Have you ever felt like every relationship you’ve had has always been toxic? Do you feel like you’ve never met the “perfect person” for you because of your long history of failed relationships? Do you fall into a pattern of relationships that start beautifully then end up being poisonous every time, due to similar scenarios of infidelity, loss of intimacy, and verbal and physical abuse?
Now might be the time to ask yourself: what if you’re the toxic one? What if your irksome traits are the ones keeping you from finding true love?
If you worry that you’re actually the problem, you might want to go through some self-reflection and awareness. Recognizing your issues and their role in destroying even the happiest relationships (or the kindest, the most patient person in your life) is the first step toward fixing your future relationships.
Check out these 7 toxic things you might be doing to your partner and see how you can fix them.
1. It’s all about you, you, and you
Are your relationships centered on you? Are they revolving around fulfilling your wants and needs, solving your issues, and doing all the things that will benefit you? Do you always want to be put on a pedestal? Are you even aware of your partner’s wants and needs? Are you doing something to meet them?
Let’s get this straight: self-love is important, okay? But self-love is different from self-obsession.
2. You’re controlling and manipulative
There’s a fine line between being bossy and being controlling. The latter is about exerting your power over someone to the point that they’re discouraged from being themselves.
- You want it your way. Always. You see yourself as the “alpha” in your relationship.
- You constantly monitor or question your partner’s whereabouts and intentions.
- You say things like, “why do you have to see your friends tonight? I thought you’re gonna stay home” and “why are you wearing so much makeup? Are you planning to attract boys?”
- You want your partner to be who YOU want them to be, which may include deciding for their clothes and dictating what they should and should not do.
- You’re always jealous of people your partner is interacting with.
- You give them curfews and obligations to report what they did, who they talked to, and how much drinks they had.
- You threaten them to make them do what you want.
- You have the constant need to change your partner
3. You make your partner feel bad about themselves
Do you feel like you’ve intentionally or unintentionally humiliated your partner at some point? Do you constantly comment on how they look by saying “you look fat on that shirt” or “cut your hair”? Do you criticize their choice of friends, their family, their jobs, and other things that mean a lot to them?
4. You tend to “gaslight” your partner
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that makes a person question their own reality. It’s what most toxic relationships do. Gaslighters mask their manipulation by invalidating their partner’s feelings, making the person feel guilty and bad about themselves.
For example, a gaslighter might be cheating and their partner has an intuition. Instead of admitting, they’re going to say, “you’re crazy, why are you being paranoid?” passing on the blame and the guilt on their partner.
Even using “tears” and “self-pity” remarks when you’re on the losing end of an argument can be a form of manipulation. They are basically weaponized guilt.
5. You don’t give them privacy
Not that we’re judging you but if you know your partner’s social media passwords and you forced them to give them to you, you’re toxic. Do you insist on being super close and doing everything together, which takes away your partner’s time for themselves? Do you always call them out for the men or women who like their photos? Do you read their private messages secretly (or insist that they let you do it)? If so, then that’s a clear sign of toxic behavior.
Because if you do these things, you’re making your partner feel like they’re being watched, judged and scrutinized every second. If you have trust issues, you can resolve it more healthily, through better communication or couples counseling.
6. You resort to emotional and physical abuse during arguments
Couples in healthy relationships may disagree but they never resort to physical and emotional abuse during fights. Under no circumstances is it okay to hit and slap your partner, throw things at them, and call them cruel names – no matter how angry you are.
7. You make them feel like they’re walking on eggshells
Have you ever had a partner who said that you’re unpredictable and hard to deal with, and they never know who you’re going to be on a given day? Was your partner afraid of asking difficult questions or opening up about a controversial topic because you tend to use emotional outbursts?
If all these signs sound disturbingly familiar, it might be time to own that you might be part of the problem. Ask your close friends and family about their unbiased opinion on whether or not you are emotionally difficult. You can also seek professional help from counselors and therapists, who may trace why you act that way and recommend a few tips that work.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Relationship Room Couples Counseling, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. She may be hopeless romantic but she’s got some straightforward pieces of advice about love, dating, and relationships.