If you’re both pretending when it comes to your feelings and opinions, and being falsely polite and insincere, there’s no real relationship.
There are 15 signs of toxic relationships that are the most common. You should be able to recognize them and then know where to go from there.
By pointing out these harsh relationship patterns, we’re not judging the individuals involved. This isn’t about judging another person; it’s about being aware of the dynamics within the relationship.
1. He’s always interrupting you.
The person who continually interrupts you doesn’t really care what you have to say. Interrupters are people who are anxious to hear the sound of their own voice, and who are convinced that they provide the most interesting and accurate conversation.
How this relationship affects you: You begin to talk really fast to get your words in before they can be interrupted. You start to feel anxious whenever the interrupter initiates conversation with you.
How to handle this: Stop someone the first time he or she interrupts them and say Excuse me, I wasn’t finished talking in a very calm and peaceful way. If you touch the person’s arm while saying this sentence, the impact is even stronger. You’re helping the other person become aware of a habit that’s likely blocking him or her in all other relationships.
2. And correcting what you say.
Correcting is similar to interrupting, except worse. People who are prone to this behavior not only interrupt you, but also “correct” what you’ve been saying. They may point out errors in your grammar or pronunciation, like your old English teacher. Or they may tell you much more about the topic you’re discussing.
How this relationship affects you: You walk on eggshells, worried about the next mistake you’ll make. If you live with one, it will affect your self-esteem. You may doubt your own intelligence, and give your power away to the other person, because you believe that you can’t do anything right.
How to handle this: You must handle these situations head-on. By giving candid feedback to the corrector, you help him or her develop better relationships. The next time this person corrects you, take a deep breath, and say: “Sometimes I feel that you’re more my teacher than my friend. And while I appreciate you adding to my body of knowledge, I’d prefer to have conversations where it’s just us sharing our feelings instead of you trying to teach me.”
3. She likes to one-up you.
People who one-up others have done everything better than you, on a larger scale, and they want to tell you about it! Any story that you relate will be scarcely digested before it is regurgitated in a more grandiose version—starring them.
How this relationship affects you: Your body exhibits signs of tension and resentment. You feel unheard and unappreciated. In this sort of relationship, you feel lonely because it’s a one-sided conversation at all times. You also feel disappointed that the other person won’t share in your excitement or other emotions concerning the experiences you’re relaying.
How to handle this: Such people have no idea that they’re upsetting, annoying, or pushing others away with their superiority complex. They’re extremely lonely and wonder why people aren’t impressed with their accomplishments. They believe that if people are impressed, they’ll be loved and valued. Once you understand the depth of such a person’s loneliness and desperation to be loved, you can go from there.
4. And is clingy and needy.
Clingy people are insecure individuals who latch onto whoever will acknowledge their existence by giving them attention. As a caring person, you can sense that such people need love. The problem is that they’re a bottomless pit of neediness, which neither you nor anyone else can fill.
How this relationship affects you: This person has you looking over your shoulder constantly in an effort to avoid him or her. You start to feel guilty because you know that this person enjoys your company and feels he or she needs you, even though in a spiritual sense no one needs anyone as their Source.
How to handle this: It’s important for you to always tell the truth with love. So you’ll need to summon the courage to tell this person that you’re quite busy with projects and need more space. This insecure person will likely feel wounded and take your words personally, but you can’t put your whole life on hold to coddle someone.
5. Then there’s stalking.
Stalkers take the needy and clingy behavior to a whole new, and sometimes dangerous, level. Almost always, this is an ex-lover who won’t let go. He or she shows up at work, your home, or your friends’ homes, calls you, and incessantly begs you to return to the relationship. Very often, these pleas are accompanied by promises that he or she has really changed this time. If you don’t comply with the person’s wishes, the behavior may escalate to abuse or threats.
How this relationship affects you: For some people, having a stalker is a misguided boost to their self-esteem. But make no mistake, stalkers don’t love you. They want to own and control you, which is the opposite of true love. If the stalker is telling you that his or her life is ruined without you, or threatening to commit suicide if you don’t come back, you may be racked with guilt and worry.
How to handle this: Don’t give this person the satisfaction of any form of reaction. Any reply that you offer encourages him or her to continue stalking you. Have the stalker’s number blocked from your phone, or change yours if you have to. Block him or her on your e-mail and social-media sites. Have no contact with the person whatsoever. If there’s any history of violence, contact authorities and file for a restraining order. Don’t take threats lightly. Vow that in any future relationships where there’s signs of extreme jealousy, controlling behaviors, or stalking, you’ll run the other way.