When To Leave A Bad Relationship

When To Leave A Bad Relationship

When To Leave A Bad Relationship

 

So many people come on the forum and ask if they should leave their partner.  They’re confused, hurt, and scared.  Granted, there’s always some sort of story that goes along with the question.

They’re in a relationship with someone:

  • Who is over-drinking or drugging.
  • Who is not emotionally available.
  • Who doesn’t act like they are in love anymore.
  • Who is a very selfish person or a narcissist.
  • Who is emotionally or physically abusing them.

Of course, there are other scenarios as well.

Now this is a tough question to answer.  There’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer for sure.

But I’d like to go over five signs or signals that indicate that it might be time to get packing.

  1. Any Type Of Abuse

Hands down abuse is a clear indicator that it’s time to end the relationship.  I’m talking emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. Abuse is never alright. Even if they’re going through something horrible or they’ve had a tough life; it’s not acceptable.  Even if you’ve acted out, made mistakes, or whatever, it’s not acceptable.

If you’re experiencing abuse in any form, it’s time to get out of that relationship.  If you need help, find the nearest domestic violence center and speak with someone who can support you.  If you have nowhere to go, they may be able to assist you. Even staying on your best friend’s couch is better than staying in an abusive situation.

Also, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They’ve got professionals that can help you sort this out and make a plan to end the abuse.  You never deserve abuse; not ever. Leaving is YOU standing up and practice self-care. It’s you taking care of you and letting that other person figure out what to do with themselves. You don’t owe him or her anything. You don’t have to be loyal to someone who is abusing you.

  1. Your Talks Amount to No Changes

Chances are you’ve voiced your wants and needs in this relationship, multiple times. You might have even screamed them a few times, to no avail. He keeps drinking himself into oblivion. She keeps flirting with every man she sees, right in front of you.  He stays out later and later, neglecting the relationship. And so on.

If you’ve had discussion after discussion, clearly stating what you want and need, and they’re not willing or able to at least work towards meeting them, it might be time to cut ties. I’m not saying to leave if they have no idea what’s going on inside your head. You’ve got to get very honest with yourself and them, and also ask them what their wants and needs are.

However, if you’ve done this over and over, and nothing is changing and they’re not looking like they’re interested in “doing the work” to make changes, it might be time to make the break.

  1. They Keep Lying

Living with a repetitive liar can feel awful. You never know if you can trust what they are saying. You want to believe them. You want to believe that they’re making a turnaround, but there you are finding them in yet another lie.

Some people are repetitive liars and for one reason or another, can’t or won’t stop.  If this has been going on for a while and your requests for honesty are not being met, it might be an indicator that this relationship isn’t going to work for you.

  1. Emotional Neglect

Feeling alone in a relationship sucks.  You want to emotionally connect with your partner at least to some degree, right? But not everyone is able to make that connection – or not everyone WANTS to make that deep and meaningful connection. And that’s alright if you want a shallow connection; it actually works for many. But if you’ve voiced your wants and needs and they’re continually being neglected, it might be time to make the cut.

  1. No Love Reciprocation

It’s not very fun to be on the other side of someone who does not reciprocate love.  You love them and you happen to like to show affection. But they don’t. You’ve asked and asked for them to level up on this end.  To affirm love every now and then. Show affection sometimes. But they don’t. They may not feel those love-type feelings for you or they just don’t know how to reciprocate them. They may have checked out long ago and are simply staying out of comfort or fear.  Either way, if you’re giving, giving, and giving and not getting anything in return, it might be time to leave the relationship.

Granted, there are other situations and solutions, but these indicators can help you gauge your relationship and get clearer on what you should do. And, if you find yourself continuing to struggle, reach out to a good therapist for some guidance. You don’t have to figure it out all alone.

You deserve a healthy relationship with someone who values and appreciates you. There’s too many people out there who CAN do that, so don’t stay connected to someone who won’t. This is your life and what you want and need matters.

 

Set Boundaries With Loved Ones

Set Boundaries With Loved Ones

 

It’s Alright to Set Boundaries With Loved Ones

 

I’m no stranger to online recovery forums. I find many people write in wondering how to set boundaries with their loved ones.  Whether their loved one is an addict, alcoholic, selfish, unavailable emotionally, etc., they’re just not sure what to do.

Most of the time, my answer is, “It depends” – because it does.

However, there are some common factors associated with setting boundaries and today, I’ll touch upon them.

Boundaries are very helpful in relationships of any kind.  Whether it’s your partner, child, parent, boss, friend, etc., being able to set and keep a boundary is important. If you’re not that great at it, don’t fret. Know that you’re not alone and boundary setting is a skill.  With practice, you’ll get better!

What you want and need matters

Say this with me:

“What I want and need matters.”

This sentence is a power-packed statement.  Why? Because what you want and need DOES matter. Because YOU matter, dear one!

Knowing what you want and need matters, so if you’re not sure, take some time to sit with this.  In your relationships, what do you want and need?

Trust? Respect? Unconditional love? Honesty? Affection? Security? Peace? Affirmation?

What DON’T you want?

Jealousy? Accusation? To be ignored, ridiculed, belittled, rejected, abused, substance abuse issues?

