What Is A Dysfunctional Relationship And How To Deal With It

The meaning, types, and signs of a dysfunctional relationship

By Sophia R
What Is A Dysfunctional Relationship And How To Deal With It

Dysfunctional couple relationships have become an everyday thing and, to a certain extent, accepted and tolerated by the people that are actually in it, relatives and close friends, despite the pain, suffering, and disharmony that it produces. We could say that it is even common that people suffer from this type of relationship, the reason why we should all be aware and informed on what is it and how to combat against it. Keep reading this article to find out everything you need to know about dysfunctional relationships!

The definition and the the types of dysfunctional relationship

First of all, what is a dysfunctional relationship? To simplify the concept and facilitate understanding, a dysfunctional relationship is one that does not work or goes wrong at a certain point. In other words, when conflict, lack of love and disharmony are constant or occur frequently in it. 

Of course, it is necessary to recognize that any relationship, no matter how consolidated, can go through its ups and downs, as well as tests and challenges. Nobody is exempt from it, but I must emphasize that when negativity, dissatisfaction or disharmony settle in the relationship and, over time, it becomes a constant, we find ourselves in the presence of a dysfunctionality, which goes against love and a healthy sharing in any relationship. 

Now that the actual concept is clear, we need to show you the different types of dysfunctional relationships that can exist. We decided to divide them into 4 categories and they are:

1. Overwhelming and controlling relationship

The overwhelming and controlling relationship is that in which one or both of the persons in the relationship always has the desire to be the center of attention or the core of the relationship. Any of you could also feel that one of you has a constant competition against the gifts, affection or love that you might be receiving and giving from others such as family or friends, and might consider them a threat. Another characteristic is that they wish to have you all the time by their side, and they can't seem to be without you at any time. Basically, it is a Kleenex relationship, it absorbs the hell out of anyone. 

2. Concealing relationship

This type of relationship is mainly known by being the one in which the controller does not comply with the same as demanded; "You do not go out with your friends, but I do with mine",  for example. They also have the conduct of double morals because they have the fear that their partner will do the same as them. Basically, they will control you but they will be the freest. 

3. Fighter relationship

The fighter relationship is the easiest to identify and most common within people. The main characteristics are: First, there is a constant exchange of aggression, which is initiated by insignificant things. Marked offenses, psychological violence, insults, devaluations are always present in discussions · Constant exchange of accusations is the everyday routine, and fighting is the common form of communication.

4. Manipulating relationship

Last but not least, the manipulating relationship is handled with suspicions and through guilt. The manipulative person will always intend to sabotage the wishes or plans of the other to reassert themselves in possession of them. For example, saying that he or she is selfish because they dedicate time to themselves. There will be a lack of companionship between the couple. Also, anything that causes the other to develop constitutes aggression to the relationship. Finally, one will seek to undermine the joy, initiative or decisions of the other.

Signs of a dysfunctional relationship

Dysfunctional relationships aren't always easy to detect or assume. For this reason, it is important that you know the signs that point to it, and that you are aware of what they imply. Keep reading and learn what they are:

5. Fights for power

Wanting to always be right, never acknowledging your mistakes, being unable to ask for forgiveness when you fail, not listening to your partner, not letting him freely express his opinion or imposing yours, are symptoms of power struggle, and thus, dysfunctionality in the relationship. 

6. Lack of respect

If within your relationship there are some of the following points, you have crossed the red line of respect:

  • ​​Hostile humor and teasing.
  • Despises and screams.
  • Defensive and aggressive attitude.
  • Hurting the other deliberately.
  • Fighting and violent arguments.
  • Recurring lies.
  • Infidelities.

If you have crossed the red line of respect, your relationship is dysfunctional, pal.

7. You don't recognize yourself

 If you identify with any or some of these symptoms, you may be experiencing a toxic relationship:

  • Every day that passes you feel worse with yourself.
  • You have stopped being yourself for fear of your partner's reaction.
  • You think that being you could make your partner reject you.
  •  You have canceled your needs prioritizing only those of your partner.
  • Before knowing your partner you were a happy person and now you are depressed.
  •  You often think: "Who am I?" And you do not know the answer. 

8. Obsession to change your partner

There are people who mistakenly start a relationship because someone attracts them, but they do not accept fundamental aspects of the other. These people negotiate with themselves that with patience and effort they can change those parts that they do not like about the other. This is a myth, nobody is going to change by the simple fact that another person tries to make them.

You can suggest a request to change your partner's behavior, but it will have to be that person (if he or she wants to) who decides to change freely, not by manipulation or insistence. I have seen how people have devoted a large part of their life and energy to trying to change their partner without obtaining results, and that my friend, is a sign that the relationship is, in fact, dysfunctional.

9. Control and jealousy

Many toxic relationships begin by subjecting one of the persons in controlling behaviors. There are many ways (subtle or explicit) to do it. Some examples would be:

  • Your partner decides what clothes you have to wear.
  • Your partner also decides on which friends you have to frequent.
  •  They control your social networks.
  • They ask you to send them your location (for Whatsapp) or photos of who you are with.
  • As a result of their jealousy,  they look at your mobile phone or read your messages without your knowing it.

If you allow your partner to violate your right to privacy, you are in a dysfunctional relationship (at least). Keep in mind that you should never allow anyone to decide about your own life!

How to get out of a dysfunctional relationship

Being trapped in a dysfunctional relationship will injure you and may cause you a state of depression and frustration from which it is very difficult to escape. For this reason, it is important to get out of these types of relationships as soon as we identify them. The faster you do it, the better for you.
If you do not know how to get out of this relationship, we will give you some advice to achieve it and overcome this situation that sometimes is not a problem of two, but one. 

10. Lose the fear

Let's face it: You will be the bad guy in the story, but, do not give more thought to the matter. When you break the heart of your partner, he/she will speak badly about you to all your friends, say you're a damn, a fucking bastard, a fool for leaving him/her just when "the relationship was improving" ...

It's not that I want to discourage you from making the decision to end your stormy, destructive and unhappy relationship. You know perfectly well that you have to do it for your own sake, so don't think about anyone else.

11. When and how

What you are about to say to your future ex isn't something you can just mention casually at any time. You have to choose the right moment and way to break up. 

The moment: it should not coincide with their birthday, Christmas, New Year, Valentine's Day, the anniversary of the relationship or with a bad occasion they have (such as the death of a loved one or being fired from work, etc).

The preface: You want to announce that you are going to say "something", but you do not want to use the typical "We have to talk". So you can choose: "I have made an important decision in our relationship" and if you do not want to wait and want to know what it is at that precise moment, simply say: "I have decided to end our relationship."

How to fix a dysfunctional relationship

Letting go of a relationship with someone can be extremely hard, and sometimes, impossible for us. If your relationship is actually dysfunctional, but you don't want to end it, there can be some ways you could fix it. Here we go: 

Talk about it and make sure you are both willing to change

You can change the orientation of your relationship. It is difficult, yes, but not impossible. If you want to bet on a future together you can put both hands to work to try to change habits. It is important that you both agree and commits to this change because, otherwise, all the effort will be in vain. You have to establish guidelines to understand and avoid abuse. Speak openly, sincerely and express yourself without arguing. And so on. But remember, the effort has to come from both of you always. 

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Now that you know everything there is to know about dysfunctional relationships, I am sure you will either never be in one, be able to identify one quickly or get out of yours in no time. There is seriously no better advice than this! Try it out in your relationship and see how your life gets better!