It is time to do some spring cleaning of the relationships with the people who make up your circle of friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues. There is probably at least one toxic person in the above group list that undermines your confidence, betrays your trust and spreads negativity. Yuck! You know you need to get rid of that person or at least avoid them as much as possible but…what if it turns out to be you!
Sometimes you need to take a step back and evaluate what kind of friend, spouse, parent, child or co-worker you are. I know from experience how easy it is to slide into a pattern with certain relationships. Especially with a spouse. If you find yourself constantly having the same arguments, and feelings of frustration, it is time to take a hard look at your roll in your relationships and stop the harmful habits that sabotage a peaceful and loving environment with those around you.
5 Toxic Habits Ruining Your Relationships
1. Dwelling and/or constantly bringing up the past.
This is right up there with the blame game. Someone’s gone and done you wrong. And you just can’t let them forget it. Whether you actual say the words out loud or let them simmer in your head, holding on to the mistakes someone has made in the past does not foster a way for the relationship to move forward and beyond the problems from the past. You have to give people the chance to change their ways and create new realities.
If you can’t move past whatever happened, you need to work on it till you do or move on without that person in your life. Dwelling on past issues is bad for the perpetrator and for you. Work on it together or individually in therapy. Because if you don’t move past it, even when the relationship is permanently severed, you will still allow those thoughts to stink up your mind and infect future relationships.
2. Not resolving issues.
And why do you have trouble resolving issues? Because you are stuck in #1, the blame game. Until you figure out that is is more important to solve an issue than to point fingers at who’s fault it was, your relationship will never be one that has mutual respect and understanding. A relationship needs successful conflict resolution to move forward and grow together.
Not learning how to resolve issues dooms the relationship to repeat disagreements in perpetuity. And believe me, been there, done that, wore the t-shirt out. There is nothing more unsatisfying that going round and round and having the same discussions over and over again.
For me, this pattern of repeat was a sign that my first husband was not for me and we eventually divorced. We were so far apart on important issues that there wasn’t anyway to compromise or resolve the differences.
If you are feeling like Groundhog Day in your relationship, maybe you should step back and evaluate whether or not a mutually agreeable solution could ever be found. Maybe the relationship needs to be resolved, not the issues.
3. Settling on or agreeing to things you don’t want to.
For many years, in my first marriage, I thought I was resolving issues(#2), but in reality, I was not. I was merely ignoring how I felt and what I wanted for the sake of not creating arguments.
I thought I was a fantastic problem solver. I wasn’t. I allowed my husband to win every argument and make major decisions for us. Yes, I know, you’re thinking I’m making that up cause that doesn’t sound like me.
So how did that turn out? Even though we outwardly had a peaceful home, inside I was simmering with resentment and bitterness. That was great for our sex life, NOT.
If you find yourself continually giving in and not being true to yourself, you may start to harbour ill feelings on the inside that will eventually be more harmful than all the issues you gave in to outwardly. It’s not worth it my friend. It will kill your soul and your relationship.
4. Recruiting a cheer team.
It’s nice to have people on your side right? Sure it is. But what if you go out of your way to tell people only your side of a story and then use your friendship as leverage to garner support for your own thoughts or actions? Not so much.
Hear me out. I’m not talking about going out with girlfriends and having a friendly husband/boyfriend/partner bashing session. Oh no he didn’t! We all do that. And as long as it is all done as a steam release exercise, it’s all good.
But when you start to make family and friends pick sides or worse, take up the gauntlet for you, you are entering dangerous ground. There is nothing worse than making your partner feel alone and isolated. They will either totally retreat or come out of the corner swinging. Either way, not going to be good for the relationship.
5. Not taking any responsibility.
Come on now. Even in situations where you are totally innocent, you can find a small sliver of responsibility. Either for how things progressed or how they were left unsolved. I’ve never seen a situation where both parties couldn’t be responsible for at least one little thing. No matter what the infraction was.
And sometimes that little, tiny admission can move mountains and close the divide between 2 people.
Be the bigger person. Be the beginning of healing and growing, together.
Relationships are hard work. Especially when either your upbringing or years of ingrained patterns are dictating your thoughts or actions. Recognize your toxicity to any relationship and make a conscious decision to change. Your life, and your relationships with family and your friends will grow and become more fulfilling than you ever thought possible.