While everyone does unhealthy things sometimes, we can all learn to love better by recognizing unhealthy signs and shifting to healthy behaviors.
When you first met they were fun and you felt mysteriously drawn to them. However, before you know it, you’re wearing rose-colored glasses and ignoring signs of trouble. What felt so unbelievably right at the beginning of the relationship has become uncomfortable, aggravating, and unpredictable. Maybe it has deteriorated into a situation that feels unsafe and out of control. Over time, they become the whole focus of the relationship.
Clients often ask me, "How did I end up with someone so selfish and self-centered?" The person asking is always a caring, generous, empathetic reliable person that works hard to please others. However, they can be easily manipulated by others because they tend to be passive and overly compliant and to have high levels of guilt and obligation, or fear of anger in others. They would rather feel hurt, angry, or depressed themselves rather than have the person they care about experience any of those feelings. This makes them highly vulnerable to being taken advantage of and mistreated in relationships with people who are highly self-oriented and selfish.
Below are the signs of a manipulative relationship. If you are seeing a significant number of these signs in your relationship, it’s important to not ignore them and understand they can escalate to abuse. If you think you are in a dangerous situation, trust your gut and reach out for help.
On the other hand, healthy relationships bring out your best. They're built on trust, respect, honesty, and kindness. A healthy relationship does not mean a “perfect” relationship, and no one is healthy 100% of the time. But learning the signs of a manipulative relationship, and creating a "Survivor mindset", will bring you hope, empowerment, and healing.
With over 10 years of training, education, and experience as a Counselor, I've been honored to help others recover and heal from manipulative relationships. Healing IS possible and I can help!