Navigating Challenging Personal Relationships: A Guide to Self-Assessment and Coping Strategies

Mónica De Salazar
3 min readNov 11, 2023


Learning to objectively observe and navigate relationships is crucial for our emotional well-being.

In our journey through life, we often encounter a range of personal relationships. Some are enriching and supportive, while others can be challenging and draining, especially when dealing with individuals who dominate conversations, making everything about them, or exhibit narcissistic traits.

Understanding how to navigate these relationships is crucial for our emotional well-being. This guide offers self-assessment questions and strategies to help you deal with similar situations effectively.

Recognizing the Signs of Unbalanced Relationships

First, it’s important to identify the signs of a one-sided relationship. These can include feeling unheard, a lack of mutual support, or a disproportionate focus on the other person’s achievements, what happens to them, and showcasing their lifestyle. If you often leave interactions feeling drained or undervalued, it’s a sign to reassess the dynamics of these relationships.

Self-Assessment: Understanding Your Position

To gain clarity on your situation, ask yourself:

  • Reciprocity and Support: Is there a balance of give and take in this relationship?
  • Personal Values and Boundaries: What values are important to me in a relationship, and are they being respected? Do my values and this person’s values align? Do we have a similar or compatible vision of what success and happiness mean?
  • Impact on Well-being: How do these interactions affect my emotional and mental health? Do I feel energized or drained after spending time with this person?
  • Desire for Relationship Continuity or Change: Do I want to continue, change, or reduce my engagement in this relationship? How will this relationship evolve if both parties are so compatible or incompatible? Does this relationship have a future?

Strategies for Dealing with Challenging Relationships

  • Set Clear Boundaries: Define and communicate your limits in terms of time, energy, and the nature of conversations.
  • Manage Expectations: Accept that some individuals may not meet your expectations for mutual empathy and support. Consider that one person not complying with your expectations does not automatically invalidate them as individuals. You may just decide to part ways or reduce the number of interactions.
  • Prioritize Self-Care: Engage in activities that replenish your emotional energy and provide a sense of peace. Also, consider exercising tolerance, while not compromising your mental peace.
  • Be Clear But Avoid Unproductive Confrontation: Address issues in a non-confrontational manner, focusing on expressing your feelings and objective observations of what has happened rather than blaming and pointing fingers.
  • Seek External Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or professionals for advice and support. Remember that you should not be affected by the behavior of one person if they are not being considerate to you and the relationship has turned one-sided.
  • Reflect on the Relationship’s Value: Weigh the positive aspects against the challenges to decide whether the relationship is worth maintaining.
  • Disengage if Necessary: If the relationship proves toxic, consider distancing yourself to protect your mental health.


Navigating complex personal relationships requires introspection, clear boundaries, and sometimes tough decisions. By assessing your needs and prioritizing your well-being, you can better manage these interactions or choose to step back from them.

Remember, it’s essential to surround yourself with relationships that uplift and support you objectively, and also to be reciprocal to those who have shown they care for you.



Mónica De Salazar

Green MBA + #CreativeProblemSolving Consultant. Focused on Business Strategy for Digital, Social and Environmental transformation. Founder of @LifeStrategics.