Consider yourself lucky if you’ve never burned a bridge. Every relationship has the potential to either thrive or die. Whether it’s between siblings, friends, co-workers, or spouses, you can very well end up in a toxic relationship. To avoid letting a toxic relationship overwhelm your life, you have to be able to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship and assess if it can be mended. In couples’ therapy, one of the first steps towards reconciliation is an admission of one’s own faults. It takes two people to tear a relationship down and two people to build it back up.
Start with yourself because you can’t change the other person. Recognize the things you can change like your attitude and your efforts. Make an honest effort to build up the other person and see if the change starts to reciprocate. You can really save a relationship when you start with yourself. Give it some time and continue to push through as much as you can possibly handle. However, if you’ve done all that you can and notice the following toxic signs are still present, it may be worth taking a step back or getting professional help and counseling to see whether or not the relationship can be mended.
15. Feeling One-Sided
Do you feel like you’re constantly giving and never receiving anything in return? Perhaps you should assess if you’re also the one who is doing all of the initiating when it comes to getting together. Try keeping your distance for a week and see if the other party ever reaches out to you instead. If you never get a text or call, it’s very likely that your relationship is one-sided, meaning the other person probably isn’t as invested as you are. Although you don’t have to drop the relationship completely, it’s good to know when you need to back off a little. Perhaps give yourself a break and invest in other, more productive relationships.
14. No Confidence
Perhaps you’re the open book type who is always wearing your heart on your sleeves. You don’t hide anything and you’re not afraid to hang all your dirty laundry. However, if you press pause and realize that the other party never reciprocates a level of openness in return, you’ll begin to feel like maybe that person doesn’t trust you to handle their secrets. Or, maybe you’re the one who doesn’t quite trust the other party. For whatever reason, you’re afraid to open up and share too much. These are all signs of a rocky relationship that lacks confidence, in the sense that one party can’t confide in the other.
13. Constantly Being Judged
If you’re feeling like no matter what you tell a person, he or she is going to come back at you with something superior or judgmental to say, then you probably need to make a new friend. It’s perfectly acceptable to be brutally honest with your closest friends, but when you’re constantly scrutinizing someone, it becomes condescending and disrespectful. You should be able to tell a good friend your deepest and darkest secrets without feeling belittled or judged. Also, it gets exhausting to be around someone who you can never measure up to because their standards are just too high.
12. Lies, Lies, Lies
We all like to exaggerate a bit here and there, but if you’ve got a friend who’s persistently telling you things that don’t quite add up, then he/she probably needs to be called out as a pathological liar or you need to make new friends. Why someone would lie about anything is too big of a riddle to solve, so don’t overwhelm yourself. You need to be able to take what someone is saying at face value, and being lied to is a bit like being taken advantage of. Lies destroy trust and trust is absolutely essential to any relationship.
11. It’s Draining
No relationship thrives off of negativity. If your parents were ever right about something, it’s the fact that you really can become like the people you hang around. If you’re around someone who is always negative, you’ll start to get bogged down as well. Negative people love gossiping and finding fault in everyone and everything around them. If you think you have the emotional capacity to help a friend out, try encouraging him/her to be more positive. However, if you’re finding that you’re not making much of a difference, perhaps it’s time to find new friends before you start becoming a Debbie downer as well.
There are certain situations where competitiveness is a healthy attribute. Take for example Olympic training or academics. However, when it pertains to an informal relationship, too much competitiveness can be toxic. Have you ever met someone who was always trying to outshine or outsmart you? It can be over the pettiest of things like clothing, finances, or talents. Competitive people are always trying to prove something and it’s usually at someone else’s expense. They usually latch themselves onto people whom they deem inferior as a way to boost their own self-confidence. If you know someone like this, steer clear of becoming a victim of their petty mind games.
9. Lack of Support
When you’re trying to accomplish something that’s of value, it’s nice to have good friends to support you and spur you on towards your goals. Also, when you’re feeling down in the dumps, you should be able to rely on a good friend for some words of encouragement. Sure, some people aren’t that great motivators but this shouldn’t be an excuse for being a bad friend. It doesn’t take much effort to show someone you care or wish for their best. You’re not expecting them to be a mind reader and know exactly the right words to say to make you feel better. It’s truly the thought that counts.
