“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.” ~Hubert H. Humphrey
As I walked into that little room with the couch, I felt so alone, so wrong, so broken.
Upon realizing that I hadn’t been approaching the relationships in my life in a healthy way, I sought help through counseling.
Counseling has helped me to identify and strengthen the healthy relationships in my life, and to improve or let go of the unhealthy ones. As an adult, I’ve had to learn the red flags to watch for. I’ve learned the indicators of toxic relationships that most people learn from such a young age that the knowledge is instinctual.
I’ve also learned that I’m not alone. I’m not a freak. There are other people who have had the same struggles I have, and just like I can stand to learn from people who have been there, there are people out there who can learn about the hallmarks of unhealthy relationships from me.
1. Arguments are Never Addressed
If an important person in your life starts arguments and then never acknowledges again that the argument happened, this is not normal, and it is not okay.
In a healthy friendship or relationship, people discuss and resolve major arguments. Acting like it never happened doesn’t work in the long run.
2. Compromise is Non-Existent
Relationships require compromise. Two people will never agree on absolutely everything all the time! I used to date a man who somehow always made it seem fair for me to clean the kitchen and wash the dishes.
If I made dinner, I should clean up since I made the mess. If he made dinner, I should clean up. (Making dinner had worn him out). Somehow, it always made sense and I never questioned it until long after the relationship had ended.
The very definition of compromise is “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions.” To make a compromise work, both parties have to lose a little. If only one person is losing all the time, evaluate the relationship.
I’ve actually been a “jealous friend,” feeling left out when my friends had fun experiences with other friends and didn’t invite me. I lost a couple of friends over this unreasonable jealousy; and learned through counseling that this was not “normal” behavior.
If one person in a relationship is constantly feeling jealous or angry when their friend or SO, or family member spends time with other people, there could be deeper issues that need to be resolved. This type of issue shouldn’t be ignored.
Realizing that an important relationship in your life may not be healthy is scary. This is a life-changing issue, and once you’ve identified it, you should begin work to resolve it.
If you find yourself in a relationship where huge arguments are not addressed, there is no such thing as a compromise, or one person in the relationship (yourself or the other person) is constantly feeling jealous, consider contacting a counselor, or a trusted friend.
An expert can help you understand the issues you are facing, address them head-on and advise on how to move forward with the relationship.
Unhealthy relationships can impact every aspect of your life. Don’t ignore it. Find a way to repair the damaged relationship, or to move on with your life without this person in it.