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Diagnosis Dictionary Types of Therapy Talk to Someone Find a Therapist Back Magazine Love: What Really Matters A loving relationship can be an oasis in uncertain times, but nurturing it requires attention, honesty, openness, vulnerability, and gratitude. Subscribe Issue Archive Back Today News Consequences of COVID-19 in African-American Communities Why Cursive Handwriting Is Good for Your Brain Are Dogs or Cats Better for Mental Health During a Lockdown? Making Sense of Life in the Middle of the Storm Essential Reads Reflecting on the Life and Legacy of Scott Lilienfeld Cults and Cognition: Programming the True Believer Why Do We Resist Fact-Checking? Why It's So Hard to Understand Each Other Trending Topics COVID-19 Narcissism Alzheimer's Bias Affective Forecasting Neuroscience See All Go Verified by Psychology Today Alice Boyes Ph.D. In Practice 51 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship Toxic connections ring multiple alarms, if partners can only hear them. Posted Feb 10, 2015 SHARE TWEET EMAIL My all-time most popular post on PsychologyToday.com is about 50 signs of a healthy relationship. Today, we look at the flipside—warning signs of a toxic relationship. While many relationships may display one or two of these, toxic relationships will often feature multiple alarm bells. (Where I've written your partner, read it as you or your partner.) Relationship Warning Signs You never turn to each other for emotional support. You look to other people first. Your partner actively tries to cut you off from your support network of friends and family. Your partner implies that you are stupid, or that they are "the smart one” in the relationship; they try to dissuade you from trying something new because “you probably won’t understand it.” Your partner doesn’t respect your answer when you say “no” to something. Your partner implies that they only value you for one thing, whether it be sex, your looks, or your ability to earn money. You can’t identify any ways you’ve positively influenced each other. For example, you haven’t adopted any of each other’s interests or taught each other any new skills. You can identify ways you've negatively influenced each other, particularly harmful habits like heavy drinking, laziness, or smoking. Your partner doesn’t make you feel good about your body; they point out your thinning hair or saggy underarm skin. You don’t have a sense of relationship security—you’ve broken up or almost broken up numerous times. You end up doing things you’re ashamed of in the course of interacting with each other, such as screaming at each other in front of your kids. Your partner is dismissive of your emotions, especially fear, such as when you say you’re scared because they drive too fast or erratically but they won’t slow down. Your partner involves you in unethical activities, such as lying on official forms you both sign. You feel worse about yourself as a person than when you started the relationship—you’re less confident and can see fewer positive qualities about yourself. You don’t feel able to get your partner’s attention when you want to talk about something important. Your partner mocks you, such as poking fun at your voice or facial expressions in a mean way. Your partner doesn’t seem interested when you experience success, or they belittle your success. You don’t feel able to confide in your partner. If you were to reveal something that you’re sensitive about, you’re not sure if they’d react respectfully or helpfully. Your partner makes jokes about leaving you or teases you about what their "second" wife or husband will be like. When you’re not physically together, it feels like "out of sight, out of mind.” For example, your partner is on an international trip and says they’ll call when they arrived safely at the hotel but doesn’t follow through. When you and your partner disagree, they insist you do things their way or leave. It’s their way or the highway, and you don’t have a sense that when you disagree you’ll find a way of coming together. You’re not sure how dependable, supportive, or reliable your partner would be in a situation in which you really needed them; for example, if you or a close family member got cancer. You blame your partner for your life not being as satisfying as you’d like it to be—or they blame you. Your partner is dismissive of your interests and projects. They judge the things you do by how important they perceive them to be, rather than how important they are to you. Stonewalling. You or your partner flat-out refuse to talk about important relationship topics, such as the decision to have a baby. You don’t think your partner would make a good parent, if you're pondering having children in the future. There are times you avoid coming home because going to Starbucks, or a bar, is more relaxing after a stressful day than coming home to your partner. Your life together seems out of control; for example, you both spend much more than