7 Unhealthy Behaviors that Kill Relationships


People have a tendency to change with time. And not always those changes are for the better. When we meet a new person, we want to show our best qualities. We stick to this plan until we feel that person likes and wants to be with us. After that, we start to gradually reveal our true natures. Often, we take our friends or partners for granted knowing that they are easily manipulated and will forgive us everything. We also can become too controlling treating our close people as if they’re our possessions. It often goes unnoticeable for us. We behave in a toxic way towards our partners without even realizing it. Or vice versa: you may feel emotionally uncomfortable, sad, devastated because of the unhealthy climate in your relationship created by your partner.

passive aggressive behaviors in relationships

The most striking thing about toxic behaviors in relationships is that the injured party doesn’t or doesn’t want to realize that they are suffering because of their abusive partner. This is usually typical of people emotionally dependent on their partners, which is toxic too. So, basically, there are two types of unhealthy relationships: controlling and dependent. Apart from these, there are different toxic behaviors that deteriorate relationships. They are not so obvious, but the harm they do is immense.

In order to help you analyze your relationship, we offer you the most common types of unhealthy behaviors. If you happen to notice some similarities, take them as red-flags and the reasons to reconsider your relationship.

1. Controlling behaviors in relationships

Any person can start behaving in a controlling or manipulative way. This is often typical of children who use manipulation to influence their parents. Within a couple, it can be a controlling man or a controlling woman. A simple example is when a woman reluctantly allows her man to meet with his friends and then calls him every 30 minutes. Or when a man tells his woman what she should and shouldn’t wear, what haircut she should have, etc. A controlling partner doesn’t become one overnight. Their attitude develops gradually. First, they act in a protective way, and it’s quite easy to confuse this kind of behavior with strong care. Soon, they begin to criticize the other partner, even insult. Finally, it ends up with putting the other partner down. The abused partner is constantly in the state of stress and fear, which eats away their confidence and self-esteem. Usually, controlling partners use only emotional abuse, but for some, it later grows into physical violence.

Even if abused partners realize that they are in a controlling relationship, they don’t end it immediately. Since their self-esteem is undermined or even totally ruined, they think that this is what they deserve. Also, they may be afraid to initiate a breakup due to the threat of revenge.

Signs of a controlling relationship:

  • Your partner never supports you or encourages.
  • Your other half constantly tries to change you (your tastes in music, gastronomical tastes, style, behavior, etc.)
  • Excessive attention and interest which stems from not having their own life.
  • Your partner elicited some information about your past and now often holds it against you.
  • You are isolated from your family, friends, social gatherings, etc.
  • Your partner is groundlessly jealous and paranoid.
  • You argue almost on a daily basis due to their jealousy and obsession.

What can you do if you notice the above signs? First of all, don’t let your partner control you. If your partner forbids you to do something, ask them why. It will help you understand the reason behind this overprotectiveness. Second, show that you know your own worth, and won’t let anyone belittle you. Do your best to establish trust in your relationship. It will prevent your partner from false suspicions and give them more confidence in you. Sometimes, your partner may control you unintentionally, so you should have a frank talk to make everything clear. But if it’s their usual pattern of behavior, you should think about the future of your relationship.

2. Passive aggressive behaviors in relationships

Condescension is one of the manifestations of passive aggression. Condescending behavior in a relationship is one of the tools for the unconfident partner to boost their self-esteem. It’s a very insidious behavior: one partner addresses some insulting things to the other partner but does it with a friendly tone of voice, as if accidentally or by-the-way. It shouldn’t necessarily be a verbal aggression. An ironical smile or a roll of the eyes also count as a demeaning behavior in a relationship.

behaviors that ruin relationships​Signs of passive aggression:

  • Saying “yes” instead of “no” and then showing that was “no” with your attitude to your partner.
  • Appearing nice and friendly, but being envious, angry, or resentful inside.
  • Being afraid to communicate openly because of fear of being misunderstood or rejected, thus choosing some covert attacks occasionally.
  • Confusing others with your vague answers.
  • Trying to cover up your feeling of being under-appreciated with passive hostility and superiority.

If you are the passive-aggressive partner, you should analyze your problem and find out possible ways out. Maybe, it’s time to gather your courage and get your feelings off your chest to let your partner know what worries you. Pretending that everything is okay, you’ll only make things worse for you and your partner.