1. Tune in to your feelings

Asking yourself those questions will help you begin tapping into your feelings. This will help you learn what brings discomfort or uneasiness. Or just plain drama!  If his consistent emotional unavailability makes you feel ignored and rejected, those feelings do matter, because you matter, so it’s alright to have a conversation around this area, stating your wants and needs, and thus, setting your boundaries.

2. Be clear

When you’re setting your boundaries, be clear. Be direct.  Come from a kind heart, and not like, “Well, you better do this and this or else I’ll…..”  That sort of tone and intent might not go over very well.  For example, if you want and need some time with your friends regularly (without getting a cold shoulder or accused of cheating), go to your partner and simply state your needs and let him/her know how much you appreciate the support.  Be confident in your ability to express this want and need, because it is important to you, and YOU MATTER.

3. Say, “I deserve this.”

Give yourself permission to have boundaries.  I don’t mean that you have to have rigid rules all over the place, but you do deserve to have a relationship that has mutual boundaries that are set in a spirit of love.  If your partner is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, for example, you have permission to set some boundaries around that.  I see far too many men and women sweep things under the carpet in such situations, rather than tuning into what they want and need in a relationship (sobriety being one thing), and live in misery. 

If you’re stressed to the core because your partner is doing something that brings chaos or drama, give yourself permission to stand in your truth and speak your truth.

4. Consider the past

Did you grow up in a home where boundary setting was non-existent? Where no one talked about anything?  Did you grow up in a home where alcoholism or drug addiction was present? Many times, in such cases people grow up taking on the role of “caretaker” or people pleaser.  They let their own needs and wants go and “over-care” for others. This gets exhausting. They don’t value the principle of reciprocity, giving and giving, but not allowing themselves to receive.

What has been your past experience? What was modeled to you growing up? Take this into consideration as you learn how to tune into your needs and set boundaries in your life.

5. Allow yourself to care for yourself

Many people struggling from codependency have a tough time caring for themselves.  They’ll place others’ needs before their own, and oftentimes never get around to doing the things they would like to do. Or, they don’t even know what they like to do or need to do, because they are so wrapped up in other peoples’ worlds.  Make self-care a priority.

6. Ask for help

You may need some help when it comes to setting and keeping boundaries.  No shame in that. There are counselors, books, and support groups that are valuable.  Al-Anon, Nar-Anon and Codependents Anonymous are great support groups that will help in learning how to set boundaries.

7. Practice

Being assertive with boundary setting takes practice. Start small, and go from there. Don’t expect perfection or that it will all go as planned. In fact, you may experience some flack from others when you go to them and set a boundary. After all, they’re probably used to you NOT standing in your truth or perhaps even enabling them.  Be persistent and don’t take the flack personal. In the Bible, it says, “Be strong in the Lord, and in God’s mighty power!”  It’s alright to lean on the power of God or Universe!

Relationships need boundaries, so my hope is that you’ll continue to learn about setting and keeping boundaries with your loved ones.  It’s a process, but I assure you that you’ll get better as you practice! 

Are you struggling with boundary setting?  In what way? 

How To Tell If My Husband (Or Wife) Is Using Drugs

How To Tell If My Husband (Or Wife) Is Using Drugs

How To Tell If My Husband (Or Wife) Is Using Drugs

Not knowing if your spouse is using drugs or not can cause so much anxiety.  Maybe they’ve got a history of drug use or maybe you’re seeing some sketchy behaviors.  Have you caught him in a lie? Is he slurring his speech? Have you found paraphernalia?

Drug use is more common than we all want to admit. From pain pills to benzos to alcohol to pot-brownies – there’s plenty of it going around.

But not in your house, right?

Or is it?

The Maddening Feeling of Not Knowing For Sure

Wondering if your spouse is using drugs or not can have you thinking and doing things you thought you’d never do. Once I was with a recovering addict and this person had been prescribed pain pills after a surgery. I thought, “Oh no. She’s gonna get addicted.” So, I did what any codependent partner would do: I counted her pills regularly without her knowing. 

I’m not proud of it, but I wanted to know if we were headed for addiction trouble.

Good news is that I worried for nothing, but that’s not the case for many spouses.

How Can I Tell If My Husband Is On Drugs?

This is the million-dollar question.

Well, you may not always be able to tell, but there are certain signs to be on the lookout for. Now, when I say watch for them, I don’t mean go all hyper-vigilant and watch his every move.  Don’t go snooping through all his things and trailing him through the city. 

What I’m saying is don’t go and get all addicted to his behavior.

Now, what you can do, while taking good care of yourself, is be on guard for the following signs of drug use:

Physically

  • Has he dropped quite a bit of weight fast?
  • Is he sleepy a lot or nodding off more than usual?
  • Does he look like hell?
  • Does he skip meals now?
  • Is he stumbling around?
  • Slurring his words?
  • Are his eyes bloodshot? Are his pupils tiny, tiny or really enlarged?
  • Does he have burns on his fingers? Lips?