you earn. You can’t think of ways in which you and your partner make a great team. Your partner is the source of negative surprises, such as large unexpected charges on your joint credit card. You catch your partner lying repeatedly. Your partner goes out but doesn’t tell you where, or fails to arrive home when expected and has no explanation. You worry that your partner might get so angry that they’d hurt you. You have a sense of being trapped in the relationship. When you argue, one or both of you always just gets defensive. You can never acknowledge that the other person has some valid points. When you argue, you just blame each other rather than each accepting some blame. You’re very critical of each other, and you feel constantly nitpicked about the ways you’re not “good enough.” Your partner complains about you to their friends or family. You find yourself lying to other people because you’re ashamed of your partner’s behavior; for example, making excuses for why they haven’t shown up to an event as planned. You feel lonely when you’re together. If you had to rate your partner on a scale of 1 to 10 on qualities like warmth, trustworthiness, and dependability, you would rate them lower than 5. You can’t recall a time when your partner has compromised so that you could take up an opportunity. There is an absence of affection in your relationship—you rarely kiss, touch, or smile at each other. Your partner is coercive when it comes to sex. Your partner sees themselves as having a much higher "mate value" than you. They think you're lucky to have them, but not the reverse. Your partner keeps you at arms length emotionally. You don't have a healthy sense of interdependence. Your partner frequently compares you unfavorably to other people, especially friends' spouses or partners. When you argue, it quickly escalates to ultimatums or threats—"If you don't ..., I'll ..." You can think of several friends or colleagues whom you'd rather be in a relationship with. Cheating. The other “C” word: "Crazy." If you call each other "crazy" during arguments, it’s a pretty bad sign. It shows that you’re no longer willing to listen to each other’s point of view because you’ve written it off as irrational. Relationship violence. This post was influenced by various scientific models of relationships, including work on Emotion Focused Therapy, Gottman Therapy, and Garth Fletcher's Ideal Standards Model. SHARE TWEET EMAIL advertisement About the Author Alice Boyes, Ph.D., translates principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and social psychology into tips people can use in their everyday lives. Online: Subscribe to my blog updates., Twitter, LinkedIn Read Next How to Cope With Election Stress 5 Tips to Encourage Independent Play Before the Red Flags: Subtle Signs to Watch For How to Handle Conflict Effectively Signs of Serious Relationship Problems 7 Possible Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship 5 Steps to End a Toxic Relationship Healthy Love vs. Addiction: 10 Signs of Addictive Love advertisement Most Popular The Profound Rewards of Staying Single Love or Projections? 7 Words to Overcome Your Anxiety Living with a Husband with Borderline Personality Disorder 3 Techniques to Use If You Miss the Opportunity to Exercise advertisement Find a Therapist Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. Countries:Australia Austria Belgium Canada Denmark Hong Kong Ireland New Zealand Singapore South Africa Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom United States Are you a Therapist? Get Listed Today Psychology Today Recent Issues Subscribe Today! 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    Toxic connections ring multiple alarms, if partners can only hear them.

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  • Relationships 10110 Signs of a Healthy Relationship10 Signs of an Unhealthy RelationshipBlogVideosTeachAt Home with One LoveOne Love WorkshopsEscalation WorkshopTake ActionFundraiseDonateHost a workshopAboutMeet the TeamMeet the BoardRegional OfficesBay AreaBostonFloridaMaryland, D.C. & VirginiaNew York, New Jersey & Connecticut Tri-StatePacific NorthwestNews and mediaStatisticsShop DonateLoading... Relationships 10110 Signs of a Healthy Relationship10 Signs of an Unhealthy RelationshipBlogVideosTeachAt Home with One LoveOne Love WorkshopsEscalation WorkshopTake ActionFundraiseDonateHost a workshopAboutMeet the TeamMeet the BoardRegional OfficesBay AreaBostonFloridaMaryland, D.C. & VirginiaNew York, New Jersey & Connecticut Tri-StatePacific NorthwestNews and mediaStatisticsShop Donate Find great resources and learn how to love better. Search toggle menu 10  signs 10signsof an unhealthy relationship See all 10 signsWhile everyone does unhealthy things sometimes, we can all learn to love better by recognizing unhealthy signs and shifting to healthy behaviors. If you are seeing unhealthy signs in your relationship, it’s important to not ignore them and understand they can escalate to abuse.

