Your Relationship or Your Mental Health?

Three signs a relationship may be bad for your health include, when one person in the relationship must swallow their feelings, when fighting constantly ruins the fun, and when it’s one person’s way or the highway. Although a touch of each is normal, when morphed into reoccurring themes, the relationship may be hazardous to a person’s mental health. Addressing these relational issues before they take a toll on a person’s sense-of-self is critical.  

1) Swallowing feelings

When one person in a relationship continually swallows his or her feelings because they are rarely met with understanding, they tend to feel lonely and sad. In the moment, the person avoids the pain of sharing feelings with a partner who inevitably criticizes them for feeling the way they do. Yet, the unfortunate result of stuffing emotions is that the person feels increasingly alone.  

Frequently, this dynamic occurs when a person’s partner lacks the ability to understand a perspective that differs from his or her own. This is apparent when the partner says or does something hurtful but rebuffs any responsibility for it. He or she refuses to see the situation from the perspective of the person who was hurt, which often causes that person to feel insecure for feeling upset.

Often, the partner justifies his or her actions by distorting the scenario in a manner that paints him or her as the one who was harmed.  By flipping the situation, the partner inflicts guilt on the innocent party, evoking shame and self-doubt in that person.   

2) Fighting ruins the fun

The intense disappointment a healthy person feels when a cherished event is ruined by a fight is pervasive. For example, a couple is on their way to a Cubs game when one partner makes an insensitive comment about the way the other person is dressed. Upset, the person attempts to explain why he or she is hurt, but their partner is disgusted and reprimands the person for being upset. The remainder of the afternoon is spent arguing and stewing in sweaty silence because the conflict was not resolved.

3) Their way or the highway

Essentially, when things must go one partner’s way or he or she pouts, throws a fit, or becomes passive aggressive, it tends to cause anxiety in the other person. For example, say one party wants to go to a pizzeria for dinner while the other person is craving Thai food. If one person constantly gives in because they are afraid of their partner’s wrath, it causes a good deal of frustration and unhappiness. The partner who always gets his or her way may be incapable of compromise. Compromise is one of the healthiest strategies for working out a disagreement. Spending years with someone who is unwilling to compromise, may create anxiety and anger.

If these three dynamics are ever present in the relationship, they need to be addressed. It is possible that one partner may be unaware of their lack of empathy, inability to see their partners perspective, or egocentrism. Encouraging the person to gain insight into the way he or she relates is critical.

Yet, if a person is unable to glean awareness regarding the way they relate, it may be a sign the relationship will slowly erode their partner’s mental health. Although it is heart-breaking to end a relationship, being involved with someone with these tendencies causes intense internal strife. Over time, this impacts a person’s sense-of-self and ability to live peacefully and happily. Unfortunately, not many relationships are worth that.

How to know when you must choose.
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Three signs indicate a relationship may be bad for your health. If a relationship is plagued with these dynamics, it is important to know how to figure it out.
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