August 03, 2022

Recognizing 10 Signs Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics.

There are many types of relationships that we try to maintain throughout our lives and we are bound to encounter difficulties along the way. These challenges can stem from attachment issues, personality traits, cultural differences, misunderstandings, and insecurities, among other things. 


It can be hard to know whether you are going through typical problems that can be dealt with, whether you need to enforce some boundaries, or whether it would be best to end the relationship.

Nobody is perfect so we can expect conflict to arise, but when it becomes more of a habit than an occasional learning experience, we may need to look into the health of the thoughts and behaviors leading to these issues. 


It’s important to develop your level of introspection to determine your own part in conflicts. It’s also important to be able to distance yourself from your relationship enough to take a look at the other person’s behaviors and gauge the health of the partnership.

We can always work on ourselves but we can’t control what other people do. If the person you are trying to have a relationship with is unwilling to work with you in a respectful way, it might be time to go your separate ways.

So what are some signs of an unhealthy relationship? A few common ones are listed here but there are certainly others..

10 Signs of Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics.


  1. Controlling behavior: being told what you can and can’t do. There is an imbalance of power or responsibility.

  2. Manipulation: gaslighting or intentionally confusing the other person, intimidating angry outbursts, and passive-aggressive behavior.

  3. Dishonesty: lying or withholding the full truth. You may also lack trust in someone and feel the need to “check on them” to feel more secure.

  4. Being unwilling to seek help for the relationship and work together with respect.
  5. Discouraging or not being supportive of the other person’s goals.

  6. Withdrawing to the point of disconnection.

  7. Agreeing to a common goal and then consistently overstepping to the point of sabotage.

  8. Putting the other person down or being emotionally unable to encourage the other person.

  9. Talking to people outside of the relationship about your issues as a couple without talking to each other.

  10. Attachment issues that cause you to push away or grasp too tightly.

It’s normal to look through this list and find things that you or the person you’re in a relationship with do from time to time. We have all developed coping mechanisms to deal with life’s challenges and those don’t always serve us well. You don’t have to fix these things on your own. 


At Panahi Counseling, we are here to help. Even if you determine that it’s best to separate from a problematic relationship it can be extremely beneficial to talk to a therapist about what lead to these issues so you can avoid them in the future. 


Oftentimes we have grown up observing less healthy interactions between people and just haven’t yet learned what to expect from a healthy relationship. 

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