Are You The Toxic Person in Your Relationship?
Have you ever stopped to think whether or not you are the toxic person in your relationship?
We all have those moments in relationships where we wonder if we’re crazy or if it’s our partner. One common problem in many relationships is our thinking and expectations of our partners can become distorted or problematic.
Sometimes the way we think about ourselves interferes with our ability to even find a good relationship partner.
Here are 10 ways our thinking in relationships can become “twisted” and hold us back from happy and fulfilling relationships.
How do you know if you are the toxic person in a relationship?
1. All or Nothing Thinking
You choose to see everything as black or white.
There are no shades of gray with this type of thinking.
This leads to fault finding with our partners or unnecessary guilt about ourselves. When we think in all-or-nothing terms we often make mistakes and automatically think, “Because I messed up, I am a total failure.”
How to stop all or nothing thinking?
You must begin letting your partner make some of the decision. This allows you to begin learning to trust your partner.
You do not have to make all the decisions. Once the decision has been made by your partner, it is important to experience successes and failures together.
If you let your partner make a decision and it turns into a disaster, this is an opportunity to learn and grow together. This is not a time to criticize your partner.
You and your partner must come together and search for solutions. This will take time and practice, however, it will definitely improve your relationship for the better and foster trust between you both.
2. What is Overgeneralization?
Overgeneralization – is assuming that because something bad happened once, it’s bound to happen again and again.
If you get rejected for a date, you assume that every time you ask someone on a date from here on out, they’ll say no just because it happened that one time.
You need to look at each new experience with a positive mindset. Believe that anything can happen. Do not try to anticipate what might happen, because you may be misjudged a situation or someone because of your own insecurities.
It is important to note that if you are viewing other situations in your life this way, you will also be looking at people you have a relationship with in the same way.
3. How to STOP Focusing on The Negatives?
You are paying attention to the negative details about a person or situation and focus exclusively on that detail so that the entire story in your mind becomes negative.
If you received a 95/100 on an exam in college, even though this might have been the highest score in the class, you focus on the 5 questions you missed and berate yourself for being “so stupid”, causing you to feel hopeless about your academic future.
Focusing on the positives rather than the negatives is a great way to show self-love. In essence, what you are doing by “berating” yourself is practicing negative self-talk.
If you have this habit then you will practice in other relationships in your life. You will find something negative with everyone around you, including those who you have close relationships with.
Along the same lines..
When you disqualify the positive experiences, you never accept that anything good is happening to you or anything good about anyone else around you.
You filter out the positive details and you discount them to be meaningless.
If your partner gives you a sincere compliment, you might think, “They’re just pitying me because I look pathetic.”
If they have a great quality about them, you may overlook it because you can’t get past the fact that they don’t do something the exact way that you would.
4. Jumping to Conclusions in Relationships
We call this “mind-reading” and the “fortune-teller error.”
Mind reading – is when you assume you know the intentions behind someone’s actions, or you assume you know what someone is thinking (and it’s usually negative). The problem with this is it leads you to respond defensively and/or withdraw from people which creates more negative interactions, causing a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.
Fortune-teller error – happens when you assume you know that something bad is going to happen. Most of the time, these negative expectations are unrealistic, but they can cause pessimism and hopelessness, which leads to depression.
5. Belittling Feelings
What is belittling behavior?
Minimization of someone’s feelings, is when you or your partner look at the other person’s concerns and invalidate them by making the concern seem small and insignificant from your perspective, instead of empathizing with them.
This can lead to self-doubt in your partner and hesitation for them to feel like they can be open with you about concerns.
6. Being Dramatic
When you look at one mistake someone else makes and, dramatically, blow it out of proportion, it becomes the worst thing you could have possibly done, a.k.a magnification.
By continuing to magnify the bad and minimize the good, you condemn yourself to constantly make each other feel insecure and inferior!
How to be less dramatic?
Establishing trust and clear communication with your partner should be yours and your partner’s top priority. Belittling your partner’s feelings by minimization or being dramatic by magnifying something the have done, is no way to build a healthy relationship built on trust.
It creates a toxic relationship that negatively impacts yours and your partner’s mental health.
7. Emotional Reasoning
Here, you take your emotions for truth. You use emotions over reasoning to drive your decision making.
If you feel sad or hopeless, you assume that things really are terrible and hopeless, even if they are, in fact, hopeful and happy.
Emotional reasoning is at the root of most procrastination because you tell yourself you don’t feel like cleaning your house, so you convince yourself that it truly must be best to not to do it.
8. Should Statements
Examples of should statements:
Your main source of motivation is telling yourself that you “should” do this or that.
Instead of this motivating you to move forward, however, you feel guilty when you don’t live up to these “should” statements and this makes you apathetic and unmotivated.
You could also be directing should statements toward others by expecting them to behave a certain way.
When they don’t live up to your expectations, you become frustrated and resentful, which takes a lot of energy on your part to keep up.
9. What Are The Consequences of Labeling People?
Labeling yourself is an extreme form of overgeneralization.
When you make a mistake, you say something to the effect of, “I’m a pathetic loser”, instead of, “I made a mistake”.
Labeling others can cause you to feel hostile towards them because they’ve become a certain type of person in your mind and nothing they do will ever change that label for you.
If you know someone who was snyde to you once, you might have labeled them as a snobbish, rude, and insensitive person, when in reality they might have just been having a rough day.
Just because they were rude once doesn’t mean they are destined to always be rude to everyone around them. But when you label them as such, you see everything they do through the lens of “they’re so rude!”
10. Personalization and Guilt Tripping in Relationships
This is where we run into the problem with guilt.
When you personalize, you take responsibility for negative events even when they’re not your fault.
If a teacher has a student who fails his state standardized tests, she might feel that his failing is her fault for being a bad teacher.
In reality, she can only influence her students, not control what they do. In the end, the choice is up to them how they want to act.
When you guilt trip your partner by making them thinking they are actually to blame. Misplacing responsibility for a poor outcome or redirect blame for your own actions.
Example of guilt tripping:
- See what you made me do!
- This would not have happened if you just would have let me…
- I only act this way because you…
Guilt tripping destroys trust in a relationship. Taking responsibility for your own actions and exercising humility will improve your relationship and build a solid foundation of trust.