Are certain dynamics in your relationships leaving you drained or questioning your own sanity? Are you wondering if you are in a narcissistic relationship? Let's dive in! together.
In our latest heart-to-heart, I peel back the layers on those unsettling feelings we often brush aside, tackling the signs that point to unhealthy and narcissistic partnerships.
This episode is not so much about your partner's behavior, but rather focuses more on how YOU are feeling in the relationship to help you figure out if you are in an unhealthy relationship.
It's not about casting blame but rather, embracing the subtle signals our emotions send us. From the exhaustion that lingers to the doubts that cloud our reality, each internal red flag is a guidepost on the journey to understanding if we are in a relationship with a toxic partner or not.
This episode is about reclaiming the power and trust that should be the cornerstone of every relationship. As we traverse the complexities of emotional responses and the importance of boundaries, we realize how critical it is to listen to our inner voice.
It's a conversation that digs into why we might rationalize a partner's harmful actions or why we lose a piece of ourselves in the process. By shining a light on these patterns, I hope to empower you to enforce your boundaries and reclaim your self-trust, laying the groundwork for open, balanced, and healthy relationships.
We wrap up with a candid talk about the steps to take when a relationship turns toxic. I introduce resources like the StrongHER group program and one-on-one coaching, designed to offer support and guidance for those feeling stuck in overpowering dynamics.
Whether you're dealing with financial ties, family obligations, or an eroded sense of self, remember that your well-being is worth fighting for. It's time to make empowered choices that prioritize your healing and lead you toward the fulfilling relationships you deserve.
Join us for our next SoulFire Retreat, Evolve, in Bali from April 22 - 28! Head on over to our website to check out the amazing Agenda and Photos of the luxurious Oasis resort by WhereNext where we will be staying. There are still rooms available and we'd love for you to join us!
Corissa is a Somatic Trauma-Informed Relationship Coach™ & Narcissistic Abuse Specialist ™ who empowers women after they’ve endured narcissist trauma to rediscover who they are, reclaim their power and find the clarity and courage to move forward and live a life they love. Corissa is also a recovering people-pleaser and codependent who has endured way too many narcissistic relationships to count! She coaches not only from her knowledge and training but also from the wisdom she has gained from her own healing journey.
Book a FREE 30-minute Confidential Clarity Call HERE.
Ways to connect with Corissa:
Facebook: Corissa Stepp
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Hey, hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Stepping into Meaningful Relationships. I'm your host, kira Sistep, so today I want to talk about some signs that you can use. We're going to talk about, like the top. I'm going to share with you the top 12 signs that you might be in an unhealthy relationship. Now I'm not going to focus on specific traits or behaviors of a narcissist or someone who is toxic, because narcissists can present themselves in many different ways, and there are actually 10 different types of narcissists. So if I were to give you a list, you may listen to that list and then very quickly dismiss what I'm saying and believe that perhaps your partner is not a narcissist, when in fact, potentially they are. So what I would rather focus in on is the internal signs that your partner may be toxic or narcissistic, by being mindful of what they are and how you feel within your body, because our body, our intuition, can clue us into things that our conscious mind is either rejecting or is that another way not accepting, or that our mind is not consciously aware of. Okay, so what I'd love for you to start to recognize is how you're feeling in your interactions with this other person, or how you are showing up in relation to them. Okay, so let's get right into it. We're going to jump right in. I would love for you to pay attention to whether or not you are feeling constantly drained in your interactions with this other person, with your partner. Okay, if you find yourself emotionally exhausted or drained every time after you have a conversation with them, after you go out on a date night with them, after you go on vacation with them, then that could actually indicate that you're in a very toxic dynamic. Okay, if you are constantly questioning your reality, right, your own perceptions, memories or feelings, that's another red flag, and that's because, potentially, your partner might be gaslighting or manipulating you, right, and you might be saying one thing but doing another. They might say one thing and then, a minute later, say something totally different, and it can leave you feeling very confused, right, and when you feel really confused, you can end up doubting yourself and doubting whether or not what happened actually happened, or whether or not you recall a certain situation or conversation, the way it actually played out. And so it's important for you that, if you feel like you are beginning to question your reality more and more, or you're questioning how you feel, or you're questioning what you recall or what you remember, then that can also be an internal red flag. Okay, if you feel like you are always walking on eggshells, what does that mean? I actually just had this conversation recently with my 11-year-old child, because he's in a pretty unhealthy dynamic with his teacher right now in their classroom, where he feels like he's constantly walking on eggshells, and when I use that phrase in terminology with him, he actually didn't know what I was talking about. So what does that mean? That means if you feel like you need to be overly cautious all of the time with your words or with your actions or how you're behaving to avoid triggering some sort of negative reaction or triggering some kind of conflict or confrontation all the time, then that's what I mean by walking on eggshells. Okay, another way to explain this is feeling like you're constantly on high alert. Right, you're always on edge. You're in a state of hypervigilance, waiting for the next shoot or drop right, or waiting