Mood-wise

  • Is he progressively becoming irritable and aggressive?
  • Is he paranoid?
  • Overly anxious?
  • Does he head to the bathroom in a so-so or grumpy mood and come out all “Oh, what a wonderful world it is” mood? Then, a bit later he’s passed out on the couch?

Behavior-wise

These are more long-term changes to be on the lookout for:

  • Has he given up doing things he used to like doing? Hanging with the guys? Fishing? Playing with the kiddos?
  • Is he all secretive? Always has his phone within reach and gives you a horrible look if you even glance at it when it beeps or rings?
  • Gets lost headed to the store, coming in hours later?
  • Makes secretive phone calls?
  • Starts hanging out with that sketchy guy from work?
  • Have you caught him in lies?
  • Does he freak out and get all angry when you approach him about your suspicions?
  • Does he miss more and more work?
  • Does he genuinely act like he’s falling apart?
  • Is money missing?
  • Is he selling stuff?
  • Are the medications disappearing faster than they should be?
  • Is he going out all hours of the night when he used to be in bed at 10pm?

What’s The Verdict?

After looking at these signs, what do you think?  You think he’s using? 

It’s alright not to know for sure. Don’t make yourself crazy. 

If you’re concerned and some signs are there, it’s time to start learning how to approach him.

Don’t run to him in a tyrant screaming, “OMG, I can’t believe you’re on drugs!”

That’s not going to get you far. 

Confronting someone using drugs takes delicacy and strategy. You’ve got to prepare and plan.

For more information on how to do that, tune in for my next blog post.

Toxic Person? Relationship? Detach, Dear One

Toxic Person? Relationship? Detach, Dear One

 

Detach From The Narcissist/Addict/Emotional Abuser In A Loving Way

 

Codependents sure know how to attach.  In fact, some attach like a famished blood-sucking leech. It’s easier than you think to become obsessed with another person, such as your children or your partner, especially if you struggle with low self-worth. 

Not much else matters except pleasing your object of attachment because you get affirmation there. You lean on them to help you to feel like you matter.  In fact, you oftentimes forget to take care of yourself because you are so busy taking care of others to get what you want: love.

The problem is that you have a hard time receiving the love that may come because deep down you loathe yourself or at the very least, dislike who you are. 

“I love you, but me? Eh, there’s so much I can’t stand about myself.”

Here, Take My Power

The attachment is unhealthy. The longer you stay in the toxic relationship, the more you give away of yourself, you power, your self-esteem, and your self-worth.

You back yourself into a corner. You imprison your spirit. Their approval of you is pretty much the only thing that matters.  When you don’t get it, you’re extra sad, you self-sabotage, you resolve to try harder. It’s a hellish cycle.

Detach, dear one.

In order for you to continue to heal and recover, you must learn how to detach in a loving way. I say loving because you’re learning how to step into YOUR POWER. And, in doing so, you’re not taking his or her behavior personal. It is what it is, and you’re not willing to put up with it anymore or react harshly.

Now detaching can mean different things to different people and the thought of it can produce much anxiety. Like peeling a leech off of its tasty host, some pain will occur, but I assure you it is vital for your recovery and your potential to live life in freedom and joy.

Detaching can play out in different ways. For one it may mean completely cutting off all contact for a while. For another, it could mean limiting time spent and time thinking about that person.

The best approach is to sit down and discuss your issue with a good therapist and your partner.  Be honest about your unhealthy attachment and come up with a solution that works for both of you.

Keep in mind that detaching does not mean “breaking up” (though some do); it simply means to lovingly let go of your obsessive thoughts and behaviors when it comes to your partner. It means taking time to take care of your needs, time to find yourself and begin to learn how to love yourself.

You are responsible for you first.  Self-care can become a wonderful friend. You deserve to have a life of your own and not be enmeshed with another.

Reach Out For Help

You can attend individual or couples therapy if you find you need help.  The process of detaching in a healthy way and unlearning some of the negative skills you’ve been employing takes dedication, time, and a good therapist can help. 

You want to detach from the unhealthy attachment and not detach completely or in a rude way.  I’ve known some that just shut down and completely detach, which does not help in any way. It actually makes matters worse.

Once you’ve lovingly detached so you can have ample space to work on your own issues, you will then be more apt to reattach in a healthy way.  After I detached, which I did find to be challenging, my head began to clear and I saw things that I hadn’t seen when I was so caught up in the relationship.  I saw how immaturely I had acted at times and how I repelled my partner by my neediness and low self-worth.  Having some time to yourself unattached to your partner may be super good for your soul.

Ask yourself:

     –Is my world wrapped up in my partner/children?

     –Who am I without my partner?

     –How can I lovingly detach and work on me?

 

 

5 Behaviors You Should Never Tolerate

5 Behaviors You Should Never Tolerate

5 Toxic Behaviors We Should Never Tolerate

 

“You’re such a frickin’ idiot! Is their something wrong with your brain?”

I know, right? How rude!

This type of verbal bashing, along with plenty of other toxic behaviors, shouldn’t be tolerated in any relationship. The reality, however, is that plenty of us allow some toxicity to rule the roost, whether by parent, friend, sibling, boss, or lover.

READ MORE AT ELEPHANT JOURNAL