Every long-term relationship is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of the human spirit – a commitment that will force you to make some incredibly difficult choices. It’s a commitment that demands you deal with your lust, your envy, your greed, your pride, your past, your patience, your craving to control, your temper, and countless other temptations begging to be wedged between you and another.
Unfortunately, not everyone who’s in a long-term relationship accepts this level of commitment. So they cut corners. And their relationship pays the ultimate price – it gradually grows toxic.
Over the past decade, Marc and I have coached hundreds of course students who were suffering from various toxic relationship situations. Our extensive coaching in this area has given us keen insight into the corners people commonly cut in their relationships – the things they refuse to do – that ultimately creates toxicity. Below I have done my best to distill this insight into 20 simple bullet points.
This is a quick look at some of the most prevalent things people in toxic relationships refuse to do, and some good ideas on how to do things differently in your relationships:
- They refuse to make time. – Mistreatment based on lack of attention damages relationships far more often than intentional abuse. There’s nothing more vital to the bond you share with someone than simply being present with them.
- They refuse to uphold the truth. – Trust is the foundation of a relationship, and when trust is broken it takes time and a willingness on the part of both people involved to repair it and heal. All too often I’ll hear a course student say something like, “I didn’t tell her but I didn’t lie about it, either.” This statement is a contradiction, as omissions are lies. If you’re covering up your tracks in any way, it’s only a matter of time before the truth is revealed and trust in the relationship is broken. Speak the truth, no matter what the consequences. Being honest is the only way to be at peace with yourself and those you care about.
- They refuse to stop condemning and attacking. – Complaints are fine. Disagreements are fine too. These are natural, focused reactions to a person’s decisions or behavior. But when complaints and disagreements snowball into global attacks on the person, and not on their decisions or behavior, this spells trouble. For example: “They didn’t call me when they said they would because they forgot, but because they’re a horrible, wretched human being.” [Read more…]