How do relationships contribute to our happiness?
Many people equate being in a relationship with happiness and being single with loneliness or sadness. In reality, this is not always the case. Sometimes, it is better to be single and alone instead of in a relationship with someone harmful to your wellbeing. This is true not only for romantic partners but for friends, colleagues, and all the other people with who you build meaningful connections. While it is true that the relationships we have can massively contribute to our happiness, it is also true that these same relationships can poison our lives.
Riley Cooper, a writer for The Power of Silence, explains that there are six toxic behaviors which we should never tolerate as they are detrimental to our wellbeing:
Being controlled is extremely harmful to your emotional and mental wellbeing. Control can take several different shapes and forms: your friends can control what you think, your partner might control what you wear, your father can control what you do. Of course, these are just three things from an infinite list of ways in which people can exercise control over your life. Initially, you might not feel this control as it may be done subtly and gradually over time. However, it is inevitable that with time, you will begin to notice that your ideas, opinions and behaviors are not your own; instead, they belong to those around you who control, manipulate and gaslight. Tolerating this behavior can eventually lead to you not being able to recognize yourself. If you begin to see signs of control in your relationships, make it evident that you will not tolerate this behavior.
Hearing the people you love the most point out your flaws, offend and insult you on purpose can be extremely painful. Their behavior shows a lack of respect and can even make you question whether they actually love you at all. Taking this point further, it will seem impossible to believe that the same person who is verbally abusing you and calling you hurtful names could respect, love, and care for you. You do not deserve to tolerate disrespect and verbal abuse. Those who love you would accept your flaws and forgive the mistakes you make without calling you names.
3. Excessive negativity
People who are constantly complaining, ungrateful and unable to see the good in life can prove extremely draining. These people tend to take you for granted as they are incapable of cherishing the good and seeing the positives in their life. If you are surrounded by immense amounts of negative energy, it is likely that you will find yourself feeling down a lot of the time too; thus, these people are toxic and detrimental to your emotional and mental wellbeing.
4. Lack of compassion
It can be extremely frustrating being in a relationship with somebody who is incapable of feeling compassion and empathy. Friendships and relationships with these people can make you unhappy as you will find that these people do not take your feelings into account and dismiss your concerns. This can make you feel ignored, dismissed and as though you do not matter to those you love. Everybody deserves to be treated with kindness and to feel as though their feelings are valid.
Sometimes, those closest to you can begin threatening you in order to get what they want. With friends, this can take the form of ‘If you do not do this, I will tell everybody that you …’ – in other words, they use your secrets in order to manipulate you into doing what they want. Similarly, toxic partners can manipulate you into doing what they want as they treathen to break up with you if you do not. Furthermore, some friends and partners may even threaten to end their lives or harm themselves if you leave them: this is an extremely toxic form of manipulation which can have profoundly negative effects on your mental health.
This technique is used by manipulative and deceitful people. Scapegoating refers to assigning blame and evoking guilt in someone for something that somebody else has done. If you are a victim of scapegoating, you might find yourself beginning to question your actions and wondering whether or not you are a bad person. This behavior can affect your confidence and self-esteem, making you feel as though you cannot do anything right and are always at fault.
Being a victim of any of the above is tiring, draining and immensely harmful to your wellbeing (both mental and emotional). In fact, it can take years to recover from the consequences of being subject to toxic behavior. Therefore, in order to ensure that you live a happy life free from negative energy and people, learn to recognize these 6 behaviours so that you never tolerate them.