If you are from a dysfunctional home or background you may find yourself in a relationship with the wrong person. In fact, it is almost certain that you will choose at least bad partner over the course of your life.
There are many variations on this theme but often what happens is a repeat of whatever dysfunction you experienced growing up or in an earlier relationship with others.
The common themes that tend to play out are those based on attachment problems, boundaries, low self-esteem, dependency, lack of assertiveness, and tolerating physical or emotional abuse.
What you are drawn to is not the fact that they are a terrible partner but rather that the dynamic between the two of you is familiar. We like familiar. We tell ourselves that we are more in control of familiar than of what is new and possibly scary.
If someone is too nice you may be waiting for the ball to drop any minute and they turn into the bad person that must be lurking underneath. Your brain tells you it’s better to know up front what is going on.
Unfortunately, if you learned dysfunctional patterns you know how to work in that system. If someone is too controlling you know how to do the passive-aggressive dance. If someone is abusive you know how to “walk on eggshells” to try not to set him or her off. If someone seems to be pulling away emotionally all the time you know when to crank up the anxiety and neediness required to pull your partner back in. These known patterns and behaviors feel relatively OK. They are familiar.
But being in a bad relationship is really worse than being in no relationship at all. Being in a bad relationship zaps energies that you could be investing into yourself, harms your ability to socialize effectively, causes stress to your body, and keeps you from being able to seek a new and better relationship.
Here are 9 signs you’re with the wrong person:
- He (or she) says hurtful, insulting or demeaning things. Even if he apologizes later, don’t be fooled, as this is abusive behavior.
- He is destructive or dangerous. If he threatens to hurt you or himself if you ever leave him, it’s time to get away. You are being held an emotional hostage.
- She gives you the silent treatment or withholds affection over small transgressions. She is manipulating you.
- She scolds, yell,s or “harmlessly” slaps, pushes, or shoves.
- He disappears for periods of time with no explanation that makes sense.
- He blames you for any of the above behavior. None of that is your fault. Or he blames his ex partners for the failure of his past relationships.
- She withholds important information or life matters from you. You are not included in life plans, finances or other family matters.
- You don’t have any say in anything. Anything you suggest is automatically rejected.
- His entire social life is with his friends and doesn’t include you. You are on your own but expected to cook, clean, tend to children or do other tasks. You feel like hired help without the pay.
If any of these pertain to you, it is time to get out. You deserve a rich and rewarding life with people who care for and love you. When I was doing the research for Dysfunction Interrupted, I found many studies that show that people who are in good relationships and have a good social network or community live longer and enjoy better health than those in poor relationships or who are lonely.
And actually it does boil down to that, whenever you are in a bad relationship you are bound to be lonely.
If you are in a bad relationship it is also likely that you are experiencing depression, anxiety, chronic anger, difficulty focusing or all of the above. You may even be taking medication for these conditions. The symptoms will not go away until you are free of ongoing negativity and toxicity.
If you would like some free resources on dysfunctional thinking patterns and relationships visit us at PsychSkills.com. We can help get you started in the right direction.
Feel Good For Life!
Photo by The Erica Chang