The Definition Of An Unhealthy Relationship
Relationships form an integral part of our lives from the moment we are born to the day we kick the bucket. They are part of who we are and they can be relationships between us and our families or even our friends but the common thing between all types of relationships is that they are never perfect.
In this post, I will, however, focus mainly on relationships that happen between partners who are romantically attracted to each other i.e. romantic relationships. So why are relationships so important that we do everything we can to be in one even though they have the potential to even hurt us? A short answer to this very complex question is; relationships usually enrich us, help us, and make us better & happier human beings as our personal well being and mental health are influenced by the nature of our relationships.
This brings us to the big question; what is an unhealthy relationship? To help us answer this question effectively, I will take a look at what makes up a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship is one that has honesty, trust, mutual respect, good communication, and separate identity among other qualities. An unhealthy relationship is, therefore, one that has none of the qualities named above.
An unhealthy relationship is abusive and is marred by a need to control one another either physically or emotionally. A relationship should allow us to grow but when you are in an unhealthy relationship you are always afraid and sad. An unhealthy relationship usually has a pattern and it’s as follows:
This is phase is characterized by a breakdown of communication, a gradual increase in tension. As a result of this tension, the victim usually feels the need to either please the abuser or even to calm him/her.
This is the phase where the tension that has been building up reaches its peak resulting to either; emotional, physical, or verbal abuse. The perpetrator usually uses threats, anger, and intimidation to keep you in line and often blames you for the violence later on.
This is where the perpetrator makes a lot of excuses and can even apologize for his or her earlier actions. The nature of the apology is, however, never sincere as the abuser usually plays down the seriousness of his or her wrongdoing and instead blames you for whatever happened.
In this phase, the whole incident is forgotten and you are on good terms and happy again. But not for long!
The 10 Signs Of A Couple In An Unhealthy Relationship To Note
A relationship is made up of two very different individuals and it’s usually very healthy to ensure that you maintain that kind of independence when in a relationship even though a relationship is a collective entity. An unhealthy relationship does not have independence as one partner is always dependent on the other in ways such as emotionally, psychologically, and even financially. This kind of relationship is usually emotionally destructive, abusive, or one-sided all which constitute an unhealthy relationship. In healthy, independent, and fulfilling relationships, couples have their own hobbies and interests, opinions, and financial freedom.
Respect is a primary ingredient for any healthy relationship. When you are in a relationship that lacks respect you will often be called names, everything you do will always be questioned, your decisions & choices will always be questioned, and your boundaries will never be respected. A relationship that has respect is a healthy one as couples listen to each other, communicate properly, and give each other personal spaces since they respect each other boundaries.
3. Too much jealousy
When in a relationship it’s normal to be jealous, it’s who we are! But when the jealousy becomes too much, it results in an unhealthy relationship. This can also be the case if you have a partner who is always trying to look for ways of making you jealous. An excessively jealous partner, for example, will end up controlling the other partner in attempts to possess him or her. A healthy relationship is one that has partners who are able to control their jealousy, this way they avoid being clingy, unattractive, possessive, abusive, and desperate.
4. Constant fighting
Relationships are never perfect which means that once in a while, you are expected to cross each other’s paths. The difference between an unhealthy relationship and a healthy one is how often these conflicts are and also how a couple deals with them when they arise. A healthy relationship has some fighting once in a while and when that happens, the couple resolves the issue easily as they have good communication. Such kind of disagreements even makes the couple stronger! But when you are in an unhealthy relationship, you and your partner always have fights that never end.
5. Unnecessary and never-ending criticism
A relationship that has constructive criticism is very healthy as it allows the couple to be the best and to work on their weaknesses. But a relationship where there is too much-unwarranted criticism is an unhealthy relationship. Destructive criticism usually involves name calling and it deeply hurts the pride of the victim, negatively affecting the victim’s confidence and self-esteem.
One of the pillars of healthy relationships is honesty. A healthy relationship cannot exist without this essential quality. You know you are in an unhealthy relationship when your partner is not open with you. In a healthy relationship, couples are usually on the same page and they do not hide things from each other. So if you find your partner always hiding things from you or is always defensive and easily irritated, it should be a clear sign that you are in an unhealthy relationship as your partner is a dishonest person.
7. Controlling behavior
This is one of the most common signs of an unhealthy relationship. A partner with controlling behavior tends to isolate you from your family and friends, constantly using threats against you or even them, using your guilt as a tool, and always overreacting. In a healthy relationship, couples usually have a sense of reciprocity, care about each other, and ensure that each other’s support network is healthy and stable.
A healthy relationship does not have partners who try to manipulate each other. You, therefore, know that you are in an unhealthy relationship if you have a partner who uses tactics such as using your guilt, convincing you to ignore your ambitions, and playing mind games on you so as to influence how you live. A healthy relationship should not have one person using the other to serve his or her own selfish agenda.
9. Lack of communication
Good communication is one of the key qualities that make up a healthy relationship and without it; the relationship is doomed to fail. In a healthy relationship, couples freely communicate both the bad and the good, enabling them to be in a position to solve any kind of dispute and also bringing them closer. Lack of good communication in a relationship often leads to a lot of misunderstandings and conflicts that never end.
In a healthy relationship, couples usually have some space so that they can both be able to look at their individual life. This is never the case in an unhealthy relationship as your partner always limits your outside involvement by having a say in who you see, what you do, and also what you talk to. In an unhealthy relationship, your partner cuts you off from the rest of the world in an attempt to gain more power and control over you.
Quotes On Couples In An Unhealthy Relationship
Being in an unhealthy relationship is very demanding and draining. Instead of making you happy and allowing you to grow, unhealthy relationships make you sad, drag you down, and keep you from realizing your full potential. Knowing the signs of such relationships is very essential as it will enable you to know the kind of relationship you are in early enough to take the necessary steps.