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7 Reasons Your Relationship Is Not Healthy

7 Reasons Your Relationship Is Not Healthy

When it comes to developing a solid foundation in your relationship, it’s important for you to be aware of certain things that can weaken this process. Establishing a healthy and long-lasting connection between you and your partner is the key to building a solid foundation.

Below I will share with you 7 reasons your relationship may not be healthy. I will help educate you and give you deeper insight into why these specific reasons weaken your foundation. Finally, I will give you some practical steps to re-establish your foundation.

1. Resentment starts to build a wall between you and your partner.

 

Young couple on a sofa after a row argument

    Resentment is the strong bitterness you feel when someone does something wrong to you. Do you have resentment building in your relationship? Having resentment in your relationship builds a huge wall right in between you and your partner. As the years go on, the bigger the wall of resentment will become. With this big wall, how can love possibly grow? It would be near to impossible to love your partner if you viewed them in a negative light.

    Do you experience negative feelings whenever your partner does something? Or how about getting into an argument and bringing up the past? If you answer, “Yes,” to both of these questions, you have resentment in your relationship. The key to letting go of resentment is to learn how to forgive your partner. We are all human and make mistakes. Now is the time to decide to forgive your partner for their mistakes. If you are committed to developing a healthy and long lasting connecting with your partner, you must let go of resentment.

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    2. Airing out your dirty laundry.

     

    laundry

      What does it mean when you air out your dirty laundry? Take a moment and reflect on the picture above. You see that there are adult pants, kid pants, and socks. Whoever put their laundry out felt that it was okay for others to see it. Use this analogy when it comes to a relationship. I have met some couples who felt that it was okay to air their problems out in public. These problems can include the physical, financial, emotional or psychological.

      A relationship starts to become unhealthy when you talk about private issues out in public—whether it be with your friends, family, co-workers, or even acquaintances. When you are in a committed relationship, you must always be a united front. No matter what issues you are experiencing in your relationship, it must always stay between the two of you.

      When you air out your dirty laundry for the public to see, it can become very embarrassing to you or your partner. When you put down your partner in front of others, you are embarrassing them. This act does nothing but destroy your relationship. Be consciously aware when you talk to others about your partner. When you do talk to others, always shed positive light about them. If you are experiencing some tough times in your relationship, this does not give you the “green light” to talk badly about your partner. This is when you need to have open and honest communication between the two of you. If it seems like you need a third party, seek a professional. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing a relationship counselor or a therapist. This can only help bring wisdom to your relationship.

      3. Looking at society’s standard of what a relationship should be like.

       

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      busy-times-square-photo-New-York-City-_smgpx10001x15658x18270ef3a

        Unplug from society every once in a while and plug into your mind. We live in a society that is filled with so many distractions and noise. It seems like we are constantly plugging into the latest trend, what’s on television and what others are talking about. When it comes to your relationship, all this noise can really affect your connection with your partner in a negative way. Our society sets a standard for how we are supposed to have a relationship. Whether it be how you should dress, how you should act, or what you should do when you get into an argument. Following society’s standard can have a huge impact on your relationship. This impact causes you to lose touch with who you truly are and what kind of relationship you want.

        It’s important for you and your partner to decide between each other what kind of relationship you want to have. Women today are under a lot of pressure with their looks and appearance. Men are experiencing pressure on what it takes to be a “true man.” Living in a society where it seems like sex is everywhere, you must set the standard for your relationship. Decide between the two of you how you want to experience a loving and committed relationship.

        4. Bringing up the past whenever you get into arguments.

        bigstock-Couple-Having-Argument-At-Home-16858187

          “Stop living in the past. The only thing we should do about what happened yesterday is to learn from it. Yesterday, good or bad, is history. Tomorrow is a dream, a hope, a passion. Don’t let your history destroy your dream.” — Edwin Mamerto

          Some of my clients experience this in their relationship. It’s important that you are consciously aware of when you bring up the past during the present. When this happens, it not only hurts your partner, but also builds a wall between the two of you. When a couple experiences an argument, it’s easy to bring up the past. When a person is upset and/or hurt in a relationship, there is a high possibility that their past experiences are coming up. Whether it be their childhood, a traumatic situation or something that happened between the couple that causes one person to bring up emotions of hurt, pain and frustration. A relationship can never develop when the past is constantly being mentioned. How can you and your partner possibly deepen the connection between the two of you when the past keeps coming up?

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          When you are experiencing emotions of pain, hurt and frustration from the past, it’s important for you to be aware of this. It’s even more important to not throw these emotions at your partner whenever you are in an argument. This causes your partner to become defensive and distance themself from you. You and your partner will be making mistakes along the way and it’s important for the two of you to work through these mistakes so you can both move forward and develop your relationship. Learn to forgive your partner and have an open discussion about your past and why you bring it up.

