How to Know If My Relationship is Toxic?
The phrase “toxic relationship” gets thrown around a lot these days, but how can you define when a relationship is toxic? Well, the truth is that it’s not always easy to determine whether or not a relationship is toxic. That’s mostly because toxic traits can blend quietly into our relationships without us noticing, and what might seem normal could be the reason why we’re not feeling good around someone.
Everybody can become trapped in a toxic relationship at some point in their lives. In fact, 1 in 3 young people will be in an unhealthy relationship. So, it’s important to step back and determine if there’s a toxic relationship in your life and if you need help in toxic relationship. But first, let’s determine what is a toxic relationship.
What Is A Toxic Relationship?
To put it in simple words, a toxic relationship is where the people involved don’t support each other and where communication is difficult. Also, there are constant fights, where one partner tries to belittle the other, where there’s no mutual respect, where you feel drained instead of feeling loved. Basically, it is a social warzone.
Being in a relationship like that can have a big impact on your mental health and physical health. In fact, one 2016 study found out that stress and negative relationship quality affects the cardiovascular system. This study also shows that negative relationship quality can lead to high blood pressure and poor self-rated health.
Any relationship has the potential to become toxic. Sometimes a toxic relationship can happen when two incompatible people try to establish a bond. For example, a person who loves making sarcastic comments with someone who is very sensitive to judgments. In this case actions of one part can be seen as normal and neutral, while it might seem offensive for another part.
Or someone could fall into the hands of a narcissistic person, who can seem nice at first, only to later realize that they were manipulating you. Whatever the reasons, it’s always important to pay attention to any sign of toxicity and know when to leave a relationship. It is not easy to make a decision about leaving a person you have loved so much. You may constantly ask yourself “Am I doing right?” Think about when you feel relieved when you are with your partner or without.
What Are the Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship?
At different stages of the relationship couples go through different obstacles. At some point you may understand that you are no longer able to overcome those obstacles. Maybe because you are tired or because there are limitless obstacles and you need to choose another direction. So, how to understand that you’re no more in a healthy relationship.
Not every sign of toxicity is obvious; sometimes it takes serious introspection to find out about the more subtle signs. Here’s a quick list of some of them:
- You don’t feel good around that person.
- You don’t feel supported.
- There is an extreme level of control.
- You end up feeling stressed or sad after talking to this person.
- It’s always about them, never about you.
- Disrespectful and dishonest communication.
- You don’t trust each other.
- Most of the time it’s you trying to make them happy because there is always something wrong going on in their lives.
- Everything is one-sided, you feel like you give everything and receive nothing in return.
- You start to feel bad about yourself.
- You bring the worst side of each other,
- It starts affecting other areas of your life outside of the relationship.
- They don’t make you feel understood, loved, nor happy.
- The blame is always on you, they’re always right,
- You feel like walking on a minefield, never knowing when the other person could explode.
- There is physical abuse.
Not every toxic relationship is equal, that’s why the signs may vary from person to person. One thing is for sure, if it’s doing more harm than good, it’s definitively toxic.
Types of Toxic People
There are different types of toxic people; here are just a few examples for you to take notes of them. Maybe among these descriptions you can find yourself or your significant other.
The Minefield Person
You are doing your best not to get this person angry because you fear an explosion. You limit your words, you change your behaviors, you adapt to his or her will in order to maintain balance. They tend to use intimidation to control others. Near these people you afraid of acting as your wish in order to avoid sudden burst of negative emotions that may hurt you and other people.
They always have a mean comment to throw around at you or anybody. It doesn’t matter if it hurts you, because they were “just joking”. Sometimes they will make you feel stupid, your desires are ridiculous, and your demands are unreal. They make you question your self-esteem and you might develop dependency issues with them. After spending a lot of time with this kind of people you gradually start losing your confidence.
The Eternal Victim
Sometimes toxic behavior can happen when someone absorbs your energy. Some people never seem to be happy with their lives and they need constant validation from the people around them. There is always one problem on their horizon, nothing positive ever happens to them. Moreover, they think that they are the only nice person left in the world. Talking to this person makes you feel sad, anxious, stressed, or it can leave you with a sense that you’re not being listened to.
If you’ve ever tried to tell someone about something bad that they did to you and only encountered them saying that you’re overreacting and that the blame is on you, then that’s a red flag. They always find a way to underestimate you and make it all look like it’s your fault. Not only they won’t admit their mistake, but also make you in eyes of others an offender and not a victim. It is better to distant yourself from those people as much as possible.
This person hasn’t let go of something that happened in the past and is going out of their way to let you know how much you’ve hurt them. Or maybe they put the blame on you when something bad happens in their lives. It’s always you the one making the wrong steps, it’s never them.
These types of people will say something and never commit to it. You may catch them lying, arriving late at meetings, or never showing up when you need them. They don’t commit to the relationship and can make you feel unsafe and anxious. These are the least reliable people and they can cause you big problems when you need them the most and disappoint at crucial moments.
The Paranoid and Jealous
You feel controlled around this type of person. At first, it might seem innocent, but it keeps escalating until it becomes unbearable. They check your phone, invade your privacy, doubt you, and hardly trust you. Unless you’ve actually done something bad in the past that can make them doubtful of you, there’s no reason for this kind of paranoid behavior. You always feel pressure from their side and when they are not near you eventually can breathe with relief.
What to Do If I’m In a Toxic Relationship?
It takes two people to have a toxic relationship, so it’s always a good idea to examine your relationship with this person and assume where you could improve. Ask yourself important questions like “Why am I staying in a relationship that harms me physically/emotionally?”, “How did I get to this point” and “What can I do to escape this and avoid it in the future”.
If you find yourself caught in the middle of a toxic relationship, you first need to determine if you can save the relationship. Here are some signs that you can save it:
1. They accept their responsibility.
2. You see real interest in saving the relationship.
3. They try their best to understand you.
If they don’t meet those criteria, it might be best for you to leave that relationship if you can. If you can’t cut it out because it’s a friend or family member, you can at least limit your time with that person. Sometimes you can’t save a relationship, it’s a harsh reality, but you have to remember that your mental health has to be your most important responsibility.
Toxic relationships happen all the time to a lot of people. They can happen for a lot of reasons, but whatever the reason, it’s always harmful to someone.
If you feel like you’re trapped in something like this and need help in toxic relationship, you should contact a therapist to get help. Sometimes it’s difficult to cut out yourself from people like this, so it’s best if you’re being guided by a professional.