What if YOU are the Toxic Person in your Relationships

 

 

What if you are the toxic person in your relationships?

Some people who come to me with the chief complaint that a lot of their relationships are unfulfilled, unhappy and/or stressful.. have enough insight to say, “I’m the common denominator.”  It’s always a very moving point because to help yourself, that insight is invaluable and it’s also rare. If you are able to see that something’s not right even if you don’t know what it is, you’re halfway there.

How can I tell?

How do I tell if someone may have trouble relating to people? Everybody has relationships that don’t go well and this is all sort of a gray or fine line area. But if the majority of your relationships are not fulfilling, or end up with a lot of acting out or abandonment, then it’s certainly worth checking out.

Red flags

There are red flags that let me know that the ability to handle relationships are off and they may be the toxic person in the relationship.
What are those red flags?
  1. Do you have arguments with anybody more than once a month?
    • It’s not the norm for people to have arguments erupting a lot. That may be a sign. Similarly, if you never have arguments, especially with your partner.  So arguing a lot or not arguing at all.
  2. When there’s a problem in your relationship and you have no idea what to do, ever. That’s a sign as well.
    • Parents who have children who never rebelled. That sounds odd, but it’s not right. That means that you aren’t able to handle give-and-take and some friction. If I hear a parent say their 22-year-old child never gave them a moment’s trouble. That’s a sign that you may have difficulty with relationships.
    • This is a sensitive topic. But the same thing with kids, if you have let a child go, for example, you let your ex take full custody and it doesn’t bother you all that much, that’s a bad sign. I’m not talking about the people who have certain circumstances and had to let a child go and it’s heartache in you. That’s different than the person who doesn’t have that heartache. These are people who say things like, “well I had the child too young and I’m going to live my life now. The people who rather party than getting part custody or full custody of their child. That’s not a good sign.
  3. If you don’t have any long-standing relationships, even if you’re married.
    • If you don’t have any friendships from your past such as elementary school,  high school or college, that may be a sign that you have some relational problems.
  4. Any legal problems you have, not civil stuff but criminal stuff.
    • If any criminal stuff is going on even if you didn’t plan it or you’re totally surprised. That’s a sign that you may not know how to relate to people in an optimal way.

If there are more than one of these signs, that’s where you’ll that you might not have the best way of relating to people.

How did I get this way?

How come I can’t relate well? The steps are to go back to your first most important relationships with your parents and your siblings. Your parents were the ones who showed you first how to have a long-standing intimate relationship. That’s their job, and that’s where everybody is supposed to learn it. Of course, we have parents who aren’t perfect, all of us do.

Two ways this happens.

  1. Your parents didn’t relate well and you absorbed that.
    • Even if you said to yourself, “I’m never going to be like that.” If you don’t know any other way to be. If you were never taught how to be any other way, you are going to be that way. Maybe not fully conscious but you pick up those patterns because you haven’t been taught to do otherwise.
  2. Your parents may have gotten along okay or decently but your parent didn’t teach you how to go through a difficult or stressful situation.
    • You may have had a parent that didn’t step in to discipline you. For example, if you wanted to skip school or if you wanted to smoke pot, their response was something like, “oh well.” How would you learn how to talk about negative feelings and the compromising? It’s not going to happen if your parents didn’t go through that with you. Similarly, if you had a parent who was over invasive, over-controlling. You never got to practice the give-and-take with that person.
In my experience, this is where relationship problems stem from.

There is hope.

Even if most of your relationships are unsatisfying or toxic, there is hope
for you to learn the basic healthier patterns.
For starters, they fall into two camps.
People who have long-standing relationship problems. Either you’re causing a problem, or you have some toxic behavior that you don’t even realize is toxic. And you continue doing it with no idea what that is. Most likely, because it’s almost always driven by something unconscious.
Either you have toxic behavior or you’re not stopping another person’s toxic behavior.
To be clear, I’m not saying you have to change the other person. A lot of people come in here saying, “I can do relationships but I can’t do a good relationship or have a good relationship until the other person stops doing X.” That’s not stopping the toxic behavior; that’s trying to get the other person to change and that’s not effective.

It’s one of two things.

Either you are doing some toxic behavior or you’re not stopping another person’s toxic or damaging behavior.
You can fix your relationships.
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