          5. Not knowing when to “turn it off.”

          ContentImage-6178-232708-14781116_s

            It’s all about balance when it comes to work and personal time. A lot of people have difficulty turning “off” from work when they get home. This can really affect your relationship.

            If you allow yourself to continue to think about work when you’re with your partner, your relationship is not healthy. When you spend time with your partner, be with your partner. How can you possibly spend quality time with them when your mind is still at work? Allow yourself to disconnect from your job and connect with your partner. If you want to develop your relationship, it’s important to learn when to “turn it off”.

            6. When financial stress is constant.

            financial-steps-for-couples

              The number one cause of stress in a relationship is financial stress. When you find yourself arguing about finances on a consistent basis with your partner, you are experiencing financial stress. This stress can affect every aspect of your relationship. Whether it be in the bedroom, what you can buy, or lack of trust. Financial stress leads to an unhealthy relationship. You are constantly worrying about what you can buy or not trusting your partner.

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              The solution to financial stress is to be on the same page with your finances. Make sure you are able to have an open discussion and communicate in a way that is both productive and respectful.

              7. Lack of openness and communication in the bedroom.

              857302-couple-and-bed-and-no-sleep

                One aspect of being in a monogamous and committed relationship is being sexually involved with your partner. If it seems like you are avoiding the topic of sex in your relationship and just going through with the process of sex, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. It’s important for you and your partner to openly discuss what you like and what you don’t like. Your relationship becomes unhealthy when it seems like it’s only a one way street, or you are giving of yourself without receiving anything. There’s a balance to be achieved. When you don’t feel open enough to talk about sex in your relationship, it’s a sign that this topic needs to be discussed.

                I highly suggest reading the book Mars and Venus In The Bedroom, by John Gray. He shares wisdom on the difference between men and women and how to approach your partner so that you can  have an open and honest discussion about sex without feeling personal and defensive. How can you possibly please your partner when you don’t know what they want and vice versa? Open communication is important in every aspect of your relationship.

                More by this author

                Tiffany Mason

                Tiffany is a life coach empowering women to unleash their feminine essence & design a meaningful life & marriage.

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                Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

                Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

                A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

                You know how this looks:

                • Parents constantly comparing children.
                • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
                • Domestic violence.
                • Adultery…
                • And many others.

                For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

                Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

                Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

                This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

                In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

                If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

                How to fix a dysfunctional family

                In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

                And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

                Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

                It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

                Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

                Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

                There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

                Dysfunctional… Or just average?

                Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

                The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

                You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

                A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

                Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

                Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

                • Unrealistic expectations
                • Lack of interest and time spent together
                • Sexism
                • Utilitarianism
                • Lack of empathy
                • Unequal or unfair treatment
                • Disrespect towards boundaries
                • Control Issues
                • Jealousy
                • Verbal and physical abuse
                • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

                You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

                If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

                Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

                How to turn it around

                When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

                But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

                One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

                We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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                As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

                What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

                Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

                Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

                Correction is possible

                In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

                Verbalize it.

                All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

                Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

                This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

                But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

                So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

                Putting it to work in real life

                In real life it would be something like this:

                “OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

                Or:

                “Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

                Or:

                “Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

                As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

                This is what you have to remember:

                1-Stop.

                2-Why it’s wrong?

                3-What you need.

                And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

                It’s a family thing

                A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

                Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

                In other words, you will need cooperation…

                So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

                Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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                We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

                You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

                It’s not a free-for-all battle

                In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

                No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

                Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

                And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

                The method

                1. Drop the ego

                Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

                You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

                Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

                What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

                It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

                After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

                Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

                Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

                Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

                And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

                You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

                2. Not blame, but responsibility

                When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

                But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

                When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

                What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

                Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

                As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

                You will do something like this:

                “Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

                I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

                You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

                I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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                It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

                What happened here?

                We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

                We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

                We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

                And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

                You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

                This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

                3. Doing the work

                What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

                This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

                Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

                If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

                It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

                “When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

                I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

                But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

                You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

                Love is all you need

                You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

                That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

                And what happens if it simply is not there?

                What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

                What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

                There is only one thing you can do:

                To break away.

                Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

                There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

                “We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

                If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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                Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

                You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

                Putting distance

                So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

                What do I mean?

                Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

                Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

                Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

                Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

                They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

                Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

                I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

                I choose my peace of mind.

                And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

                Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

                Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

                How to prevent it

                There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

                • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
                • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

                Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

                You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

                Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

                Priorities and clear thought

                You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

                You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

                You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

                Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

                If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

                And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

                Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

                But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

                Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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