    If you think you are in a dangerous situation, trust your gut and get help. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipIntensity When someone expresses very extreme feelings and over-the-top behavior that feels overwhelming. Things are getting too intense if you feel like someone is rushing the pace of the relationship (comes on too strong, too fast) and seems obsessive about wanting to see you and be in constant contact. When someone expresses very extreme feelings and over-the-top behavior that feels overwhelming. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipPossessiveness When someone is jealous to a point where they try to control who you spend time with and what you do. While jealousy is a normal human emotion, it becomes unhealthy when it causes someone to control or lash out at you. This means getting upset when you text or hang out with people they feel threatened by, wrongly accusing you of flirting or cheating, or even going so far as to stalk you. Possessiveness is often excused as being overprotective or having really strong feelings for someone. When someone is jealous to a point where they try to control who you spend time with and what you do. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipManipulation When someone tries to control your decisions, actions or emotions. Manipulation is often hard to spot, because it can be expressed in subtle or passive-aggressive ways. You know you’re being manipulated if someone is trying to convince you to do things you don’t feel comfortable doing, ignores you until they get their way, or tries to influence your feelings. When someone tries to control your decisions, actions or emotions. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipIsolation When someone keeps you away from friends, family, or other people. This behavior often starts slowly with someone asking you to spend more 1:1 time with them but can later escalate to demands that you don’t see certain people. Often, they will ask you to choose between them and your friends, insist that you spend all your time with them, or make you question your own judgment of friends and family. If you are experiencing isolation, you may end up feeling like you’re dependent on your partner for love, money or acceptance. When someone keeps you away from friends, family, or other people. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipSabotage When someone purposely ruins your reputation, achievements, or success. Sabotage includes keeping you from doing things that are important to you. Behaviors like talking behind your back, starting rumors, or threatening to share private information about you, is also sabotage. When someone purposely ruins your reputation, achievements, or success. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipBelittling When someone does and says things to make you feel bad about yourself. This includes name-calling, making rude remarks about people you’re close with, or criticizing you. It’s also belittling when someone makes fun of you in a way that makes you feel bad, even if it’s played off as a joke. Over time, this can make you lose confidence in yourself or your abilities. When someone does and says things to make you feel bad about yourself. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipGuilting When someone makes you feel responsible for their actions or makes you feel like it’s your job to keep them happy. They may blame you for things that are out of your control and make you feel bad for them. This includes threatening to hurt themselves or others if you don’t do as they say or stay with them. They might also pressure you to do something that you’re not comfortable with by claiming that it’s important to them or that it’ll hurt their feelings if you don’t do it. When someone makes you feel responsible for their actions or makes you feel like it’s your job to keep them happy. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipVolatility When someone has a really strong, unpredictable reaction that makes you feel scared, confused or intimidated. A volatile person makes you feel like you need to walk on eggshells around them or they will have extreme reactions to small things. Your relationship with them might feel like a rollercoaster that contains extreme ups and downs. They may overreact to small things, have major mood swings or lose control by getting violent, yelling or threatening you. When someone has a really strong, unpredictable reaction that makes you feel scared, confused or intimidated. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipDeflecting Responsibility When someone repeatedly makes excuses for their unhealthy behavior. They may blame you or other people for their own actions. Often, this includes making excuses based on alcohol or drug use, mental health issues or past experiences (like a cheating ex or divorced parents). When someone repeatedly makes excuses for their unhealthy behavior. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipBetrayal When someone is disloyal or acts in an intentionally dishonest way. They may act like a different person around other people or share private information about you to others. It also includes lying, purposely leaving you out, being two-faced, or cheating on you. When someone is disloyal or acts in an intentionally dishonest way. See all 10 signs Get more details and downloadables of 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship Intensity Possessiveness Manipulation Isolation Sabotage Belittling Guilting Volatility Deflecting responsibility Betrayal See 10 signs of a healthy relationship


