A recent online discussion about toxic behaviors that destroy relationships proved interesting. After someone polled an internet community for said behaviors, here is what they suggested. Do you agree?
1. Going to Friends First
Do you run to your friends first with relationship woes? You should be talking to your partner. Sometimes, seeking an inside opinion is warranted, but mostly, you should be talking things out and working on things together.
Are you familiar with stonewalling? It is when a person completely shuts down in a conversation or refuses to communicate with you, and it is toxic. It’s also widely considered a form of gaslighting your partner.
3. Making Unnecessary Comments
Do you make rude comments when you and your loved one are arguing or upset with them? One woman warns it ended her relationship.
She clarifies, “Making snarky and sassy comments when upset instead of outright stating my problem or question. I was hurt and wanted them to feel it and give me some kind of emotion back. All it did was make them think I was always mad at them and pushed us apart further.”
4. Pretending To Be Ok
Several women relate with one who admits to saying the infamous words, “I’m fine,” pretending to be OK, and then ultimately having a meltdown about the behavior they said was OK.
One user responds by stating, “Which is like whiplash for them. ‘You said it was fine, and now it’s not fine?!'” It’s vital that you are honest and voice when you’re unhappy with something or have concerns. “It matters what you think and how you feel.”
5. People Pleasing
This has been a thorn in my side for far too many years. It’s caused me headaches in my personal and work relationships. When one woman asks how to overcome it, another replies, “Therapy. Seriously. Learn how to ask for what you want, say no to what you don’t want, and stand up for yourself. Solutions focussed, skills-based therapy, not talk therapy.”
6. Gift Showering to Make Up for Things
“Making my partner feel terrible for having their own life outside of spending time with me, and then showering them in gifts to ‘make up’ for it,” admits one. This signifies a codependent relationship and is a good thing to identify and overcome.
7. Walking Away
Do you find yourself walking away from your partner when angry or upset? You’re not alone. One woman confesses she was guilty of this. However, she identified it and now explains to her partner that she loves them but is angry and needs to walk away to cool down. Then, she offers a time when they can resume the conversation so her partner isn’t left feeling abandoned and insecure.
Another person shares, “We use a code word now that means ‘I love you so much, but I’m too emotional to continue this conversation and need a moment to calm down and process everything. I’m going to take some space, and when we’re both ready, let’s come back to this and try to resolve this together.'” I love this idea.
8. Constantly Requiring Reassurance
Do you find yourself constantly asking for reassurance in your relationships? This can definitely stem from abandonment issues and low self-esteem. Do you still love me? Are you mad at me? Do you like me? Those questions can be associated with “Anxious attachment and general anxiety.”
A woman shares a helpful tip for anxiety sufferers, “When frantic anxiety hits, take two deep breaths, and ask yourself the rhetorical question of ‘Do I really think my partner lost love for me? Would I even be able to lose love for anything in that time frame?'”
She continues, “The answer is usually, ‘No, we are the same people who chose each other, and the love is all there.’ Then, you can proceed to shake the jitters out.
9. Intentional Baiting
Numerous women identify with another who confesses, “Baiting. Having a specific answer, asking an ‘innocent’ question, and then going off to make my point. As opposed to directly saying, ‘Hey, I have a concern that I need to talk about.'” Another confirms that her ex used to do that, and she eventually felt like every question he asked was a trap.
10. Trying to Manage Their Emotions
Do you try to manage people’s emotions? Someone explains, “It sounds silly, but I started telling myself I’m not the ‘keeper of the moods’ when I start feeling compelled to fix my partner’s (or frankly anyone’s) emotions.”
11. Being Possessive and Jealous
Several women relate to one who confesses to being possessive and jealous in her youth. She adds that now she understands how ridiculous that behavior is and doesn’t impose any restrictions on her partner’s time or friendships. A man argues that feeling possessive and jealous is normal if your partner dresses up and goes out a lot.
However, another rightly informs, “Being possessive and jealous is NOT normal. Your significant other is an independent human being who is allowed to spend time with other people without you present and is in charge of their own body and what they wear on it.
Viewing either of those things as problematic has nothing to do with them and everything to do with your insecurities and distrust. Those are YOUR job to identify and work to heal, not your partner’s. Wanting to control your partner’s activities and wardrobe is an extremely unhealthy relationship behavior and can veer into abuse.”
12. Guilt Tripping
Have you ever laid it on thick when your partner upset you by not doing what you want? Many users note that “Guilt-tripping is manipulative and emotionally immature.” However, several admit to doing it and overcoming it at some point in their adult lives.
13. Push and Pull
Do you play a game of push and pull with your partner? Someone explains that she used to play a game of push and pull. She’d get mad over something simple and then demand her partner’s attention as proof that he loved her until I was satisfied.
“One example was making him stop in the middle of cooking dinner to come over to me and console me when I was feeling upset over something minor. It was childish, but I thought I couldn’t trust anyone, and making people do all these things to earn my trust was a way to prove their love to me.”
14. Silent Treatment
The silent treatment is a toxic behavior people identify in romantic relationships and even friendships and kids. It’s unhealthy and can lead to major communication problems and even abuse when used to gaslight your significant other. Or when deliberately used to hurt your loved one and establish control.
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.