There are a couple of good ways to tell whether a relationship is positive or negative. The first is to note whether a person makes you feel better or worse about yourself. The second relates to how much energy the relationship requires.
In his book,High Maintenance Relationships, Les Parrot identifies the types of people who are likely to hurt us and take energy from us. Here are some of them:
Critics constantly complain or give unwanted advice.
Martyrs are forever the victim and wracked with self-pity.
Wet blankets are pessimistic and habitually negative.
Steamrollers are blindly insensitive to others.
Gossips spread rumors and leak secrets.
Control freaks are unable to let go and let things be.
Backstabbers are irrespressively two-faced.
Green-eyed monsters seethe with envy.
Volcanoes build steam are always ready to erupt.
Sponges are always in need but never give anything back.
Competitors always keep track of tit for tat.
Having identified energy-drainers in our lives,here are some top checklists . It may help to answer yes or no to each of the following questions.
Do you feel especially anxious when a particular person has called and left a message for you to return the call?
Have you recently been dealing with a relationship that drains you of enthusiasm and energy?
Do you sometimes dread having to see or talk to a particular person at work or in a social situation?
Do you have a relationship in which you give more than you receive?
Do you find yourself second-guessing your own performance as a result of an interaction with this person?
Do you become more self-critical in the presence of this person?
Is your creativity blocked,or is your clarity of mind hampered somewhat,by the lingering discomfort of having to deal with a difficult person?
Do you try to calm yourself after being with this person by eating more,biting your nails,or engaging in some other unhealthy habits?
Do you ever have imaginary conversations with this person or mental arguments in which you defend yourself or try to explain your side of a conflict?
Have you become more susceptible to colds,stomach problems,or muscle tensions since having to deal with this difficult person?
Do you feel resentful that this person seems to treat other people better than she or he treats you?
Do you find yourself wondering why this person singles you out for criticism but rarely acknowledges things you do well?
Have you thought about quitting your job as a result of having to interact with this difficult person?
Have you noticed that you are more irritable or impatient with people tou care about because of leftover frustrations from your interaction with this difficult person?
Are you feeling discouraged that this person has continued to drain you of energy despite your efforts to improve the relationship?
If you answered yes to ten or more of the questions,then you are certainly in a high-maintenance relationships.
I do not mean to imply that only negative relationships requires you to put energy into them. All relationships requires you to give some energy. Relationships don’t cultivate and sustain themselves. The question is,how much energy do they require? And do they give anything in return.
Remember,a healthy relationship is symbiotic,mutual,and cohesive. One without judgement or expectations. It’s time for some reevaluation.