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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.

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    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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    Last Updated on January 15, 2019

    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

    When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

    Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

    It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

    While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

    Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

    What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

    How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

    It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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    People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

    “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

    In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

    Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

    As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

    When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

    It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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    What are Interpersonal Skills?

    Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

    In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

    From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

    For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

    Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

    How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

    There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

    There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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    Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

    I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

    Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

    “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

    Don’t overlook introspection.

    While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

    Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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    When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

    Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

    “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

    The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

    The Bottom Line

    You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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