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Unveiling Unhealthy Relationships: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

When you are trying to navigate relationships, sometimes it’s hard to determine what is acceptable and what isn’t.  There are so many factors that we often consider, but that one thing we sometimes forget is -our standards.  The things that we say we don’t want, and then you get into a relationship with a person, and for some reason all of those standards go out of the window.  Why?

Well… honestly, I think everyone has their own reasons to staying in a relationship wearing out their welcome.  Read that again.  Sometimes we wear out our welcome in relationships.  We know when a relationship is no longer good for us, but for some of us we think we can change people, we want to be the “healers”, we make excuses for behavior such as … “it’s because of how he/she was raised…”, or we just simply don’t want to be alone or start over.  Whatever the reason is, it’s imperative to your mental health and self-love journey that when you start seeing signs that the relationship is unhealthy – Pay attention. 

In the previous relationship I spoke about, I started seeing some of the signs.  In my circumstance, I tried to stay as long as possible because we had a small family.  I grew up in a two-parent household, so I couldn’t imagine my kid not growing up the same.  In the pit of my stomach, I knew that this wasn’t going to work, but what the hell we try anyways right?  Ugh.  If only I had the strength to just walk away when I knew it wasn’t healthy.  There are so many signs, but here are a few that I noticed:

  • Choosing my words – I felt like I had to tiptoe around communication to not make him upset.  Anything I said that felt like I wasn’t on his side, was automatically an argument.  It was like I was betraying him.  But really, we are our own individuals and therefore we may naturally see things differently.

  • Every time I went out there was a guilt trip – Every time I wanted to go out with my friends (which wasn’t often), I was receiving texts galore manipulating me and making me feel guilty about going out.  I believe the term used was “you’re out there shaking your ass,” and yet in reality yes, I was dancing but I’m with my friends.  It was about hanging out, not meeting people. 

  • Losing my friends – starting to feel isolated from my friends because when they did come over to the house, it seemed to be an issue.  I stopped inviting my friends over and going out just to avoid the conflict.  BUT – that didn’t stop him from having a friend over every day or going out.  The double standard was baffling. 

  • Not liking one of my parents – So now, I know that not everyone will get along, and I understand that there are overbearing parents.  However, with my close-knit family if you don’t get along with my parents this will cause an issue.  Especially if I feel like I must choose.  Now everyone will have their own opinion on this, and maybe you don’t have a great relationship with your parents.  This was a flag for me personally.

  • Contempt and Belittling – Whenever there was a disagreement or argument, there was always contempt or belittling.  In other words, heavy use of sarcasm, mockery, making me feel small as if I didn’t understand what was going on, aggressive tone and so forth.   A lot of this in done so that there is a form of intimidation going on.  As the receiver you start feeling small, not good enough, almost as if whatever you say doesn’t matter.  There’s no form of appropriate communication because the other person is literally waiting for you to say one thing, they don’t like to utilize it against you in the worst way. 

Now I can probably go on with the things I experienced.  But to be honest, thinking that far back on everything is hard to remember.  Especially when you have been in a place of peace.  There were several times that I wanted to leave that relationship, because of my child I stayed.  My feelings had ultimately changed because I knew I deserved better, but there was a part that was hoping for things to change.  We split up a couple of times. However, the last round, I set up boundaries (that I knew he wouldn’t follow through with).  This included apologizing to everyone of my family members for the back and forth.  I think part of me set those terms because 1) I didn't want to go back, and 2) I wanted to see if he was that committed if we were to move forward.  And – you guessed it.  Never happened.  So, I stayed with my parents where I tried to figure out my next moves in life.

Overall, try sitting back in your relationship.  Get an understanding of how you and your partner are communicating or functioning in your relationship.  Do any of these resonate with you?  If so, maybe there are some decisions to be made.  Ask yourself, what were your standards before this relationship.  Have you lowered them?  If so, why?

When having a child, sometimes things don't get easier after the break-up. And believe me, I felt like they got worse. But not remaining in the relationship was the healthiest thing to do, even though I had to navigate the next set of unhealthy behaviors. Ultimately, what we have to remember is that we are role modeling for our children.

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