Do you think you can spot unhealthy relationships? From how far away?
Unhealthy relationships can be tricky sometimes to spot. It's easy to see that a relationship with domestic violence is not healthy, but not so much when partners are being caring towards each other. After all, a relationship with caring partners is healthy, right? Not always.
I don't think all outwardly caring behavior is always inwardly healthy. We have to dig below the behavior and examine the motivation for it to know for sure.
Most of us are familiar with the term "people pleasing". We're also aware that it's unhealthy, even though it often takes the form of caring behavior. Not many of us probably associate people pleasing with romantic relationships, but it can occur there too and create relationships that aren't healthy.
Here's a post I wrote on social media about people pleasing. As you read it below, keep in mind the distinction I made earlier between outward behavior and inward motives.
A guy told me, and his wife, yesterday in couples counseling, "It's my job to make her happy." I disagreed. It's his job to care about his wife's happiness, and to do what he can to positively influence it, but her feelings are not his responsibility. Each of us is responsible for our own feelings.
One of the things that make this man's belief so dangerous in romantic relationships (and creates unhealthy relationships) is that he's trying to control something he cannot control. And it sets him up for huge disappointment and the relationship or marriage failing. The reality in this guy's relationship is that no matter how hard he tries, he just can't make her happy, and that's because it's not his job, it's hers. Another consequence of his belief is the neglect of his needs and ill will that arises from it.
Is it really any wonder why this couple has an unhappy, unfulfilling . . . unhealthy relationship? This guy is very sad and unhappy, and he says he's unhappy because his wife is unhappy, but it's really because he's wrongly made his happiness dependent upon hers.
Unhealthy relationships often have some form of people pleasing in them. It can occur for different reasons, but it always leads to the same outcome -- disappointment and failure. As I wrote in the Google+ post, people pleasing is a dangerous trap all of us can fall into. So we all must continually check our motives and make sure our caring behavior isn't for unhealthy reasons.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about people pleasing in romantic relationships and how it creates relationships that aren't healthy. Please leave a comment on this post below.
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