8. Always a Victim
Ever met someone who is always a victim of the world’s grand schemes and entrapments? These people need you to pamper them because they were probably a little too coddled growing up. Everything is always someone else’s fault and you’re always trying to help them see another side of the story. They somehow can never grasp the big picture, no matter how much hand-holding you do. Any advice you give a persistent victim can easily backfire on you if something goes wrong, and it always does. You’re better off cutting the umbilical cord so that the person can grow some balls and face the real world like the rest of us.
7. They’re Flaky
So you’ve made plans to spend New Year’s Eve together. You’ve completely cleared out your schedule and turned down plans with other people because you’re staying committed. Then, on the eve of New Year’s Eve, you receive a last-minute text that something suddenly came up and now you’ll have to spend your entire day off home alone perhaps binging on Netflix instead. This sucks because it’s not the first time it’s happened and you really should have seen it coming. Just as old habits die hard, flaky people have a really hard time with commitment, especially if you’re second priority.
A relationship doesn’t have to be hostile in order to be toxic. Anger alone can cause a relationship to dissipate. An angry person can be extremely scary to be around, especially when they’re driving and suddenly accelerating to twenty mph above the speed limit and screaming at other cars from behind the wheel. You have every right to be scared because your life is literally in danger. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize someone who has an anger issue. It’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to do much to change this person either. They need serious counseling or a divine revelation of some sort to be able to get it together.
5. Brings Out Your Worst
The classic example here is a husband who goes out with his buddy for a few drinks, comes home, and is suddenly swearing up a storm like Hurricane Andy. And it only happens when he is with that one friend. We all have a friend like that who is just a bad influence in general. However, if that friend is turning you into the highly unlikeable Godzilla version of yourself, then it’s time to start finding new friends. Good friends are people who bring out the best in you and encourage you to be a better person. Strive to surround yourself with people you consider inspirational.
Consider yourself lucky if you’ve never met someone who was so controlling that you felt like you were suffocating. These people have extremely high standards that you will never be able to meet, yet they’ll continue to impose these standards on you. Whether it’s what you wear, how you talk, or how you spend your time, controlling people will have a say in everything. Also, they don’t like it when you disagree with them and expect you comply with their every wish and opinion. Sometimes, their standards are set so high that you can mistaken them as being inspirational. The best example is seen in Katie Holmes and ex-husband (and devout Scientologist) Tom Cruise. Be cautious of becoming a trapped victim of a controlling person.
I don’t know of any worse way to feel than to be publicly humiliated or belittled. When someone doesn’t hold back from calling you names or trying to make you look stupid in front of other people, it is just downright degrading. You’re being treated worse than a child because even parents save the disciplining for behind closed doors. Regardless of the magnitude of your offense, no one should be publicly berated. And if you’ve become so accustomed to being spoken to this way, then it’s time to grow a backbone and defend yourself. Acknowledge what the person has said, denounce it, and make it known that you’re not willing to be a victim of their verbal abuse.
2. Walking on Eggshells
We’ve all met someone whom we’ve had to tread gently around. They’re like a ticking time bomb. Say one wrong thing and you’ll set them off. So instead, you always feel like you’re always walking on eggshells around them, being careful not to push the wrong buttons or say the wrong things. No one likes to be in a relationship where they’re uncomfortable with being themselves and freely saying what’s on their mind. A relationship that isn’t comfortable won’t progress in a healthy direction. Instead, this kind of relationship is filled with fear and control, and will eventually burn out.
1. The Bad Outweighs the Good
No relationship is perfect because people are very imperfect. Every healthy relationship is filled with many imperfections and downfalls. However, healthy relationships thrive on the good outweighing the bad. This doesn’t mean that you’re disregarding any arguments you’ve had altogether. They still matter very much and need to be worked through as well. The point, however, is that you’ve had enough good times to carry you through the bad. If you’re finding that the rocks are starting to pile up pretty high within your relationship, try creating more good times by going on fun dates and vacations together. If you’re finding that your efforts aren’t doing much to make up for all the bad, perhaps taking a break would be a good idea so that you can recover the good within yourself before the negative relationship intoxicates your life.
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