If you want to know how to deal with a passive-aggressive partner, the main thing you should know is that they are often unaware of what they do. That’s why they may get offended when you bring it up. Don’t be passively aggressive in return. Try to understand your faults and change for the better.

3. Alcoholic behaviors in relationships

Alcoholism is one of the most frequent causes of divorce. It’s like a roller-coaster to live with an alcohol abuser. Their pernicious habit is turning your relationship into a disaster constantly. An extremely toxic relationship is between an alcoholic man and a codependent woman. The woman in this pairing suffers a lot but can’t put an end to this relationship because of her emotional dependency and fear of not meeting anyone better. The relationship involving an alcoholic partner is often connected to psychological or physical abuse. Alcohol abusers are usually egoistic and impatient. They get angry if someone tries to criticize their lifestyle.

The behavior of an alcoholic in a relationship is often tolerated by his codependent wife. She realizes that he is poisoning her life, but she stays with him making herself addicted to this pattern of relationships. The trickiest part about alcoholic partners is that they try to conceal their inclinations at the initial stages of a relationship.

Here are drinking behaviors that affect both partners:

  • Verbal and physical insults.
  • Neglect.
  • Saying hurtful things and not remembering them next day.
  • Drunk cheating.
  • Possible drunk crimes.

If you point out this problem to your drinking partner, and they don’t make any effort to change, a reasonable decision will be to end this relationship.

4. Self sabotaging behaviors in relationships

Another unhealthy behavior that may ruin a relationship is self-sabotaging. It’s when you think you are unworthy of your partner and this relationship. First, you may feel quite confident and happy, but then an obsessive thought that this is going nowhere or that you don’t deserve all this suddenly pops in your head and you start acting weirdly deteriorating your relationship. Here are some examples of self-sabotaging behavior:

  • You keep track of how much each of you does for your relationship. You record how much time your partner spends away from you, what’s your share in your common budget, how much housework you do, etc. You hold these trivial things against your partner, which results in arguments.
  • You’re busy with anything, except your relationship. You prioritize your career because this is your way to avoid commitment in a relationship. But your partner doesn’t understand why you suddenly stopped giving enough time to the relationship.
  • You are overly needy. You totally rely on your partner without showing any initiative. Your social circle is limited to your partner.
  • You become uncontrollably jealous. Your jealousness pushes you to the controlling relationship behavior. Jealousy is a sign of a lack of trust and confidence, and it’s never healthy.

controlling behaviors relationshipsHow to eliminate this toxic behavior? Probably, your tendency to self-sabotage stems from your previous relationships and low self-esteem. You need to realize what you want and learn to love yourself.

5. Addictive behaviors in relationships

A healthy relationship is a partnership based on true love. If your love resembles a blind addiction to your partner, it’s unhealthy. An addicted partner views their significant other not as a partner but as the meaning of their life. The addiction is based on a strong emotional attachment. The thought that he/she is in a relationship makes a love addict feel worthy and validated. They are focused on their significant other, and it almost borders on worship. Usually, the other partner makes use of this addiction – they begin to treat their “worshipers” with condescension.

Addiction and condescension are those behaviors that ruin relationships. While the former often goes unnoticeable for the addicted partner, the latter is the consciously chosen pattern of behavior. Even if an addict realizes that the other partner doesn’t treat them well, they can’t do anything because they are blindly attached.

6. Disrespectful relationship behavior

This is one of the most destructive behaviors in relationships. Love and respect are two cornerstones of a healthy relationship between a man and a woman. People want to feel support and encouragement being in a relationship. They want to feel their importance. The most important condition is that respect should be mutual. If your partner doesn’t respect you, your relationship is doomed. Here are some signs of disrespect you should take into consideration:

  • Not regarding each other’s personal space and freedom
  • Manipulation
  • Not believing in other partner’s abilities and talents
  • Lack of attention
  • Not asking for your partner’s opinion
  • Cracking insulting jokes

Each of these signs is an example of unacceptable behavior in a relationship.

7. Dishonesty and distrust

If lying becomes your second nature when talking with your partner, it’s a red flag. Especially if you lie even the truth is not punishable. For example, you came from work later than usual because you met with your old friend after work. Since your partner is a quite suspicious person, you decided to say you had much work in the office. Suspicion is a toxic feeling, and it often breeds dishonesty on the other side.

Hope your relationship is free from the above signs. But if you spot some toxic patterns in yours or your partner’s behavior, do your best to neutralize them.

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