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Stop! 9 WARNING Signs That You May Be in a Dangerous Relationship

Stop! 9 WARNING Signs That You May Be in a Dangerous Relationship

Any relationship can be an unhealthy one. Bad relationships aren’t just limited to marriages or partnerships—they can occur while dating, in friendships, or families. Any relationship that is harmful or destructive to your physical, mental, or emotional well-being is an unhealthy one.

better to be with no one 2

    There are many reasons why people stay in an unhealthy relationship. Some don’t recognize or aren’t willing to accept that the relationship is unhealthy, or they are fearful or lack the inner strength to leave. Or, they believe that they can change their partner and things will improve. The sad truth is that unhealthy relationships rarely get better; instead, they get progressively worse, leaving scars that are difficult to recover from.

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    Warning Signs to Watch Out For

    It’s easy to see the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, if you know what to look for. First, anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or fearful is a clear red flag. It’s a given that if someone is abusing alcohol or drugs the relationship will be unhealthy, but there are many other warning signs that you should be aware of. If you see any of these signs, get out fast.

    #1 Aggressiveness

    Any behavior that is aggressive is unhealthy, but actual physical abuse is just one type of aggressive behavior. Any type of physical force is unhealthy—not only hitting or slapping, but pushing, and grabbing as well. Cruel behavior toward other people or animals is a sign of aggressiveness, as are displays of anger that involve hitting, kicking, or throwing objects.  Any time you feel frightened or intimidated in a relationship, it’s time to get out.

    #2 Control

    Any type of imbalance of power or controlling behavior in a relationship is unhealthy. Any time one person views the other as unequal or inferior, there is an imbalance of power. Often in a controlling relationship, the other person expects you to conform to their expectations of how you should look and behave. They may justify their behavior by claiming they are only trying to help you make good decisions or that they know what’s best for you, but’s it’s really not about what’s best for you—it’s about their need for control. They may go so far as to secretly check your text messages, phone calls, and email to monitor your activity. A sure red flag for controlling behavior is when you feel inferior or that you have no power to make your own decisions.

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    #3 Possessiveness

    Possessive behavior may take the form of jealousy or imposed isolation. They will tell you that it’s just that they love you so much and worry about you, but possessiveness is not about love, it’s about a lack of trust. They may lie or make excuses to prevent you from spending time with other people, like by saying they are sick, or by manufacturing a crisis, for example. They may even call or drop by unexpectedly to “check up on you.” At first, this behavior might feel like intense love, but that’s not love, that’s stalking.

    #4 Self-centeredness

    All of us can be self-centered from time to time; it’s a necessary part of self-preservation. Where selfishness becomes a problem is when everything revolves around how it affects one individual, with no consideration for the other person. Self-centered people think only of themselves, ignoring or discounting the feelings of others. They expect you to meet their needs, both physical and emotional, with no reciprocation on their part. They often make you feel responsible for their happiness and moods. Any time consideration, care, and generosity do not flow both ways, it’s a red flag.

    #5 Manipulation

    A manipulator will use pressure or guilt to get you to do things you don’t want to do—often things you don’t feel are right. Whenever someone makes you feel guilty, uses disapproval or threats to influence you, or withdraws love or attention as punishment, that’s manipulation. If you feel as though you are doing things that you don’t feel comfortable about to please another, it’s a red flag to pay attention to.

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    #6 Frequent Criticism

    We can all be critical of the ideas and behaviors of others at times, but when it’s frequent and done with the intent to hurt or belittle, it’s unhealthy. Critical people make you feel inadequate or unworthy. They repeatedly disrespect you, your thoughts, your behaviors, and your words. They often may humiliate you in front of others, though some may be concerned with how others view them and criticize in private to appear kind and caring to others. Anytime someone makes you feel as though you are not good enough, intelligent enough, attractive enough or that your ideas are stupid or worthless, the warning bells should be going off.

    #7 Volatility

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde do not belong in a relationship, and that kind of volatile and unpredictable behavior is very unhealthy. It can be very confusing and mentally draining to try to deal with sudden shifts in another person’s mood. A person who rages in a fit of anger one minute, then smiles, cries or acts as if nothing happened the next is unstable and needs help. Volatile people can also be hypersensitive to things you say and do, and small or unexpected things seem to set off a drastic mood change. This type of behavior is common in abusive relationships and may be a sign of mental imbalance.

    #8 Dishonesty

    Dishonesty has no place in a healthy relationship. Not only is dishonesty inherently wrong, but it disintegrates trust between two people. The lies may be big or small, excessive exaggeration or complete fabrication, often with no discernible reason. People are dishonest for a number of reasons: they may be trying to exaggerate their own importance, get themselves out of trouble, or trying to hurt others or cause drama. The reason is irrelevant; the lack of honesty and trust makes a healthy relationship impossible.

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    #9 Irresponsibility

    Irresponsible behavior can take many forms and can be the most difficult to recognize. Constant Financial problems or mismanagement of money may be a sign of an irresponsible person, as is the inability to keep a job for very long. When someone expects others to support him or her financially or “rescue” them when they have difficulty in life, that’s a clear red flag. Everyone needs help now and then, but a pattern of expecting others to fix their mistakes or take care of them is a problem. In a healthy relationship, both people take responsibility for their own decisions and meet their own needs.

    healthy and fulfilling relationship may be the single most important thing in our lives, but when it becomes unhealthy, it can also do the most damage. A healthy relationship is one of trust, kindness, respect, understanding, and generosity, one that offers support and encouragement. An unhealthy relationship is one where there is violence, distrust, cruelty, a lack of responsibility, an imbalance of power, blaming, manipulation, or extreme jealousy. When there is a lack of consideration and respect in a relationship, the results can be devastating both physically and mentally. Be aware of the red flags, heed the warning signs, and get out quickly.

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    Royale Scuderi

    A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want 3 Simple Ways to Invest in Yourself and Change Your Life 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples Why You Need to Say No! More Often How to Fall Asleep Fast and Have a Restful Sleep (The Definitive Guide)

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    Published on May 18, 2021

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

    The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

    Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

    Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

    Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

    There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

    Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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    Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

    We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

    Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

    A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

    The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

    Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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    Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

    Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

    Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

    While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

    Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

    These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

    Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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    Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

    Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

    Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

    Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

    Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

    Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

    As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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    This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

    Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

    Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

    These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

    Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

    Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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    Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

    More Tips Improving Listening Skills

    Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

    Reference

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