Ten Toxic Partner Signs
Utilizing Imago Approach
Prince Charming and Unhealthy Relationships
Ailing Destructive Behavior
Stop and think about what do unhealthy relationships mean for many of us as women and our Relationship associations? This is what “Unhealthy Relationships Blog” discusses in detail as well as Imago Approach and how I utilize that in therapy with clients. Ailing relationships, a dysfunctional partner, or for example even worse a destructive relationship means we may have picked the wrong partner or mate. What could be more important than our personal relationships with people and our connection? Now let’s talk in terms specifically here just in regards to women. Women that grow up in traditional Western cultures do so with a particular belief system. Most women, right from early on, have been taught certain things.
Unhealthy Relationship- Western Culture
They were taught for example to believe that one day they will meet Prince Charming. We know the role he plays in relationship behavior. He will ride in on a white horse and save us. He will swoop down and take us away from all our suffering and make us happy and whole again. This Relationship behavior theme is very pervasive in Western culture. This appears in our books and movies, permeating everything. But the reality is oftentimes something else. Many people have to deal with the poor behavior of their spouse or significant other the simple version is because they are in a toxic relationship with a toxic partner. For some of you, this concept of a toxic relationship, a destructive relationship with a Toxic partner is all too familiar. Going through life attached to a Dysfunctional partner is a difficult undertaking! Is this what you want?
Unhealthy Relationships- Jerry McGuire
Think about movies such as Jerry McGuire’s “You complete me” or another great example is the movie “Pretty Woman“. In the past women didn’t have as many career choices that we have today, so often times they just had to be “happy” and put up with whatever life brought them. Do you personally think this is the way it should be in relationship behavior?
Destructive Partner- Dysfunctional Connection
That meant women would suffer emotional, mental, financial, and even physical abuse. Luckily, with women’s rights and move up the career ladder, things have changed for women. Yet on an emotional level, we still expect a man to “make us happy”. This I believe is the core of our misconception.
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Unhealthy Relationships- Genders
You might be a stay-at-home mom or dad or a professional or business owner, the issue remains the same. We all want love, understanding, and a shoulder to cry on because many of us are dealing with a Toxic Relationship with a Toxic partner. We have all read enough self-help books, or even spent years in therapy, yet we are not getting the results. And this goes for both men and women alike. Nowadays it’s not uncommon anymore for a woman to have a demanding career, while her husband stays home or works in a less demanding job. What I’m saying here is true for both genders.
Toxic Partner- Communication
Men usually just don’t share their suffering or even abuse from a spouse due to the stigma attached to it. This is a very difficult situation in terms of healing and moving forward. The fact that men are usually very closed off generally speaking works against the situation many times.
Unhealthy Relationships- Destructive Childhood
I have had my own share of failed relationships that stemmed from my own traumatic and dysfunctional childhood. I started dating when I was 15 because I thought this was the only way for me to feel loved and understood. Yet, because I never healed sufficiently, I kept attracting abusive, angry, and narcissistic men. I wonder if this rings a bell for you too. Have you met the man or woman you stat dating and soon after realize you’re navigating the turbulent waters in a toxic relationship with a toxic partner? Now you have a completely different set of problems to deal with.
Many of the clients I’ve worked with in my clinical practice have had similar struggles in relationships that have also led to clinical depression, anxiety, and lack of self-worth. The outcome oftentimes of being in a toxic relationship with a toxic partner is usually poor. However, there is pressure within our society to find that one special man or woman who is your soulmate, otherwise you might be perceived that there is something wrong with you.
Ailing Relationships- “Men are from Mars”
Probably like most of you, I’ve read a ton of self-help books, including Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and saw healers, coaches, and therapists. I’ve learned a lot about myself and relationships which also led me to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Imago Approach- Ailing Relationships
In my professional practice, I utilize something called the Imago Approach, a concept founded by Harville and Helen Hendrix. The Imago approach and utilizing the technique of Imago Dialogue has been invaluable.
