Your inner monologue is helpful not only in relationship to better understanding yourself; it can also reveal your state of being — I.e., the quality of your present experience — in your relationship.
This state of being can help you discern whether the kind of thoughts you’re having may be signs you’re involved in an unhealthy, perhaps even toxic, relationship.
Unhealthy relationships are characterized by insecurity, distrust, preoccupation and disconnection.
Bear in mind that your own mental health is a huge factor on your state of anxiety and ability to trust; therefore the health of the relationship is not necessarily a reflection on just your partner. It is rather a function of the connection between you as a couple.
The strength and health of your connection with one another relies on each of you being in, or at least evolving towards, a healthy relationship with yourself.
The statements you make to yourself within your inner dialogue can reveal a great deal about whether or not that is the case.
If you find yourself having some or all of these six recurrent thoughts, your inner monologue is sending you signs that it’s a toxic, unhealthy relationship.
1. “I feel like I’m walking on eggshells around my partner.”
In healthy relationships, there is a baseline sense of ease and comfort being your best self. If you feel yourself constantly walking on eggshells around your partner, there are issues that are not being talked about, understood or accepted.
This state of being will not support you being your best self in the relationship or outside the relationship.
This is a symptom that should be addressed sooner than later! Initiate or find help initiating a healthy dialogue that will allow you to discover whether whatever you are tiptoeing around can be resolved.
2. “I don’t understand my partner’s moods.”
Everyone has mood shifts and mood swings. In a healthy relationship, a good level of understanding develops such that you each have a good working sense of when and why your moods shift.
The core of a healthy bond is that the two people are good at mutually tracking and regulating their own and each other’s emotional states. Starting in infancy, this process is how our brains literally wire an emotional connection through the experience of trust.
In unhealthy relationships, mood shifts feel mysterious and therefore dangerous.
If you find yourself constantly unsure of your partner’s feeling state, and feel ill at ease because their mood shifts don’t’ make sense to you, beware. You either need to do some work together to reach a level of mutual understanding, or the relationship will become less and less healthy over time.
3. “I feel constantly uncertain about my partner’s connection to me.”
Disconnection and uncertainty define unhealthy relationships.
Of course, the connection in any relationship will ebb and flow. But if the overriding feeling is characterized by uncertainty and/or you are preoccupied, wondering about the connection, your relationship probably needs some work.
4. “I’m not sure whether I can trust my partner to be faithful.”
In a strong, healthy bond, there is a mutual feeling that you are in it together. While many people are aware of some level of jealousy, couples in a healthy relationship can state with a high degree of certainty that they feel their partner is faithful to them.
An ongoing level of preoccupation about your partner’s faithfulness is not a healthy state to live in. Preoccupation zaps energy from your life, friendships, work and play.
A healthy relationship should support the rest of your life, not drain energy from it.
5. “My partner wouldn’t be affected much if I were unfaithful.”
When we are bonded to another person, a betrayal of that bond feels like a knife in the gut.
If one or the other of you feels unphased by romantic or sexual feelings with another, there is likely not a healthy depth to the bond.
Guarding the bond is a protective instinct. If that instinct is not there, it may be an indication that the bond isn’t there either.
6. “Things will be better as soon as …”
Granted, some periods of life pose challenges on a relationship. But if you constantly find yourself rationalizing problems in the connection due to external events, beware.
A healthy bond will help you through difficult times more often than not.
If you find yourself passively waiting for some external pressure to relieve, you might be waiting forever. If you are in a difficult time, make sure your partnership still possesses a dynamism and that over time there is a growth curve.
If you can look back on your challenging times and see that your connection has grown through them rather than avoiding them, that’s the ticket!
Do you identify with several or many of these inner thoughts?
If so, you likely need to examine the health of your connection.
Start by understanding your own contribution. Any of these thoughts can be the product of your own difficulties trusting, understanding your own emotions, sharing openly with your partner, or reading their signals incorrectly.
Perrin Elisha is a psychologist, psychoanalyst, author and teacher who helps clients get to the root of and heal their relational difficulties. Download her free eBook “How to Be an Extraordinary Partner” or learn more about her online Marriage and Commitment Course.