you that much a year ago, you should have handled it then.
#2. Hinting at what you want or being passive aggressive.
Do you or your partner like to play games? Instead of just saying what you want or mean, you like to beat around the bush. You know, maybe push your partner into the right direction of figuring out what is actually upsetting you.
Yeah, that’s toxic. If you are incapable of communicating clearly and openly with one another, that is a problem. In a relationship where you feel safe to express your insecurities or feelings, you will have no reason to be passive aggressive. There is no need to drop any “hints” if you feel that your partner won’t judge or criticize you for being honest.
How to fix it: Be upfront with your feelings. Let your partner know that they are not responsible for your feelings, but you would really love their support. If someone loves you, they will pretty much always offer that support.
#3. Holding the relationship hostage or using it is as a bargaining chip.
Have you or your partner ever tried to blackmail the other by saying something like: “I can’t date someone who does ‘this’.” Or something along those lines. It could even be saying that you are gonna break up with the person if they don’t do “this.” It doesn’t really matter what the “this” is. It is toxic to try and hold a relationship hostage or use it is a bargaining chip.
You shouldn’t feel like you can’t share your negative thoughts or feelings in a relationship without your partner threatening the entire future of the relationship. A healthy relationship requires honesty. Honesty includes the good and the bad.
Consider this: It is completely normal to get upset at your partner. There are things that my partner does that I don’t like. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love her. Being in a committed relationship with someone doesn’t mean always liking them or what they do. In fact, that’s probably toxic if you do always like the things they do. Being different is healthy. The key is being able to communicate about what bothers you without judgment. It shouldn’t affect your commitment in the long run. In fact, it should strengthen it.
#4. Blaming your emotions or feelings on your partner.
Maybe you are having the worst day ever. But your partner hasn’t exactly being sympathetic about it. Your partner could be having a busy day as well. Or they are distracted. You kind of just expect them to know, but never actually asked for emotional support. You later find out that they have plans to go out with some friends tonight, but you just want them to stop what they are doing and focus on cheering you up.
That’s not healthy. Blaming your emotional state on your partner and expecting them to drop everything to “fix” you is selfish. Now, you can ask, but whether they choose to or not has no bearing on how much they love you or support you. Your emotions are your emotions and vice versa. Personal boundaries are very important in any relationship. Being codependent is toxic. You should each be able to handle your emotions or feelings on your own. Your partner is there, but it should be a requirement for you to deal with things. You are your own person.
How to fix it: Learn to take responsibility for your own emotions and expect your partner to do the same. There is a difference between being supportive of your partner and being obligated to your partner. The sacrifices that we make in a relationship should be out of choice. It should not be expected. People being responsible for each other’s feelings in a relationship leads to manipulation and codependency.
If any these things occur in your relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is doomed. I listed some potential steps that you can take to try and correct these things.
The road from a toxic relationship to a healthy relationship is never easy, but it is worth it. Honestly, most of the time, people aren’t able to make the changes. At least not in their current relationship. For me, I had to throw the bad relationships away to get to a healthy one.
I wouldn’t change anything, though. Because I learned a lot from those toxic relationships. And I am very happy in my current relationship.
Thank you for reading!
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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