If you follow our content then you've probably heard us say many times that it's very important to know what you expect in a relationship and to not settle for less than that. Of course, that's pretty much common sense but it's not always the easiest thing to follow through on.
We think one of the reasons it is so difficult is because we often don't really know what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like. Like most of us, you have probably had very unhealthy role-models and your past relationships probably haven't done much to change your ideas about Love. They usually just perpetuate them.
So when someone like us tells you to know your boundaries and standards and stick to them, you may not even know where to begin with that. And even if you do, you probably still accept a few things as normal that are actually highly abusive.
Before we begin, we want to be clear that, generally speaking, we don't think anyone is out to hurt you. Of course, there are people who get off on abusing people but that is usually not the case. Usually what you have are two decent people who are going through their own personal challenges and that results in abusive behavior between them.
As we go through these points, you may even recognize this behavior in yourself. That doesn't make you a bad person, it simply means that you've accepted some behavior as normal that is actually hurting you and your partner.
But to heal from this, we have to start to stand up to this behavior, to not allow it from others or ourselves, and that's what this post is about. We're going to look at 3 highly destructive behaviors that are commonly accepted in relationships.
This may come as a surprise to you, to hear that someone being inconsistent is actually abusive. After all, inconsistency is almost glorified in our culture. To be the busy person who's life is so full and in-demand by so many people that any one person becomes irrelevant to you--that's the dream.
In dating, inconsistency is usually attractive. When someone doesn't call or text back, it makes us think they are important, it makes us want their attention more, it makes us want to prove ourselves to them.
That's the image that we look to as being a powerful and confident person, someone who is independent and doesn't need anyone. In many ways, we're all trying to be that person, thinking that our deep need for Love and affection is something wrong with us and we try to hide it or ignore it altogether.
We don't realize that the people who "don't need anyone" are usually the most unsatisfied people. They have closed off the deepest and most vulnerable parts of themselves and have become a shell of a person.
Inconsistency is a tell-tale sign of such a person.
When someone is inconsistent, it means that they either don't understand that it's important for them to show up for the people they Love, or they don't care to. Either way, it doesn't bode well for a relationship.
Inconsistency means that they don't recognize their own need for Love and affection and therefore can't recognize it in someone else. How could someone who doesn't recognize their own need for Love truly Love someone else?
When someone is inconsistent with you in a relationship it leads to a constant feeling of not being safe, a constant wondering and uncertainty. It makes you doubt the person and doubt yourself. It makes you feel like you are not good enough. In the worst cases, it leads to jealousy and fighting.
When two people Love each other, they want to make each other feel safe. So it's not too much to ask for someone to check in with you, to let you know where they are, and what they're doing. We're not saying they have to give you every detail of their lives, but they include you in their life.
They call when they say they will. They respond to messages. They show up when you have plans. They let you know what their plans are. We're not suggesting any hard rules for this, but the point is they show up for you and you feel safe with them because of that.
A friend of mine once told me that a guy she was dating said to her that she would look better if she just lost a little weight and she was working really hard trying to look good enough for him. She was a young, healthy woman in great shape, most anyone would have thought she was beautiful, except for the person closest to her.
This kind of criticism is especially destructive because it creates a feeling that we are never good enough for the person we are closest to, that in our own private lives, and even in our homes, we are not good enough. And if we can't be good enough there, that will seep into every other area of our lives.
Criticism can show up in different ways. It can be about the physical, it can be about their "annoying habits", the things they say, the decisions they've made, their wanting to have sex too often or not enough, and on and on.