Having people who love and support you unconditionally can make all the difference in the world. They become your sounding board, help you rationalize better, and stay calm in escalating situations; especially when it feels like the world is against you. In that moment, when you’re looking for something to hold on to, knowing there are people who have your back can help tremendously.
However, on a lot of occasions we tend to settle for something less. We ignore the visible red flags in our relationships because we believe that everything they do and say is out of love.
“We accept the love we think we deserve." (- The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
What you could be experiencing is a toxic relationship. They may be hard to identify at times and difficult to differentiate from the healthy ones. The following features can act as a distinguisher:
First and foremost, every relationship should have its set boundaries which the other should respect. They should not push for things that make you uncomfortable or upset you. This can include not talking about a certain topic, doing a certain activity, or even behaving a certain way. However, this should not mean you have to restrict a part of yourself - it simply means that you should be able to share it when both you and the other person is comfortable.
This leads me to my next point - communication. Communication should be clear on both ends and your wants and needs should always be effectively conveyed. Both should be willing to understand the other’s perspective and even compromise when necessary.
Honesty and transparency are an absolute must. However, even during arguments, feelings should not just be bluntly conveyed; words should be chosen carefully because honesty can never be an excuse to hurt the other person.
They should support your ambitions and encourage you to do better, instead of thinking about themselves every time you succeed in something.
There should be no gaslighting, and if you are hurt by something they did or said they should acknowledge that and apologise.
All in all, any healthy relationship is built on love, trust, and respect. There is no attempt to put the other down, and instead an aim to continue to lift each other up. There should be mutual support, appreciation and assurance, and a constant desire to see the other succeed.