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Dysfunctional Relationship

Dysfunctional Relationship

Dysfunctional relationship

Every relationship is dysfunctional in one way or another at some point. There is nothing like a perfect relationship. For staying in a committed relationship, many people compromise and try to cope with disappointments. If a relationship offers enough good to compensate, people weather the distress and choose to love each other. But when heartaches are more than good times, the bond starts getting weaker. At that time, any painful event can prove a deal-breaker. 90% of positive relationships can end because of unresolved conflicts and too many broken promises.

This article is all about dysfunctional relationships; you will be able to know some signs, patterns, and some tips regarding how you can improve your relationship. So, let’s get started:

Dysfunctional Relationship meaning

dysfunctional relationship meaning

Here is dysfunctional relationship meaning for you:

“It is important to realize that any relationship can go through ups and downs in a relationship as well as challenges and tests. We cannot deny it but when dissatisfaction, disharmony and negativity settle in a relationship and with time it becomes constant. That is when a relationship becomes dysfunctional from a healthy and loving relationship.”

Dysfunctional Relationship types

dysfunctional relationship types

Now you are familiar with dysfunctional relationship meaning, let’s have a look at some dysfunctional relationship types that are usually seen in romantic relationships.

Controlling relationship

This is a kind of relationship where a person wants to be the center of attention and wants others to accept every decision he or she makes. Everything seems like a competition with them, against affection, love, or gifts that you might be giving or receiving from others like friends or family. They might consider them a threat. Another key factor in this kind of relationship is that they will always want you by their side. You cannot be without them, no matter for even a minute, and it can be extremely annoying.

Concealing relationship

This is a kind of relationship in which one person is controlling but has double standards. For instance, he/she will not want you to meet your friends or cancel important plans but will do the opposite. Basically, he/she wants to bound you but wants freedom.

Fighter relationship

This is a very common type of relationship and is very easy to identify. The main characteristic of this relationship is aggression that is initiated by really small things. Psychological violence, devaluations, insults, and marked offenses are always a part of the conversation. Exchange of usually false accusations is a part of daily routine, and fighting is the common way of communication.

Manipulative relationship

A manipulative relationship is handled through guilt and suspicions. A manipulative person in a relationship will try to sabotage the plans or wishes of their partner. For instance, saying that he or she is selfish as they dedicate time to themselves. There is a lack of companionship among partners in such a relationship.

Dysfunctional Relationships warning signs

dysfunctional relationship warning signs

Identifying a dysfunctional relationship is not always easy. You are in love, so you do not care how you are treated in a relationship you are focusing on your emotions; everything seems dreamy. In a dysfunctional relationship, you might feel stressed, but you might not be able to find the roots of the issue. Here are some dysfunctional relationships warning signs:

Unresolved conflicts

There is an endless pattern of escalation in destructive communication. For instance, a conversation starts with, “The issue with you is..” or “why are you always like this..”. The conversation that starts with these things can intensify the negativity. Obviously, there are conflicts in a relationship, and we cannot ignore this fact. Research has told us that about 31% of conflicts are solvable with communication.

In this situation, the problem is not the conflict but detachment. If you don’t try to deal with your issues, you will end up in a troubling cycle of negativity, repeating the same conflicts. It happens when you cannot reconnect and resolve your issues or end up avoiding your problems that feed dysfunction.

Power Imbalance

When you feel an imbalance of power, where one of you is controlling the majority of the choices, show no regard to others, never compromise, or one where you do not try to risk being honest, then, at that point, you probably have a dysfunctional relationship. This might seem as though one companion is requesting more and the other is pulling away, or where you have little impact and are overlooked.

In a healthy relationship, the two partners have equal power. However, when force and control are focused on affection and regard, there will probably be dysfunction.

Lack of emotional security

The truth of the matter is we need emotional security to develop and flourish in a relationship. When you can listen, share, carefully observe, and respond, you make a relationship where emotional safety and trust exist and improve intimacy. Modern-day obligations and stresses have a tendency to pull you apart from your partner. While many couples can get back together, some remain separated and may require help in learning to connect. COUPLES THERAPY CLICK HERE TO BOOK IN NOW

Being out of connection emotionally is particularly damaging if your partner is attempting to make a bid for the association, and rather than recognizing the bid, you dismiss it. For example, you see your partner sad one evening; rather than being emotionally available and inquiring whether they need to talk, you overlook them and continue sitting in front of the TV. It is a serious sign of a dysfunctional relationship when your partner does not care about you anymore and does not fight for the relationship.

Blame games

The most unhappy, dissatisfied, and frustrated couples are those who always blame their partner for all the problems in their relationship. On the other hand, couples who take responsibility of everything wrong that happened in the relationship and try to solve these problems are highly satisfied in their relationship.


Resentment in a relationship is a quite toxic substance that can lead to harmful and destructive communication patterns. Resentment can ruin your daily life, your interactions and can make your efforts to solve problems more difficult. Prolonged resentment can end your relationship too. It can tie up with identity, values, or pride and feel impossible to get rid of. You cannot leave resentments unchecked.

