A repetitive pattern of behaviour over a period of time becomes a habit. Habits can be as insignificant as shaking a leg while sitting, doing something constructive as reading or simply getting habituated to a luxury like an air-conditioned car or a home. A habit is not developed over night and so, when one realizes that there is a pattern setting up, one should consciously try to break that pattern, particularly if detrimental in any way.
Certain habits can be harmful for a relationship. One such habit is cribbing. Such cribbers sweat the small stuff and crib about everything under the sun. The negativity is so strong that they can never look at the larger picture. They can’t count their blessings. Especially in a relationship, this can be a major source of contention. The cribbing is never internal. It’s always external – aimed at the partner, the situation or things around. Despite being brought to their notice, such people seldom change. Anything that the partner says or does is given a negative connotation. It’s not only “why you said so” but also “when you said this, you actually meant this.” Lots of presumptions at play. Motives are imputed. This kind of approach has deep underlying causes. An unpleasant childhood, complexes developed then but manifested in adulthood, when dealing with others – closed ones. This inner circle of people are taken for granted and bear the brunt of such complexes. Cribbing also takes the form of sarcasm and taunting. Their partners may not even know that anything said or done is misconstrued till it is conveyed through some direct or indirect chiding.
Such people make relationships toxic. Partners of such people have to struggle to be themselves. It becomes so taxing to cope with such complexities that they sometimes don’t even realize but end up losing themselves – thinking all the time about how their behaviour would be reacted upon. One of the couples I was seeing had a similar problem. The husband always misinterpreted his wife’s understanding. If he said he wanted to go to sleep early and if she readily agreed, thinking that he must be tired, she was misread. She was blamed for being latently angry about the entire thing and not showing it. Convincing him she wasn’t angry at all and that he was only imagining, she was further questioned about why she wasn’t enquiring about his health – if he was ok since retiring early. She was mocked for not even showing some care and concern. The assumptions are endless and exasperating. Such relationships don’t last and even if they do, there’s a lot at stake in terms of ‘out of control’ emotions on part of the partner finding faults and ‘totally controlled emotions’ by the opposite partner. Such controlled emotions can be dangerous and can take a toll on a person’s mental health in the long run. It’s like a ticking time bomb ready to explode any time.
If you feel your partner is toxic, it’s a red flagged relationship. I wouldn’t advise any one to be a part of such a relationship. When we live in times where nothing toxic is acceptable, why accept a toxic partner? Try to detox your partner. If it doesn’t help, detox yourself from the relationship.