In a healthy relationship between two people—whether it be romantic, platonic, or within family—we must be prepared to give and receive unconditional love. Healthy relationships thrive on the ability to trust and respect one another. However, relationships that lack the willingness to reciprocate ethical decisions can become stained. Healthy living is possible when two people in a relationship both equally practice habits that benefit both sides.
Relationships turn toxic due to issues like the lack of communication, emotional/physical abuse, and the condescending need to be right.
Communication in relationships should happen in a various number of ways, all of which are pivotal factors of a successful relationship. When problems arise for one person in a relationship, they must be communicated to the other person. One hundred mental health professionals were surveyed in a poll sent out by YourTango.com about the most common relationship flaws that lead to split ups. Communication problems, in general, are the most common factor that leads to divorce (65%) and the couples’ inability to settle conflicts (43%) was the second most common.
When breaking down poor communication, the leading component is in the language that we use. Directive language, such as “you should…” or “you need to fix…” emits a negative, controlling impression. If a conflict must be resolved, both parties must respond respectfully without assumptions that only the other person is the problem. Friends who judge the other without considering their own flaws do not contribute to the reparation of a negative situation, rather, they pass the issues off to the person they are communicating with, leaving it up to one person to make repairs while it should be a cooperation of both sides.
The effects of this can be misunderstanding, blame, and guilt. Successful communication can happen as a result of immediately going to the other individual with optimistic solutions when they are needed.
It is known that only 33% of teenagers in situations of partner violence ever report cases of abuse. Manipulation of an individual in a relationship comes from narcissism, greed, and the desire to control another person. This action is often made out of selfishness and a “you belong to me” attitude rather than “we are both in this together.” This unhealthy habit can be observed in relationships where one person invalidates another’s feelings by trivializing that person’s problems.
In relationships, one must offer the people they love emotional support rather than dismissing their experiences. When someone makes your situation seem unimportant, you could end up with guilt and self-doubt for even sharing your story. One can feel belittlement because, to them, whatever happened wasn’t worth being upset about. Your feelings are not up to anyone else to decide.
Manipulation can occur when an individual takes advantage of another person to control what what person does. In family relationships, parents can often manipulate children with threats of consequences that will be faced if a rule is not followed. An example of this form of manipulation may be “If you don’t come home before 10PM tonight, your phone and car keys will be taken away.” Manipulation is also seen when someone targets another person’s weaknesses for their own satisfaction. When someone you love knows every detail about you, they have the ability to make you feel ashamed for your flaws and mistakes.
Manipulation is a form of control; control prompts fear. We should not be fearful of another person while making actions that we have the right to do and no one should hold so much power over another person in a relationship that should be nothing but equal for both sides. A person who comes out of a manipulative relationship may be emotionally weakened or damaged and constantly feel invalidated.
Often in arguments, both sides try to make points to prove that they are right. However, in some cases, the idea that someone must be right and the other wrong is unhealthy, and it is more appropriate to try to reach a consensus, where two conclusions are morphed together to become one.
In arguments between two stubborn individuals, both would blame the other, therefore the argument is only occurring out of selfishness and anger. Conflicts between mature people often end in favor of both people. The inability to acknowledge when one is in the wrong is a flaw that will harm the way the two people communicate in a relationship. Condescending behavior hurts the people who bear the brunt of one’s stubbornness and selfish language.
This behavior leads competition into a relationship, where both people try to one-up each other rather than support each other’s success. Relationships are about connection, which is difficult to acquire if only one person gets a say in the decisions that should be made by both people. If competition is the backbone of a relationship, it will lack feelings like gratitude for the simple actions that go unrewarded and trust that the other person will always support you.
When broken down, each issue that affects a relationship is formed by selfishness. The lack of communication can be caused by selfishness when someone chooses not to convey a problem to a person they have a relationship with. This makes the issue ongoing and hurts both people. Abuse in a relationship often comes from a person who demands power and harms someone who loves them for the benefit of their own evil satisfaction. The inability to accept one’s own mistakes stems from insecurity. To get rid of this sense of insecurity, one would proceed an argument with “you are wrong” statements rather than “what do we both need to fix?”
Because of this selfishness, conflicts are often never solved correctly or completely. These relationships will end up with power to one person, which leaves someone else out of the equation, resulting in a biased, uneven toxic relationship. The bad habits that we contribute to our relationship with a person we love will poorly impact the dynamic of said relationship, and it is up to us, as individuals, to recognize our flaws and resolve them so that we may thrive in relationships meant for expressing love and love only.
Bilow, Rochelle. “Want Your Marriage To Last?” YourTango, © 2017 By Tango Media Corporation, 18 Nov. 2013, http://www.yourtango.com/experts/rochelle-bilow/want-your-marriage-last.
“Dating Abuse Statistics.” Loveisrespect.org, © 2017 – National Domestic Violence Hotline, http://www.loveisrespect.org/resources/dating-violence-statistics/.
Featured Photo, Artist: Sara Wong