Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

Can Unhealthy Relationships Become Healthy?

Certain bad, detrimental, and toxic behaviors in unhealthy relationships are arranged from the immutable to the changeable. With an explanation.

Man and woman in toxic relationship

The immutability of a relationship is linked to the variability of personality.

  1. Some traits and characteristics can be found in, for example, narcissistic personalities as well as in neurotic ones.
  2. I have divided them into 5 degrees of change and explained why I believe a relationship is changeable.
  3. You’ll notice that some characteristics repeat in different groups.

This is due to the fact that certain behaviors originate from a particular personality type in one group and a different one in another. So, people may do the same thing, but for various reasons.

If the motive is malice, it’s unchangeable, but if it’s fear or learned negativity, it’s changeable.

I want to emphasize that this is just my opinion. It should be taken with a grain of salt because, in order to assess the situation, all circumstances must be taken into account.

Relationships that can’t improve

Relationships with individuals with narcissistic personality disorder, narcissistic personalities, relationships with psychopaths, and sadists.

  • Some other personality disorders fall into this category but are irrelevant to the text.
  • Unfortunately, there’s no evidence of change in such personalities.
  • These types of people get a lot from their partners because of their narcissistic personalities (don’t forget: narcissists are the ultimate parasites) + They are always right. They have a very high opinion of themselves and always blame others. And because of that, they are unchangeable. Because why change someone who doesn’t make mistakes? Let others change. Those who were wrong.

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A man and a woman look at each other; toxic relationship

Gaslighting

Deceiving and confusing a partner is a hallmark of manipulative personalities. As a rule, manipulative personalities are not changeable because they profit from their behavior. Gaslighting is one of the many strategies used by manipulators to pervert reality or cast doubt on a victim’s perceptions in order to get them to question their own sanity or judgement.

Manipulation

A characteristic of manipulative and narcissistic personalities. This could involve using guilt, fear, flattery, or deceit to sway someone’s opinions or behaviors in a particular direction. Recognizing manipulation can be challenging, as it often operates under the guise of concern or altruism.

Group of people

Isolation

Narcissistic individuals tend to isolate their victims to exert control over them. Isolation serves this purpose by weakening the victim’s sense of independence and self-worth. The goal is to make the person feel helpless and abandoned by everyone. Additionally, isolation helps the narcissist maintain control over the victim. The goal is to suit their own agenda by preventing the victim from accessing alternate opinions.

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Control

Control is a typical tool that narcissists use in their interactions. A person under the control of a narcissistic personality serves their purposes: the narcissist feels superior, he or she uses the victim’s resources, and the victim keeps the narcissist’s ego needs high. For these reasons, narcissistic personalities never let go of the people under their control.

Physical violence

Increased aggression is a characteristic of sociopaths, psychopaths, and sadists. Sociopaths feel that the rules do not apply to them. Psychopathy, on the other hand, involves deriving pleasure from someone else’s suffering. Sadism is the fulfillment of one’s urges.

This group also includes narcissistic personalities, borderlines, and people with impulsive personality traits.

Blaming you for everything

Man in unhealthy relationship

Blaming others is associated with narcissistic personalities. For narcissists, accepting fault or acknowledging their own mistakes is often seen as a threat to their fragile ego. This is why the relationship remains the same forever. The person does this so that the partner is concerned solely with how to fix themselves, how to correct their mistakes or how to please the other person

Desire to make a partner feel guilty

Narcissistic behavior (the better version) and psychopathic behavior (the worse version). However, they are not far from each other. The former implies that the person must win and be right, while the latter involves enjoying the victim’s torment. Both involve some degree of sadism. The goal, of course, is to keep the person under control.

Walking on eggshells

Somewhat associated with aggression or narcissistic behavior. If it’s aggression, you fear the person’s reaction. If it’s narcissistic behavior, you’re in a dynamic where they enjoy their dominance over you. It’s more about the discomfort you feel in these situations. In both cases, it is unhealthy to stay in such a relationship.

Shaming

Woman in bad relationship

Possibly psychopathic, narcissistic, and sadistic behavior. Lack of empathy and emotions. Psychopathy is enjoying someone else’s pain, while sadism is satisfying one’s own needs. The goal is often dominance and maintaining a great self-image, because narcissistic personalities are often mediocre. But if the person is successful, shame is associated with sadism.

Toxic communication

In this case, if you notice enjoyment in what the person is doing and no remorse, attempt at redemption, or change, it’s likely a narcissistic personality. It can also come from a neurotic personality, which I’ll discuss below.

