Submitted Date 11/26/2018

It's not all about the other person. Dysfunctional relationships take two to tango. And even if you believe you're doing everything right while your partners are abusive, aloof, unfaithful or insensitive, ultimately you choosing to stay in the relationship says a lot about you. And these unions don't always have to be romantic. Toxic relationships with friends, family, colleagues and employers can infiltrate and upend your life.

But why can these unscrupulous people have such an effect on your self-esteem, peace of mind, sense of well-being, and physical safety? When negative people are allowed to take up your time, energy and space they are often filling a void their absence would leave. But what causes that void to begin with? Unearthing this can be the key to unlocking the secrets of your crappy relationships. So heed these five hidden reasons your relationships are a wreck.

1. You're Insecure
Insecurity can wreak havoc in many different kinds of relationships. It permeates your life and causes you to make self-sabotaging decisions. This happens because insecurity influences who you allow into your life, who you keep around, what you do for them, and how you let them treat you. When you develop and maintain relationships from a place of feeling lesser than, you allow others to take advantage of you and treat you lesser than. You may not see it at first. And people are often on their best behavior in the beginning. But slowly your relationships will hit their stride and you will discover who someone is, what they want from you, and what they're not willing to put in to make things work.

2. You Have Past Trauma
Having trauma in your past on it's own doesn't guarantee you will struggle in your relationships. But it does increase the odds. Why? Because through a slew of emotional, physiological and chemical changes that happen when you experience trauma, your brain and body becomes wired, or re-wired, to accommodate further trauma. This seems counter-intuitive because trauma often causes people to become hyper-sensitive to potentially risky situations; which one would think helps avoid further victimization. But in fact, trauma can make it harder to recognize someone unsavory at the start, and easier to accept them once they turn the corner. This typically becomes an issue if you haven't dealt with your past through therapy, support group, spiritual practices, or other means of psychological and self-help.

3. You Didn't Have Good Role Models
Most people don't realize until it's too late that their relationships often mirror those they grew up with. It may not be an exact match, but if your parents or other adult figures in your life had dysfunctional or abusive relationships there is a huge chance you've had at least one yourself. The behavior that has been modeled for you tends to show up in your relationships because you learn how to interact with others and what to expect from relationships through first-hand experience. Being told how relationships should be cannot compete with seeing how they actually play out in real life. And again, these experiences leave a lasting and often hidden impact on your brain; influencing the decisions you make, the partners you choose, and the behaviors you accept.

4. You Don't Think You Deserve Better
Even when asked most people will confess they deserve better than their worst relationships. But then the next question and its answer usually leaves us perplexed. If you know you deserve better why do you stay? Your action is your answer. Your words are what you wish you believed. If you don't truly believe you can do better than what you're given, you'll probably hold on to what you have. If others must deal with your issues to have you in their lives, you may believe you deserve less than health and happiness due to your own imperfections.

5. You're Afraid to Be Alone
Being too afraid to face life alone can easily lead to a terrible relationship. If being part of a couple is better than being whole alone, and if being miserable together is better than being happy apart, you're heading down a dangerous road. Being single isn't a punishment. It's no cause for concern, source of shame, or statement of worth. Calibrating your life to fit your values and expectations will help insulate you from sucky and soul-sucking people. Morphing your values and expectations to match the crappy people you choose will leave you bent and broken in the end.

Bad relationships can happen to anyone. The difference between those who find good relationships and those who get stuck in terrible ones is the willingness to let go and go it alone. But beyond that, great relationships come to people who are committed and dedicated enough to themselves to become the kind of person an abusive or dysfunctional person wouldn't want. Don't be an easy target for a predator. And if you do find yourself in the cross hairs of a hustler or hunter, back out at the first red flags and keep looking for a green light relationship.

Related Stories


Please login to post comments on this story

  • Miranda Fotia 2 years, 2 months ago

    This article is on point and just what I needed to hear at the moment. Thank you!