Toxic Relationship Patterns
Hidden! Yes, HIDDEN toxic relationship patterns. There are toxic patterns that people don’t see, or it’s hard for them to see when you point it out. With toxic people in your life, you have to get a little distance with putting up a boundary or leaving if they’re really toxic.
You can make a change in the toxic relationship patterns yourself. That way things will improve, you don’t have to change or put distance for the other person you can make a change, which will bring you closer to that person because the toxic pattern is in the way.
There are at least three categories. We’ll talk about one per week. Let’s talk about the obvious. The obvious one is the screaming, the yelling, the swearing, and the name-calling. Most people- even if they can’t control that, they know that’s not the best way. They may need help overcoming it.
If someone does that in your life, you have to put up a boundary. Let them know this is not going to work for you, and you’re not going to listen to them. Or if you do it yourself and you can’t stop, you can’t control yourself; then you need some help with that.
Other Aggressive Toxic Relationship Patterns
There are some other aggressive, toxic relationship patterns that people don’t realize, and the first one that comes to mind for me is my very favorite, “but I was just helping the person, I was giving advice.” And then they get even madder when I say that they should be able to handle criticism or get help.
There are two different versions of this. One is criticism, where you’re saying something is bothering you, and you say, “It’s rude to be late all of the time, you should know it drives people away” Criticism is aggressive and nasty, whether you sugarcoat it or not and it’s tough for people to see that. We’re all adults.
No Rule Book
There is no real rule book, there’s the law, that’s one thing, but there’s no other rule book out there. So you are opening up the page and saying, “It’s rude not to put your napkin in your lap.” Or whatever the situation is, is condescending and judgmental and it’s not effective. You’re going to irritate the person, so you’ve lost an ally.
If you’re doing that to cover up something that’s bothering you, then you’re not getting that point out. “It’s rude to run around the house and get ready for the guests when I’m sitting here with nothing to do; I thought you were going to watch football with me.” Criticizing them is not going to get that point across. To say, “I was kind of annoyed that you’re running around instead of watching football with me as we agreed.” Is a much better way to go about that.
Criticism and Being Helpful
That’s the criticism where you’re a little nasty. The helping is harder to see because you think you’re being helpful. “Let me help you with that. Let me help you with this.” People do that with the false notion that karma will come back. People, there is no karma. Sorry to squash that bug for you but it is not there.
It doesn’t come back around and then you’re keeping track, “I did ten good things, one good thing happened, and you’re going to be resentful.
The other good thing is, “if I do enough good for him, he’ll finally get the message and then do something good for me.” It doesn’t work that way. If you need him or her to do something for you, you have to ask. This game of, “I did ten chores, you haven’t done one.” It is a roundabout ineffective wedge-building way of going about simply saying, “look, I need you to take out the trash or vacuum. I’m feeling overwhelmed.” Usually, the response to that is, “Oh, okay.” And it gets done.
Say What You Mean
The response we get when we tell people, “Why didn’t you just ask him to do the chore?” People say a lot of times, “He’s not going to do it; he’s just going to get mad if I ask.” So you’re using this possible fantasy answer as a way to not say what you want and go around in circles.
We know the apparent aggression, the more subtle criticism, or if I put help out there it’ll come back to me are the more hidden toxic relationship patterns. If you’re responsible for any of those, try to divert to merely saying what you need without that sprinkle of criticism or advice or help. And your relationship will be better for it. Trust us!