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  • Relationships 10110 Signs of a Healthy Relationship10 Signs of an Unhealthy RelationshipBlogVideosTeachAt Home with One LoveOne Love WorkshopsEscalation WorkshopTake ActionFundraiseDonateHost a workshopAboutMeet the TeamMeet the BoardRegional OfficesBay AreaBostonFloridaMaryland, D.C. & VirginiaNew York, New Jersey & Connecticut Tri-StatePacific NorthwestNews and mediaStatisticsShop DonateLoading... Relationships 10110 Signs of a Healthy Relationship10 Signs of an Unhealthy RelationshipBlogVideosTeachAt Home with One LoveOne Love WorkshopsEscalation WorkshopTake ActionFundraiseDonateHost a workshopAboutMeet the TeamMeet the BoardRegional OfficesBay AreaBostonFloridaMaryland, D.C. & VirginiaNew York, New Jersey & Connecticut Tri-StatePacific NorthwestNews and mediaStatisticsShop Donate Find great resources and learn how to love better. Search toggle menu 10  signs 10signsof an unhealthy relationship See all 10 signsWhile everyone does unhealthy things sometimes, we can all learn to love better by recognizing unhealthy signs and shifting to healthy behaviors. If you are seeing unhealthy signs in your relationship, it’s important to not ignore them and understand they can escalate to abuse.

    If you think you are in a dangerous situation, trust your gut and get help. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipIntensity When someone expresses very extreme feelings and over-the-top behavior that feels overwhelming. Things are getting too intense if you feel like someone is rushing the pace of the relationship (comes on too strong, too fast) and seems obsessive about wanting to see you and be in constant contact. When someone expresses very extreme feelings and over-the-top behavior that feels overwhelming. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipPossessiveness When someone is jealous to a point where they try to control who you spend time with and what you do. While jealousy is a normal human emotion, it becomes unhealthy when it causes someone to control or lash out at you. This means getting upset when you text or hang out with people they feel threatened by, wrongly accusing you of flirting or cheating, or even going so far as to stalk you. Possessiveness is often excused as being overprotective or having really strong feelings for someone. When someone is jealous to a point where they try to control who you spend time with and what you do. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipManipulation When someone tries to control your decisions, actions or emotions. Manipulation is often hard to spot, because it can be expressed in subtle or passive-aggressive ways. You know you’re being manipulated if someone is trying to convince you to do things you don’t feel comfortable doing, ignores you until they get their way, or tries to influence your feelings. When someone tries to control your decisions, actions or emotions. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipIsolation When someone keeps you away from friends, family, or other people. This behavior often starts slowly with someone asking you to spend more 1:1 time with them but can later escalate to demands that you don’t see certain people. Often, they will ask you to choose between them and your friends, insist that you spend all your time with them, or make you question your own judgment of friends and family. If you are experiencing isolation, you may end up feeling like you’re dependent on your partner for love, money or acceptance. When someone keeps you away from friends, family, or other people. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipSabotage When someone purposely ruins your reputation, achievements, or success. Sabotage includes keeping you from doing things that are important to you. Behaviors like talking behind your back, starting rumors, or threatening to share private information about you, is also sabotage. When someone purposely ruins your reputation, achievements, or success. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipBelittling When someone does and says things to make you feel bad about yourself. This includes name-calling, making rude remarks about people you’re close with, or criticizing you. It’s also belittling when someone makes fun of you in a way that makes you feel bad, even if it’s played off as a joke. Over time, this can make you lose confidence in yourself or your abilities. When someone does and says things to make you feel bad about yourself. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipGuilting When someone makes you feel responsible for their actions or makes you feel like it’s your job to keep them happy. They may blame you for things that are out of your control and make you feel bad for them. This includes threatening to hurt themselves or others if you don’t do as they say or stay with them. They might also pressure you to do something that you’re not comfortable with by claiming that it’s important to them or that it’ll hurt their feelings if you don’t do it. When someone makes you feel responsible for their actions or makes you feel like it’s your job to keep them happy. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipVolatility When someone has a really strong, unpredictable reaction that makes you feel scared, confused or intimidated. A volatile person makes you feel like you need to walk on eggshells around them or they will have extreme reactions to small things. Your relationship with them might feel like a rollercoaster that contains extreme ups and downs. They may overreact to small things, have major mood swings or lose control by getting violent, yelling or threatening you. When someone has a really strong, unpredictable reaction that makes you feel scared, confused or intimidated. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipDeflecting Responsibility When someone repeatedly makes excuses for their unhealthy behavior. They may blame you or other people for their own actions. Often, this includes making excuses based on alcohol or drug use, mental health issues or past experiences (like a cheating ex or divorced parents). When someone repeatedly makes excuses for their unhealthy behavior. See all 10 signs Unhealthy RelationshipBetrayal When someone is disloyal or acts in an intentionally dishonest way. They may act like a different person around other people or share private information about you to others. It also includes lying, purposely leaving you out, being two-faced, or cheating on you. When someone is disloyal or acts in an intentionally dishonest way. See all 10 signs Get more details and downloadables of 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship Intensity Possessiveness Manipulation Isolation Sabotage Belittling Guilting Volatility Deflecting responsibility Betrayal See 10 signs of a healthy relationship


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Diagnosis Dictionary Types of Therapy Talk to Someone Find a Therapist Find a Treatment Center Find a Psychiatrist Find a Support Group Find Teletherapy Back Magazine Love: What Really Matters A loving relationship can be an oasis in uncertain times, but nurturing it requires attention, honesty, openness, vulnerability, and gratitude. Subscribe Issue Archive Back Today News Consequences of COVID-19 in African-American Communities Why Cursive Handwriting Is Good for Your Brain Are Dogs or Cats Better for Mental Health During a Lockdown? Making Sense of Life in the Middle of the Storm Essential Reads Reflecting on the Life and Legacy of Scott Lilienfeld Cults and Cognition: Programming the True Believer Why Do We Resist Fact-Checking? Why It's So Hard to Understand Each Other Trending Topics COVID-19 Narcissism Alzheimer's Bias Affective Forecasting Neuroscience See All Go Verified by Psychology Today Alice Boyes Ph.D. In Practice 51 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship Toxic connections ring multiple alarms, if partners can only hear them. Posted Feb 10, 2015 SHARE TWEET EMAIL My all-time most popular post on PsychologyToday.com is about 50 signs of a healthy relationship. Today, we look at the flipside—warning signs of a toxic relationship. While many relationships may display one or two of these, toxic relationships will often feature multiple alarm bells. (Where I've written your partner, read it as you or your partner.) Relationship Warning Signs You never turn to each other for emotional support. You look to other people first. Your partner actively tries to cut you off from your support network of friends and family. Your partner implies that you are stupid, or that they are "the smart one” in the relationship; they try to dissuade you from trying something new because “you probably won’t understand it.” Your partner doesn’t respect your answer when you say “no” to something. Your partner implies that they only value you for one thing, whether it be sex, your looks, or your ability to earn money. You can’t identify any ways you’ve positively influenced each other. For example, you haven’t adopted any of each other’s interests or taught each other any new skills. You can identify ways you've negatively influenced each other, particularly harmful habits like heavy drinking, laziness, or smoking. Your partner doesn’t make you feel good about your body; they point out your thinning hair or saggy underarm skin. You don’t have a sense of relationship security—you’ve broken up or almost broken up numerous times. You end up doing things you’re ashamed of in the course of interacting with each other, such as screaming at each other in front of your kids. Your partner is dismissive of your emotions, especially fear, such as when you say you’re scared because they drive too fast or erratically but they won’t slow down. Your partner involves you in unethical activities, such as lying on official forms you both sign. You feel worse about yourself as a person than when you started the relationship—you’re less confident and can see fewer positive qualities about yourself. You don’t feel able to get your partner’s attention when you want to talk about