for the next emotional blow up, or waiting for the next fight or struggle, or whatever it might be. That can lead to negative consequences for you, maybe your children, maybe just in your relationship, if that's happening and you notice that you are living in that fight or flight or in that hypervigilant state more often, then that's another red flag for you to take notice of. Okay, if you feel like you're losing your sense of self, that's another big red flag, right? If you notice that you are feeling less confident, if you notice that you once used to be someone who had pretty high or decent self-esteem and now you feel like you don't have any self-esteem or you're not as confident as you used to be, or maybe you used to be a very optimistic person and now you're very pessimistic if you feel like you no longer recognize the person that you have become, then that is another sign that potentially there's a red flag that something is not right in your relationship, because you've essentially lost your sense of self. And you may have lost your sense of self due to constant criticism, belittling, demeaning, diminishing, deemphasizing or being deprioritized constantly. And so if you wake up and you recognize that the face staring back at you or the person that you've become is not who you once were, then you're going to be a little bit more Then pay attention. Okay, that's something to be aware of. If you notice that you're starting to feel more and more isolated, or you feel more lonely and disconnected. This can also be a red flag, especially if it is potentially your partner who has been isolating you from friends and family, and that may not be happening necessarily in a very covert way. That might be happening in an overt way. It might be happening in a covert way where they are using things like triangulation. They're trying to drive a wedge between you and your family or you and your friends, and it might look like them saying things like whenever we go over to your mother's house, I don't feel welcome, they make me feel like I'm not part of the family, and, as a result, you might confront your mother and maybe you have some sort of big falling out because your mother doesn't understand why your partner would feel that way and your mother assumes that perhaps maybe you're speaking badly about her to your partner and, as a result, it's causing this tension, right Like it can be, like this whole thing. Or your partner might be saying things to make you feel like your mother doesn't care about you or that this other person doesn't have your best interests at heart, and so what they do is they try to triangulate between you and another person in order to isolate you further from the people that are close to you, making you feel like you can't depend on them meaning the other people for emotional support. Because, from a narcissist's perspective, those other relationships are potentially threatening to your relationship with the narcissistic partner. Right, because the people closest to you may start to recognize, before you do, that your relationship isn't healthy. Right, and they might start giving you a heads up and, depending on the manipulation that's happening with the narcissistic partner, the narcissistic partner might, if they are aware that this is happening, might try to make you second guess and doubt your family and friends' intentions and their motivations and whether or not they have your best interests at heart, because the narcissistic partner is gonna make it seem like only they know what's best for you, right? And so then in that way they drive a wedge so that you no longer have that emotional support of other people who can see things probably a bit more objectively than you can being in a relationship where maybe you're blinded by love or blinded by this history and the family and the memories that you have with your narcissistic partner. If you also feel like you're experiencing a lot of anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, or even a lot of physical health issues, then that can also be another red flag. When you spend years inside of a unhealthy or abusive relationship, it can create these physical manifestations of illness in your own body, because your body is constantly sending you signals and sensations and feelings and emotions. That's the way in which it communicates with you to let you know that something is off. But if you continue to suppress those emotions, those feelings, if you continue to repress any of the memories or the things that are the red flags that are coming up for you, your body's holding onto all of that, that energy, that emotion which is meant to be energy in motion stagnates. And when it stagnates it can create physical illness. And again, it can create also this anxiety and this depression when you start getting so far out of alignment with who you truly are. Because when we get so far away from who we truly are, what happens is is our subconscious mind and our conscious mind begin to almost disconnect. There's a lack then of trust between internally within you and we can talk about that probably for a whole other episode on how that arose yourself trust and it can really impact your ability to feel safe, making good and healthy decisions for yourself. It can cause a lot of anxiety because a part of you is like no, no, no, no, I wanna stay here in my comfort zone. But there's another part of you that is like no, no, no, no, this is not safe. We need to get out of our comfort zone and get a little uncomfortable and go out on a limb and leave this relationship or leave this thing that feels comfortable because we deserve better right. So it can cause that conflict internally and, as a result, it gets expressed through potentially mental health issues, anxiety, depression and, again, a lot of chronic illness. We see a lot of autoimmune disease. We see a lot of people suffering from migraines and back issues and neck issues and so on and so forth. If you constantly feel like you are seeking other people's approval, then that's also a red flag, because if you subconsciously believe that your worth is tied to your partner's approval, or your worth is tied to your partner's happiness, and you're constantly seeking validation from them, then that's not a healthy dynamic Right. If you have a fear of confrontation, right, where you avoid bringing up any kind of concerns or disagreements or even sharing how you