Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Is Your Relationship Toxic? Could It Kill You?

We had an amazing show this past Saturday.  We were talking about abusive relationships and how to recognize the warning signs of a potentially harmful relationship (click here to listen to it).  What so many of the calls and emails focused on was the failure to recognize that the relationship was not only not good but dangerous. 

For both men and women, the warning signs are almost always there, and the abuse doesn't have to be physical. In fact many, many couples are in very abusive and toxic relationships without a single episode of physical harm.  So - how can you tell?  Well psychologist Joseph Carver has a great list of warning signs that your partner may be toxic:
  • Were you the ‘love of their life’, their ‘soulmate’ or new best friend
    within weeks?
  • Were they initially charming, saying all the right things, “mirroring” your hopes, desires, and feelings?
  • Are they jealous and possessive?
  • Do they have few friends or long-term relationships?
    Multiple failed relationships?
  • Do they badmouth their ex or other friends?
  • Do they tell lies, big and small?
  • Does the relationship veer from hot to cold? Do they “Jekyll and Hyde”?
  • Do they have an unstable work history, frequent unemployment or
    job changes?
  • Do you find yourself “covering” for them, making them appear better than they really are?
  • Do they have constant financial problems?
  • Are people mad at them because they don’t honor their debts?
  • Do they have a lack of realistic goals? A history of living off others?
  • Are they comfortable taking money from you?
    Have they ever used your credit cards without your knowledge?
  • Do they make you feel guilty about your outside interests, time spent with friends or family?
  • Do they make you feel you’re not good enough, that you’re lucky to
    have them?
  • Have they ever humiliated you in public?
  • Do they withdraw love, friendship or approval as punishment?
  • Do they have a bad temper triggered by something seemingly insignificant? Do you often not even know what set them off?
  • Do they always shift blame onto you? Is whatever’s wrong always your fault?
  • After raging, do they act like nothing at all has happened?
  • Do you ever feel “smothered” by them?
  • Do they ever threaten, hit or shove you, punch walls, break your things or call you names?
  • Are they always on the “outs” with someone?
  • Do they pressure you to quit or change jobs/friends/relationships/homes?
  • Do they have problems with authority figures?
  • Stalked anyone for any reason whatsoever?
    Have they had Restraining Orders?
  • Is your self-esteem eroding?
  • Do you sometimes feel you’re the crazy one?
  • Is the relationship affecting other aspects of your life?
  • Do you have a gut, “sick” sense that things just aren’t right?
  • Do you sometimes wish it would just all “go away”?

Well? See anything familiar? If so, it's time to address the issues and think twice about the relationship.  Better to act now than to be sorry later. Dr. Carver has a great webpage. Check it out.

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