We have discussed 8 signs of a toxic relationship, where some often-overlooked abusive tendencies came into light for many people. Tendencies that we brush off in modern society as “normal” or “just the way things are.” In reality – we need to help our peers recognize signs of positive and negative relationships so we can improve the health and happiness of those around us.
There is another layer to this problem – a layer that is not as blatantly toxic, but still harmful to our psyche and self-confidence; if our partner is playing us.
If you are being played, it will feel like you are being emotionally toyed with or led on without any real intention of building a relationship with you. Everyone who does this will have their own reasons, but let’s explore what it might look like.
Nothing ever moves forward.
Anyone who wants a long term relationship with someone they love (or, think they love) will want to see some sort of progression at some point. First you become exclusive, eventually the L bomb is dropped, things get more serious, and so on and so forth.
Someone who is playing you will tell you they want these things, but never actually follow through. These people are the employees who only work hard enough so they don’t get fired, and the only time they ever put any real effort in is when they’re afraid they might get canned. Move on.
You never get to decide. Anything.
Relationships are about compromise. They are about two people who want to see each other happy and put in effort to make it happen. If one partner in the relationship is constantly taking control without considering the other’s feelings – it’s a clear sign that you’re just along for the ride and they are simply inserting you into their pre-existing life, not looking to build a new one with you.
They’re always making you feel guilty.
When you do finally decide to do something, whether it involves them or not, they will always have something negative to say about it. Why? Because this is how they get to control you by playing with your emotions, increasing your insecurity and therefore decreasing the likelihood that you branch out away from them.
They are being overly possessive and toying with your emotions, this will not get better, break the chains now.
They take jabs at your insecurities.
Nobody – nobody who really cares about you will ever purposely make you feel bad about yourself, no matter how small or “harmless” their comment might be. Someone who is playing you will continue to manipulate your emotions by learning the things that you are sensitive about, and keeping them in an arsenal of snide remarks to use to keep you under their finger.
Oh, it’s totally cool if they do that thing but it’s a big no-no if you do it? Uh, yeah, peace out.
Their level of closeness is always wavering.
Someone who loves and cares for you will be consistent in the way they act towards you. Consistency is a big part of a healthy relationship, because without it you never know what you are going to get from someone, and how are you supposed to build a solid foundation with a person like that?
If you find that your partner becomes closer to you, especially if they want something from you, but then distances themselves either physically or emotionally when there is no “purpose” for being around you, this is a big problem and you need to address it.
They never make real commitments.
Revert back to point #1 for this one, but add more onto it. Instead of just making a commitment to you and the relationship, this is more so about commitments they make in terms of plans, dates, events, decisions together, whatever.
The lack of willingness to commit to, say, a weekend away is more than just a scheduling conflict. After enough last minute cancellations, it becomes evident that this person is trying to keep their options open – which is not something you do in a committed relationship.
They only do nice things to get what they want.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Any act of kindness for the sake of a reward, is not really an act of kindness.
In a happy, healthy relationship, both partners should give without obligation and receive without expectation. Selfless giving (emotionally, not material items) from both teammates helps to build a great foundation between two people. Doing something for him/her so you can get something back, is playing games and being manipulative.
Life is too short for playing mind games with someone we are pretending to care about, or trying to figure out the games someone we care about is playing with us. Have the dignity and respect for yourself to walk away from anyone who hasn’t grown up enough to treat you as you deserve.