One of the most destructive elements in a relationship is toxic communication. When a couple does not know how to communicate effectively, misunderstandings, arguments, and resentments ensue.
It may feel easier to lash out, pout, or make mean remarks when your guy fails to live up to your expectations or does something that upsets you. It is much harder to admit you feel hurt or scared.
Toxic ways of communicating might be old scars left over from past relationships or family issues. They might be a pattern you have both fallen into that is difficult to break.
By learning how to handle these uncomfortable emotions in a positive way, you will open up more paths of communication and intimacy with your partner, setting the foundation for a lasting and healthy relationship.
Anger Comes Out When You Least Expect It
Have you ever exploded at your boyfriend over something seemingly innocuous? Have you ever yelled at someone because they forgot to bring you the glass of water you asked for, or didn’t hold your hand long enough at a party?
Often anger bubbles to the surface without any warning, and it can be triggered by a simple gesture or expression that sets something off deep in your memory.
Whether it is because your boyfriend is acting in a way you have told him repeatedly bothers you, or it is the first time something he did set you off, look at the underlying reasons for your anger.
Maybe you feel he is ignoring your feelings by continuing to act in a way that you have told him upsets you. Maybe something he did reminds you of your father when he broke your heart at age three.
Examine why you are feeling the way you are, then talk to your loved one about it.
If he can see why something small is so upsetting to you, he will make more of an effort to adjust his behavior. At least he will know why your emotions seem out of proportion to his actions.
Fear Drives Human Behavior
So much of our self-destructive behavior comes out of fear. We push people away when we are scared of getting hurt. We sabotage relationships in order to maintain control and prevent our hearts from getting broken first.
Have you ever found yourself picking a fight with your man after sharing an especially intimate moment? Do you start acting jealous or passive-aggressive when things are just getting good?
Maybe you want to avoid getting close and becoming vulnerable. Maybe you are testing him to see if he really loves you.
These are all toxic ways to express your feelings.
If you understand the root causes of your fear, you can work on preventing this paralysis from destroying the possibility of good in your life.
By opening up your heart and expressing your fears, you allow another human being to get closer to you. That might be scary, but it is when we take a risk that we reap the biggest gains.
It’s Not Just You
Women are not the only ones guilty of exhibiting toxic behavior.
You could be dating a man who shuts down, lashes out, or plays mind games, which might be due to past traumas or unhealthy relationships.
Often when one party in a relationship starts on this destructive road, the other person will join them. Co-dependent couples often enable each other’s toxicity.
With work, couples can mend these wounds of the past. If you are committed to the relationship, consider counseling to learn healthier ways to communicate.
However, if the relationship is new, think about why you want to pursue this route which already appears fraught. Do you need to fight this battle?
Hit the Pause Button
One of the best ways to begin to change toxic behavior is to stop. When you hear that negative self-chatter in your brain encouraging you to act out, take a beat.
You don’t have to hit reply right away. If you are face to face, say you need to go outside for a moment to get some fresh air.
Sometimes just stepping away for a minute is enough to let enflamed emotions subside.
Sometimes a relationship needs a pause, while you consider which toxic elements are within your control (and which are not). By taking some time to cultivate self-awareness and self-forgiveness, you will have a clearer mind towards how you really want to proceed.
Say What You Mean but Don’t Say it Mean
Addressing a propensity towards negative reactions does not mean you need to bottle up your emotions. An inability to express yourself honestly can be fatal to a relationship.
If you have been single for a long time, you could be reluctant to say anything contrary to a new love interest for fear they will leave you.
However, do you really want to invest your time and energy into a relationship where you cannot speak your mind?
You have control over the way you present your wishes and desires. You do not have control over how he reacts.
If you express yourself with kindness and sensitivity and he does not respond in a similar way, maybe the toxicity is on his part.
As long as you can say with confidence that you did your best and acted as generously as possible, you can move on without shame or self-judgment.
Toxic Communication: There is Hope
If you find yourself repeating patterns like toxic communication and game-playing, there is hope. With some self-reflection and work, you can discover the underlying motivations for your self-destructive behavior. It is never too late to learn that you deserve better and how to attain what you want instead of settling for what you have.
You are never too old to find true love, and you should never give up. Hearts can heal and old ways can change. By remaining open, honest, and loving, anything is possible.
If you are interested in more information on finding new, more fulfilling ways to achieve love of self and love of others, contact us.