10 behaviors you should never tolerate from someone (even if you love them), according to psychology

Love can make us blind to behaviors that we wouldn’t tolerate from anyone else. But psychology tells us there are certain actions we should never accept, no matter how much we care for the person.

The difference comes down to respect. Tolerating toxic behaviors often means ignoring disrespect, which can damage our self-esteem and overall wellbeing.

Standing up for yourself is not about being confrontational, but about protecting your mental health. And psychology provides us with clear guidelines on what to watch out for.

Below are ten behaviors you should never tolerate from someone, even if you love them.

1) Disrespectful behavior

Disrespect can come in many forms, and it’s often hard to recognize when we’re in the middle of it, especially if we care about the person.

It’s not just about rudeness or offensive comments. It can be as subtle as dismissing your thoughts, ignoring your needs, or belittling your achievements.

Renowned psychologist Dr. John Gottman states that contempt, a form of disrespect, is the “kiss of death” for a relationship. It creates a level of negativity that is destructive and corrosive.

Everyone deserves basic respect in any relationship. Do not tolerate disrespect, no matter how much you love the person.

If someone continually disrespects you, it’s time to reconsider your relationship with them.

2) Emotional manipulation

Emotional manipulation is a tactic I’ve unfortunately experienced firsthand. In a past relationship, my partner would often use guilt to control my actions and decisions. They’d say things like, “If you really loved me, you would do this for me,” leaving me feeling trapped and guilty.

This form of manipulation is incredibly damaging and goes against the foundational principles of a healthy relationship: trust, respect, and honesty.

It’s essential to recognize these patterns early on and take steps to address them or remove yourself from the situation entirely. Love should never involve manipulation.

3) Constant criticism

We all have our flaws, and constructive criticism can be beneficial for growth. However, there’s a fine line between helpful feedback and constant nitpicking.

If someone is always pointing out your faults and rarely appreciating your strengths, it can damage your self-esteem and make you question your worth. This is not an aspect of a loving relationship.

Famous psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Acceptance is a vital aspect of any relationship. If you’re continually being criticized, it may be time to reassess the relationship to protect your mental health.

4) Violation of boundaries

Boundaries are crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship. They are an expression of our needs, our values, and our limits. Unfortunately, some people choose to ignore or violate these boundaries.

If someone consistently disrespects your boundaries, it’s a clear sign of disregard for your feelings and autonomy. This behavior is unacceptable, regardless of your feelings for the person.

Psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud once said, “Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me.”

By setting clear boundaries, we protect our self-identity and ensure that we are respected in our relationships. A violation of these boundaries should never be tolerated.

5) Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse is a significant red flag in any relationship, and it’s more common than you might think. It goes beyond yelling or name-calling; it can also be constant belittling, humiliation, or sarcasm.

Words have power, and using them to hurt someone is a clear indication of an unhealthy relationship.

No matter how much you love someone, you should never tolerate verbal abuse.

6) Lack of support

In a healthy relationship, both parties should be each other’s cheerleaders, providing support in times of triumph and trials.

However, if you find that your partner is consistently unsupportive or even dismissive of your goals and achievements, it’s a behavior that should not be tolerated.

Esteemed psychologist Dr. Brene Brown emphasizes the power of empathy and support, stating, “Connection is why we’re here; it gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

Lack of support can create a feeling of disconnection and loneliness. If you find yourself in such a situation, it may be time to reconsider your relationship dynamics.

7) Control and dominance

A loving relationship should be a partnership, not a power play. If someone continually tries to control or dominate you, making all decisions without your input, it’s a clear sign of an unhealthy dynamic.

Control and dominance in a relationship can lead to severe psychological effects.

You have a voice, and your opinions matter. Don’t tolerate someone trying to silence or control you, no matter how much you love them.

8) Dishonesty

Trust is the foundation of any relationship, and dishonesty can severely erode it. Whether it’s constant lying, withholding information, or betrayal, dishonest behaviors have no place in a loving relationship.

As renowned psychologist Carl Jung once said, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”

Actions indeed speak louder than words. If someone’s actions consistently show dishonesty, it’s a behavior that you should not tolerate, irrespective of your feelings for them.

9) Neglect and indifference

Neglect and indifference can be as damaging as outright abuse in a relationship.

If someone consistently ignores your needs, shows no interest in your feelings, or treats you like an afterthought, it’s a clear sign of emotional neglect.

Everyone deserves to feel valued and cared for in a relationship. If you’re experiencing constant neglect or indifference, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship.

10) Passive-aggressiveness

Passive-aggressiveness can be a subtle but harmful form of toxic behavior. It includes actions like giving you the silent treatment, holding grudges, or making indirect criticisms. These behaviors are often a way to express anger or resentment without open confrontation.

Psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, famous for his work on emotional intelligence, said, “Passive-aggressive behavior can be a simple as a dishonest, “I’m fine,” when you are anything but fine.” It’s an unhealthy way of dealing with emotions and issues.

Open communication is vital in a relationship. Don’t tolerate passive-aggressive behaviors that undermine this transparency and honesty.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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