Unhealthy relationships can be called many names: twin flames, soulmates, karmics, karmic partners. As I always say, the term you use and what you call it doesn’t really matter. I generally refer to twin flames as your genuine karmic partners but you can have karma with anyone — even your soulmate. (Many in the spiritual community refer to twin flames as your true life partner, but I reject that, so just FYI). These relationships can take the form of romantic partners, family, friends, and business associates.
The dynamics in these relationships vary but they often have a few things in common: they start in a fiery frenzy, you sweep issues under the rug, you can’t communicate, it is as if you are speaking different languages, you have different goals, you operate differently in life, and you just can’t seem to make forward motion in order to find happiness or fulfillment in the relationship. There is generally at least one empathic person (you) having to engage with one narcissistic person, plus a whole bunch of people who are neither empathic or narcissistic but have a sort of spiritual amnesia where they follow the crowd. In these situations, there is always another fire to put out, always another fight to be had, another miscommunication around the corner, and a deep prevailing sense of turmoil, stress, or loneliness because you know you two just aren’t on the same wavelength.
Karmic relationships are not meant to last forever. They are meant to teach you a lesson about something in life. They are meant to bring up your core wounds so that you can recognize and resolve them. Once the lesson is understood and you begin to heal the wound, the relationship will no longer resonate because you are ascending spiritually. The problem is that most empathic people work hard to maintain relationships with anyone and everyone — whether they are healthy for you or not. We want people to like us and see our good nature, and we want to give people the benefit of the doubt. We hate having to cut people off and tell them no. We hate having to assert boundaries and put ourselves first. Unfortunately, this ends up draining your energy, keeping you in stress cycles, and never able to get forward in life in order to truly self-actualize.
Karmic partners do not have enough in common to keep them together organically. Sure, at first you may experience a sense of excitement because you seem to share one or two things in common (aka: traits or patterns from past lives). So you allow this to cement the relationship as if you were truly connected. But as time goes on, you begin to see how different you are on a basic level and it begins to cause you both upset. One or both of you work hard to keep the connection going on a superficial level. Mutual enemies are one of the ways this is done.
One of the biggest ways to recognize if you are in a karmic relationship is this: do you only get along when you have a mutual enemy? In other words, can you only bond or become closer when there is some kind of perceived external threat? Do you only come together under duress and stress? If this is the case, there is not enough connection to keep the relationship strong and steady because once the “threat” is gone, there is little to nothing left in common. This can manifest as gossip as the only way you and your “friend” connect, family problems that bring you and your partner close and then the distance grows once the problem is no longer relevant, and (business or romance) competition that is fleeting.
Take an inventory of your relationships. Can you bond and grow closer organically or do you only seem to have something in common when something external is coming at the relationship? That’s a great way to determine if it is in fact karmic rather than from the soul.