If You Keep Ending Up In Unhealthy Relationships, You’re Doing Something Wrong

Unhealthy relationships come in many shapes and sizes, with varying levels of crappiness. For many, it may feel like you’re stuck, always seeming to end up with the same toxic types of people. If you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship again, it might be time to do a little self-exploration into what that pattern says about you.

  1. You Unconsciously Pick Partners That Match Your Level Of Mental Health. Typically without any awareness, we’re drawn to partners that are as mentally healthy or unhealthy as we are. Hearing this may make you feel defensive, and that’s okay. If this is the case, it’d be a great idea to examine this further because a big part of finding a healthy partner is being able to identify your own issues and directly addressing them.
  2. You Repeat Attachment Issues Learned In Childhood. As a child, your parent or parents become your first blueprint as to what a relationship is and looks like. If you grew up with parents who sent you unclear messages about relationships, communication, and emotional expression, you may find yourself replicating these types of attachment issues as an adult.
  3. You’re Not Fully In Tune With Yourself. AIf you weren’t taught about listening to yourself and your needs as a child, you may not be completely in touch with your gut instinct. For example, if a crying child is told, “You’re not sad,” it sends a confusing message and inadvertently informs the child that their sense of self is wrong and that they don’t understand themselves as well as the grown-ups do. As an adult, you may find yourself drawn to highly controlling, manipulative partners who can take advantage of this type of learned dependency.
  4. Communication Is Difficult For You. If you were sent mixed messages as a child, of course communication may be more challenging for you. Before you can communicate your needs to your partner, you need to become of aware of your needs and why they’re significant to you. You may be drawn to more narcissistic partners who are happy to do all of the talking or equally challenged communicators, which may recreate a confusing and ill-defined relationship.
  5. Your Needs Aren’t Your Priority. Taking care of yourself may not really be on your radar because you weren’t taught how to do it or the importance of doing so. When children aren’t taught to assess their own needs and address them, they tend to grow up having difficulty doing just that. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. It might take time and a concerted effort, but you can start putting yourself first and learn to give yourself the care you need and deserve.
  6. You Lack Experience With Healthy Relationships. If you’ve never experienced a healthy relationship before, you probably don’t know what it looks like and feels like. Typically healthy relationships are balanced, where the needs of both partners are addressed with open, honest communication, and no one party is prioritized more than the other. Both partners can admit to mistakes and work with the other partner when finding a resolution that fits the needs of the relationship.
  7. You Feel More Comfortable Taking Care Of Others Than Yourself. You may prioritize the happiness of others above yourself. If this is the case, it would be helpful if you could think about why, and where this notion came from. Yes, it’s awesome to take care of others, but it’s also unhealthy to always put others before yourself because you feel you have to.
  8. You Have A Skewed View Of Relationships. If you rely on movies and TV shows as your basis for relationship goals, you’re screwed. The most entertaining shows typically have the most mentally unstable, personality-disordered characters. Drama, miscommunication, gossip, lies, scandal, and affairs all come with the territory of being very emotionally young, like a bunch of toddlers throwing tantrums. Believe me, watching a show about healthy adults would be super boring and uneventful.
  9. You Engage In Mind Reading. Mind reading is when you assume you know why your partner is behaving a certain way and what they’re thinking. For example, if you expect your partner to contact you every day, but you never explicitly informed them of that, and one day they don’t contact you, you may come up with several assumptions as to why they didn’t reach out. You may think that they don’t love or care about you, that they’re going to break up with you, or that you’re worthless. When you’re nervous about expressing your needs to your partner or you don’t know what your needs are, you’ll probably engage in mind-reading as a way to try to understand the relationship in all the wrong ways.
  10. You Feel Like You Don’t Deserve A Healthy Relationship. Everyone has negative core beliefs that come up from time to time. The bummer about this is if you’ve had a core belief that was established during your childhood, you may be engaging in a self-fulfilling prophecy. This means that if you keep thinking this about yourself, eventually you’ll make it your reality.
Gabrielle Applebury is a Marriage and Family Therapist intern, with a specialty in working with those who have experienced trauma. Along with her husband, she has adopted three dogs, two cats and two horses. She is a blog contributor for Oh Tiny Heart, BlogPaws, and The OC PTSD Center.