Toxic Relationships: Love Bandits and Trust Thieves
Toxic personalities don't set out to hurt others. They just do whatever they want to do whenever they wish , without concern for the inconvenience or problems their behavior may cause for others.
When confronted with the emotional fallout of their thoughtlessness, they deny responsibility and try to shift the blame onto circumstances or other people.
Because their own emotions are shallow and superficial, they have difficulty understanding the pain they cause for other people. They are bulls in the interpersonal china shop.
Toxic people can be charming, imaginative, intelligent, interesting, and exciting. They slip easily into the role of the perfect mate, and can seem to be everything you could want in a partner or friend. Skilled at courtship, they pursue the object of their desire with an intensity few can resist, for they excel at creating a feeling of “instant intimacy” and specialness. They have little trouble stealing hearts and winning trust.
However, once the relationship is established, their selfishness emerges and the roles shift. They begin to take more than they give, become increasingly callous and self-centered, and are irritated by your “demands” on their time and attention. They may react to anything they perceive as criticism or discipline with verbal or even physical abuse.
You can avoid toxic relationships if you remember to...
- Enter relationships with open eyes.
- Avoid the temptation to idealize new romantic partners; toxic personalities are adept at hiding their flaws.
- Make commitments cautiously. Despite declarations of love and talk of future plans together, toxic personalities have difficulty conforming to the constraints of a committed relationship. They feel constrained by the normal interdependence of a relationship and interpret ordinary requests for consideration as attempts to control them.
- Trust your feelings. Don’t accept explanations of odd behavior that seem inadequate, and don’t dismiss intuition that tells you things aren’t quite right with your new mate. Discomfort and distrust are warning signals. Listening to your instincts could save you from a destructive relationship.
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Carol A. Henry, LPC, LMFT
Carol serves clients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where she works with individuals, couples, and families. She has facilitated training workshops for businesses, consciousness groups, as well as area recovery and church groups. Her counseling services include web-enabled video counseling. More information: www.carolahenry.com