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In relationships, we often ‘neglect to reflect’ on how a person makes us feel.
Instead, we try and get their attention by explaining what hurts or bothers us.
Or we simply sit quietly and compensate or overcompensate to deal with unwanted behaviors.
In all relationships be it romantic or friendship the best litmus test is to ask yourself one question.
“Do I feel good about myself around this individual and do I feel both liked and loved?”
The liked and loved part of it is crucial. In many disrespectful and controlling relationships, a significant other or friend can love you but send the message they don’t like you. Why? Because they need you to be just like them in order for them to fully and unconditionally accept you.
Every single person is a child of God and deserves to be treated as such.
This doesn’t mean we won’t have disagreements, say hurtful things, be inconsiderate, and other things related to the human condition.
What it means is these things should be the exception and not the rule. We should have an expectation of ourselves and others to remember each and every one of us is an individual created by God with unique gifts and purpose and therefore, we must gravitate towards those who make us feel celebrated for who we are.
Rather than live strictly by their expectations and world.
It’s easy to love and want to see the best in people but the true indicator is how a person makes you feel not necessarily how you feel about them.
This bears repeating.
“How does this person make me feel?”
We often love people who aren’t necessarily good for us.
The heart can be both blind and complicated.
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Does this person make me feel bad about myself?
This is the proverbial mixed message.
I love you but I do not like you.
This is the individual who may belittle you for aspects of your personality either overtly or in a supposedly joking manner. If you are a talker they may say you talk too much, if you’re quiet they may say you need to be more outgoing. This is not the type of constructive criticism where a friend or spouse spurs you to do well on a job interview or move out of town with good-natured advice.
These are jabs which come out of nowhere.
They use expressions, such as, ‘there she/he goes again,’ ‘you know what she/he is like,’ ‘of course he/she has to have the best.’ These are digs. These are little ways another individual is telling you the things they do not like about you.
It’s the way disrespectful and controlling people get their point across. They continually bring out the negatives and the way they disagree with how you act, live, spend money, etc.
Here’s the thing.
In every relationship, there are things people do not like about one another.
The difference? In respectful non-controlling relationships, we allow one another to be who they are without constantly chastising or criticizing.
Do they make me feel continually stressed?
No one has the right to make anyone feel chronically stressed.
However, every person in every relationship should understand and respect all people have several things which stress them. For instance, if your significant other finds money or being late stressful these are things to be respected. Especially since many of these can stem from childhood triggers. A parent who lost a job or a parent who was habitually late.
We all have our top two to five stress inducers which need to be communicated and understood with one another.
The difference would be the sense of constant stress.
No one should make a person live under this level of intensity.
Where everything is a big deal or if you don’t do what this person wants and when they want there is a price to pay. Or perhaps they take out their anger or pain or mood on another. Or are not responsible for themselves so dump an inordinate amount of worry and responsibility on their partner.
This continual stress is a method of control.
Controlling by either overtly or passive-aggressively getting their way or controlling their SO or friend because they are under responsible in their own lives leaving another to pick up the slack for them.
Do they make me feel uncertain like I can’t trust them?
Matters of the heart are rarely black and white but in this case, it is.
Not much exists without trust.
If a friend or SO makes you feel uncertain this is a major red flag. If you worry you are being lied to about major things such as cheating or silly things such as forgetting to call you back it’s just not worth staying in a relationship which lacks trust.
The problem with an individual who lies is they have demonstrated their instincts to get their way are more important than you.
Lying is selfish.
It is an instinct to protect one’s self at the expense of another.
Do they make me feel lonely?
If you are lonely in a relationship it can feel worse than actually being alone.
A sense of loneliness can stem from a lack of emotional intimacy.
There is nothing being shared on a deeper level to make you feel entwined and relevant in each other’s lives.
In friendship, it may simply mean it has run its course or has worked its way to a more casual than close status. However, in a romantic relationship, it spells danger.
There is a serious problem if you feel lonely with the one you are committed most to.
In addition to a lack of intimacy, it may mean your SO is in their own world and everything revolves around that. Their day, their work, their interests, etc. Either way, the message is clear.
There is no room for you.
Do they make me feel judged?
It’s human nature all people judge some people some of the time.
Yet, you should not remain in a relationship where you feel judged for being who you are.
It’s impossible to feel good about yourself if a friend or SO judges you perpetually.
When we allow our egos to mature we begin to understand especially for those who are closest to us (minus a few weak moments) our job is to love this person not judge them for various reasons. Such as, how they spend their money, how they parent, how they dress, how they feel, what experiences they have. Those things belong to an individual. We can disagree but even voicing disagreement can often be used as a ‘vehicle’ for saying we are not judging when in reality we are.
When we really are okay letting someone we love be who they are, we don’t feel the need to announce our disagreement.
The question to ask yourself is are they judging me because I am not making the same choices they would make or thinking as they think?
Do they make my world feel unpredictable?
Relationships demand reliability.
Hence, the term ‘Fair Weather Friend.’
Who needs that?
Some friends or SO’s can be selfish and in their own world and forget to meet us or celebrate an important occasion. They may answer some texts and phone calls and at other times you won’t get a response. Still, this is someone who demonstrates they may or may not have time to make us a priority.
It’s a will they or won’t they be someone I can count on?
On a more severe level, if an individual is a drinker, narcissist, gambler, unable to hold a job, etc. this is an extreme level of relationship unpredictability.
Without self-protection, this is a person who has the ability to take you down with them or at the very least get you unhealthy enough that you no longer like yourself because of your reaction to their bad behaviors.
Do they make my world feel chaotic?
A relationship should be a safe haven, a place of respite not turmoil.
The aforementioned severe behaviors of drinking, narcissism, etc. unfortunately mandate a chaotic world. One of the people in the relationship has a serious illness or issue which must be dealt with on an individual level before they can have a healthy relationship.
However, a very mainstream behavior can also produce relationship chaos.
Disrespectfulness results in romantic, family, and friendship chaos.
You are not being heard by an individual which leads to frustration and arguments. It festers and resentment sets in. You know you are in a disrespectful relationship when you are not allowed your own opinions, are constantly judged for who you are and not seen accurately for who you are.
Disrespectfulness is projecting one person’s beliefs on another.
I disagree with you, therefore, you are wrong.
You find yourself struggling to be heard.
This can cause even more chaos in a family setting when one parent undermines the other in parenting. Kids are hearing two different messages instead of parents uniting to find common ground and respect.
Do they make my world feel out of control?
There is nothing worse than a sense that your world feels out of your control.
It is unsettling.
An individual who makes your world feel unpredictable or chaotic will typically make it feel out of control as well. The drinker who won’t stop so you don’t know what to expect, the person who can’t hold a job so you don’t know when the bottom will fall out again, the individual who lies to you so you just can’t determine whether they are cheating again.
The important thing to understand is this one person is making your world out of control.
You are not out of control but rather have made the choice to remain which gives you that sense.
This is good news because left to your own devices you can restore calm in your life.
At times we need to step away from a relationship, especially a complicated relationship for our own personal emotional checkup.
We cannot ‘neglect to reflect’ on how a relationship is making us feel.
It’s not necessarily how we feel about another person.
We can love people who let us down and who are not healthy for us.
We have to have boundaries.
We have to self-protect.
We are all children of God.
Giving away too much of ourselves or putting ourselves in exhausting situations can keep us from our gifts and purpose.
Something which should be protected.
Not to mention can make us emotionally weary, heartbroken, and physically exhausted.
Sometimes even in love, it has to be game over.
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