Recognising and accepting that you are in a dysfunctional marriage or relationship is a very difficult thing to do. In many cases, friends and family who try to intervene and help loved ones see that they are in an unhealthy situation, but often people will suffer in silence feeling that they are alone.
Sometimes we do not even realise that the treatment we put up with is unhealthy and will tell ourselves that this is how everyone feels in a relationship or that the situation will improve. In reality, dysfunctional relationships rarely improve without hard work and, often, external intervention.
If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, here are 7 common signs of a dysfunctional marriage and a relationship in trouble.
- Aggression and domestic violence
Physical violence and aggressive behaviour have no place in a loving and respectful relationship whether the aggressor is male or female. If one or both partners are being subjected to domestic violence, professional help is available to support the victim and the person who is being abusive to stop their behaviour.
- Critical and/or abusive language
When one or both partners regularly criticises, belittles or verbally degrades their partner, it is a clear sign that communication has reached a negative and poisonous level which will be affecting their partner’s self-esteem.
- Contempt for your partner or feeling worthless in their eyes
Feeling disgust, contempt or resentment for your partner is not conducive to a happy and balanced relationship and, if you feel your partner looks down on you, this will have a significant impact on your sense of self-worth.
- Giving up on happiness
Fights in themselves are not necessarily a problem, as you are bound to have disagreements, and learning how to resolve them can make you a stronger unit. But have you given up on arguing with your partner because you have lost all hope of happiness or you don’t actually care enough anymore? Either way, losing the will to fight for your own happiness is not healthy.
- Very little communication
If a couple rarely speaks to one another about anything other than practicalities and/or they start to actively avoid seeing each other, it’s a clear red flag that the relationship is heading downhill. Often poor communication is one of the major contributing factors to people growing apart and ultimately getting a divorce.
- Being afraid of your partner
Healthy relationships are built on trust and honesty, and no one should be living in a constant state of anxiety and walking on eggshells out of fear that their partner will ‘snap.’
- Excessive jealousy and suspicion
Jealousy and being suspicious about your partner’s fidelity or honesty with no reason is a big issue and will gradually eat away at your bond. When you treat a partner with suspicion and attempt to control their lives out of jealousy, you will only create distance between you. If you do not trust your other half or they do not trust you, the issue should be addressed with the help of a mental health professional as soon as possible.