Dysfunctional Relationship with parents

Dysfunctional Relationship with parents

Your dysfunctional relationship with your parents can ruin your life. Toxic parents can make your life really miserable as they are extremely controlling and manipulative. They won’t let you grow and emotionally separate yourself from them so that they can set your goals, make choices for you and make you unable to live a fulfilling life. They will make you question your decisions, and you will never feel good enough and end up regretting each and every decision.

Your relationship with your parents must not be like this. Although it is not possible to change your parents overnight, there is nothing like magic to solve these issues. But you can always start working on your dysfunctional relationship with your parents.

Here are some tips for you to handle the dysfunctional relationship with parents:

Do not try to please them

It is normal to look for your parent’s approval, but you can never please a toxic parent. Most importantly, it is your life, and you should make your own decisions, so choose what makes you feel good. If you spend your life in order to please others, you will never feel fulfilled or happy in life.

Set healthy boundaries

Healthy boundaries are necessary in order to build a healthy relationship with your parents. It will help in setting clear expectations and limit on how others will treat us. Toxic parents will resist boundaries, so it can be uncomfortable for you, but you need to try harder.

Trying to change them won’t help.

Someone who does not accept that he is causing problems in your life will never try to change himself for you. If you think that you can change them, you are clearly wrong. So you need to focus on things that are under your control, like how you can respond, your behavior, and your choices.

Be mindful of what you share.

In a healthy relationship, trust is one of the very important factors. You share your personal information with those you feel trustworthy. But here the situation is a little twisted if your parents might not be trustworthy. So, you have to decide what you want to share with them.

Plan an exit strategy

If you think that things are getting worse, take some time alone away from your parents. You cannot stick around just to make them feel happy or out of politeness. This can be bad for your mental health

They are your parents.

You need to keep in mind that they are your parents; shutting them out completely is not the right thing to do. You can talk to them, let them know how you feel and what are your concerns. It is possible that they are not aware of their toxic behavior and are doing everything unintentionally. Your openness can help them understand where they are wrong; as a result, they might try to improve themselves and understand you better.

Dysfunctional Relationship with food

dysfunctional relationship with food

Just like romantic relationships, relationships with parents, etc., etc., your relationship with food is also of great importance. A good relationship with food characterizes unconditional permission to eat the foods that make you feel better both mentally and physically. You cannot achieve this ideal relationship with your food overnight.

First of all, you need to identify whether your relationship with food is good or not. Here are signs that indicate your dysfunctional relationship with food:

  • Feeling guilty about eating
  • Try to avoid food that you think are bad
  • Have made a long list of foods that you can’t eat
  • Rely on calorie apps to tell when to eat and what to eat
  • Ignore natural hunger cues by body
  • Have a history of crash dieting
  • Feel stressful and anxious while eating in social gatherings
  • Binging or restricting food often

How to improve your relationship with food?

Hoping for change is a good thing, but actively doing something to bring change in your life is something else. You need to understand that you are your own person; you can have your food preferences, and your food choices do not define you. Here are some useful tips for you to improve your dysfunctional relationship with food:

Let yourself eat

One of the things about healthy relationships with food is that you need to allow yourself to eat unconditionally. You cannot eat if you have a lot of rules. If you will have a fear of food if you set rules regarding when to eat and when to not.

Eat if you feel hungry.

We all have a natural ability to regulate hunger, take a hint from children who can tell when they are hungry. So, listen to your natural hunger cues this way; you can regulate your appetite and can manage food intake.

Mindful eating

Mindful eating is the best option to improve your relationship with food. It characterizes being fully present while eating and cherish the experience. Do not use your phone, or watch TV or read a book while eating. Learn to slow down and savor the food.

Eat without excuses

You do not have to justify your food choices. Never say things like “I had a bad day so I am gonna eat ice-cream” or “I could not exercise today so it would be better to stick to salad” This is clearly wrong. Eat without making excuses. It is good to live and eat healthy, but sometimes it is okay to eat whatever you want.

Dysfunctional Relationship patterns

Dysfunctional Relationship Pattern

It is very important to identify dysfunctional relationship patterns in order to realize there is something wrong. These patterns are an indication that the relationship is deteriorating slowly. It is not easy to read these patterns in a relationship, especially when it is your first relationship and you know nothing about it. Those who have been in toxic relationships before or had toxic parents also find it difficult to identify dysfunctional relationship patterns.

In that case, it is best to seek help from a relationship counselor. The professional will not only help you figure out these toxic patterns but will also help you in building a healthy relationship with your partner.

