All relationships have the potential to be hazardous, abusive, and destructive. The destruction begins gradually and at times it will not end until long after the relationship itself has ended. It just depends on how long we allow the destruction to occur before stepping up to the board and balancing out the equation.
Just as in mathematical equations that become difficult; we should simplify difficult relationships in our lives too. Simplifying can mean counseling, creating a positive change in the relationship, eliminating irritants, or in some cases simply leaving the relationship and moving forward.
Destructive relationships can be hard to spot initially. Over time the signs become more obvious, especially as we begin to see what was once a bright flower wither and fade away. Once we see the first sign of a destructive relationship, the others signs and symptoms arrive shortly after. Or so it seems.
Signs of a Destructive Relationship:
Non-trustworthy partners seem to be a dime a dozen these days. The breaking of trust is the beginning of a destructive relationship. Once trust is broken; it is time to break out the hard hats. The wrecking crew has arrived.
If two people can not trust one another the relationship officially becomes classified as a destructive relationship. The person that can’t trust suffers, and as a result the person that can’t be trusted does too. This is not healthy for either party.
Recovery from broken trust is possible if correction occurs, and it is sincere and genuine. This typically means that there will not be repeat offenses. If there are repeat offenses there may be a bigger problem. There could be a compulsive liar in the picture. If so, there are ways to break the liar down. Once you break them down and all truth becomes visible, options can be weighed out and recovery is absolutely possible. Until then, brace yourself for the other phases of a destructive relationship.
Internal Damage leaves us holding on to things that leave us felling lost, hopeless, sad, or broken. These feelings can be overwhelming and cause panic attacks, anxiety attacks, depressions, and sometimes paranoia. Internal damage can make true forgiveness seem impossible.
External Damage is when one will begin to notice things around them breaking. Whether on purpose or by accident; everything begins to break down internally and externally. This typically happens after a few incidents have occurred that created internal damage or conflict.
Withdrawn from normal activities is a symptom of a destructive relationship. One may withdraw from friends, family, and activities. They will isolate themselves with their partner and display signs of social avoidance. This needs attention particularly if the withdrawing from others is not for legitimate reasons. Sometimes, people grow up and apart. It doesn’t necessarily mean one is withdrawn.
Excessive Weight gain or loss is another sign that someone is in a destructive relationship. Sometimes people who are suffering emotionally will eat or starve their way to feeling in control of something. Food becomes a replacement for those gaining weight. For those in a destructive relationship that are losing weight, I have found that they starve themselves strictly to feel in control of something in their life since other areas are lacking self-control.
Control is a common characteristic seen in one or both parties involved in destructive relationships. Controlling people have the same patterns across the board, and they will often come off as very well liked socially. If they tell you where to go, what to do, who to talk to, what to wear, or how to act; they may just have control issues. If both parties are insecure and have controls issue, there could be a few Doomsday’s ahead.
Psychological Abuse occurs when one belittles another’s achievements or lack there of. Psychological abuse can be any type of mind game; from name calling to threats of suicide. One may also manipulate their partner into forgiving or at least trying to. Someone who is psychologically abusing their partner may also threaten suicide when their partner decides to leave them. If the person being abused speaks of suicide, their words ought not be taken lightly.
Psychological abuse can be any of the following phrases (to name a few):
I said NO! You can’t wear that! Nobody cares what you think! Nobody cares about you! You don’t matter! Who are you talking to? Who’s calling here? You can’t talk to “them” ! This is MY house! I pay the bills! You are LAZY! You are worthless! Get out! I don’t need you! I never loved you! You are ugly! You are fat! I hate you!
These words can be devastating, and often lead to violence. If you are in a violent relationship leave immediately. There are shelters across the country that house men, women, and children in violent situations who are looking for relief.
Violence is not healthy in any relationship. Violence can be hitting, throwing, smacking, cornering, or intimidating another person. Violence often follows psychological abuse.
Depression is usually the last phase before one begins to receive a reality check as to where their relationship has been; where it is, and the direction it is heading. Depression can be life threatening and one suffering from depression should seek help from a certified medical professional. There are some self-help techniques for depression, and ways to fight depression. However, talking to a counselor is always a good idea. It is nice to have an outsider help us reduce difficult equations.
When things become broken inwardly and outwardly in any relationship; getting out is the only way to avoid having only bits and pieces yourself left. Repairs are much easier when something is only partially broke, than when no longer running at all.
© Angela Bininger and The Empowerers, 2009-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this websites author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.