Four Reasons Why Relationships Fail
By Kristi Morgan, LMSW
- Poor Sense of Self
2. Finding Yourself Constantly in a Caretaker Role
Some people define themselves as natural caretakers. We wouldn’t have people to fill the jobs of nurses, teachers, babysitters, and other “caretaking” roles if some people were not naturally drawn to that role! However, constantly being the caretaker in your relationship can be a bad thing. It is NOT your responsibility to fix your partner’s problems. Assuming you are both adults, treat them like one. Do not give advice when they didn’t ask for it. If this describes you, chances are that you are constantly angry when your advice is not taken, and you feel anxious when your loved one has a problem that you can’t fix. You might feel sad because you constant give to others but feel like nobody gives to you in return. You might be attracted to needy people and/or find that needy people are constantly attracted to you. This is potentially a HUGE problem, and this means you are both in a relationship for the wrong reasons. This is a dysfunctional pattern that addicts often fall into – the addict searches out caretakers. Be in a relationship because you want to be – because you love them for who they are – and not because they fill a need that you have to be needed. This always ends in disaster.
3. Low Self Worth
Do you have low self-esteem? Are you with your partner because you don’t think you will ever find better? Unfortunately, many people who are unhappy in their relationships come from a background of abuse. If you are from a dysfunctional family or have been a victim of abuse, neglect, or alcoholism, you most likely have low self-esteem and this can affect your adult relationships if you have not gotten professional help to overcome your past. How do you know if you have overcome your bad past? If you can talk frankly about it without being upset. You most likely haven’t healed from your past if you get defensive easily, feel like a victim, feel guilty for taking time for yourself, are afraid of making mistakes, get your sense of self-worth by helping others, settle for being needed instead of loved, and feel like you aren’t good enough. If any of this describes you, it would be best to seek professional help while you are single to work through your issues before getting into a relationship with someone.
4. Obsessive and Controlling
Do you find yourself being anxious about your partner? Worrying over the silliest things? Have you ever lost sleep because you were obsessing over something about them? Have you caught yourself checking up on them such as reading their text messages or following them to try to catch them doing something wrong? Do other people in your life get tired of hearing you constantly talk about something pertaining to your relationship? Do you find yourself focusing all your time and energy on their problems and not on your own? In fact, you think that if they could only (do this or that) then your problems would get better? Do you tell your partner who they can be friends with, where they can go, what they are allowed to spend money on, and then get angry when they don’t do what you said? Obsessive and controlling behavior is rooted in fear, and it is horrible for your partner to be on the receiving end of this behavior. Nothing will make them want to run more than feeling controlled in this way. They may feel like they are “walking on eggshells” and like you are smothering them. A relationship should not feel this way.
Humans are imperfect and will make mistakes. Unfortunately, you may act in this way for a good reason – because your partner has done something wrong in your relationship, maybe even repeatedly, and you have good cause to not trust them. In cases such as this, it is normal and expected for the wronged partner to feel the need to check and be sure it isn’t happening again. As you work together to repair the damage done to the relationship and work to regain trust, this behavior should eventually go away when you feel safe again. If the problems continue, rather than trying to control your partner, at some point you must come to the realization that the only thing you can control is yourself and what you will put up with, and may need to make the decision to leave an unhealthy relationship. However, if you find yourself acting like this and your partner has never done anything to deserve it, this is a problem (and you may quickly find that they are the ones having to make a decision to leave an unhealthy relationship because of your problem behavior). It’s not fair to your partner for you to act out the insecurities and fears that you carry into the relationship from previous experiences.
About the Author: Kristi King-Morgan, LMSW is a trauma-focused mental health practitioner and the author of Group Therapy Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Handbook for Clinical Use, to be published in late 2016. She is also the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Dreaming Big Publications and serves as Director of Corporate Operations for Pro Se Press. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and three children.