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Financial restrictions

If it comes from a narcissistic personality, it falls under the partner’s control. Narcissistic personalities do everything they can to ensure that their victim does not have their freedom and remains tied to them as their only source of opinion, information, finances, etc. However, it can also come from a neurotic personality, which I’ll discuss below.

Man and woman in toxic relationship

You feel attacked and unsupported

If it comes from a narcissistic personality, it’s the need to keep you down to maintain a subordinate position. Remember that narcissistic personalities are mostly mediocre, and their main way of keeping themselves better than their victims is to keep them down. This is done through emotions, psychological manipulation, etc. This behavior falls into two more categories.

Silent treatments

It can stem from psychopathy or narcissistic personality disorder. The goal is to cause a feeling of helplessness and frustration in the other person and thus subjugate them to narcissist will and establish control over the situation. It can also be a means of punishing or manipulating a person who is a threat to their ego and self-confidence.

Relationships that are extremely difficult to change.

Although change is possible (if it comes from such personalities), it isn’t easy because these behaviors are simultaneously tied to their defense mechanisms.

  • These are unhealthy relationships with people who have learned behavior patterns + are deeply entrenched in neuroses.
  • Such individuals likely learned these patterns in their parental home so that they may mimic them.
  • Mandatory psychotherapy can last for years—at least a year.
  • If they change these behaviors, their defenses will disappear, they believe.

Two sources of toxic dynamics in relationships

Man in toxic relationship

Walking on eggshells

If it comes from neurotic individuals who have adopted intimidation as a model that works well for them, this pattern is changeable with psychotherapy. Family therapy may be a good choice.

They strip away your self-esteem

It’s possible that this behavior pattern was learned from a childhood object. Perhaps this was applied to a person, and they associated it with power. Dominance is what a person wants to establish over others in a way they remember from childhood.

Blaming you for everything

This can be a reaction that comes from an ego injury. Some people react to ego injuries in a tumultuous and uncontrollable way. Changes are possible when the person is less emotional.

Toxic communication

A beautiful woman thinking

Once again, this is a possible learned behavior pattern. Perhaps the person was verbally abused as a child, so toxic communication feels familiar. It’s also possible that, when in fear, the person retaliates by attacking. And finally: toxic communication makes them strong… they remember that this kind of behavior is a characteristic of the powerful. As their parents were once powerful.

If it involves constant criticism, it may come from a narcissistic need to keep you in an inferior position. Try to distinguish which of these two it is.

You feel attacked and unsupported

The attack may stem from the partner’s powerlessness and the lack of support due to inferiority issues. It can also arise from increased neuroses, which lead the partner to attack. It is possible that this behavior is learned.

Furthermore, the individual might no longer be able to deal with something they perceive as unfairness or aggression.

Relationships that are very difficult to improve.

These unhealthy relationships can improve because they involve patterns that are learned incorrectly.

  • These behaviors are associated with neuroses. It doesn’t necessarily have to be severe neuroses, making them easier to overcome.
  • They are also linked to immature narcissism. I recognize this by having less aggression than in the previous ones and more self-absorption.
  • These behaviors are changeable because they mainly focus on their emotional needs, which they satisfy incorrectly by sticking to the same patterns.
  • If that person learns different patterns and still gets the same satisfaction, they can change.
  • Psychotherapy is necessary for change. Psychotherapy can be completed within six months to a year with strong willpower.
  • It’s possible, but change rarely comes just from a partner’s strong will.
Group of people standing

Failure to fulfill promises

There’s a chance that the person is poorly learned. This can occur for various reasons, including forgetfulness, lack of intention to fulfill the promise, unforeseen circumstances, or deliberate avoidance. It could be attention-seeking or irresponsibility linked to neuroses.

Controlling

It’s possible this pattern was learned in childhood. Maybe the controlling behavior comes from a person who is afraid of abandonment or of being embarrassed.

Disrespect

It also seems like a learned trait from childhood. It’s associated with immature narcissism. They don’t necessarily have to be evil; they’re just immature and lack boundaries.

Neglecting others needs

A beautiful woman thinking about men

Again, focusing on their own needs and satisfying themselves by neglecting their partner. Selfishness, lack of awareness of consequences, lack of time or resources, and lack of communication.

Sometimes a person may not be aware of other people’s needs because there is no clear communication or conversation about what those needs even are.

11 Hidden and Subtle Toxic Behaviors in Relationships

Drama

Immature narcissism. The person tries to get attention and assumes a role. This can easily entertain them or make them feel safer. Because it entertains a person, it is harder to give it up; however, it can be unlearned, and a better pattern can be learned.

