7 Signs of a Healthy Romantic Relationship

Relationships are an important part of our everyday life. Whether it’s at work, at home, at school, wherever we are, we need to interact with other people. Relationships help us to develop and mature as social beings. They can make us they can also break us. There are some relationships that can have a negative or positive impact on our lives.

Here are 7 signs of a healthy (romantic) relationship:

Reciprocity. A healthy relationship should be give and take on both sides. Each partner contributes and benefits equally in the relationship. If you find that you seem to be always sacrificing and spending more time/resources than your partner and it makes you feel overstretched, then you should begin to evaluate your relationship. There are some people who are naturally very giving and compassionate, that’s their gifting and they don’t having a problem contributing more than their partner. But if you’re in a relationship and you feel taken advantage of and imposed upon, then you need to have a discussion about a more healthy reciprocal balance.

You are Valued. Each person should feel respected and important to the relationship. Each partner should feel special by the other. Their feelings concerns and opinions are respected and valued. They do not feel ignored or neglected. Each partner is allowed to be themselves. No one feels like they are being controlled or being forced to be someone they’re not. Both partners should respect and understand that they can not change the other by force or continual fault finding. Each partner should be appreciative of the others contributions and gestures (gifts/acts of kindness).

Boundaries are Respected. Every healthy relationship should have boundaries. Boundaries are basically our personal limits of demarcation for privacy, confidentiality etc. Your partner should be aware of your boundaries and respect them and vice versa. If your partner is always breaking your boundaries (e.g. opening your letters or taking your personal things) even though you’ve called them out on it several times, you need to reevaluate your boundaries or relationship with them.

Good/Effective Communication. You should be able to express yourselves without fear of being ridiculed or ignored. You should feel comfortable in the relationship and that your partner will not ignore or invalidate your feelings/emotions or opinions, but respect the difference of opinions even if there’s no agreement. You should be able to converse without it ending in an argument most of the time. If there is conflict or a grievance, you don’t both avoid discussing it and just ignore one another indefinitely but are able to resolve it in a timely and respectful manner. Listening is considered one half of communication: you feel that you are being listened to and you are also a good listener.

Empathy/Love. I believe this is essential for every relationship. In order for a relationship to be healthy, there should be empathy. Empathy is the awareness or identification with others thoughts, attitudes, and needs. There are genuine feelings for one another, each is emotionally invested in the other. When one partner is hurt or is going through some trauma (emotionally or physically) the other partner exhibits genuine compassion for their feeling/emotions and vice versa. There is a willingness to try to alleviate any pain they’re going through and provide comfort. Each partner is ready to give up their time to take care of their partner’s needs because they genuinely care for them.

Forgiveness. Your partner is able to forgive and let go of any grievances they have against you. They are not bitter and resentful and keep bringing it up at every opportunity, making you feel guilty over and over again. They are not vengeful and looking for the opportunity for ‘payback’. But they look for opportunities to repair the relationship.

Honesty/Trust. There should be a level of trust and honesty in a healthy relationship. As the saying goes, ‘Honesty is the best policy’. Dishonesty undermines the relationship and breeds mistrust. Constant lies and deceit will damage and destroy the relationship. The relationship becomes shallow and false because you can not trust the others actions or words. A healthy relationship is when you both can tell each other everything and anything.

Why the Narcissist uses Gaslighting and How to Deal with it


What is Gas lighting?
Gas lighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilise the target and delegitimise the target’s belief (wikipedia.org).

The term was taken from a 1944 film by the same name, about a woman whose husband manipulates her into believing that she is going insane. In the movie, the woman’s possessions would go missing and the husband would tell her she removed them, however she had no recollection of doing so, she would hear footsteps coming from upstairs and the gaslight dim and brighten but her husband would claim it was her imagination. He continued to gaslight her as his plan was to have her declared insane and committed to an asylum.

