Things are bad. You’re dissatisfied. You want connection, but they seem to not care as much. You have been unhappy for a while. Are these telltale signs you are in a toxic relationship? Maybe. Maybe not. It certainly does not automatically mean you should pack up and jump ship. However, it does warrant a conversation with yourself regarding the status of your relationship and the direction it’s heading.
Authors of the book, Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it can Help You Find – and Keep – Love, suggest six telltale signs of a toxic relationship. If you have experienced a consistency of displeasure in your relationship the six signs are worth pondering.
I will list them below, but I would also recommend reading their book in its entirety.
The first is the Can’t Leave Syndrome. This is evident when you have an overwhelming feeling that the relationship won’t work based on your perception of events and interactions with your partner; or, quite possibly, that it will never work well. Yet, your toxic emotional connection to them prevents you from leaving.
The second is the Roller-Coaster effect. This is present when there never seems to be a calmness in the relationship because of an anxious-avoidant trap. This trap is a connection pattern in which the anxious partner needs intimacy. On the other hand, the avoidant person withdraws because the closeness is too uncomfortable. This pattern is explained more in the book (or a quick google search).
An Emotional seesaw is present when an avoidant-attached partner bloats their own self-esteem and sense of independence in relative to their partner’s lack of independence.
When the relationship goes through normal highs and lows, but a sense of uncertainty always persists is known as a Stably Unstable relationship.
In every relationship, disagreements will arrive. If partners are talking to one another, then disagreements will naturally occur because they are two individuals with their own thoughts and beliefs. In my years of counseling couples, most couples consistently argue/fight about things that are meaningful to them when there is a secure emotional connection present. However, Meaningless Fights are often too common in toxic relationships.
Thinking about your partner as a teammate is essential the relationship. Seeing Your Partner as the Enemy may be the strongest indicator you’re in a toxic relationship.
I need to be sure to end with this: the six signs above do not mean you should end the relationship.
I believe when there is a willingness on both ends to move the relationship in a positive direction, then all you need is a little guidance for change to occur. Almost how like vintage ships need both sails and a rudder to get to their desired destination.
If you think your relationship is toxic and would like some help getting it on the right path, give our office a call at 832-421-8714. We have great counselors who want to see your relationship thrive and can point you in the direction that is desirable for both partners.