something important. Your partner mocks you, such as poking fun at your voice or facial expressions in a mean way. Your partner doesn’t seem interested when you experience success, or they belittle your success. You don’t feel able to confide in your partner. If you were to reveal something that you’re sensitive about, you’re not sure if they’d react respectfully or helpfully. Your partner makes jokes about leaving you or teases you about what their "second" wife or husband will be like. When you’re not physically together, it feels like "out of sight, out of mind.” For example, your partner is on an international trip and says they’ll call when they arrived safely at the hotel but doesn’t follow through. When you and your partner disagree, they insist you do things their way or leave. It’s their way or the highway, and you don’t have a sense that when you disagree you’ll find a way of coming together. You’re not sure how dependable, supportive, or reliable your partner would be in a situation in which you really needed them; for example, if you or a close family member got cancer. You blame your partner for your life not being as satisfying as you’d like it to be—or they blame you. Your partner is dismissive of your interests and projects. They judge the things you do by how important they perceive them to be, rather than how important they are to you. Stonewalling. You or your partner flat-out refuse to talk about important relationship topics, such as the decision to have a baby. You don’t think your partner would make a good parent, if you're pondering having children in the future. There are times you avoid coming home because going to Starbucks, or a bar, is more relaxing after a stressful day than coming home to your partner. Your life together seems out of control; for example, you both spend much more than you earn. You can’t think of ways in which you and your partner make a great team. Your partner is the source of negative surprises, such as large unexpected charges on your joint credit card. You catch your partner lying repeatedly. Your partner goes out but doesn’t tell you where, or fails to arrive home when expected and has no explanation. You worry that your partner might get so angry that they’d hurt you. You have a sense of being trapped in the relationship. When you argue, one or both of you always just gets defensive. You can never acknowledge that the other person has some valid points. When you argue, you just blame each other rather than each accepting some blame. You’re very critical of each other, and you feel constantly nitpicked about the ways you’re not “good enough.” Your partner complains about you to their friends or family. You find yourself lying to other people because you’re ashamed of your partner’s behavior; for example, making excuses for why they haven’t shown up to an event as planned. You feel lonely when you’re together. If you had to rate your partner on a scale of 1 to 10 on qualities like warmth, trustworthiness, and dependability, you would rate them lower than 5. You can’t recall a time when your partner has compromised so that you could take up an opportunity. There is an absence of affection in your relationship—you rarely kiss, touch, or smile at each other. Your partner is coercive when it comes to sex. Your partner sees themselves as having a much higher "mate value" than you. They think you're lucky to have them, but not the reverse. Your partner keeps you at arms length emotionally. You don't have a healthy sense of interdependence. Your partner frequently compares you unfavorably to other people, especially friends' spouses or partners. When you argue, it quickly escalates to ultimatums or threats—"If you don't ..., I'll ..." You can think of several friends or colleagues whom you'd rather be in a relationship with. Cheating. The other “C” word: "Crazy." If you call each other "crazy" during arguments, it’s a pretty bad sign. It shows that you’re no longer willing to listen to each other’s point of view because you’ve written it off as irrational. Relationship violence. This post was influenced by various scientific models of relationships, including work on Emotion Focused Therapy, Gottman Therapy, and Garth Fletcher's Ideal Standards Model. SHARE TWEET EMAIL advertisement About the Author Alice Boyes, Ph.D., translates principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and social psychology into tips people can use in their everyday lives. Online: Subscribe to my blog updates., Twitter, LinkedIn Read Next How to Cope With Election Stress 5 Tips to Encourage Independent Play Before the Red Flags: Subtle Signs to Watch For How to Handle Conflict Effectively Signs of Serious Relationship Problems 7 Possible Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship 5 Steps to End a Toxic Relationship Healthy Love vs. Addiction: 10 Signs of Addictive Love advertisement Most Popular The Profound Rewards of Staying Single Love or Projections? 7 Words to Overcome Your Anxiety Living with a Husband with Borderline Personality Disorder 3 Techniques to Use If You Miss the Opportunity to Exercise advertisement Find a Therapist Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. 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