Relationships come in all forms. There are long term friendships, short term friendships, intimate friendships, familial relationships and collegial friendships. Regardless of the type of relationship you have with another person, each have the same thing in common, they all require communication. Communication can come in the form of verbal, non-verbal, or virtual.

New relationships create a form of excitement and optimism. People who have experienced difficult relationships in the past often find themselves clinging onto the hope that their new relationship will be better than the negative ones they’ve experienced in the past. Unfortunately, the optimism is often short-lived and one person may begin to question the value of the relationship when they begin to feel hurt or rejected by the other person’s actions or comments.

Trying to get someone who doesn’t care about your feelings to begin caring can be exhausting. You’ll find yourself trying to explain your point of view, but the other person may refuse to acknowledge your feelings. Narcissistic individuals have a deficit in their ability to demonstrate empathy towards others and will react as if they are unable to comprehend the feelings that are being conveyed to them.

There is nothing more frustrating than having a friend who enjoys talking about themselves and then subsequently become distracted when the other person tries to share their story. Selfish people enjoy talking about themselves and will only entertain the parts of you that fall within the framework of how they choose to accept you. They will try to out talk you, speak to you in a condescending manner, and manipulate you into thinking you are wrong and your feelings don’t matter.

Narcissistic or selfish people will lead you to question the relevance and validity of what you’re saying. At some point, they will try to convince you that voicing your opinion is selfish. As a method of trying to hold on to the relationship. You may find yourself constantly coming up with new methods to try to help them understand you. It’s not until you realize that it wasn’t you and that the person never really cared about you or your feelings that you can begin to break free from these old patterns.

It takes time to come to the conclusion that these patterns are toxic. All of the previously mentioned examples are signs of an unhealthy relationship. It takes courage to break away, but the first step is acknowledging that you don’t like the person that you become when you interact with the negative person. Some sure signs of being in an unhealthy relationship are feelings of chronic guilt and anxiety. Guilt stems from feeling like you are doing something wrong. Anxiety comes from worrying about how to do things differently to make things better.

Healthy relationships don’t include feelings of dread, guilt, shame and anxiety. They include happiness, peace and are stress free. If you are in an unhealthy friendship or romantic relationship, seek therapy to help you break from these old patterns of behavior and create new patterns of thinking.