feel about something or expressing your beliefs, then if you're not doing that out of a fear of your partner's reaction, then what's going to happen is you're going to close down. Basically, what's going to happen is it's going to lead to a lack of open communication, which is not a healthy dynamic in a relationship and it can be very toxic, especially if you're with someone who is very controlling. Right, take notice. Are you not speaking up for what you believe in? Are you not honoring your values, respecting your values, your value, your worth? Are you avoiding speaking your truth, of what is true for you? Right Again, how do you feel, what do you believe to be true? Out of a fear that your partner is going to have some sort of angry outburst, or you're afraid that your partner's going to take it out on your kids, or that your partner's going to take it out on you if you don't agree with them, then that's a problem, because that is a power imbalance in your relationship. Right, that means that you're abdicating your own power, your own sovereignty, and allowing your partner in some way to hold and maintain the power in the relationship. Right, in a healthy relationship, obviously, there is open communication. You do feel safe advocating for yourself. You do feel safe bringing up concerns. You do feel safe broaching things that you disagree on, right, having those tough and difficult conversations. If you notice that you are not trusting others as much as maybe you used to or again back to my point before if you feel like you're no longer able to even trust yourself, then that's also another red flag In toxic dynamics. What can happen is you can start to generally mistrust others. The reason for that is because subconsciously, you might recognize that how your partner is behaving and what your partner is saying there's a complete disconnect. They're not trustworthy because, even though they might be acting in a certain way, you might intuitively feel that they don't actually feel the way in which they are behaving, if that makes sense. Their feelings and their thoughts are not in alignment with how they are behaving. Or it could be that they are saying things but then not following through with the appropriate behavior that would support what they're saying. As a result, you learn that people aren't trustworthy. You learn that you can't rely on anybody else because someone might give you their word, but the likelihood of them following through on it always leads to disappointment, because that's been your experience in your relationship. As a result, you learn that you can't trust others. You might find that you are someone who is very hyper-independent and maybe you were hyper-independent before you even got into this relationship which plays out really well and makes you susceptible more so to some of these relationships. Because if you already come into a relationship not trusting somebody, then when they show up and prove to you that they're not trustworthy, then you're already anticipating it, you're already expecting it, you've already made excuses for it, because you're like oh, everybody's like this. I can't trust anyone unless I do it myself. I can't rely on anyone else because no one else is going to do it for me. I have to do it for myself. What happens is we can again learn to not trust ourselves, because maybe, if we're not good at setting boundaries, every time we set a boundary we back down on it. Every time we do that, we diminish a little bit more of our own self-trust, because it's like we're proving to our mind see, we're not trustworthy. We didn't follow through on that commitment, we didn't follow through on that promise that we made to ourselves. We didn't enforce that boundary that we set to keep ourselves safe. It all becomes one big thing of I don't trust others and maybe you don't even trust yourself. Those are big red flags. The other thing is if you find yourself rationalizing bad behavior. I know I used to do this all the time. I was really good at finding excuses for other people's bad behavior. I was always really good and I'm still good at it for the most part at giving people the benefit of the doubt. That being said, that can be used against you when you're in a toxic relationship because you may find yourself excusing or justifying your partner's harmful actions Everything, or justifying your partner's harmful actions and behaviors even when they clearly cross your boundaries or hurt you, right. You might come up with every excuse in the book as to why they behaved that way, why they spoke to you that way, why they treated you that way, right. The excuse might be like oh, they were really stressed out, or they're just so tired, or it's my fault that he got angry at me because I did this Right. So if you're very used to over-apologizing or taking responsibility all the time for the things that go wrong and maybe that's a pattern of behavior that you have exhibited since you were a child, because you realize that if you apologized first or you accepted the accountability even if it wasn't yours, even if it wasn't your fault that that somehow settled and kept everything calm and peaceful. Right, it allowed other people to then be happy with you. Right, they would. You would ask for forgiveness, they would give it to you and then everything would go back to normal, which that calm and that peace is what you were constantly striving for, because everything else may have felt very chaotic. So, whatever way you were able to control the situation to get back to that peace and quiet, the chaos that instilled in you this conditioned pattern of behavior of over-apologizing all the time because that was in your control oh, if I apologize, then everything will go back to normal, everything will be fine. So hand in hand with that comes this ability to rationalize or excuse or justify other people's behavior, and then sometimes, in conjunction with that, we take over responsibility for things. So those are also red flags Feeling controlled, right, if you feel like you have lost your sense of autonomy and control over your own life, or you're feeling like you're not allowed to make your own decisions, that's someone else, like your partner's always making the decisions for the family. Your partner's always making the big decisions or giving the final say on any big projects that you're doing, say in your home or it's your partner who's always giving