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Relationships of all kinds are important to our life because we all need connections outside of ourselves to grow and feel whole. The relationships we have with our family is our first experience of feeling like we belong in a community. The relationships we have with our friends teach us about ourselves and our ability to create connections outside of our family unit. Romantic relationships teach us how to express ourselves intimately and how to bind our life to another to create a family from ourselves. Positive relationships can motivate us towards our goals, make us feel we belong, and make us feel loved and appreciated. Unfortunately all relationships come with challenges and some of the relationships we experience can be very unhealthy to us. We can become too invested in negative attachments and it can be very difficult to know when to let go when we love someone. If you are experiencing difficulties in a relationship and is confused about if it's healthy for you here are some red flags to pay attention to let you know that it would be in your best interest to move on.
1. They are harshly critical of you and others to the point you feel uncomfortable sharing your good news or bad news with them.
Do you have someone in your life who always speaks negatively about others?
Do they laugh a little too hard at you when you make a mistake with a disguise of it being a joke?
Do they undermine your accomplishments instead of celebrating you?
If you have friends like these you don't need enemies. The harsh truth is people that talk about people to you will talk about you to people. At times they may feel close and loyal to you. However, the moment that you mildly irritate them or you have a misunderstanding with you they will have much to say about you to someone else. They laugh so hard at your mistakes to make you feel small. They don't celebrate your accomplishments because they are automatically comparing themselves to you and need to bring you down to avoid feeling down on themselves. Many people in relationships like this began to avoid sharing their personal feelings or experiences because they already know that they can't trust this kind of person. This creates a weak toxic relationship because you have to constantly think about ways to protect yourself from this person to stay in the relationship. That is as bad as trying to be friends with a wild animal because you know they are always looking for an opportunity to bite you and call it play. You need to let this person go because people like that will drain your self worth and self esteem. It will cause you to be emotionally guarded with other people that do treat you like they love you. Do not allow this toxic connection to prevent you from sharing your true self with other's so that you can establish healthy relationships in the future.
2. the relationship is unbalanced in give and take to the point you feel mentally and emotionally exhausted.
A relationship that makes you feel that way is a relationship of codependency. Those who are codependent feel like they are supposed to take care of the needs and wants of others. They like to provide solutions, or advice to comfort others even when they are struggling mentally or emotionally themselves. Sometimes they will go to great lengths in their efforts to meet other people's needs. They often agree to things they don’t really want to do but they feel an obligation to please people. They end up feeling emotionally depleted and drained of their energy. They may experience feelings of guilt and or anxiety if they try to assert their own desires, so usually they fall behind in advancing in their own life.
The dependent person in the relationship quickly recognizes this and takes full advantage. They become overly needy in their efforts in getting their needs and wants meet. The dependent may expect your support, may be possessive, manipulative, and require a lot of your time and attention to feel secure in the relationship. It's very likely that the dependent does not give even half of the over exerted energy back to the codependent person. Both of these behaviors are toxic because a healthy relationship is about the balance of give and take of energy and effort. The dependent person suffers from a codependent relationship as well. They do not trust their own judgment, don't feel competent making decisions for their life, and experience feelings of venerability and lack of confidence when they are alone. They depend on the codependent person to make them feel secure so they do not learn to master these skills for themselves.
If you see your character in either of these roles you are in a toxic relationship and need to learn to set healthy boundaries to change the dynamics of the relationship or just get out of it. These relationships can cause resentment in both parties and prevent mental and emotional growth. Codependent relationship are addictive and the dynamic is usually repeated in most of their relationships with others if not all of their relationships.
3. They are not loyal to you or committed to you at all.
This kind of relationship will have you constantly wondering if you have a relationship with this person at all. They just pop up randomly in your life when they are bored, they do not maintain consistent contact with you, and when they are in contact with you it kind of feels forced and artificial. It feels this way with that person because you spend so much time apart you hardly get to know them and they don't act as if they are really interested in getting to know you. This person usually shows up when they just want to have a good time. They may just want to have sex with you if it's a sexual relationship, but don't assume these kinds of relationship are always sexual. Many people have relationships with friends or even family like this. For example an absentee father may only want to spend time with his kids to show them off or feed his ego from the love of his children. A friend may only want to hang out with you in a party setting or for clout or opportunities to be had by being in your company. Once these people fill up on what they came to you for they are gone again. These kinds of relationships are toxic because they cause feelings of worthlessness for the person waiting around for this toxic person to really choose a life with them. Don't wait around for anyone to choose you. You need to choose to move on to the type of relationships you can grow into a strong foundation with real loyalty, love and commitment.
4. They are heavily engaged in activities you know are bad for you
If you are trying to stop drinking it's a bad idea to hang out with alcoholics. If you are trying to save money stay clear of your shopaholic friends even if there is a really good sale. As we age and become more mature it's important to start making healthier life choices to either advance our careers or create healthy family life. What used to be okay with friends or family in your youth can cause major life problems as an adult when you are truly wanting a healthy and balanced life for yourself. If you do not share the same values or concerns with the people you have relationships with you may have to just accept that you have grown apart. Once we fail to grow forward with someone it's time to let go and wish them well so we can focus on improving ourselves . Especially if we are trying to prevent and move away from toxic behaviors in ourselves.
5. They are envious of you
Enviousness is not the same as jealously. Jealously can come from a healthy place of love and just wanting to spend time with someone during a time they are with someone else. An envious person is anxious and frustrated that they don't have what you have. They can never truly be happy for you and may secretly wish for your down fall. Some may even try to secretly sabotage you or your character because they hate how others love you. They will also create barriers in relationships with you to avoid a closeness because they are uncomfortable even with their own admiration of you. They will create imaginary competitions in their head with you and try to one up you every chance they get. No matter how much you love them they can never be trusted. It's hurtful to be in a relationship with someone who envies you because you will began to down play and hide your successes just to try and prevent them from officially becoming your enemy. I assure you that it will happen eventually because they see success in you that you don't even see as accomplishments yourself. There is no way to tame or control a relationship with an envious person. You must move on because they will forever be waiting for an opportunity to feel bigger or better than you because it's their only goal. Once someone envies you they cannot love you because it feels like betrayal to themselves.
The experience of unhealthy relationships are just as important as healthy relationships. They teach us by example what's healthy for us and what we need to evolve past the need for. Do not regret these relationships if you have experienced them or is currently experiencing now. Just process and accept the lesson and move on with wisdom and experience acquired. Try to be grateful for the experience and learn to forgive those who bring these kinds of toxic behaviors into our life. Non of us are perfect and usually these kinds of behavior come from a place of great pain. They have simply not yet healed from their pain that is now affecting the way they treat you. It can be difficult to have sympathy for those that have hurt us but it's vital if we want to prevent ourselves from becoming that kind of person ourselves in the future.