Listed below are five distinct types of harmful relationships.  As you read through this list, you might find that your relationship with someone contains all five characteristics, or you may identify with only one or two.  Please understand that if you experience even one of these patterns consistently in your relationship with someone, the behavior will cause harm to both you and your relationship if left unaddressed.

WHEN DOES A RELATIONSHIP BECOME DESTRUCTIVE?

  1. One or both parties commit physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse upon the other.
  2. One person is regularly overprotective, overbearing, or both toward the other.
  3. One person is overdependent upon the other to affirm his or her personal value and worth, to meet all of his or her needs, and to make most of his or her decisions.
  4. One person demonstrates a pattern of deceiving the other through lying, hiding, pretending, misleading, or twisting information to make something appear other than what it is.
  5. One person exhibits chronic indifference, neglect, or both toward the thoughts, feelings, or well-being of the other.

Keep in mind that we are all capable of doing these things.  What makes these actions destructive is their repetitive pattern, as well as lack of awareness, lack of remorse, and lack of significant change.  This distinction should not minimize the destructiveness of isolated instances.  There are times when a single incident of abuse or serious deceit is all it takes to completely destroy a relationship, even if the offender is remorseful and desires to change.  It only takes one bullet to kill someone.

Resource:  The Emotionally Destructive Relationship, Leslie Vernick

About the Author:

Janie is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist in Orlando, Florida. Janie believes that everyone has a story. These stories give meaning and purpose to the chaos of everyday life. Janie believes that people can get stuck in their life with unhealthy coping mechanisms, unhealed past traumas or wounds deep inside themselves. Janie invites people to take a journey with her to discover their own life story by helping them make connections with their behavior and needs, recognize the patterns, as well as why they have developed those patterns. Janie's passion is to walk alongside individuals as they face past wounds to create healing in their lives.

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