6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal


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Toxic relationship habits: The most common tendencies in relationships that many couples think are healthy and normal, but are toxic.

There is no class in high school about how not to be a dumb boyfriend or girlfriend or a toxic relationship. Sure, they teach us the biology of sex, the legality of marriage, and we might even read some obscure love stories from the 19th century about how not to be.

But when it comes to dealing with the nitty-gritty of relationships, we don’t give any pointers…or worse, we’re given advice columns in women’s magazines. The relationship becomes toxic.

Yes, it’s trial and error right from the start. And if you’re like most people, it’s mostly wrong.

But part of the problem is that many unhealthy relationship habits are built into our culture. We adore romantic love — you know, that amazing, irrational romantic love that somehow finds smashing Chinese dishes on the wall in a fit of tears somewhat endearing — and makes fun of unconventional sexual practices.

Men and women are raised to embody one another and to nurture their relationships. Thus, our partners are often seen as assets rather than people who share mutual emotional support.

Toxic relationship habits

A lot of the self-help literature out there isn’t helpful either (no, men and women aren’t from different planets, you’re overgeneralizing). And for most of us, Mom and Dad were not the best examples either.

Fortunately, there has been a lot of psychological research on healthy and happy relationships over the past few decades, and there are some general principles that are still constantly emerging that most people don’t realize or follow. Some of these principles go against what is traditionally considered “romantic” or normal in a relationship.

Want to know if you are in a toxic relationship or not? Read 10 Signs You’re In A Healthy Relationship

Here are six of the most common tendencies in relationships that many couples think are healthy and normal, but are toxic and destroy everything dear to them. Prepare the napkins.

6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal

1 The relationship scorecard

Definition: The “keep the number” phenomenon is when someone you’re dating keeps blaming you for past mistakes you made in the relationship. If both people in the relationship do this, it moves to what I call the “relationship scorecard,” where it becomes a battle to see who has screwed up the most over the months or years, and thus who owes the other the most.

You were an idiot at Cynthia’s 28th birthday party in 2010, and it has continued to ruin your life ever since. why? Because not a week goes by and you are not reminded of it. But that’s okay, because that time you catch her sending flirty texts to her co-worker, it instantly removes her right to be jealous, so she’s kind of right, right?

wrong.

Why it’s a relationship toxic habit: The relationship scorecard develops over time because one or both people in a relationship use past mistakes to try to justify current integrity. This is the double whammy of sucking. Not only does it distract from the current issue per se, but you cause guilt and bitterness from the past to manipulate your partner to feel wrong in the present.

If this continues for long enough, both partners eventually spend most of their energy trying to prove that they are less guilty than the other, rather than solving the current problem. People spend all their time trying to be less wrong with each other instead of being more suitable for each other.

What you should do instead: Deal with issues individually unless they are legitimately related. If someone used to cheat, this is a recurring problem. But the fact that she embarrassed you in 2010 and now she’s sad and ignoring you today in 2013 has nothing to do with each other, so don’t talk about it.

Realize that by choosing to be with your significant other, you are choosing to be with all of their past actions and behaviors. If you don’t accept it, you ultimately don’t accept it. If something bothered you so much a year ago, you should have dealt with it a year ago.

2 Dropping “hints” and other passive-aggression

What it is: Instead of publicly stating a desire or idea, your partner is trying to push you in the right direction to figure it out on your own. Instead of saying what’s bothering you, find small, trivial ways to irritate your partner so that you then feel justified in complaining to them.

Why it’s usually a toxic relationship: Because it shows you two are uncomfortable communicating openly and clearly with each other. A person has no reason to be passive-aggressive if they feel safe expressing any anger or insecurity within the relationship. A person will never feel the need to drop “hints” if they feel that they will not be judged or criticized for doing so.

What you should do instead: State your feelings and desires publicly. Make it clear that the other person is not necessarily responsible or obligated to them but that you would love to have their support. If they love you, they will always be able to give it to you.

3 Holding the relationship hostage

What it is: When someone has a minor criticism or complaint and blackmails the other person by threatening commitment to the relationship as a whole. For example, if someone felt that you were cold to them, they would say, instead of saying “I feel like you get cold sometimes,” “I can’t date someone cold to me every time.”

Why it’s harmful: It’s emotional blackmail and creates a lot of unnecessary drama. Every minor hiccup in the relationship flow leads to a perceived commitment crisis. It is critical for both people in a relationship to know that negative thoughts and feelings can be safely communicated to each other without threatening the relationship itself. Otherwise, people will suppress their true thoughts and feelings resulting in an environment of mistrust and manipulation.

What you should do instead: It’s okay to be upset with your partner or not to like something about them. This is called being a normal human being. But you have to understand that committing to and liking someone is not always the same thing. One can stick with someone and not love everything about them. One can dedicate themselves forever to someone but feel annoyed or angry with their partner at times. Conversely, two partners who can communicate comments and criticism towards each other, just without judgment or blackmail, will strengthen their commitment to each other in a lasting relationship.

