6 Tiny Warning Signs Someone Is Emotionally Unstable

You can't fix this type of person.

man with round yellow tinted sunglasses Wassim Chouak | Unsplash

Are you looking for warning signs that someone is emotionally unstable and you're about to end up with heartbreak? First of all, good for you for being proactive and trying to prevent your broken heart instead of having to heal from one that already is! Warning signs, also known as red flags, are usually very obvious but many of us refuse to see them or admit they are there.

But they are there and need to be paid attention to and heeded. Why? Because being emotionally unstable can mean a personality disorder such as borderline personality disorder. It can also be a sign of depression, anxiety, or childhood trauma. A person with emotional instability can be a one-way road to heartbreak. So, what are some warning signs?


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Here are 6 warning signs someone is emotionally unstable:

1. He is possessive and jealous

I remember early on in a relationship my guy was jealous of other guys and possessive about the time we spent together. I loved it. I remember feeling so loved because he would react with jealousy when another guy was talking to me or who wanted me to be with him at all times. I had finally found the guy for me.



I grew to very much love this man but unfortunately, that side of him, the side that originally thrilled me, ended up being a nightmare. I wasn’t allowed to maintain friendships with guys I had known for years. He never let me go out with my friends, girl or boy, without him. He couldn’t believe or accept that I loved him and still wanted to spend time on my own. He didn’t trust that I wouldn't go out and cheat on him or do something that he didn’t want me to do. IDespitemy love for this man, I knew that there was no way I could be involved with a man who was so controlling because I knew it was a sign of bigger issues, issues that I knew would only hurt me.


2. He has a difficult relationship with his family

I had a client who was in a relationship with a man she loved. For many months she hadn’t known much about her man’s family, only that he talked to his mom every week. As soon as she met his family, she knew that things were not okay. Her man’s family loved each other but there were trust issues. He had been a difficult teen and the hangover from that was still there. They would accuse him of things that I didn’t think could have possibly happened.

Furthermore, the family simply could not communicate or tell each other the truth about anything. My client wanted to address her concerns with his family but her guy refused to. Ultimately, his inability to be honest with his family and their lack of trust in him created a huge rift between my client and her guy. She knew that she could never trust him to make her a priority or even be honest with her. They had to break up because of it and she was left heartbroken.

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3. He has money issues

Now, not all men with money issues are emotionally unstable. We all can fall on hard times due to job insecurity or family sickness and such. But if your man has trouble staying on top of his finances despite a well-paying job, then that could be a red flag. A client of mine had a boyfriend who had a great job. He made a good living and was generous with her but not overly so. A few months into their relationship, when she was getting seriously attached to him, she learned that he had $50K in credit card debt.


He explained that he had accumulated the debt during a previous relationship where he felt like he had to take care of her up to a certain standard beyond his means. And he did! This kind of credit card debt is a HUGE red flag. It shows that your man has some fundamental insecurities about himself if he is willing to spend so much money to keep someone happy. Also, the inability to control spending can be an indication of some deeper issues like bipolar disorder and anxiety. A man like that can most definitely break your heart.

4. He has a history of rocky relationships

Does your man tell stories of the many women he has been in relationships with? Does he tell you about how crazy this one was, how this one drove him away with her jealousy, how that other one demanded that he marry her, and how that last one cheated on him?



If you have a guy like that, run for the hills. A guy who has been in multiple relationships and takes no responsibility for the downfall of any of them is not someone you want to be in partnership with. The only thing you will get from that relationship is added to his long list of girls who have let him down.


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5. He is needy and clingy

Nothing pushes a guy away from a girl quicker than someone needy and clingy. It works the same way for girls. Everyone wants to be needed but someone who is needy and wants to be with you all the time is someone who is not sure of who he is in the world and is looking to you to fulfill him.

Many of us like to be needed but there is a line. If your man crosses the line, if he sulks when he can’t be with you or looks to you to tell him how awesome he is, or needs to stand by your side at a party, then he is not the man for you. So don’t get attached to a needy man — his insecurities will ultimately drive you away.

6. His reactions are extreme

This is a big one and I saved it for last. Yes, many people — men and women — have emotional reactions to stimuli. We laugh when we are happy, we cry when we are sad, and we sometimes yell when we are scared or angry. These emotions are natural and an important part of emotional health. What is not okay is when the reactions are extreme.


If you have a guy who, when he gets angry, screams at you and calls you names, that is not okay. If you have a guy who, when he drinks, gets very drunk, that is not okay. If you have a guy who, when he is happy, can bounce off the walls and seem over the top, that is not okay.

Remember, if he demonstrates extreme mood swings early in your relationship when everyone is still on their best behavior, he will continue to do so as time goes by and most likely those extremes will become worse.

A person who displays extreme emotions can have a personality disorder of some kind. It could be the result of bad chemistry or childhood trauma. No matter what its cause, you want to run away, as quickly as you can. Looking out for warning signs someone is emotionally unstable is very important in your life. Be it a boss, a co-worker, a friend, or a lover, living closely with an unstable person can have a huge negative effect on your life.


So pay attention to your guy. Make sure that his affection for you isn’t too much, that he can do okay on his own, that he manages his finances well, and that he can keep his emotions in check. If you can find a guy like that, and you will if you keep looking, don’t let him go!

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.