Relationships can be a source of unconditional love and support. However, if a relationship causes you to feel anxious, stressed or demeaned, these are warning signs it is not fulfilling your needs. Healthy relationships rest upon a foundation of mutual understanding, trust and respect. They bring out the best in you and allow you to reveal your real, authentic self. Here are some examples of unhealthy relationship patterns to avoid.
When one person in a relationship is excessively emotionally reliant on others, mental health professionals call it a codependency. These one-sided, unhealthy relationships often occur when a spouse or family member is struggling with a physical or mental illness or a disease such as addiction. Codependent people tend to have low self-esteem and a fear of abandonment. Because of this, they look for ways to feel loved and needed by assuming a caretaker role. While a codependency may begin with someone’s genuine desire to be supportive, their extreme desire for approval can become a compulsion.
Relationship abuse can take many forms, from physical to emotional and even financial.
- If your partner repeatedly insults you by calling you names or trying to embarrass you in front of others, that is a form of verbal abuse.
- Someone who repeatedly lies to you or plays mind games is being manipulative, which is another red flag of abuse.
- A spouse who threatens to harm you, your children or your pets is also being abusive and controlling.
- Sexual abuse can include any form of intimacy that takes place without your consent.
- If your spouse makes more money than you do and uses that to control you, they are being financially abusive.
- Cyber abuse may involve one partner sharing intimate photos of the other online as a form of punishment for past behaviors.
Enmeshment is a type of dysfunctional, unhealthy relationship that occurs when personal boundaries are nonexistent or poorly defined. While close relationships can be healthy, enmeshment is more than two people being joined at the hip. Enmeshment becomes a problem when you begin to lose your sense of identity and emotional independence. People in enmeshed relationships may not feel as if they can function autonomously or make independent decisions. If you and your partner or family do not allow each other any personal time and space, you may be in an enmeshed relationship.
When to Seek Help for an Unhealthy Relationship
If you are questioning any characteristic of your current relationship with a partner or family member, you need to proactively take a step back and evaluate what’s going on. Any relationship that has characteristics of toxicity or that represents a significant source of conflict or stress in your life will inevitably become problematic. Reflect on what you want from the relationship and what must change to make that goal a reality – including distancing yourself from the other person. If you are experiencing any form of abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE.
If your unhealthy relationship patterns include substance abuse, please contact us at Canyon Crossing today. We provide women’s-only transitional living, outpatient treatment and mental health therapy in Prescott, Arizona.