10 Signs You’re in An Unhealthy Relationship

by Lisa Panos

Are you in a relationship and wondering whether you are just going through a rough patch or in fact, in an unhealthy relationship?

Whether it’s your friend, coworker, spouse or ex—see if you can spot these 10 relationship red flags, that may be a sign you are in an unhealthy relationship.

It’s true—relationships take hard work, but those relationships that make you want to pull your hair out and throw large pieces of furniture out the window? Been there, done that, and it’s not fun for anyone.

Sure, the occasional spat with a friend, relative, or spouse is to be expected, but frequent escalation to no-holds-barred pro wrestling matches, aka, full-blown arguments, might be an indication that something’s not quite right in your world.

Here’s the good news: Relationship drama is often an inside job…

TRANSLATION: The ultimate problem belongs to you. This means that you have the power to heal, mend, and improve any one of them at any time. Yes, yas, and yuuuuus!

That’s what I call owning your sh*t, baby! It’s painful, but it’s powerful.

However (and here comes the kicker), before you can make things better, you have to know the signs that indicate,

“Hey! Something’s Definitely not right in my relationship, and holy $#?&, I need help!”

It may seem obvious when something’s wrong, but many times we overlook (or ignore) major red flags when a relationship is going south.

Read on for 10 telltale signs that your relationship might be more toxic than you think.

10 Signs That Could Indicate You’re In An Unhealthy Relationship

1. You fight about the same things over and over again

Whether you’re having a 3-month stand-off over who takes out the trash or you’re competing over who can come up with the most creative and cutting insult, recurring fights are a huge red flag.

It could be something as little as your mom nitpicking everything you wear, or as big as your husband flirting with other women any time he leaves the house. Or maybe small disagreements turn into full-blown arguments at the drop of a hat. Whatever it is, if there’s more drama than not, you’ve got a major problem on your hands.

2. You avoid each other

Have you taken “I need some space” to expert level status and started a consulting business on “the most powerful ways to punish someone with silence”?

All kidding aside, the silent treatment is 100% “silent but deadly”. If you pretend like the other person doesn’t exist, or just find yourself withdrawing from your loved one, there’s cause for concern. Sure, needing your alone time now and then is totally normal, but going out of your way to avoid someone is a different story.

3. You are afraid to say what’s on your mind

Emotional constipation is a very real thing, and unfortunately, you can’t buy a quick remedy at your local drug store. Prunes, powders, and pills can’t help you here!

If you find it difficult to communicate with a friend, coworker, partner or ex, you may have an unhealthy relationship on your hands. Maybe you’re nervous it will start a fight. Maybe the other person fails to validate your feelings whenever you express them. Being in a healthy relationship means feeling safe to say what’s on your mind, as long as you’re doing it in a way that’s respectful to them, too.

4. You no longer feel like you can be yourself around them

You know the old “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse we’ve all probably used at some point in our lives? Sometimes, it’s hard to know what sh*t is yours and what’s theirs, but isn’t it worth finding out?

Remember a time when you used to laugh together, tell each other your deepest secrets, and never feel judged for it? If you feel in your gut that something is off—that things just aren’t the way they used to be—you might want to reevaluate why that’s happening. Is it YOU or is it THEM? Maybe it’s because you’re insecure telling them things. Or that they’re more successful than you. Whatever it may be, if you can’t seem to be yourself around this person, your relationship might need some work.

5. Conversations have become generic

“Did you feed the dogs? Are the kids ready for bed? Did you pay the phone bill? What are you doing this weekend? What’s the weather tomorrow?”

If conversations are starting to look like a remake of the movie Groundhog Day, where the main character relives the same day over and over, again and again…your relationship needs a major makeover. Conversations become generic when you no longer enjoy spending time together, and just want to fill the silence to make things seem normal—when, in fact, they’re not.

Ask yourself this: When was the last time you talked about something exciting and new? If the answer is “I can’t remember,” then it’s time to re-evaluate.

6. You feel drained when you are together

Just because “life is like a box of chocolates” there’s no rule that says you have to eat all of the gross ones! And just like a hunk of goo-filled chocolate, people have many hidden layers—it’s wise to pay attention to which relationships fill you up and which ones don’t.

If you feel drained when you’re together, instead of filled up, you’re using too much energy to either a) argue with one another, b) force yourself to be cordial with this person, or c) both. A healthy relationship, whether with your sister, brother, BFF, or spouse, should make you feel good. There’s nothing better than looking forward to spending time with someone, not dreading the exhaustion afterward.

7. The words you use to describe them are negative and unflattering

“Judy wants to run my life and I hate everything she ever says, but we’re totally going to lunch next week…”

This one’s self-explanatory. If you have nothing nice to say about this person, there’s probably some toxic stuff going on. Words like demanding, controlling, annoying, rude, and nasty are just a few negative terms to watch out for.

8. The relationship feels unbalanced

Sorry, but you can’t have fun on a teeter-totter when your partner outweighs you by 200 lbs…

An unhealthy give and take balance is extremely unhealthy in a relationship, no matter who it’s with. Ever feel like you’re the only one who reaches out to make plans? Maybe you’re always giving the other person advice, but when you ask them for help, they act like it’s some big chore. If you’re feeling like your friendship is being taken for granted, or you feel unimportant, it’s a sign you might need some help.

9. You don’t like who you are when you are around this person

Jekyll and Hyde, The Incredible Hulk, Queen Elsa of Arendelle… all fictional characters who, when faced with an emotional trigger, abandon their normal personas and morph into out-of-control crazy people. Minus the green skin and ice shooting from your fingertips, can you relate?

Be honest: Do you find yourself manipulating or controlling your relationship out of frustration with the other person? Maybe being nice takes effort that you can’t seem to conjure up. This is usually manifested from feeling major resentment towards the other person. Trust me, I get it, you don’t want to be this way—it just happens. And knowing that it happens is the first step to making it better.

10. You complain to everyone around you about this person

This is a tough one because sometimes it feels so. damn. good. to “unleash the Kraken” and complain about someone like your LIFE depends on it!

Picture this: You sit down with a coworker, and they ask you how your day is going. “It’s fine,” you say, “but Meredith is driving me absolutely crazy. Why is she so demanding? Doesn’t she know I have work to do?” If the person you’re angry with is constantly on your mind, and all you can talk about, it’s a major red flag. A person should never take up that much space in your day, and if they do…

…it might be time to get to the bottom of it.

Lisa Panos

about the author

Lisa Panos

Lisa Panos is a Certified Life Coach and Author who helps people stop struggling and start thriving in their personal and professional relationships. Trained by Dr. Martha Beck (aka, Oprah's Life Coach), Lisa helps her clients create new, healthy relationships, mend those that are broken, or say goodbye to ones that no longer serve them. She combines highly effective coaching tactics with an explosive arsenal of personal experience that swiftly moves people out of dysfunction and into a place of deep inner strength.

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