Have you ever noticed that your behavior seems to change when you’re in a toxic relationship? Maybe your friends have pointed out that you’re not acting like yourself anymore. Perhaps you’ve even realized it on your own. It’s a common occurrence – when people are in toxic relationships, their behavior reflects the state of the relationship, which only exacerbates the problem.
That’s why it’s crucial to identify if your partner is bringing out your own toxic traits. By recognizing this, you can work on modifying your behavior and decide what steps to take in your relationship. Here are five signs to watch out for:
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1. You Don’t Like Who You Are in This Relationship
Be honest with yourself. Do you genuinely like the person you are in this relationship? Is your overall state of mind positive? Are you patient and understanding with yourself and your loved ones? Or have you noticed a negative change compared to your past relationships?
In a healthy relationship, we strive to be our best selves. We aim to effectively communicate our feelings, care about our partner’s happiness, and be honest and truthful without being passive-aggressive. We want to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.
If you find that you don’t like who you are in this relationship, it’s possible that your partner brings out your toxic traits.
2. You Find Yourself Setting Up Your Partner to Fail
In some toxic relationships, love and passion have been replaced by anger and judgment. Couples in these relationships often feed off these negative emotions in destructive ways. For example, deliberately thanking someone else for flowers you received to provoke a jealous reaction from your partner.
Such behavior only leads to toxicity instead of love, and it definitely isn’t fun.
3. You Regularly Pick Fights
Many individuals in toxic relationships become addicted to drama. The initial love and passion fade away, leaving room for anger and disdain. However, they often find it hard to let go of the relationship and still crave some form of emotional intensity, even if it’s negative. As a result, they manufacture fights out of thin air.
I remember when I was involved with a married man, I constantly picked fights. I was living in constant misery caused by him, so I wanted him to feel the same. I once picked a fight with him over something trivial just because I was furious about him not using the gift I gave him. Addressing the real issue and expressing my feelings would have been better, but instead, we both ended up miserable because of the fight.
In this relationship, my partner brought out my own toxic traits.
4. You Withhold Affection
Withholding affection is a common toxic trait that unhappy relationships can bring out in people. It comes from a place of wanting to hurt the other person or make them miserable. It may be due to a lack of genuine interest or love for your partner, or it may be a conscious decision to manipulate them.
For instance, some individuals withhold sex to make their partner miss them or appreciate them more. Others stop showing physical affection, knowing that it hurts their partner emotionally.
But does withholding affection actually improve the relationship? Absolutely not. It’s definitely a toxic trait that your relationship is bringing out in you. Do you see it as sustainable? Is this how you want to behave for the rest of your life?
I’m guessing not.
5. You Disregard Your Partner’s Wishes
In a healthy relationship, we make an effort to respect our partner’s wishes because we love and care about them. However, in a toxic relationship, individuals may purposely go against their partner’s wishes just to make them angry or provoke a fight.
For example, my client’s husband deliberately refused to put his laundry in the basket, even though he knew it bothered her. He wanted to upset her, even though he didn’t feel proud of his behavior. His unhappiness with the relationship had reached a point where he simply didn’t care anymore.
Nobody wants to be a bad person or bring out the worst in others. You don’t want to be unkind, short-tempered, or withholding – qualities that go against everything you’ve been taught not to be.
Ask yourself, is staying in this toxic relationship worth it? Yes, leaving might leave you alone for a while, and that can be scary. But is it worth sacrificing your true self just to be part of a couple? Do you want to pass on this behavior to your children or carry it over into your friendships and work life?
Wouldn’t it be better to take the necessary steps to leave and find someone who supports your growth, brings positivity into your life, and helps you find the love you seek?
Take a good look at yourself and decide who you want to be. It’s time to make it happen!
Mitzi Bockmann is a certified life and relationship coach with over 10 years of experience helping individuals find happiness in life and love.