Dysfunctional marriages often begin with euphoria. You’re in love, believe you’ve found the perfect mate, and dismiss warning signs of trouble to come. Months later you begin to realize you’re unhappy and wonder why. Bad marriages are emotionally destructive and rarely get better. If you are in the early stages of a relationship, pay attention to the warning signs before it’s too late. If you’re already married, deal with your problems before they lead to divorce. Try to recognize what’s wrong and talk to a counselor about how to fix things. There are several signs of dysfunction.
1. Power Imbalance.
If one of you is committed to making the marriage work while the other is not, your relationship’s in trouble. Marriage needs to be a partnership if it’s going to work. If your relationship seems one sided because you are the only one trying to make it work, you may be headed for a breakup.
2. Feeling Insecure.
Are you unsure how your partner is going to treat you when you get home? Do you walk on eggshells and monitor your every move to make certain you don’t upset your spouse? If you’re afraid to make a suggestion or ask for something because it might cause a fight, you are unsure of yourself and that’s a bad sign.
3. Being Blamed.
Are you blamed for everything that goes wrong in your relationship? Are disputes always your fault? Dysfunctional partners avoid accepting responsibility for their actions. Someone else is always at fault. They miss remember, revise the facts to make their own behavior perfect, and blame others for any problem. This means you have to constantly be on the defensive and protect yourself from unreasonable blame.
4. Fighting About the Same Thing.
If you can’t resolve disagreements, you have a problem. Most couples learn to compromise and resolve arguments, but some can’t settle their disputes. Communication stops, they can’t agree about what happened, and old grievances recur. That’s a bad sign.
5. Feeling Unhappy.
Are you unhappy with your relationship? Do you have doubts about your partner? Does it feel that things aren’t right? Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your partnership. If you’re don’t share the same core values, you may need to get out of the relationship.
6. Boundary Issues.
Everyone needs boundaries. We want to be close, but not too close, we need independence, but want to rely on others, we need to trust, but not be gullible. When normal boundaries are violated and a married couple is co-dependent, when a mother and grandmother compete for the attention of the children, or when a mother and daughter become co-dependent, they have boundary issues and can’t develop normal lives.
7. Feeling Resentful.
When someone you love hurts your feelings, you may become angry and resentful. Everyone gets hurt by loved ones from time to time. Our parents criticize us or our partner may have an affair. These hurts can produce lasting feelings of bitterness and resentment if you don’t deal with them. If you can’t forgive your partner for pasts hurts, you will accumulate resentments until you end up hating your partner. Forgiveness is a conscious decision to give up feelings of resentment and thoughts of getting even. Forgiving will let you focus on positive things and get on with your life and love. You don’t have to deny you were hurt, but you can let go of the anger associated with the hurt and forgive the transgression.
If you’re unhappy, you may be in a destructive relationship. Ask yourself if you see signs of dysfunction and take steps to fix them or get out of the relationship. For example, if you are committed to the relationship and trying to make it work but your partner seems indifferent, you are probably in a dysfunctional marriage. Do you monitor your every move to make certain you don’t upset your spouse? That’s not a good sign. Is it always your fault when something goes wrong? Do you have the same fight over and over and never solve anything?
If you don’t have similar core values, perhaps you need to get out of the relationship. When boundaries are violated and we become too emotionally enmeshed, we are in a dysfunctional relationship. Finally, if you are angry and resentful of your spouse and can’t forgive him or her, you need to change or get out.
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