Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Relationships: Healthy vs. Unhealthy

While most are versed in the basic characteristics of an unhealthy relationship (such as violence, jealously, or manipulation), there are many more signs that are important to recognize. A few of these lesser-known characteristics can include the following:

· Unrealistic expectations of your partner
· Dishonesty or omissions of the truth
· Lack of trust, reliability
· Social isolation
· Cycle of pain, betrayal, lies, or blaming
· Erratic, unpredictable, or mysterious behavior
· Self-centeredness
· Lack of responsibility for own actions.
· Wanting you to conform to them (criticism of your ideas, belittling your feelings, making you afraid to disagree)
· Come on strong (i.e. loves you instantly, insists on being with you all the time)


Reflecting on these signs, I found it difficult to think of many couples, friendships, etc in my life that don’t in some way manifest these characteristics. All the sources stated that self-confidence is the first step in having a healthy relationship. Is it even possible to have a truly healthy relationship? Another list that compiled the “10 characteristics of Successful Relationships” was a bit more affirming, though again poses issues. It includes: friendship, humor, communication, chore sharing (KEY!), sexual intimacy, affection, no “horsemen of the apocalypse” (term coined by researcher John Gottman who listed his four ‘horsemen of the apocalypse’ as criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling), mutual and separate friends, reliability, and a similar relationship vision.

Assuming that “no one is perfect,” how do you know when enough is enough? How do you know if your relationships are worth fixing or when they are beyond repair? There are ways to attempt to create healthy relationships, according to the Texas Teen Page, including:

1. Have independent interests and activities that fulfill you. Never depend on the other person to make you feel complete.
2. Choose a person that you like and admire and who likes and admires you in return.
3. Accept the other person for who they are. Never count on someone changing themselves for you.
4. Become a good communicator.
5. Develop skills to manage conflict without violence.
6. Keep the friendship alive.
7. Learn what makes the other person feel loved and appreciated.
8. Discuss your expectations with each other. Honor any commitments that you make. When each of you behaves in a trustworthy fashion, you can learn to trust each other.
9. Respect each other’s opinions, limits, need for individual time, etc.
10. Know where to get support or help if you need it.

With this list in mind, be on the look out for some of the potentially less familiar signs of an unhealthy relationship and remember that self-confidence can pave the way to happier relations with others.

No comments:

Post a Comment