One of these may be stopping you from having a healthy relationship.
We often think we know a toxic person when we meet one. The signs are always there, aren't they? They treat waiters badly, tell you how to dress, they body shame you, insist on looking into your phone, and so on and so forth. But here are some behaviours which often lead to people unknowingly poisoning their own relationships.
Many people struggle to let go of past mistakes. These often come up during the next fight or disagreement. The person ends up giving an account of all the things the other has done wrong. This takes away the focus from the issue at hand and makes the other feel that they can never truly please the person, no matter what they do. The fights go on for hours, and breakup seems the only solution in sight.
Gaslighting is one of the most common ways in which relationships get poisoned. Simply put, this is what gaslighting sounds like – “you’re imagining things”, “you’re not actually upset”, “you are overreacting” or “You’re confused again, that’s not what happened,” etc. This is a form of emotional abuse that often goes unnoticed but ends up significantly damaging the relationship and the person who is being subjected to it.
'The conversation' implies addressing the elephant in the room that could be different for different people. It's about communicating and acknowledging that a problem exists in the relationship. Many people refuse to address problems within the relationship and constantly tell themselves that it will eventually be okay. The partner who wants to have the conversation feels frustrated and is often left with no other option but to walk out of the relationship. Some common excuses used by people trying to run away from having the conversation are: “I am too tired for this,” “I really don’t see a problem here, it will all be fine,” “I don’t see why we need to discuss this, we’re gonna be okay,” “can we discuss this some other time” (and the ‘some other time’ never comes).
Sometimes, people don’t realize or even if they do, they don’t accept that they are afraid of commitment. A manifestation of this fear is the habit to continually look for an exit. They often avoid anything that leads to a bigger commitment, such as meeting their partner’s parents, having a baby, or moving in together. The fear of commitment here doesn’t come from a place of wanting to ‘play the field’ but as researcher Anabelle Bernard Fournier explains, from a mindset that “commitment reduces their ability to leave a relationship without financial or emotional consequences”.
How can one person’s low self-esteem directly affect the relationship and their partner? Well, it can go two ways. In some cases, the person cannot process why the other person wants to be with them, they keep tearing themselves down and needing reassurances every now and then. The other person gives up after a point and actually walks away from the relationship. In others, the constant feeling of inadequacy leads to jealousy and suspicion. The person continually feels that it is only a matter of time before the partner finds someone better. Every person the partner interacts with is seen as a possible love interest. The partner eventually gets sick of reassuring the person and leaves.
Anabelle Bernard Fournier in her article for VeryWellMind, explains the cause of such behaviors saying, "every person has had a different past: parenting, childhood, teenage years, and first serious relationships all have an effect on how we act right now." She explains why we need to pay attention and change such behaviors by talking about its long-term consequences which include lack of intimate relationships, loneliness, lack of children and family and trouble tolerating closeness. "The reasons why people self-sabotage are understandable, so it is important to treat yourself with kindness. Remember that it's okay to get help. Seeking therapy or simply a kind and friendly ear is the first step towards freeing yourself from self-sabotaging behaviors in relationships," she further wrote.