Personal relationships can be complex and complicated. People disagree, they even fight. But, there are ways to fight fair. Some people have hang-ups, though, that destroy relationships. Your partner may be the one spilling the toxicity, or it might be you. Here are four signs of a toxic relationship, things to look for in yourself and/or in the person with whom you’re romantically involved:

  1. Keeping score. Recounting (in your mind or aloud) how many times your partner has done something wrong or hurt you is one of many ways to ruin a relationship. No one likes their past mistakes hashed out or to be involved with someone who engages in “tit-for-tat.”
  2. Constantly threatening to end the relationship. Recognize there will be rocky times in the relationship – that’s normal; you can be committed to someone and not like EVERYTHING about that person. When a bump in the road happens, threatening to leave or walk out or divorce is a form of manipulation. Two people who can communicate without judgment or blackmail will actually strengthen their relationship.
  3. Being self-absorbed. Focusing only on yourself and what you want and need or what other people can do for you, or acting superior to others drives people away. People with narcissistic behavior have a need for control and want the spotlight to always shine on them. They have little to no empathy for others and like to blame others and not take responsibility. Not a great way to have an enduring relationship!
  4. Having aggressive and violent behavior. Anger is part of being human, but how does that emotion spill forth? Violence should never be tolerated, by men or women, and, when violence leaks into a relationship, law enforcement needs to step in. Domestic violence is the number 1 cause of injury to women. Domestic/Partner violence should not be tolerated and should not be inflicted. There are places and organizations that can help you if your relationship escalates into a violent, unsafe situation. In Casper and the surrounding area, the Self Help Center, the Casper Police Department, and the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department have personnel and resources to help you.

Healthy relationships are much more enjoyable with less uncertainty and less drama. They are based on trust, respect, and security. The give-and-take, love-and-respect foundation is steady, secure, and stable. If you see yourself in any of the paragraphs above, or one or more of the qualities listed makes you think of the person with whom you’re involved, it’s time for a healthy change. Communication, admittance, recognition, counseling, and determination to change all play a role in creating a more emotionally healthy you, and therefore, a more healthy relationship. If your partner is the aggressor, narcissist, or score-keeper and he doesn’t want to change, then you need to exit, stage right! You deserve to be loved, respected, and cherished, and you have the right to find the man who will treat you that way.

Don’t be a toxic person and don’t stay in a toxic relationship.