“If a normally kind, agreeable person makes an enemy of you, you ought to ask yourself why.” – Joyce Rachelle
You’ve heard all about toxic relationships, and what to do if you find yourself in one. You probably know all the signs of when you’re being manipulated and taken advantage of. But what happens when you’re actually the one who’s toxic? Being aware of your own behavior and how you’re treating your partner can save both you and your partner a lot of emotional grief.
No one wants to believe that they’re toxic or unhealthy for their significant other. Sometimes, though, the truth just hurts. Being able to recognize the signs of your own toxic behavior can help you put a stop to it, and salvage your relationship – or, at least, make sure the next relationship you have can be a health and positive one.
If you catch yourself showing these behaviors, they are toxic and should be avoided in the future…
1. You feel the need to make sure your partner doesn’t “get ahead”…
Feeling proud of your intelligence or your accomplishments are one thing. But if you view your partner as inferior, it will come across in the way you interact with them. They will be able to tell just how superior you feel to them, and it can easily become degrading and emotionally distressing for your partner.
If you often find yourself thinking that you’re much smarter than your partner, you might want to take a step back and figure out whether or not you’re using them as a backdrop for your only intelligence.
2. Conversations seem to always fall away from a positive tone
If you find that you’re constantly picking fights and being a pessimist when there’s no need to, you may be feeding toxicity into your relationship. This may stem from low self-esteem and a desire to make your partner feel on the same level as you do.
Surrounding yourself with positivity will help, as well working on your own self-esteem before pursuing a relationship. Getting a therapist to help work through your problems will help you become a more positive person, and less toxic in your relationships.
3. Threats of breaking up (without meaning to follow through)
If the only way you know how to end an argument is to threaten to break up, you’re definitely bringing toxic behaviors to the table. If your partner cares about you and wants the relationship to work, they’ll often drop their concerns and stop arguing every time you threaten to end the relationship. This is manipulative behavior and can damage any relationship.
Learning to communicate and compromise is hard, but you’ll need to take the difficult steps to figure it out. Take time to cool off during an argument if you need to rather than resorting to threats.
4. An uncontrollable temper
Sometimes, things can make us angry. However, if you find that it takes very little to make you angry and you become vicious and mean to your partner during a blow of your temper, you’re going to need to work on yourself before your relationship can become positive. A toxic relationship will stay toxic when you repeat the cycle of bursts of anger, cruelty and guilt. Learn how to manage your anger rather than allowing yourself to fly off the handle.
5. A difficulty with being wrong
Squabbles in relationships happen. There are often times where one partner or the other does something careless or thoughtless that hurts the other’s feelings. In a healthy relationship, you’ll be able to apologize, admit that you were wrong, and move forward. If you can’t remember the last time you apologized or admitted that something you did was hurtful or careless, you may be the toxic one in the relationship.
Relationships become unhealthy and lopsided when one partner is always apologizing. The best way to fix this is suck up your pride and admit when you’re wrong.
6. Avoiding responsibility for words and actions…
Hand in hand with never admitting you’re wrong, you don’t take responsibility for things that you’ve done. Instead, you opt to blame your partner, or blame something else. As long as you can shift the blame off of you, you’re happy.
Taking responsibility for your own actions can be difficult, but it’s what grownups do. Learning how to accept responsibility and move forward is a step that you have to take to avoid being toxic in all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones.
7. More than ”just joking”…
Sometimes, teasing one another can be fun. But it’s only fun when everyone is enjoying themselves. Playfully teasing your partner can be harmless. However, it starts to become toxic when your remarks are public and hurtful and cause your partner to feel shame and humiliation. Even if you defend yourself with “Just joking,” your words can leave a lasting effect and make your partner feel degraded and insecure.
Put yourself in your partner’s place, and imagine how you would feel if they humiliated you.
8. Leaving your partner ‘high and dry’…
If your parents or friends are constantly slandering your partner and you don’t have their back, then you’re leaving them open to feeling insecure and vulnerable. Not sticking up for your partner is letting them know that they’re not important enough to you for you to protect them.
Relationships are about partnerships, and when one partner is putting in the effort that the other isn’t, the relationship becomes unhealthy. So, stop letting your parents criticize your partner’s hair, weight or job. Stick up for them and show them that you’ll always have one another.
Coming to the realization that you may be the problem in your relationship can be hard. But it isn’t the end all be all of your worth as a person! People can change, and once you realize the things you’re bringing to the relationship are toxic, you’ll be better able to work on your behavior.
Your relationship may (or may not) be able to be salvaged, but your relationships in the future will be positive and healthy, and by changing your behavior, you’ll also be able to validate your partner’s feelings.