Having been in a very dysfunctional relationship myself for over four years, I have had a lot of time to analyze the warning signs. More often than not, you don’t even realize that you’re in a dysfunctional relationship until its too late and then getting out of it becomes much more difficult.
You are not in a dysfunctional relationship if you have disagreements and spats once in a while. Arguing is a normal part of a healthy and functioning relationship. Dysfunctional relationships are classified as lacking emotional support or even causing emotional trauma to one or both partners. A healthy relationship should add happiness to your life, not make you stressed.
And the reason you want to know if your relationship is dysfunctional is so you can remedy it or escape it ASAP. Staying in a dysfunctional relationship can not only cause self-esteem issues now, but those can be carried into future relationships as well.
Read on to find out the 7 deadly signs of a dysfunctional relationship.
#1 You never fight:
All healthy relationships require arguments. Everyone’s fighting style is different, but having conflict and confrontation is necessary for a successful relationship. This does not mean you have to yell and scream at your partner but communicating, and even the hard stuff is healthy. Without talking about tense subjects, a relationship becomes surface level and can grow angry and resentful.
When couples don’t talk they hold things in and can become passive aggressive with their anger rather than communicating their feelings. Without fighting or sharing the hard stuff, there is no compromise, no honesty, and a lot of buried animosity. When a relationship looks good from the outside, there is most likely something brewing deep down. Biting your tongue when something less than happy arises is one deadly sign of a dysfunctional relationship.
#2 You feel used:
This can be a hard sign to spot. We often think that in a relationship we should put our partner. First, it is just part of being in a relationship. That, however, is not true. Sure, doing things for your partner is nice, but only if it goes both ways. If you find you are cancelling plans for your partner, but they just see you when it is convenient, that relationship is one-sided.
You and your partner should be putting in equal amounts of effort in. You should be able to take time for yourself and feel good about doing things for your partner, not taken advantage of.
#3 There is no trust:
Without trust, your relationship is pure dysfunction. Trust is what makes relationships work. Think about your friendships. If you have a friend you don’t trust you don’t rely on them, you don’t share with them, you are polite and cordial, but without trust, it is not benefiting either one of you. If you can’t trust your partner or if your partner can’t trust you it is not working.
Sure, it could seem alright on the surface, but even without jealousy fueled fights, a lack of trust eats away at you. It burns down the right parts of the relationship and takes over. And whether there was never trust or if it has been broken, it is a hard thing to regain.
#4 You don’t want to be alone:
Not wanting to be single is one of the most common reasons people stay in a dysfunctional relationship, yet is one of the biggest signs of one. A relationship needs to be tended to; it needs to have a solid foundation to last on. But, if that foundation is a fear of being alone, the relationship is resting on fear, not joy or happiness.
Trust me, being single and happy is much better than being in a dysfunctional relationship. A dysfunctional relationship that you remain in out of fear eats away at your soul. You lose that sense of partnership and excitement and are surviving on something that is slowly decaying.
#5 You feel ashamed:
This is when I finally realised my former relationship was wildly dysfunctional. Instead of feeling happy and refreshed after seeing my boyfriend, I felt like utter crap. I felt bad about myself. A relationship should leave you feeling good. It should leave you with a smile and comfort, not a lack of confidence.
I would drive home from seeing my boyfriend and feel ashamed of how I was behaving. I let him walk all over me – like a doormat. While with him that was foggy though. I wore rose-coloured glasses around him. I ignored the bad stuff and only saw the good. But, every time we were apart I felt more and more ashamed. Once I was able to realise that I was closer to working up the nerve to stand my ground.
#6 You’re being manipulated:
It can be hard to catch on when you’re being manipulated. That is the whole point. When someone manipulates you, they do it in such a way that you don’t even realise you are being duped. For me, when I questioned my ex about other girls based on proof, he would flip it around on me. He would accuse me of not trusting him, and I would end up apologizing for something he did. And I didn’t even see it until the relationship was over.
This is master manipulation. When you know, you did nothing wrong but are moulded into feeling guilty about it, and the relationship is far into the dysfunctional spectrum. At this point, it probably happens so often you are used to the pattern. But try to spot it. That is the only way you can successfully put an end to it.
#7 You’re unhappy:
I am sorry to have to tell you this, but unhappiness is a sign of a dysfunctional relationship. Sure, we all have ruts and moments where our relationships make us want to pull our hair out. But, if those moments outweigh the good ones, it is not doing you any favours.
Your relationship should add to your life, not take away from it. If your relationship is adding negativity into your life, it is dysfunctional. It is affecting your life in the wrong way. If you are unsure about this, ask a friend or whoever you’re closest to. Ask them if when talking about your relationship or your partner if you complain more than you praise. Right there is your answer.
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