6 Things to Look for in Unhealthy Relationships

Hi folks! A few weeks ago, I wrote about six things to look for in healthy relationships . This week, I thought it might be helpful to take a look at common traits that may be present in unhealthy relationships. If you’ve been wondering whether a certain relationship is good for you or if it is really what you want it to be, read on for my list of 6 things to look for which may help you determine whether a relationship might be unhealthy:

  1. Power & Control: Decisions are made by one person in the relationship, and that person tries to control the other person using threats, coercion, manipulation, guilt or shame, and/or different types of abuse.
  1. Disrespect: Criticism, put-downs, and teasing are present. One person may talk over the other; one person may consistently be ignored. Rather than being helpful or supportive, one or both people in the relationship work to tear the other down and detract from positive choices and lifestyles.
  1. Closed & Dishonest Communication: Lying, stealing, and deceit can be present in unhealthy relationships. Responding with passive aggressiveness (“Whatever!”) or with aggressive force (shoving, throwing things, hitting walls) when one person doesn’t get their way or like what the other is saying. Shutting down or giving the silent treatment is often seen in unhealthy relationships.
  1. Intimidation & Abuse: Using tactics like physical, emotional, sexual and/or financial abuse to control the other person. Sometimes these can be subtle, like jealousy, or sometimes they are explosive and violent.
  1. Dependence: Feeling “lost” or “incomplete” without the other person; not having other friends outside of the relationship; one or both people in the relationship threatening or engaging in drastic or dangerous behaviors if the relationship ends.
  1. Hostility: Feeling like one has to walk on eggshells to avoid confrontation; feeling unsafe; there are more “bad times” than good ones.

Not every relationship will be “perfect.” There will inevitably be conflict, and there will be times that are “better” and times that are “not so great.” However, it is possible to have “not so great” times when both people choose to treat each other with respect, safety and equality.

If you think you might be in an unhealthy relationship, and would like to have a safe space to talk about it, give me a call. I’d be happy to schedule a time to meet with you and explore what might be going on, and possible ways to make it better.

17047 El Camino Real, STE 215
Houston, TX 77058


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