Dear Dr. Romance: I'm Struggling With Dismissing Bad Behavior

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Dear Dr. Romance: I'm Struggling With Dismissing Bad Behavior
A bad relationship can become like an addiction—a difficult habit to break.

If you find you have real reason to doubt this person and there are real problems, such as lying, severe money problems, a history of alcohol abuse, violence, many past relationship problems, a criminal record, reports of illegal activities, or drug use, do not make excuses and do not accept promises of change. Change is difficult and will take a lot of time. Mere promises, no matter how well intended, are not sufficient. Get out of this relationship before you are any more attached, or any more degraded, than you are now. If your partner decides to get help, let him do it because he or she knows they need it, not to get you back. That’s not a strong enough motive to keep him committed to change.

To dump a jerk, don’t be kind. He won’t get it. Be clear and say, "It’s over" in no uncertain terms, ask him not to contact you and then cut him off. Don’t answer phone calls, e-mails, etc. If you do, you’ll give him cause to think he can badger you into coming back. If he shows up, don’t let him in. If you have to call the police to get rid of him, do it. He’s a spoiled brat and he needs to know you mean what you say.

Know the signs of emotional blackmail:

  1. A demand. Your date won’t take "no" for an answer and requests are really demands.
  2. Resistance. When every discussion turns into an argument.
  3. Pressure. Your date pressures you to go along.
  4. Threats. Your date uses threatening or coercing tactics: threatening to end the relationship, tears, rage, badgering.
  5. Compliance. If you give in, you’re setting a dangerous precedent. Your date now knows you can be pressured into giving into him or her and this will increase the intensity of what your date is willing to do to pressure you.
  6. Repetition. An obsessive person will go through these previous five steps over and over, wearing you down each time. The easiest thing is to be sure when you say "no" it means no.

For more information and skills for how to avoid toxic relationships, please read:
How to Keep Yourself Out of a Violent Relationship
Setting Boundaries and Saying No
Romance is Not Necessarily Love
How to Avoid Loving a Jerk
Avoiding The Drama Triangle

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Tina Tessina

Author

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
http://www.tinatessina.com
tina@tinatessina.com
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Dr. Romance Blog: http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
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