“You are responsible for your life. You can’t keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
Before I start this article, let me preface it by saying that I don’t believe in making sweeping judgments about people, nor do I believe in making a character (good guy vs. bad guy) out of them either. Often, our ego would love to write someone we’ve been in a relationship with as “the toxic one” so that it does not need to see itself as the problem.
However, to some extent or another we’ve all had periods in our lives where we have been the toxicity in our relationships, and times when our partner has been. Most relationships are a mixture of both. However, sometimes when we come into a relationship with many unhealed aspects of ourselves still in tact, we begin to play out situations that act as the catalyst to stir up these unhealed parts of our psyche in order to bring attention to them.
From a lower level of understanding, one might say that the one with the most unhealed “baggage” is the toxic one, but from a higher level of awareness we see that all relationships are manifested for a reason. And most of the time that reason is to help us bring the attention back to ourselves and nurturing our wounds rather than blaming them on someone else.
Many people are not willing to see themselves as any part of the problem, and that is where problems will undoubtedly arise.
In relationships, all parties must be willing to take accountability for their side of the story and when misunderstanding happen each person must be able to admit their part in that as well. When one party consistently is unwilling to look at themselves as any part of the problem, that is where we see the balance scales completely off balance.
One side is never to blame, and one side is always to blame… this is the recipe for toxicity. So how do you know if you are the problem in your relationships?
Here are 6 signs that you may be the one that is holding yourself and your partner back in growth and maturity:
1) You jump into relationships at inappropriate times
“You are your love of a lifetime.” ~ Steve Maraboli
When you decide to commit to someone you are also asking them to be a part of your life and also your life struggles. Often, people in the midst of an addiction, or in between jobs or places to stay will seek out relationships with others in order to make themselves feel better about their life, and this is how problems arise.
If you have not yet become the person you want to be, (and I’m not talking about perfection because no one is perfect) it’s not fair to ask someone else to be a part of your problems if you haven’t even figured out how to deal with them yourself.
Point being, when we are only seeking out relationships to fulfill us or to make us feel better about our lives that we are already not happy with, we are setting ourselves up for trouble. No one person will ever be the “answer” to your unhappiness. We must find happiness within our own self first if we want to have healthy and functional partnerships.
2) You are always “right”
This one is pretty self-explanatory. No one is always right about everything. And especially if we know that perception shapes reality, it’s imperative to realize that our “truth” will almost never be the same as someone else’s “truth.”
By getting to know people and understanding their perception of reality we will find that everyone is “right” from where they are standing, and relationships are about learning to see the world through our partner’s eyes and vice versa.
3) You are always “wrong”
Toxicity doesn’t always come from the arrogant know-it-all type, it also comes from the eternal victim, “I’m always wrong,” type too. If we constantly are taking on the role of a victim we begin to not only lose self-respect but also the respect of our partner.
We must be willing to say why we did something and stand by our actions every once in a while. If we are constantly the one to bend in any argument, the people in our lives will begin to question our authenticity because we will begin to be seen as a “people-pleaser” rather than someone who is confident in their stance on something.
4) You are not self aware
This one is a huge one because if we have no idea why we do or say the things we do, we can’t expect the people in our lives to be able to understand us either. Being self aware helps us to process our own thoughts and feelings, to determine the motivation behind our actions and helps us to communicate these to our partner.
By just being able to communicate why we did something we solve almost any perceived problem that may arise. Most people are willing to empathize and forgive an action that they understand the motivation behind. However, if we are so closed off from our innermost thoughts and feelings that we don’t know why we did something, it’s going to be extremely hard for our partner to see things from our perspective.
5) You abuse your power
There are going to be points in our relationships where we are up and our partner is down. Where we are happy and they are unhappy. How do we deal with them during these times? If your partner expressed jealousy over a particular friend you have would you use that as an opportunity to build your partner up and make them feel more secure in the relationship?
Or would you use this as an opportunity to kick them while they are down and use their jealousy as a way to tease them or make them feel worse? When people begin to play puppet master, meaning begin to manipulate emotions so that they are always the one in control, they will find that they have an extremely resentful partner.
No one wants to feel more insecure about something at the hands of their supposed “loving” partner. Toxic people will tend to use disharmony to their advantage while healthy people will use it as an opportunity to make their partner feel more loved, not less.
6) You read too much into everything
Trust is obviously a huge part of any healthy partnership, and if there is no trust, there is no relationship.
If we are constantly feeling as though there are ulterior motives behind our partner’s actions it can mean one of two things.. either your partner is lying and there is some validity to your mistrust, or you are allowing your own insecurities to bring toxicity into your relationship.
If you don’t know the answer to this, then a well needed time out of the relationship is probably in order. Healthy people usually trust their gut instinct on things, and are normally able to tell if they are constantly being lied to or if they are reading too much into something.
If this detection system has been altered by trauma or past relationship baggage or abuse, we must get back into connection with our hearts. This will open the door for our soul’s highest wisdom to come through.
If you find yourself in any of these, don’t fret, no one is stuck being toxic for the rest of their lives. Use these points as a wake up call to go inward and begin the healing process of past wounds that may have never been tended to.
Nothing goes away until it has taught us what we need to learn. So if constant dysfunction is happening in your partnership, it is most certainly a sign that there is something trying to get you or your partner’s attention. Do not let the warning signs fall on deaf ears.
The sooner you begin to heal yourself, the soon you will be on your way to a healthy and functional partnership with the right person.