A toxic relationship can really mess a person up. It can make you feel cynical about love, and it can develop trust and commitment issues and create habits that you might not even notice until they come into play.
If someone’s wronged you, watch out for these habits.
Looking Through A New Partner’s Phone
The idea of trust is a foreign concept now. Once someone hurts you, you expect everyone to. You don’t mean to invade their privacy, but you’d rather know if they’re worth your time from the get-go before you get too invested and then get blindsided.
It’s hard to accept that sometimes, out of respect, you need to give someone the benefit of the doubt.
You Don’t Expect The Relationship To Last
You half anticipate every small disagreement to lead to a fight and to result in a breakup. You think that if you prepare for the unavoidable doom, then when it does happen, it won’t hurt as much.
…Except you can’t get in a relationship expecting it to end. That already sets a negative tone to it and could be the sole reason it does end.
Trying To Fix Your Partner
You think of this new relationship as your second chance. You unintentionally try to change them into a better version of themselves, a version that’ll be happy enough that they won’t have any reason to hurt you.
The truth is, you can’t control another person and you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. Your only job is to take care of yourself.
Always Feeling At Fault
You’re quick to take the blame and you’re always willing to apologize first if it means ending the issue as quickly as possible.
You feel like it’s probably your fault somehow anyway, because in the past, you have been blamed for things you shouldn’t have been, and you slowly internalized it and conditioned yourself to accept it.
Being Over-Protective Of Your Loved Ones
You understand what it feels to be hurt and treated wrong, and you can’t even fathom having any of your loved ones ever get to that place. So you feel like it’s your duty, as the experienced party, to prevent it and protect them from it.
Feeling Underserving Of Love
When someone couldn’t love you and treat you in the best ways, you can’t help but wonder if it has something to do with you. Maybe you’re not good looking enough, or you’re too naive, too trusting, or too needy and deserved to be hurt.
The truth is that the only thing you can work on is building your confidence back up, because there is absolutely no excuse for someone to have made you feel that way. They’re the problem.
Building Physical Over Emotional Connections
Physical connections are quicker and require less effort than emotional connections. You don’t need to be vulnerable or risk opening yourself up to someone to be attracted to them. It’s as easy as going to a stranger at the bar and kissing them. For a while that can feel like it’s enough to fill the void.
Putting Walls Up For Protection
The higher the walls, the less likely someone can get through them to hurt you, right? Even though you’re simply trying to protect yourself, building such walls—whether intentionally or not—will push people away and hold you back from forming the connections that are right for you. You’ll end up feeling lonely.
Comparing Your Relationship To Others
You don’t know what a healthy and successful relationship looks like anymore, so you look to those around you to set the standard. The problem is that what people show is simply one part of what goes behind closed doors, normally the happiest part.
You Await Betrayal
You’re just waiting for your new partner to mess up. You don’t even get your hopes up anymore and easily give up on people because your standards are so low. It seems like a better strategy than setting them higher only to be disappointed.
You Have Developed Commitment Issues
If you keep your options open, then even if one of them does something wrong, you’re not too attached and can shift your attention back to the others. The second you put all your eggs in one basket, you feel like you’re making yourself vulnerable to be hurt once again.
The Smallest Mistakes Are The Biggest Deals
People don’t seem to understand why you get so upset and assume you’re too sensitive, but in reality, you think you’ve picked up on the signs and that those small things add up and are masking bigger underlying issues.
Avoiding Social Gatherings
You might do this for a couple of reasons. Part of you feels safer away from people and would rather isolate yourself at home where you are safe.
Or, it’s because you simply don’t want to deal with another person wanting to talk about your toxic ex or question your new partner choices.
You Tend To Keep Score
The “keeping score” concept usually describes when someone you’re dating continues to blame you for past mistakes. They literally keep score of what they do that’s good versus what they do that’s bad.
Often, they might even keep score with themselves too, to compare what they do for their partner versus what their partner does for them. It tends to start a lot of fights and prevent forgiveness and letting go.
Preferring Passive-Aggressive Behavior To Confrontation
You try to drop hints and hope your partner will pick up on them because it’s easier to do than sit them down to confront them. If it comes from them, then maybe they won’t get as defensive or mad.
You fear starting another fight and often might not even feel entitled to your feelings because they have been diminished in the past.
Avoiding Places That Hold Certain Memories
Some places become too painful. That includes restaurants where you went on dates, or even grocery stores that were part of your routine. It takes time to own those places again and regain the freedom of going anywhere without associating it with your ex.
Overcompensating For A Partner’s Lack Of Effort
If you did most of the work in a past relationship and it still didn’t pay off, you might carry that with you and feel like maybe you just didn’t do enough. You feel the need to hold the relationship together and feel more in control if you’re the one in charge of all the work.
The problem is that a relationship will only work if both of you are putting in the effort. Plus, you deserve to take as much as you give.
Holding A New Partner Accountable For Other People’s Mistakes
Although it’s hard, it’s not fair to punish a new partner because someone before them messed up. There needs to be a compromise where they understand why you react the way you do to some of their actions (like coming home late if you’ve been cheated on), but you also need to communicate with them before jumping to conclusions.
Obsessing Over A New Hobby
When you’re used to giving so much of your effort and attention to one person, it can be difficult figuring out where to channel it without them. Be careful not to develop obsessive distractions. New hobbies like working out or baking can be great outlets…as long as they’re practiced in moderation.
Settling For Less Than You Deserve
When you hit a low enough bottom, anything above it seems better. Your standards are lowered and so is your notion of what kind of love you deserve and could get. A lot of people get stuck going from one toxic relationship to the next because they justify them and normalize them, or they feel like they can’t do better.