We all have an opinion. It is wise to know when to communicate it and when to be silent. In fact, when it comes to personal matters like relationships, the most sensible thing to do is not to express your opinion, unless it is requested.
Unfortunately, there are people who don't just give their opinion, but interfere in the relationship, causing harm. These people not only believe they have the right to judge the relationship, but they can slander or sow discord by destroying the relationship.
There are many ways to get involved in a relationship. Not always in the form of direct attacks on the person, many times poison darts are thrown continuously. Nosy people, for example, can point out all the needs that our partner doesn't fully satisfy. Or they can tell us we're investing too much in that relationship or remind us that we deserve something better. They launch a war of attrition in which the goal is to undermine the relationship by attacking its value.
The tendency to sabotage relationships between friends and family
A group of psychologists from the universities of California and Azusa Pacific analyzed the psychological profile of people who try to sabotage the relationships of others. These researchers asked 1.206 people to think of a friend who was currently involved in a romantic relationship that they didn't like or disapprove of. Then they had to indicate how often they interfered in that couple's relationship and finally, complete a personality questionnaire.
Later, they recruited another 2.180 people and asked them to select a family member who was in a relationship they didn't like. Participants also indicated how many times they interfered in the relationship and completed a personality test.
Psychologists found that people with a greater tendency to interfere in the relationships of their friends or family shared two traits of the "dark triad" of personality.
What is the dark triad?
In 2002, psychologists Delroy Paulhus and Kevin Williams dug into the minds of those who commonly describe themselves as "bad people" and discovered a number of common characteristics they called the "dark triad of personality." That dark core of the personality is made up of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.
Specifically, people who try to sabotage the romantic relationships of those around them share two traits: narcissism and psychopathy.
The narcissistic person is characterized by selfishness and a constant need for recognition and admiration from others. They believe they are special and need constant attention, so they may feel jealous of that "other" who takes away the love of their friend or family member.
For this reason, they tend to believe that they have the right to interfere in the relationships of the people who make up their circle of trust: their closest friends and family. In a sense, they "feel empowered to negatively affect relationships they don't like," as the researchers explain. Narcissistic people believe they "know what is best for others" and feel entitled to destroy relationships that can overshadow them.
On the other hand, people with psychopathic traits are characterized by their emotional numbness and lack of empathy. This trait makes them quintessential manipulators of the feelings of others.
“People with psychopathic tendencies may enjoy interfering negatively in a friend or relative's relationship because they harm the romantic partner they don't like. Damage suffered by a loved one is considered simply collateral damage, ”according to the researchers.
These people also lack guilt and act impulsively. They do not hesitate to avoid moral or ethical codes to achieve their goals.
However, it is worth clarifying that these people do not suffer from a personality disorder, they only have so-called accentuated personality traits. In other words, they may have a more marked narcissistic or psychopathic tendency than others, but without falling into psychopathology.
How to react to people who meddle in relationships?
The relationship depends on both of you. If from the outside we notice that a person intrudes too much into intimacy, it is important to react promptly, but with caution.
First of all, we need to ask ourselves if their perspective is valid. Ultimately, emotional involvement in a relationship can prevent us from seeing certain toxic behaviors that could harm us. Therefore, it is important to reflect on the possible veracity of their comments.
But if we think that that person's goal is to sabotage a balanced, healthy, and satisfying relationship, it's important to end it before it's too late. It is best to be blunt, without being rude, but being careful not to leave room for future interpretation or interference.