4 Blaming your partner for your own emotions

What it is: Let’s say you’re having a bad day and your partner isn’t very sympathetic or supportive right now. They’ve been on the phone all day with some people from work. They were distracted when I hugged them. You want to lie at home together and just watch a movie tonight, but they have plans to go out to see their friends.

So you attack them for being insensitive and cruel towards you. I had a bad day and they didn’t do anything about it. Sure, you never asked, but they should just know to make you feel better. They should have left the phone and given up on their plans based on your poor emotional state.

Why it’s Toxic: Blaming our partners for our feelings is a subtle form of selfishness and a classic example of poorly maintaining personal boundaries. When you establish a precedent that your partner is responsible for how you feel at all times (and vice versa), you will develop self-reliant tendencies. Suddenly, they are not allowed to plan activities without checking with you first. All activities in the home must be negotiated and given up – even normal activities such as reading books or watching TV. When someone starts getting upset, all personal desires go out the window because now it’s your responsibility to make each other feel better.

The biggest problem with developing these dependent tendencies is that they breed resentment. Sure, if my girlfriend once got mad at me because she had a bad day and was frustrated and needed attention, that’s understandable. But if it becomes an expectation that my life will revolve around her emotional well-being at all times, I will soon become very bitter and even manipulative with her feelings and desires.

What you should do instead: Take responsibility for your feelings and expect your partner to be responsible for their emotions. There is a subtle but important difference between supporting and being committed to your partner. Any sacrifices should be made as an independent choice and not be seen as an expectation. Once both people in a relationship become guilty of each other’s moods and swings, it gives them incentives to hide their true feelings and manipulate each other.

Turn your toxic relationship into a healthy one. Read : 9 Subtle Things That Keep A Relationship Strong and Healthy

5 Displays of “loving” jealousy

Qué es: Sentirse enojado cuando su pareja habla, toca, llama, envía mensajes de texto, pasa el rato o estornuda en el lugar público de otra persona y luego procede a sacar esa ira de su pareja y tratar de controlar su comportamiento. Esto a menudo conduce a comportamientos locos como piratear la cuenta de correo electrónico de su pareja, buscar sus mensajes de texto mientras está en la ducha o incluso seguirlos por la ciudad y aparecer sin previo aviso cuando menos lo esperan.

Why it’s toxic: It surprises me that some people describe this as a kind of emotional display. They imagine that if their partner wasn’t jealous, it somehow meant that they weren’t in love.

This is crazy clown shit to me. He is controlling and manipulative. It creates unnecessary drama and fighting. It conveys a message of distrust in the other person. And to be honest, this is insulting. If my girlfriend can’t trust me to be with other attractive women myself, that means she thinks I’m either a) lying, or b) unable to control my impulses. Either way, this is a woman I don’t want to date.

What you should do instead: Trust your partner. It’s an extreme idea, I know. Some jealousy is normal. But excessive jealousy and controlling behaviors towards your partner are signs of your feelings of unworthiness and you should learn to deal with them and not force them on those close to you. Because otherwise, you would eventually push that person away.

6 Buying the solutions to relationship problems

What it is: Anytime a major relationship conflict or problem arises, rather than resolved, one covers it up with the excitement and good feelings that come with buying something nice or going on a trip somewhere.

My parents were experts at this. And that has put them very far: a major divorce and 15 years of not speaking to each other since. Both have since told me independently that this was the fundamental problem in their marriage: the constant covering up of their real issues with superficial pleasures.

Why it’s toxic: Not only does it ignore the real problem under the rug (where it will always reappear and even worse next time), but it sets an unhealthy precedent in the relationship. This is not a gender-specific problem, but I will use the traditional gender-based situation as an example. Let’s imagine that when a woman gets angry with her boyfriend/husband, the man “solves” the problem by buying the woman something nice, taking her to a nice restaurant or something. Not only does this give the woman a subconscious incentive to find more reasons to be upset with the man, but it also gives the man no incentive whatsoever to be responsible for the problems in the relationship. So what do you end up with? A registered husband feels like an ATM and an incessantly bitter woman feels unheard.

What you should do instead: Actually, you know, deal with the problem. Trust was broken? Talk about what it takes to rebuild it. Someone feels left out or underappreciated? Talk about ways to restore those feelings of appreciation. Transfer!

There is nothing wrong with doing nice things for your significant other after a fight to show solidarity and reaffirm the commitment. But gifts or luxury items that tear up dealing with underlying emotional issues should never be used. Gifts and trips are called luxuries for a reason, and you can only appreciate them when everything else is already good. If you use it to cover up your problems, you will find yourself facing a much bigger problem in the future.

What you should do instead: Actually, you know, deal with the problem. Trust was broken? Talk about what it takes to rebuild it. Someone feels left out or underappreciated? Talk about ways to restore those feelings of appreciation. Transfer!

There is nothing wrong with doing nice things for your significant other after a fight to show solidarity and reaffirm the commitment. But gifts or luxury items that tear up dealing with underlying emotional issues should never be used. Gifts and trips are called luxuries for a reason, and you can only appreciate them when everything else is already good. If you use it to cover up your problems, you will find yourself facing a much bigger problem in the future.


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