Exhibiting toxic behavior extends to all the relationships in your life, whether it’s with your mother, a stranger at the parking lot, best friend, or significant other. While being in a dating relationship may exacerbate the degree to which you find yourself in a self-sabotaging mindset, which includes thinking the worst in every situation, feeling like you’re being taken advantaged of or for granted, bringing up the unnecessary past into a current situation, blaming others for your problems, etc., chances are, if you sabotage one area of your life, you will inevitably follow that pattern.
You will continue doing so until you choose to consciously not reinforce that type of behavior again.
It doesn’t matter what caused you to first become self-destructive. Whether it stems from anxiety, low self-esteem, past trauma, or a culmination of all these things, what matters is that you learn to communicate in a healthy way and identify the triggers that make you want to sabotage yourself and the people around you. You may be surprised to hear that communicating is the key to getting yourself out of this behavior, but we’ve all heard that the secret to thriving relationships and friendships come from healthy communication.
Communicating sounds like the easiest thing in the world, but for so many people, they have been taught to suppress their feelings because if they showed them, they would be seen as weak.
Too many children grow up with the notion that to be vulnerable is to be fragile, something that others can take for granted and use against you, but it’s time we stopped thinking this way.
You will continue having dissatisfying friendships and relationships unless you start communicating your needs. If you’re a people pleaser and terrified to say something out of fear of being driven away by showing your true self, take the chance and voice your opinion the next time you feel hurt by a situation. Whether this is something a parent said, a conflict in your professional life, or a price discrepancy on a group dinner bill, don’t let yourself succumb to resentment towards others by internalizing your feelings.
If you never articulate what you are thinking, people will never know how you feel. In a perfect world, the people we allow to would be able to read our minds and give us exactly what we need at that specific moment. But we don’t live in that reality, and no one can possibly know what you’re feeling unless you explicitly say so.
So the next time you find yourself spiraling into an unbecoming demeanor, take a step back, breathe, and stop yourself from building up bitterness or lashing out in hurtful way.
It’s important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. We all wish it did. How often do you wish you could wake up tomorrow knowing all your flaws and never disappoint yourself and the people around you again? Wouldn’t that be a miracle? But we’re human, and we’re all capable of making mistakes — fortunately, we can learn from them, and most importantly, grow from them. So be gentle with yourself, and take it one day at a time. Eventually, you will get there, I promise.