According to Utilizing Imago Approach theory, we attract partners in our life that remind us about our primary caregivers, who are generally our parents, and that includes both their positive and negative traits. Imago Approach theory is a fascinating facet of relationship behavior. To give you an example, a woman who grew up in a home where her mother was very submissive, might find herself attracting domineering and controlling men like her father. So as you might imagine, utilizing the Imago Approach theory in therapy sessions has been truly helpful to my clients. I have various imago approach exercises I use during therapy sessions with clients.
Imago Intentional Dialogue
In addition to our discussion here about the Imago Approach, you can find several book titles listed in my Blogs and on my website. You might find them helpful. Here is a link to that area of my website. Contact me if you would like to learn more about the Imago Intentional Dialogue. As well as how that plays out in our lives and how that intersects with the Imago Relationship Therapy which is a type of couples therapy.
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Troubled Relationships- Your Subconscious
However, don’t despair because with some professional help this CAN be overcome. The best approach that worked for me and my clients is to understand how your subconscious and unconscious mind works. Many times, when we grew up in a dysfunctional home, we made certain beliefs about love, relationships, feelings, money, and so on. We might not even remember these beliefs yet we keep living our lives based on those beliefs.
Connection- NLP and EMDR
If we want a different life, the key is to understand our mindset and our beliefs. Many times you’ll find you’re still living your life based on your parent’s or other authority figures’ beliefs. As children, we depended on others for our survival and our well-being so we were not able to question those beliefs, consequently, as ADULTS we can, and we MUST in order to change our lives for the better.
Over time I’ve found the techniques that work best in uncovering hidden beliefs include NLP, hypnosis, and EMDR.
Ailing Relationships- Toxic Partner
Now, let’s talk some more about “How do you know if you are in an unhealthy relationship or even a toxic relationship.” further. I want you to ask yourself if any of these statements apply to you. By the way, an excellent book I often refer to is by Doreen Virtue. First, it is unsafe and unhealthy to be in a toxic relationship with a toxic partner so you have to do some critical thinking here. Some of these behaviors are more call for an improvement, while others could be too toxic and you might need to leave the relationship. It’s time to make some important life decisions.
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Relationship Deal Breakers- Ten Toxic Partner Signs
It’s important to know what your “Deal Breakers” are in relationship behavior and what you can tolerate. However, there are some toxic partner signs that deserve our attention. In this list, I’m just mentioning a few of the more common ones. These “Deal Breakers” can destroy even a happy relationship. This is once again a toxic relationship with a toxic partner and you need change! But also you need to be able to recognize the Ten Toxic Partner Signs to find that successful relationship you need and want. This is not easy!
Ten Toxic Partner Signs- Ailing Relationships
- 1. Interrupting – the person who continuously interrupts you is not interested in what you have to say. Very often, the person who constantly interrupts is frequently anxious or hyperactive (and that might be due to the use of stimulants, such as coffee). You need to tell them something like: “Excuse me, I am not done talking yet” and be assertive. This seems like a very disrespectful quality in a relationship.
- 2. Constant correcting – this is even worse than interrupting. You constantly walk on eggshells. You need to be assertive and tell them that it feels more like he or she is acting as your teacher and not your partner.
- 3. Clingy/needy behavior. Again you need to tell them you are busy with projects and set proper boundaries.
- 4. Stalking is even worse and in some cases, you might need to get a restraining order if the situation doesn’t improve. This is an extremely poor situation where you are experiencing life in a toxic relationship with a toxic partner. We know it could all be one-sided or some sort of mental issue that needs to be addressed. But, in any case, this is a bad situation that can easily go on to be a much worse one. In the list of Ten Toxic Partner Signs, this is one to pay careful attention to.
- 5. Guilt-tripping or manipulating people. You feel resentful and angry. It’s important to say NO and stick to it.
