7 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
Nearly all relationships—whether with your spouse, your co-workers, or your friends—go through some bumpy times. But sometimes, a relationship can be so toxic that it simply may not be worth continuing.
Here are some tips for how to spot negative patterns in relationships.
1. First off, take the time you need to evaluate relationships, advises Curtis W. Reisinger, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine in Manhasset, NY. "Very few people really spend the time to think about and evaluate relationships," he says. "It's more common to pigeonhole or stereotype people. A lot of people tend to color the present with the past." Once you do this, he explains, it's easy to lose sight of who a person really is and start to see the person as who you wish she was. This can be detrimental to you if you are being neglected or emotionally abused.
2. If you find yourself distorting the truth about a person, and actually talking yourself out of what you are seeing, this is a red flag, Reisinger says. "For instance, you may tell yourself the person is snapping at you because he had a rough day," he says. In fact, though, it could be a negative, energy-sapping pattern of emotional abuse.
3. If you find yourself putting a lot more effort into the relationship than the other person, this, too, is a bad sign, Reisinger says. "Generally you hope for a relationship that is reciprocal," he says. "You want there to be give and take. But if you are essentially giving and giving to the point of growing tired of giving, you might have a project on your hands, and not a relationship."
4. If you often feel bad after you have been with the person, take note, says Lauren Mackler, psychotherapist and author of Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness and Transform Your Life. "If you feel drained and depleted of energy, resentful, frustrated, angry, or depressed, these are signals that something's off."
5. If you find yourself censoring what you say or do around the person, this is also a sign that your relationship is in a negative pattern. "Doing this is a form of vigilance," Mackler says. "It's a sign that you don't feel it is safe to say what you are really feeling. So you find yourself withholding your true thoughts from the person."
6. If there are overly rigid expectations from the other person about your behavior, you should be worried, Reisinger says. "Nearly all the literature on domestic violence has to do with the misuse of power and with control," he says. If you find yourself getting in too deep, it may be time to step back.
7. Codependency, Mackler explains, is when two individuals in a relationship engage in old, habitual patterns, producing anger and resentment. If you are in a codependent relationship, there tends to be a lot of conflict, discord, and disagreement, Mackler says. Since this type of relationship is unhealthy, it's good to sit back, reevaluate, and rethink where the relationship is headed.
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