The Bad Relationship Series: How do the creeps creep in?

Posted on June 7, 2013

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Every bad relationship has a beginning.

Before you spent your weekends with the duplicitous friend, before you got cheated on by the lying scumbag, before you confided in the shady colleague, there was an introduction of some kind, an exchange of information, a conversation. There was some kind of beginning.

When you learn to be really relationship-savvy, you’ll start to be able to ‘sense’ the potential bad relationship right at the beginning and you’ll be able to nip it in the bud and put on some protective armor. Before it has the chance to develop into a crappy relationship.  Before you invest your time and your energy into it. Before it has the opportunity to be destructive.

There are certain warning signs and red flags in each and every bad relationship that tend to be universal. I’ll discuss those later on this month because those can be an important part of your learning process.  

But there are also ways that creeps creep into your life and those ways are specific to your personality and your life.  Identifying those are even more important, because each and every one of us harbors different relationship weaknesses. Just like a guide book can help you find the main tourist attractions in a new city but probably won’t help you figure out the side streets to park on, the best hole-in-the wall restaurants and the secrets of this city, a list of generalized red flags can be helpful but won’t necessarily be specific enough to be comprehensive.  

So it’s pretty essential to figure out how the creeps you’ve dealt with in the past found a way to creep into your life.

Think back on the bad relationships you’ve had throughout your life. Start with the worst ones and work your way through to the least destructive and analyze how the relationship started. Remember, a relationship can only start when two people give it permission to, so figure out when you gave each destructive relationship permission to begin. What made you begin the relationship? What drew you to this particular person? What information had you gathered (and more importantly not gathered) before you got involved with this person? 

The details may be difficult to remember, but when you start to analyze a handful of bad relationships, you should begin to see a pattern and be able to identify your personal weaknesses.

Did many of your bad relationships begin with the other person flattering you? If so, then you should recognize that you tend to be vulnerable to flattery and other appeals to your ego. Was the other person going through a difficult time and you felt sorry for them? If so, then you need to recognize that you may be vulnerable to allowing bad relationships into your life through sympathy. Were you particularly lonely at the time in your life? If so, you’ll realize that you tend to ignore your insight when you’re feeling lonely. Were you eager to be accepted into part of a larger group? If so, then you may need to identify this area of weakness.

As you go through and analyze how each bad relationship began, it should become clearer and clearer how you’ve allowed the creeps to creep in.  

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