Unhealthy Behaviors Damage Romantic Connection

Stacy Ann

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It was the night of my boyfriend’s brother’s engagement party and I was in one of the rooms in a fancy rented mansion having a full-blown panic attack.

After recovering and regaining my composure I acted like nothing was wrong and went back to socializing.

After we left the party I lashed out at my boyfriend saying that if he had been paying more attention to me I wouldn’t have had a panic attack. I put the blame on him for my feelings/behavior.

I wish I could say that was the only time I had a complete meltdown but it wasn’t. My past trauma was bubbling up to the surface in the worst possible moments and I was holding on to it as a crutch instead of facing it.

The first year or so of my relationship involved me being… a less-than-ideal girlfriend.

If my partner hadn’t talked to me honestly and if I hadn’t changed/corrected the following toxic behaviors I do not believe that we would be together today.

1. Keeping important information from my partner

For years I had been friends with an ex, but I always downplayed the amount that we talked. After all, my ex and I had dated years prior and didn’t even live in the same country so we could be friends, right?

Wrong. My ex began reaching out incessantly and to be nice I kept responding. When my boyfriend asked how much we talked and I finally decided to be honest he was extremely hurt by how I had withheld information. He said that honesty is one of the most important things in a relationship for him.

I told my ex that our amount of correspondence was unhealthy, cut things off, and began working on rebuilding my boyfriend’s trust.

2. Lashing out due to previous relationships

I survived an abusive relationship, and when things first ended, I thought that I was completely fine.

However, I wasn’t fine at all.

Trauma from the past began to resurface and I began lashing out at my partner for nothing. I felt like my emotions were completely out of control and I began to spiral.

One night when things got really bad my boyfriend told me, “I am not your ex-boyfriend. I am so sorry for what you went through but you cannot take it out on me. I am not him.”

The next day I found a therapist and began working through my trauma.

3. Not contributing to the relationship pot

In my head, I had decided that due to my past, I deserved to be treated like a princess. Yes, I do deserve to be treated well — but I allowed this thought to be an excuse for lack of effort/laziness on my part.

I wasn’t pulling my weight in the relationship and one day my partner sat me down.

“Hey, I love you so much and I want a future with you. I know that things are never going to be even but right now I feel like I’m giving 90% and you’re giving 10%. I need you to put more into our relationship pot.”

A relationship is a union between two people. If one person is giving it their all while the other person is dragging their feet, it isn’t going to work.

I began putting more into our relationship pot.

4. Any conflict made me extremely defensive

Relationships are naturally going to have conflict, but because of my unhealthy past, I didn’t know how to deal with them.

If my partner tried to share constructive criticism, I would become extremely defensive and eventually completely silent.

After yet another shutdown my partner told me that because of my drastic reactions, he felt like he couldn’t be honest with me even if it was about something small.

Because I wanted to have open communication I began working on my defensiveness or verbalizing when I felt myself shutting down.

My relationship survived but…

The reality is that I am blessed with an extremely kind, patient, and understanding partner.

At any point in the relationship, he could have chosen to walk away, and rightly so.

I didn’t start as the best girlfriend. But you know what? We have a choice. We can continue to engage in toxic behaviors or we can try to change them. I changed. I worked on myself. Over two years later I don’t even recognize the girl that he started dating in the best of ways.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-time-cure/201504/5-steps-end-toxic-relationship

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I am a writer & relationship consultant that primarily deals with narcissism, overcoming abuse & trauma, and self-love. Contact me @ Blog: carriewynn.com Instagram: carrie_wynnmusings

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