Do you recognise any of the following unhealthy behaviours in your relationship? Consider how each one makes YOU feel.
Decisions are made for you without consulting you
There is no consideration for your feelings unless it serves your partner in some way
You feel as though your partner is not always telling you the truth or you have evidence to suggest you are being lied to
You are “punished” for having an opinion your partner disagrees with. Oftentimes your punishment may be the silent treatment
You are ridiculed for being you
You are preoccupied with not upsetting your partner
When you express emotion, your partner is nonresponsive and looks you dead in the eyes devoid of any emotion
You are blamed for all that is wrong in your relationship/partner’s life
Dramatic outbursts are followed by acts of normality
Your partner appears to have an inability to answer any straight questions asked of him/her
Your words are twisted whenever you try to resolve an argument
Sensitive information from your past, shared with your partner is used by them at a later date to hurt you
You feel as though you are “walking on eggshells” around your partner
This is not an exhaustive list of unhealthy behaviours but hopefully it gives you an indication of what they can look like. You are probably starting to understand how unhealthy relationships can leave you feeling like you are going crazy and to add insult to injury in some very abusive relationships partners may accuse their partner of being crazy. Yes, the same person you feel is responsible for making you feel crazy is now calling you crazy, so the conclusion one can mistakenly make is, “I must be crazy”, or “the problems in my relationship lies with me”. It is so damaging to take 100% responsibility for any relationship involving two consenting adults. Yet, so many of my clients use these exact words and take full responsibility when their share can only ever be 50%.
The most unfortunate thing about these kinds of relationships is the way they can leave you feeling - spent, anxious, empty, confused and worthless. The term ‘trauma bonding’ helps you to understand why even though someone may have treated you terribly, you may still crave them and explains why people find it difficult to leave unhealthy relationships. If you are currently in a relationship with someone and something feels off or unhealthy, it probably is. Consider researching ‘emotional abuse’ and seek all the support you need. I deal with countless numbers of clients who experience emotional abuse in their intimate relationships but are not able to recognise it. The earlier you can detect the red flags the better.
*Domestic abuse doesn’t always include physical violence but it can be part of the abuse. Contact Women's Aid if you feel unsafe or confused in your relationship. 1800 341 900 National Freephone Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.