Types of Unhealthy Relationships – Are we in one or do we deny it?

by Pooja Mukherjee
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Loving is hard. Like we are not given a lesson into how to love, yet people expect us to dedicate ourselves to someone else and value their love in return. Like we never know what to do with relationships in the first place, other than the immense attraction we feel when we look at someone. 

However, our first loves and numerous heartbreaks eventually teach us what we need in a relationship and what we can offer. And sometimes, what we can offer is a toxic environment that sprouts from wild arguments, controlling behavior, suffocation and resentment. All these contribute to signs of unhealthy relationships

“A healthy relationship doesn’t drag you down. It inspires you to be better. “ – Anonymous

Nothing can be more detrimental for your mental and physical health than staying in a kind of unhealthy relationship of any sort. Sometimes we are the problem without even realizing it. At times, we overlook our partner’s toxic relationship patterns and normalize them to just keep it going. 

Why do we deny our presence in a toxic relationship? The fear of acceptance often creates a bubble around us which prohibits us from taking the first step in the right direction. Are you in a relationship that seems distraught? Let us start with the basics by diving into the kinds of unhealthy relationships. 

1. Abusive Relationships

Some relationships just drain you out both physically and mentally. And often, we fail to notice the signs of abusive relationships or simply, ignore them. Getting demeaned by your partner or not valuing your partner are some subtle signs, but the bigger ones revolve around mental harassment and emotional abuse.

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While domestic abuse is a major problem in most abusive relationships, the psychological acceptance of our situation which we develop over time is dangerous. Abusive relationships often result in ill-health, frustration, low self-confidence and an overall feeling of failure.

2. Controlling Relationships

This is a form of abusive relationships that often revolves around emotional blackmail and a sense of domination and submission between partners. Your partner will make you feel inferior to them and would try to control the various aspects of your life like friendships, career choices, lifestyle, and even your purpose in life. 

This type of unhealthy relationship is controlled by an enabler, a person who will enable you to do things that you wouldn’t have done without their influence. Enablers are driven by the aim to own or possess an individual, enslaving them to derive a feeling of superiority. 

Now you might find this cute during the first six months of your new relationship, but with it, it turns into something suffocating.

3. Relationship of toxic passion

While new love can take you to heights, it can also show you the depths of hell. Your partner may feel like the best thing that happened to you, and the arguments may seem cute at first, but with time, they eventually pile up. 

Actions that happen as an act of passion are often overlooked as love. But we refuse to understand the toxic environment we live in. Insecurity, obsession, unreasonable jealousy, spying, arguments over petty issues, and no form of valuable communication are all signs of toxic relationships.

According to Dr. Berit Brogaard at Psychology Today, it is important to find the perfect balance between dependency and independence in a relationship. She believes that while being too dependent on your partner would affect your personal growth tremendously, aloofness or independence from the relationship can result in a form of disengagement. 

While being obsessive over your partner is harmful, not valuing your partner in your life can be equally detrimental if you want your passionate love to be a long-lasting relationship. 

4. Dishonest Relationships

Once a cheater, always a cheater. Well, it is not completely true. Studies suggest that the act of cheating doesn’t harm a relationship that much as dishonesty does. A relationship which has infidelity at its roots should be avoided; if your partner supposedly “fell in love” with you while staying with someone already, this is a huge red flag. 

“Healthy relationships of all kinds are usually composed of honesty, trust, and respect.” – Ace McCloud

This should give you an idea of what’s to come and what to avoid. Infidelity issues create huge trust problems in relationships, which cannot be mended, because being dishonest is a personality trait for many and it cannot be changed so easily. We are often blinded with love which makes us put the third person guilty rather than our partner. Identifying relationship patterns early can be a huge boon for many.

5. The “Open” Relationship

Now there’s no doubt that this is an up and coming modern relationship which is mostly for experimental situations or exploration for love. While understanding and communication do result in successful open relationships, a no strings attached approach could rob us of true feelings and lifetime love. 

Being extensively liberating towards your partner or having a carefree attitude can result in confusing emotions and misjudgment of situations. You may actually fall in love with the person you vowed to never fall for, and it may develop anxious thoughts and spontaneous decisions. 

Open relationships are not healthy for the sole fact of the lack of emotions. No respect grows towards your partner, because you don’t even know if they are your partner in the first place! Jealousy will surely creep in and would destroy the lover’s paradise once and for all.

6. Resentful Relationships

Arguments are both normal and necessary in every healthy relationship. Not arguing would seem like a lack of effort and communication, but too much arguing may create a toxic environment especially if you don’t solve the issues.

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Not talking about your problems and giving the silent treatment to your partner is extremely harmful as it develops a feeling of resentment and disgust between partners. We no longer respect our partner due to difference of opinions and slowly start hating them for the simplest of actions. It will eventually lead to a separation or suffocating environment.

7. The Critical Relationship

We know that our partners always want the best for us. But how much criticism can we actually take? While constructive criticism is always welcome and should be accepted to understand your partner’s point of view, too much of it can make you feel weary of them and you might avoid talking to them about important topics altogether.

Sharing and communication would eventually go down, because we get so fed up of constant questioning of our every action and decision. Such unhealthy relationships often take over our life choices, dreams, desires and friendships, leaving us feeling hollow as we lose our essence of individuality.

8. Sluggish Relationship

Now, a relationship being boring is a common sign of a healthy, long-term relationship as well, but you should be able to identify the difference between comfortable silence and stagnancy while you are with your partner.

People in successful long-term relationships do communicate with each other, but at their own comfort and individual way, but if a relationship, especially a new one, is carried around in silence and no form of chemistry, then it is a waste of time. Being uninterested in conversation or lack of options which you both can enjoy together is a huge sign of an unhealthy relationship. Every relationship takes effort and dedication to be built into something worthwhile and beautiful and a lethargic relationship won’t be able to let you evolve in love.

Unhealthy relationships don’t start out unhealthy, but gradually show signs of toxicity over time. It drains you out and affects your mental and physical health while alienating you from your loved ones. 

The first step towards breaking off any unhealthy relationship is taking time apart. Try to understand the situation and what your next steps should be. Talk to people, share your dilemma. Confine in your friends and let them help. Find your purpose in life and try to work towards it and most importantly, stay positive. Till next time.

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