Dysfunctional Relationship quotes

dysfunctional relationship quotes

Here are some of the best dysfunctional relationship quotes for you:

  • “There are two questions a man must ask himself: The first is ‘Where am I going?’ and the second is ‘Who will go with me?’ If you ever get these questions in the wrong order you are in trouble.” ― Sam Keen, Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man
  • “You cannot fix people who will not take feedback, because from their perspective, they do not have a problem.” ― Henry Cloud, Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward.
  • “You two are a disaster.” I smiled at the ceiling. “It doesn’t matter what or why it is. When it’s good, Kara … it’s beautiful.” ― Jamie McGuire, Beautiful Disaster
  • “It is very difficult to develop a proper sense of self-esteem in a dysfunctional family. Having very little self-worth, looking at one’s own character defects becomes so overwhelming there is no room for inward focus. People so afflicted think: “I need to keep you from knowing me. I have already rejected me, but if you knew how flawed I am, you would also reject me…and since this is all I have, I could not stand any more rejection. I am not worthy of someone understanding me, so you will not get the chance…so I must judge, reject, attack, and/or find fault with you. I don’t accept me, so how can I accept you?” ― David W. Earle LPC- Love is Not Enough.
  • “I know you deserve better than me. You think I don’t know that? But if there was any woman made for me … it’s you.” ― Jamie McGuire, Beautiful Disaster.
  • “I found myself in a pattern of being attracted to people who were somehow unavailable, and what I realized was that I was protecting myself because I equate the idea of connection and love with trauma and death.” ― Zachary Quinto.
  • “My sister only has one side of the story but she is sure that she knows the whole story because that is how the dysfunctional system works. We don’t question everyone or even consider that there may be another side to the story but instead automatically believe the one who has the most power in the relationship.” ― Darlene Ouimet.
  • “And could you, from a place of love, actually stand up and, use force, to give someone back, the suffering, they were trying to put on you? Would I do it? Maybe it would even be, an act of fierce compassion, as Enso Roshi sometimes talked about, to not take it any more. To not cow down, anymore. To let my father know, the tyrant, the aggressor, that if he hits me, I’m going to hit back, and hard.” ― T. Scott McLeod, All That Is Unspoken.
  • “A soulmate relationship is supposed to be a nurturing, safe space. Never settle for anything less.” ― Anthon St. Maarten.
  • “Ours was a relationship of small talk. We’d never stayed awake long into the night hoping to find in that nocturnal physical conversation a connection of minds. We hadn’t stared into each others eyes because if eyes are the window to the soul it would be a little rude and embarrassing to look in. We’d created a ring-road relationship, circumventing raw emotions and complex feelings, so that our central selves were strangers.” ― Rosamund Lupton, Sister.
  • “In a relationship, no amount of extra effort on your part can make up for a lack of effort on theirs.” ― John Mark Green.
  • “Creating chaos provides excitement for some people, especially those who are uneasy with silence, those who distract themselves from their own problems by focusing outward, those who feel empty inside and need to fill themselves up with activity, and those who were raised in an environment in which harmony and peace were unknown.” ― Beverly Engel, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing.
  • “Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles, and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters.” ― John Mark Green.
  • “He’s a mass of contradictions. Unfortunately, that only seems to enhance his appeal. I’m one sick bitch, that’s for sure.” ― Siobhan Davis, Finding Kyler.
  • “As I was growing up, no one in my family got their needs met through respectful negotiation and compromise.” ― Olga Trujillo, The Sum of My Parts: A Survivor’s Story of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
  • “Men who hit do so because they can…someplace they enjoy or need to humiliate another. There is no love in violence, only control and domination.” ― Na’ama Yehuda, Emilia.
  • “Love is exactly the word I’d use…It’s the only thing that comes close to describing this hell with you.” ― Meg Collett, The Killing Season.
  • “Healthy people will marry healthy people because you will always end up with the person whom you believe you deserve.” ― Debra Fileta, True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of your Life.
  • “He left the room silently, and it was not quite clear whether it was the beginning of a row or not. Probably he would decide later, depending on whether there was a practical advantage to be had in discord.” ― Zadie Smith, NW.
  • “Something that’s unsustainable, like a dysfunctional relationship, can go on longer than you expect, and then end faster and messier than you think.” Peter R. Orszag
  • “It’s good to learn early that every show is a family – -complete with dysfunctional relationships, tough love, and plenty of occasion for forgiveness.” Kristin Chenoweth
  • “As many conventionally unhappy parents did in the 1950s, my parents stayed together for the sake of the children—they divorced after my youngest brother left home for college. I only wish they had known that modeling their dysfunctional relationship was far more damaging to their children than their separation would have been.” Bruce H. Lipton
  • “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”- Richard Bach.
  • “Refuse to inherit dysfunction. Learn new ways of living instead of repeating what you lived through.” – Thema Davis
  • “I come from a dysfunctional family, so my view of parents and parenting used to be highly mixed.” – Tamora Pierce.
  • “Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future.”- Gail Buckley.


Being in a dysfunctional relationship is extremely stressful, but you can always improve your relationship, whether romantic or platonic. You just need to figure out the root of the problem, and then you can work on it. A third party like a relationship counselor can also help you identify the root problem in your relationship with anyone or anything.

So, this was all about a dysfunctional relationship. I have tried my best to share useful information with you; I hope you will find it helpful. BOOK COUPLES THERAPY NOW CLICK HERE.

Further reading

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