“If this is love, why do I feel so bad?” is NOT a mantra for healthy relationships. If you are questioning the quality of your romantic relationships, read through the list below from the book Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman. Although the book was written for women who grew up in alcoholic homes, the sentiments described have universal application.
Check the attitudes that apply to your attitudes and expectations.
_______1. High-risk relationships are exciting. You feel alive in these relationships because there is always a challenge. You find reliable relationships boring, even though you want your partner to be more reliable.
_______2. High-risk relationships make you feel needed. We all like to feel needed however in most high-risk relationships, you tolerate unhealthy behaviors. You are “used” in an unhealthy way. If you don’t know the difference between being needed and used, you present a high risk for relationship problems. (Hint: If you feel your needs are never met, you are being used.)
_______3. High-risk relationships offer freedom. If you feel like your life is dull and boring and you lack the ability to change it, a high-risk personality may offer you the spontaneity you feel you are lacking. You might get into a relationship in order to flee a situation and feel free.
________4. High-risk relationships offer exclusivity. You may feel like you know your partner like no one else does. His actions are okay because you know the REAL him. This rationalization might make you feel like your relationship is exclusive but it is likely you often have to defend his behavior. You are in the wrong relationship if that person makes you feel: Pressured, confused, guilty about not being good enough, uncomfortable around you, scared of him, humiliated, bad about yourself, trapped, fearful about what you say, controlled, that you are too controlling, that your partner will change “some day”. You are susceptible to a bad relationship if:
_______Your parents didn’t have a good relationship and you have very information about what makes a good relationship.
________If you are at a low point in your personal life and it feels good to “be in love”. You hold a secret belief that your relationship is going to take you away from the mess your life is in.
______If you are a “people pleaser” and you are used to carrying a disproportionate load in the relationship. You don’t notice when things are out of balance. You don’t work for reciprocity in a relationship. Building a healthy you is the first step to a healthier relationship. Take care of yourself and have a positive relationship with yourself.
Take an honest inventory regarding the messages you believe about yourself. Some of the messages you may believe about yourself might be:
_______Approval means love
_______You expect very little but you are willing to give a lot
_______You care for others so others will care for you
_______You have become socialized to be dependent and eager to please
_______You fear abandonment
_______Everyone must like you
_______Being a perfect makes you feel good about yourself
_______You care for others at the expense of caring for your self
_______You can be invisible and caring at the same time
_______You are attracted to men who have an unpredictable side because you like excitement _______You desperately want a relationship
If some of these concepts ring true to you and you find yourself checking the boxes on the questioner you might consider professional counseling. It is worth reexamining your beliefs in order to be in a healthy relationship.
Additional posts on relationships:
Camille Curtis Foster, MSW, LCSW
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