Friendship is a marvellous thing that we all love and need. But sometimes, we may be lured by new friends, co-workers, family members and even partners, into relationships that make us feel uncomfortable, drained, uneasy, suffocated or used.
If you have any of these feelings or all of the above, when meeting up or just talking on the phone with someone, you can be sure you are in a toxic relationship.
Unhealthy relationships begin the same way as any other connection, with you and the other person putting on your best behaviour to make a positive impression. But slowly things start to change and you may not even realize it until it’s too late.
Before starting to check the signs of an unhealthy relationship don’t forget some important considerations.
First of all, no relationship is perfect, the idea of eternal happiness is childish, you will, like every single mortal, go through difficult moments in life, but never lose your peace of mind or your balance. And during any crisis, you both have to be supportive of each other.
The second vital fact to face in a relationship is that it takes two to tango, that means if your partner is putting you down maybe you have to ask yourself if you are allowing him to do so. Check your self-esteem, learn to say NO because it’s good for you. In most of the toxic relationships, the two people involved have a share of responsibility, the perpetrator needs a victim. And vice versa.
So here is the checklist.
Beware of people who only want to talk about themselves. As soon as you try to start talking, the person you’ve met interrupts you to bring the conversation back to her own point of view or story, not showing any interest in what you have to say.
A person who only calls you when she needs your help, your advice or just a sympathetic ear to listen to all her troubles and sorrows, but as soon as things are okay, disappears leaving you with the feeling of having been taken advantage of.
A person that always plans when and where to meet, without considering before if those plans would suit you, for example, if the place is too far for you or the type of movie or show she chose will interest you or not.
A friend or co-worker who needs your attention or help all the time, disregarding completely the fact that you may be busy working or tired, and just ignoring that you need space for your personal life too.
When your relationship turns into a competition, with someone constantly keeping score of all the good things she did for you and comparing it to your score of good deeds and faults to show you she's more committed to you than you to her.
Someone who highlights only your weaknesses or the things that she doesn’t like about you, pushing you down and lowering your self-esteem and confidence by making you feel that no matter what you do, it will never be good enough.
So, early on in a relationship, be it at work, with your friends, family or in your love life, if you see any of these red flags, do not ignore them, trust your gut feelings and run!
But if you can’t run away, at least, set your boundaries and do not feel guilty to enforce them. It is only when you are in a “better place” that you can grow into a better co-worker, friend or partner.