The following is a continuation of the previous blog post, 13 Signs that Your Relationship is Toxic (Part 1).

  1. Commitment phobia. If your partner of long standing still is unwilling to commit to the relationship in a formal way, you may consider this a warning that they may never be able to make a commitment.
  2. Put-downs, insults and teasing. A little loving teasing is not a bad thing, but if your partner persists in saying hurtful things to you in public or teases unrelentingly, this toxic behavior is designed to put you in a one-down position.
  3. Black-and-white thinking. Lack of flexibility in your partner’s thinking can spell trouble for you. If he or she is unable to see any gray area, then you have very little room to make mistakes before you are condemned as wrong.
  4. Yes, but…. If you hear more excuses than explanations and if every confrontation is deflected with the words “yes, but…,” you are dealing with a person who is unwilling to own his or her behavior. A person who needs someone to blame for everything is unlikely to be a good candidate for a partnership. In healthy relationships, both partners take accountability for their own issues.
  5. Double binds. A double bind is a situation in which, no matter what you do, you will be wrong. Everyone experiences some double bind. A good example might be that you hate your job but if you quit you will have no money. If the double bind always comes from your partner, however, it is a toxic behavior designed to keep you always off balance and always wondering.
  6. Lying. Everyone lies once in a while about small things (and they’re lying if they deny it!) If your partner routinely lies or if the lies your partner is telling result in you getting in some sort of difficulty, that’s a clear indication of toxic behavior.

None of these signs is a stand-along indicator that you need to send your partner packing instantly, but if these behaviors are part of a pattern then the pattern should serve as a warning that you are in a relationship that’s in need of a careful assessment.

Excerpted from Emotional Unavailability by Bryn C. Collins, MA, LP.

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