the final stamp of approval on everything, then in some way, what you're doing is you are feeding into your partner's need for dominance, your partner's need for power in a toxic relationship. Because that's what toxic relationships are all about. They're all about power imbalances. And so if you feel like that's happening in your life, where you are not ever given authorization, so to say, to make decisions for your life, for what you do, or even when it comes to certain things within your home or within your family, if you're never given that authority authority quote, unquote by your partner right, then of course you're gonna feel like you're not in control and that feeling of being out of control or not having authority over your own life and your own decisions, or even some of the decisions within your family right, that should be like equal or as equal as it can be. Right, there should be some sort of equanimity between the decisions that are made for the family. Maybe not every decision has to be made jointly together. Maybe not every decision has to be rubber stamped by one partner all the time or approved of all the time right, these should be discussions, and if you're avoiding having those discussions out of again that fear of confrontation, or you're avoiding having these discussions because you're seeking constant approval and you just wanna do whatever your partner wants to do, because then you feel validated, then you feel approved of, then that's obviously a clear sign that there's a red flag here, that something's not right in your relationship. And then if you are feeling hopeless right, if you're feeling like you are stuck in this relationship and there is no hope of positive change in the relationship or there's no hope that your partner's going to ever do the work on themselves where maybe you're doing a lot of work on yourself or you're feeling like you're stuck in this relationship because of, say, your children, or because maybe your spouse is the primary breadwinner, right Is not Okay. Right, that's not really healthy. And if you believe in any way that you deserve this type of treatment, or that it's because of who you are or your actions, or because you're not smart enough, or you're not capable enough, or you're not pretty enough or thin enough or whatever, it might be that you have to settle for this relationship because no one's going to love you the way your partner loves you or you're never going to have the same, say, level of lifestyle that you're enjoying and so if you want to keep enjoying that type of lifestyle or that comfort or whatever it is, and maybe it's even like I can't get out of this because my children would never survive, right? Or my children are going to be damaged when they come from a broken home, if I were to end this relationship and, as a result, like you're staying in this relationship because you don't feel you can get out of it, then that's clearly a sign that something is not right. Right, that this relationship is not healthy. You should never be in a relationship or stay in a relationship where you are self-abandoning, where you are abdicating your power, where you are self-sacrificing your well-being, your sense of worth, your self-esteem, your physical well-being, your emotional well-being, your mental well-being, your spiritual well-being, to stay in a relationship for other people. So if you are recognizing that any of these 12 internal red flags exist in your relationship, then I would highly encourage that you seek out the support that you need from someone who can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the challenges of a toxic or narcissistic relationship. And, of course, I'm going to tell you I can help you with all of that. I would be honored to support you. I would be honored to help you to take the steps you know honored to guide you through the steps that you need to take in order to protect yourself right and to know that you are worthy of something better. I am opening up my calendar for one-on-one coaching sessions. I would love to support you and guide you If you are experiencing any of these things. It takes seven times for people to leave toxic and abusive relationships, so there's no shame in however long you've been in this relationship. There's no blame that you haven't gotten out of it sooner. There's only love and support, empathy and encouragement and guidance waiting for you within our coaching sessions. Okay, if you feel like working with me one-on-one is not financially viable for you right now, perfectly, okay. I am launching my new group program, strong Her, stronger right, strong with H-E-R that begins this month. That is focused on community first right Because, again, a lot of times we feel very isolated in these experiences. So it's super, super important that we're able to connect with other women who get what we have been through, who understand what it feels like, who have walked this path, who are on this path alongside you and the people who maybe are a little bit further behind that, you can lead forward right. It's such an empowering way to heal and recover from a lot of this to uncover, I'm sorry. It's such a powerful way to heal and recover from narcissistic trauma. In this group coaching program, in addition to having this really strong and amazing community, we're also going to be having group coaching calls once a week and then we'll also have another call for Q&A, for connection with other people, where we'll be breaking, where we might be breaking out into small groups, and we're also I'm also going to be providing some hot seat coaching as well. So it's really a very affordable way to get access to me, to get the support that you need and to work with me in a way that feels like you've got a hand on your back. You've got someone guiding you forward, cheering you on and listening, cheering you on and providing the space for you to heal and recover. If you're not sure which option is best for you, feel free to book a free discovery call with me on my website and we can discuss these two different options to see if one-on-one coaching is the best fit for you or if this group coaching program or if stronger than narcissistic trauma, narcissistic trauma recovery support group is the best for you and where you are in your journey right now. I hope that this helps. If you have any questions, you know where to reach me. Until next week, everyone be well.