A person thinks only of themselves

Selfishness stems from satisfying their own needs. The person doesn’t care about the other person but is focused on themselves. Because of the great benefits it receives, there is no need to change. But they may strain to act in order to keep the other person.

Man with glasses in toxic relationship

Competition

It comes from immaturity and the need for social recognition. The person might just be having fun or, for more profound reasons, need to win (read: prove themselves) and is unaware that the person against them feels inferior. The problem is that this is often an integral part of their personality.

Dishonesty

Often linked to neuroses and fears. Perhaps the person is afraid to be honest because they have childhood traumas from reactions to their honesty and mistakes.

Constant criticism

A pattern likely learned in childhood from some figures. The person considers such behavior to be normal. It can also come from neurosis and dissatisfaction. It’s possible to unlearn it and adopt new ways of communicating.

Relationships that are difficult to improve

These are more straightforward cases because they often stem from heightened neuroses and fears related to personal well-being.

  • Changing these bad relationships requires the partner’s determination.
  • Also, in such cases, it may be about your feelings, mutual dynamics, or poor communication.
  • Psychotherapy is not mandatory but it is desirable . I recommend a mediator if therapy is conducted as a couple.

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of Toxic Relationships

Group of people

Financial restrictions

Fear of money and personal well-being. Money may represent security to the person, and they fear losing it. It’s necessary to treat this fear and its roots. It is also possible for the finances to be organized differently through an agreement.

Resentment

Arises as a result of mutual dynamics. The person has resistance towards the other because there’s a dynamic of hurting each other. “Redemption” is needed (perhaps on both sides), as well as a conversation with an expert to correct this unhealthy relationship.

You feel attacked and unsupported

Group of people

Checking if it’s your issue is essential. It is possible that you only feel attacked, but that in reality, the attack is not happening. But in any case, it stems from mutual dynamics. If that’s the case, practicing different patterns with your partner is necessary. If that feeling comes from you, you may need to talk to a psychotherapist. Above, I mentioned two cases where the partner is responsible.

Feeling inferior

Again, it may come from you. People who tend to feel inferior often (most commonly) seek partners who will make them feel that way. This is, in any case, a mutual dynamic, and both partners need to be involved in the changes.

Disrespect

Likely learned in childhood. It can be unlearned by setting clear boundaries with the partner. It’s necessary to go far in terms of consequences (even leaving) until the partner realizes they cannot disrespect the person. The obvious problem is that it’s a mutual dynamic, and people who are accustomed to disrespect rarely stand up for themselves in the right way.

Relationships that can get better

Pay attention to whether you are the person applying any of these methods.

  • These patterns are often the result of incorrectly learned dynamics in childhood.
  • A person can learn differently with determination and training
Group-of-people-are-standing

Silent treatments

Patterns used by neurotics and learned in childhood. It can be fear of confrontation, so the person punishes the other in the least aggressive but effective way. Fear of making the situation worse. A person must become braver.

Constant arguments

Mutual dynamic. Neither person wants to break the cycle. In this vicious circle, there are either habits of speaking like this, a wounded ego, or deep psychological reasons why a person argues. It’s possible to learn better communication.

Poor communication

Man and woman are fighting

Characteristics of neurotics most often. It’s possible that social skills were not developed in childhood or were sabotaged. The background could be fears of judgment, fear of making mistakes, lack of critical thinking, etc. This is overcome by developing social skills.

How to protect yourself from toxicity in relationships

Jealousy

Since it stems from low self-confidence, it’s possible to change this trait by not provoking jealousy, helping the person gain confidence, and working on oneself and areas that will boost confidence.

Ignoring boundaries

Probably learned in childhood to ignore others’ boundaries. Probably the person comes from a family where respect for others’ boundaries was not important. It is challenging, but it is possible to unlearn using rewards and punishments.

Resentment

Man and woman in relationship

Probably developed because the person feels hurt by the other person. Compensation is needed from the person who was “hurting,” as well as correcting the previous dynamics on both sides until a favorable solution is reached for both.

Hoping for change

There are two variants:

  1. Someone just hopes things will change without taking action.
  2. Someone wants a different partner.

In the first case, it’s necessary to start taking concrete steps, and in the second, we can either leave a partner who doesn’t suit us or find peace in the relationship. The worst option is to keep yourself and the other person trapped in the relationship.

Lack of support

Teach the person how you want to be supported. Teach them exactly what you want them to say and how to behave towards you. When you give them clear instructions, the situation may improve. If it doesn’t, maybe you’re in the wrong relationship.

I hope this was helpful. Dee

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