Ending toxic relationships is the best thing you can do for yourself today. Avoiding getting into a toxic relationship is the best thing you can do for yourself in the future.
So, what can you do to learn to recognize someone that is toxic? A lot of people talk a great game. Can you trust that people are who they say they are? Today, more than ever, it’s easy to fall for a fake and miss the real thing.
Do you have a reliable method for sorting who is real and who is toxic, someone trying to sell an image that isn’t real? This blog post discusses how to discern the difference between the “real thing” and pretenders, people merely playing-acting at love and intimacy.
Warning! Getting into Toxic Relationships is Easy
Connection is easy, especially today. We can experience what feels like real intimacy without ever actually meeting or even video chatting with the person who becomes the object of our obsession. The hit MTV show Catfish is a great example. On this show, the rate at which normal, intelligent people fall in love with someone they’ve never met is unprecedented. But the statistics on outcomes of these “relationships” are clear: most of us willingly fall for an image of someone we want to be in love with. The problem is, falling in love with an image isn’t based in reality–it’s based on unconscious assumptions. In such cases, you may blindly get lucky, but more often than not, you’ll discover that the object of your desire is much different than you thought.
The truth is we indulge in fantasy quickly and easily. Reality is much more challenging. It takes learning to listen with skill to what your partner or potential partner discloses with their actions. Many times, our heart wants a particular outcome so badly, we ignore information and data points that are contrary to what we want to hear.
In the short term, it’s more fun and emotionally rewarding to block reality. Instead, we project our desires and needs onto someone who doesn’t present their true self. In such cases, we fill in the gaps, projecting our longed-for qualities on this mysterious new person. But humans in real life are flawed and present challenges.
The reality that people have flaws doesn’t mean that flawed people are toxic, but hiding flaws or lying about them can develop into a toxic relationship. No matter how you meet a potential partner, discernment will help you avoid falling into toxic relationships and instead get the love you want.
Learn How to Recognize the Fakers
So, how can you tell the real thing from the BS? How does anyone learn to be quick and super effective in discerning who is truly wanting and capable of love and commitment and who is playing at it?
We’ve all met people who pretend at having real interest in us. Play-actors are engaging and appear to be caring and compassionate listeners, desiring real connection, but they pretend to have these traits in an effort to manipulate others. Other dishonorable types have great qualities but their intentions with us are less than honorable. In both cases, with play-actors and dishonorable types, their MO with us is to manipulate. If you want to avoid heartache, this is where good skills of listening and discernment are truly needed.
To avoid heartache, look beyond the façades of love interests. Some potential partners present a façade, “an outward appearance maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.” It is good to recognize that our first encounters with others will often not give us much more than façades. And this isn’t always a bad thing. All of us want to put our best foot forward. When we first engage with anyone, we have the opportunity to present ourselves “in the best light.” We choose what to divulge or hide. We tell our story and present our best face. For the healthiest of us, the tension of showing our best self and maintaining honesty and transparency can be difficult.
Anyone can reveal or choose to hide important truths about who they are. For example, someone who is narcissistic and manipulative can be really engaging and giving for a short time, maybe a few days, weeks, or even months. But like the old gamblers “shell game,” it is a confidence trick used to perpetrate fraud. This engagement can take many different forms, depending on the attractive qualities you think you see in these fraudsters. Some examples of positive qualities that can be faked include having a nature that is affectionate, carefree, caring, compassionate, fun-loving, generous, open, or capable of commitment.
But anyone can conceal their limited capacity for a short time by being energetic in the beginning. Imagine, for example, that you meet someone who puts a lot of time and energy into being attentive and thoughtful. They plan dates, send thoughtful texts, and put you at the center of their time and decision making. They make you feel special. They “get” you. You feel accepted, understood, heard, and seen for your unique and valuable traits. You fall for how the other person makes you feel. The problem is, when this other person is running their game, our feelings are contrived and we are headed for a fall. This faux-partner may actually be very limited in their capacity to listen, understand, be thoughtful, engaging, unselfish, truthful, and caring. When they’ve gotten what they want out of the relationship, all those positive traits will disappear. This is why we need to be certain that we can tell the difference between someone who is pretending and someone actually capable of loving us.
You Can Achieve Your Relationship Goals
Toxic relationships proliferate when we’re unable or unwilling to tell a pretender from the real thing. With a little coaching, it is easy to recognize the authenticity of others and understand the importance of doing so. Over the years, I’ve coached lots of people that refuse to accept reality. Some people want a connection so bad, they will walk into a toxic relationship.
This is where really good listening, communication, and relationship skills make all the difference. If you want to build intimacy and guarantee good outcomes in a relationship, you have to learn to recognize the real deal from the manipulators and respect yourself enough to wait for the real deal to appear. If this feels daunting, don’t worry, Real Relationship Goals is here to help. We can teach you the tools you need to invest your time, effort, and energy in a truly rewarding relationship. Let go of the time-wasters and deceitful manipulators. End those toxic relationships and the cycle of falling into toxic relationships. Set up an appointment today for a free consultation.