Gas lighting is a tactic that the narcissist and manipulative abusers use to cause you to question your sanity and reality, its also used to break down your will to fight and resist. You’re left doubting and questioning and wondering about your own perception of situations and circumstances. The narcissist purposely denies things they have done, and makes out like you are going crazy. He does this so convincingly, you almost begin to believe that you’re wrong, and he is right. It starts of little by little, one small thing here, another there. Gas lighting is designed to break you down mentally to the point where you cannot trust your own judgement or reasoning. You’re always confused and you’re always second guessing yourself (did I get it wrong…is he right…am I going crazy?). Gaslighting occurs in relationships, in the workplace etc.


Why do Narcissists do this and what are the effects?
Its all about control, just about everything the narcissist does is about controlling you. They want to control the way you think, the way you talk, who you associate with – your whole life. It’s a power trip for them. They want to fill you with shame and guilt.
They’re jealous of you, and hate all that is good about you and your character. Deep down inside they know there’s something wrong with them (they just don’t want to admit it)and they’re not willing to change and be better human beings. They know they can’t be like you so they want to break you down, make you crazy( “I can never be as good as you – so I will destroy you!”). They want to mess you up so that you’ll be of no use to anybody when they’ve finished with you.
Gas lighting is also a way of protecting themselves against feelings of shame which is what they try to avoid at all costs. They don’t want to carry the shame of being wrong so they want to project the fact that they are wrong on to you ( I’m not wrong, you are, I’ve not made a mistake, you have made a mistake).

Gaslighting destroys your self confidence, and self esteem, you’re always thinking everything’s your fault. You’re overly sensitive and anxious and people who are close to you will have noticed the change in you. Even you yourself will know that something is not right, but you won’t be able to identify what it is.

My Experience with Gaslighting
The Narcissist in my family would discuss some issue with me and decide a course of action, (of course he would not carry it out) then because he hadn’t done anything the following week, he would deny we ever had a discussion or came to any decision. He mostly does this to cover up his inaction. I’m left wondering whether we actually did decide or had the discussion.
I was accused of not doing things properly and generally made to feel like I was crap, it really affected my self confidence and self esteem, which I’m only just recovering from. The funny thing is , when he was left to do the same tasks, he was worse than I was. When I pointed this out to him, he claimed that he never insinuated that I was not good at my job, that it was my imagination or I was lying.
He would tell me some thing very personal about his childhood and then when in conversations with him, I would bring it up, he would adamantly claim he never told me that, it must be my imagination because that was definitely not true and he never told me anything like that. That was when I realised he was lying (I didn’t realise it was gaslighting at the time) because there is no way I would have imagined the details of his life like that. It’s just crazy and so devious how they behave, it just reveals how mentally messed up they are.

It got to the point where everything that went wrong in any situation, I was at fault. I was supposed to have done this or this and I would question whether we had a discussion about it, and he would give the time and place we discussed it. And I would have no idea what he was talking about! Sometimes he would go on a rant and say things like, ‘ do you think that you are good, well, you’re not because you did this or that”. He made me question myself, my character.
I didn’t realise all this until I read about gas lighting, then I realised I wasn’t going mad and that it was all him.


How to protect yourself from Gaslighting
Here are some tips to deal with and protect yourself from gaslighting:

Just understand and realise that it’s not about you at all. There is nothing wrong with you and everything wrong with them. They’re the ones who are mentally and emotionally unbalanced and they’re trying their best to mess you up too.
If you’re in a situation where you’re feeling confused or unsure about details of certain discussions/ events, or you have no recollection at all ( and you know you have a good memory) then you’re probably being gaslighted. Trust your intuition. Don’t accept what the other person is saying as absolute truth unless it can be proven.
If you’re in a relationship with the person, if it is a friend, you should consider cutting all ties with that person at least for your own peace of mind. You should really think about whether you want such a toxic person in your life- a person who makes you feel like you’re going crazy. If the person is your boss or co-workers you should also seriously consider whether you want to continue working in that environment, find out if you can transfer to another department or team.
If possible, try to keep a record of any private conversations in a diary . With the narcissist in my family, I make sure I record conversations with him on my phone, just for private use, of course(ideally you are required to inform a third party if you’re recording them) just so I can refer back to the conversation again if I’m in doubt.
Don’t argue with them, that’s what they love and you’ll never change their perspective. They are master manipulators, you’ll never win an argument with them. They live in their own little world where they are always right and everyone else is always wrong. Just get as far away from them as possible.