Relationships can be difficult, and, inevitably, almost everybody faces the decision of whether or not to continue one. Sometimes, it’s a simple decision, like when an egregious act is committed. Most relationships, though, take many years to disintegrate to a point where a decision needs to be made to end things. It takes a great deal of courage to sever relations, and it’s often difficult, exhausting and messy. It can take years and multiple salvage attempts before finally calling it quits.
One of the greatest hurdles is recognizing that we can’t change others, and sometimes saying goodbye is for the best. It may be helpful to discuss your feelings with a professional who can help you move through the grieving process. Here are five red flags:
1. Emotional, physical, verbal, sexual or abuse. Emotional abuse is not always apparent. It can include manipulation by fear or intimidation, stonewalling, gossiping, and being ostracized by a group—even family.
2. Chronic disrespect and disregard. Continuing in these types of relationships compromises sense of self and personal boundaries.
3. Physical illness and/or emotional distress. Healthy, mature relationships are mutually supportive, respectful and nurturing, and conflicts are resolved without causing emotional damage. Unhealthy relationships can cause depression, anxiety, sleepless nights, headaches and stomach problems. If you’re having difficulty managing your responsibilities, or if other relationships are suffering, it could be a sign to end it.
4. Untreated mental illness or addiction. Those struggling with unacknowledged personality disorders or addictions have tremendous difficulty with interpersonal relationships.
5. Another who’s always angry but never at fault. Are you always walking on eggshells or dealing with a constant feeling of impeding doom in your relationship? Those who are unable to accept responsibility for their poor behavior and/or recognize their own aggressive feelings suffer from low self-esteem and emotional immaturity.