When I first met my first serious friend, I had really mixed up about what relationships should be like.
I was firmly convinced that there was a “perfect” way to a relationship and I knew how to do it! It included some Rome Com-style ridiculous things like sitting in restaurants on the same side of the booth and never turning into a little chat. Always go deep!
He really played longer than you might think, and then he dropped me.
“You are too controlling,” he told me.
It wasn’t the last time I heard that. It was a pattern that defined how I thought about my early relationships: I knew how to have a perfect relationship, and if I could only find the “right” man (also known as a doormat) we would have one and be happy always live after it.
Before I went into therapy and did a real job, “controlling” was a toxic behavior that I carried into every romantic relationship I had.
A relationship can only be as healthy as its unhealthiest member. If you’re still in toxic relationships, it may be because you keep picking bad people, but also because, like me, you have some toxic behaviors.
It’s a shame to think you could be the problem, but if the same problems keep coming up, you may need to take into account the fact that you and only you are the common denominator. We all deserve healthy love relationships, and these are not possible if they become toxic. Awareness is always the first step to change something.
Here are some toxic things that you may not even notice you did to your partners.
1. You do not respect your privacy
Your last romantic partner cheated on you, and once you find out you can only insult yourself for missing all the “signs”.
There were so many! you tell yourself I will never miss these signs again!
Fast forward to your next romantic relationship: Even when things are going well, you still try to look at your phone when you are not looking, or you borrow your computer to “do some work” when you are Try it out. Find out what your email password is.
Trust is not earned through full access to all of your partner’s personal belongings. You also cannot request such access. If you search, you will probably continue to search, even if you cannot find any evidence. You either trust or you don’t trust, and if you trust, show it by respecting their privacy.
Related Slideshow: 15 Signs It May Be Time For Couple Therapy (provided by Best Life)
2. You have control problems
There is a difference between bossy and controlling. It is only about your intention. Are you trying to have power over someone? Are you forcing your will to do what you want?
As I wrote earlier, I tried to force whoever my new dating partner put into a form I thought would have to follow. You would be the perfect love interest for Rom-Com and then we would have the perfect happy ending for Rom-Com. It was unrealistic and, above all, unfair.
We show love and care for our partners by being their teammates, but when we try to control them, it is about winning them over and not with their consent.
3. You tell them how to feel
Your husband or girlfriend says to you, “It really hurt my feelings the other day when you criticized me for ______.” You answer with something like:
- “It was not so bad.”
- “You have to stop being so sensitive.”
- “It wouldn’t have bothered anyone.”
- “You just have to let it go.”
- “You should be grateful that I didn’t say ______.”
- “You’re exaggerating.”
- “It only bothered you because it’s true.”
- “You just misunderstood what I said.”
You invalidate how your partner feels every time you say one of the comments above, and that’s toxic AF.
4. Your needs are the only ones that matter
Sometimes when we go through things like For example, changes in life or catastrophic grief, we tend to look inward rather than look outward.
When that happens, we can become extremely self-centered. We only think about ourselves and our desires and needs and ignore those of those around us.
My friend once made an appointment with a man who expected her to bend over and over for him in return. This had not always been the case since he had moved with her when she was doing a job. But at some point he became more focused on himself and unsuspecting of what she was going through.
It would be good to ask yourself occasionally: What does my partner want and need today? Do I make them a priority? If you take some time to focus on your partner, you can see where you may have missed out.
5. You are abusive
Nobody likes to be classified as abusive, but if it looks like a duck, croaks like a duck, then …
If you and your previous partners fought, you would have:
- Did you raise your voice?
- Did you give your partner names?
- Did you use the silent treatment for days instead of hours?
- Did things say specifically to humiliate your partner?
- Did you blame everything on your partner and did not take ownership on your part?
- Something broken or destroyed?
- Your partner’s room physically injured?
- Refuses to adhere to limits?
- Do you put your hands on them or throw something at them?
Anyone can have a bad day (or bad relationship), but it’s important to recognize if something is a pattern. If all of the struggles were the same in your previous relationships, it may be time to realize that you were involved in all of them, possibly a larger one than you would like.
If many or all of these characters sound uncomfortably familiar, it’s time to know that you may be the problem. Just knowing where you’ve been neglected is the first step to becoming healthier. It may take some work (possibly with a therapist) to give up some of the toxic behaviors, but a healthy, emotionally fulfilling relationship is worth it.