10 Toxic Relationship Signs- Angerholics
- 6. Angerholics are addicted to being angry. This anger might be a result of upbringing, or also deep feelings of inferiority, disguised as anger. It’s important to get professional help especially if the angry person continues to be in denial and doesn’t respond to common sense. When someone doesn’t respond to common sense it is definitely one of the alarming top Ten Toxic Partner Signs.
- 7. Controlling behavior where typically controlling people act out immaturely in relationship behavior or with anger when they feel that they are not in control.
- 8. Addictions, including substance abuse, reminds us it’s important to understand that any addiction needs to be treated by a professional. If you find yourself always pleading with the person suffering from addiction, most of the time it will not help as you continue enabling their behavior. It takes a lot of strength and courage to stay in a relationship with an addict. Until they get professional help, you are really in a relationship with a man or a woman who is hidden behind this cycle of addiction.
10 Destructive Relationship Signs- Name Calling
- 9. Name-calling is behavior that is verbally abusive. When it occurs you need to speak up because it’s not acceptable. Name-calling can hurt even more sometimes than physical abuse can especially for someone who has a trusting, sensitive heart. For example, a Highly Sensitive Person in a toxic relationship where a toxic partner engages in daily hurtful behavior such as gaslighting or name-calling. Sooner or later this behavior will take its toll.
- 10. Betrayal A betrayer breaks your heart and your trust by engaging in hurtful behaviors such as infidelity, flirting with others, lying to you, or exercising extremely poor judgment. In my professional practice, I worked with many couples who had suffered infidelity and in some cases, if the relationship had a solid basis, they overcame infidelity issues. However, it can take years. It is always important to love yourself enough and be honest with yourself and not trying to forgive people at every cost.
Did you have a different item on the list of the Ten Toxic Partner Signs? Did you read and say to yourself my ailing Relationship is ailing! Remember you can find more about these techniques and others by visiting my website and contacting me. Tell us about it in the comments section.
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Dr. John Gottman “4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse”
I also wanted to share with you what Dr. John Gottman calls “The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. These are 4 main Relationship behavior patterns that can destroy a relationship or a marriage (see Dr. John Gottman “The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse” Blog)
Criticism: A complaint focuses on a specific behavior, while criticism attacks the character of the person.
Defensiveness: Defensiveness is defined as self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victimhood in an attempt to ward off a perceived attack. Many people become defensive when they are being criticized, but the problem is that being defensive never helps to solve the problem at hand. Defensiveness is really a way of blaming your partner.
Contempt: statements that come from a relative position of superiority. Some examples of displays of contempt include when a person uses sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humor. Contempt is the greatest predictor of divorce and must be eliminated.
Stonewalling: Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction. The antidote is to practice physiological self-soothing. The first step of physiological self-soothing is to stop the conflict discussion. If you keep going, you’ll find yourself exploding at your partner or imploding (stonewalling), neither of which will get you anywhere.
Relationship behavior- Good Bad and Worse
Now that we have talked about dysfunctional and unhealthy relationship patterns, let’s talk for a minute about the key characteristics of a HEALTHY relationship. I like to say, that in a healthy relationship, there is INTER-DEPENDENCE as opposed to co-dependence. Both partners are equal in every aspect and focus on their strengths and work together as a team.
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1. Emotionally intelligent couples know each other’s world. They know each other’s goals, worries, and hopes.
2. Fondness and admiration are two of the most crucial elements in a long-lasting romance. I suggest to my couples to keep a jar filled with positive statements of each other and remember positive things when things get tough.
3. Seeking partner’s affection and support and give it freely. It doesn’t always have to be great sex. Affection is even more important.
4. Treating each other with respect even when you disagree.
5. Solve your solvable problems and let go of things you cannot solve at the moment or learn to compromise.
6. Overcome gridlock and “honor” your partner’s dreams.
7. Create shared meaning so Marriage can have an intentional sense of shared purpose
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Mateja Petje “Thank you for taking the time to read my “Unhealthy Relationships Blog”. Be well and be safe and get rid of that ailing Relationshipnow!
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