It’s remarkable how the words we knew gain a new connotation. When I was a little girl, the term toxic had only two associations for me. It was a famous song by Britney Spears, and everything related to poisons and chemicals. However, in 2018, this word did not only win the “Word of the World” award by Oxford Dictionaries but also obtained a powerful social sense. It became a synonym of unhealthy relationships and those people who mentally kill us slowly like the best venom.
What is a toxic relationship?
Do not think that a toxic relationship is just a loud and passionate quarrel between lovers. Today it is any interaction between people (spouses, friends, relatives, acquaintances, colleagues), which brings emotional pain and complete exhaustion of internal resources of one of the participants. As a result of such communication, one person consciously or unconsciously “poisons” the other, making him/her feel depressed, insignificant, frightened, used. Unfortunately, there are many options for negative feelings.
Toxic relationship issues do not lead to anything beneficial. They will not help you find confidence in yourself, you will not develop as a person, and you can eventually forget about positive emotions. The toxin poisoning you can help you develop apathy, depression, a state of continuous stress, learn all the “delights” of panic attacks, and low self-esteem. The worst thing about this problem is that people often do not realize they are trapped in unhealthy relationships. Below, we will try to understand the main features of this spider’s web.
Signs of a toxic relationship
It takes people years to figure out that they are in a toxic relationship and even more to escape them. What are the warning signs? Indeed, it has some severe symptoms.
It gets offensive
When you know that it’s better not to communicate with your partner when he’s angry, it’s not a matter of his fiery character but the first sign. At best, you get many abusive “compliments,” and then he asks for forgiveness as if nothing happened. And everyone is to blame except him. Later, everything repeats over and over again. A mentally healthy person can control his emotions and work with them. Unfortunately, these are the signs of a manipulative relationship.
Not willing to discuss problems
You want to discuss something with your partner, and he gets defensive when you tell him how you feel. He can blame you for being too childish, sensitive, or stupid. As a result, he says he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore or is tired of listening. The manipulator always “knows better than you.” He’ll convince you there is something wrong with you and will leave you alone to deal with your suffering.
Make decisions for you
At some point, you realize that he is the only one making plans for the weekend or vacation, not the two of you. The fact that he used to order food for you or answer questions addressed to you no longer seems so romantic, does not it? These are obvious signs of controlling a woman.
Sex becomes the partner’s prerogative
If you are forced to have sex by various manipulative methods when you do not want to, it is a toxic relationship. Sex is a mutual desire of both partners. You should not do it out of pity or for any other reason.
Any form of violence is a bad sign. Whether it’s a punch on the wall or a slamming door in front of someone, it may be your face sooner or later.
It all starts with cute messages and ends with installing applications on your iPhone or following you after work.
An adult will discuss what he does not like. Signs of a toxic person are his desire to create a problem and resentment out of nothing and watch his partner suffer.
How to deal with toxic relationships?
You should consider if you can fix this. Toxic relationships can change but only under many conditions. This requires that both partners are equally committed to dealing with it through openness, honesty, and self-reflection. If one of you is not ready to make an effort, the situation will not change, and the relationship must stop. Even if you have started working on it, but you see no results, probably the toxicity level is too high, and you should leave.
In an unhealthy relationship, there are always four components: attacks, accusations, criticism, and demands. If you have them in your story, discuss it with your partner and agree to work together to break this chain. If you find yourself in a vicious circle, pay attention to how you respond to toxic behavior. You should be allied with your partner, and this can help to restore communication.
You may feel like you are tiptoeing to avoid hurting the partner. If the relationship is healthy, it allows you to feel relaxed, everyone can be themselves, and the problems are solved as they appear, not before. Your partner may not even know how uncomfortable you are because of his behavior. So don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings. Train your voice and use this tool to create distance.
If you have tried everything, but feel that nothing changes, it is essential to understand when it’s time to end a relationship.
How to leave a toxic relationship?
- Do not deny the problem — There is no need to deny the obvious things. If signs of a toxic relationship with the husband/wife are self-evident, stop looking for an excuse for a loved one’s behavior.
- You don’t lose anything when you leave — Many victims of toxic relationships think that they’ll lose something valuable by breaking the unhealthy connection. This is just an illusion. You do not lose anything, but give yourself a chance for a happy life. The easiest thing to do is to make a specific list. Write down on paper all the good things you may lose, breaking all ties with a person. It’ll immediately become clear that the mutual interaction was not at all positive. And the sooner you realize it, finally seeing all the signs of a toxic relationship, the faster you will act.
- Start taking care of yourself — In a toxic relationship, you are used to thinking about your partner. Fill in the emptiness of your Self, starting to take care of yourself. It’s the best time to recall all your dreams and make them come true. Spend time and energy on self-education; look for new goals in life and achieve them.
- Get rid of guilt and shame — It’ll take quite a lot of time to forget about the feelings of guilt and shame the toxic person has managed to impose on you over the years. You should analyze everything and forgive yourself for all the weaknesses and time wasted on unhealthy relationships. Do not feel sorry for yourself, and try not to feel sympathy for the person you have left behind.
- Surround yourself with positive people — If you had a misfortune of meeting a manipulator and abuser in your life, it doesn’t mean that all people are the same. Spend time with your friends, get new ones, and make sure you recognize toxic people before letting them in your life.
Terminating a traumatic relationship, that is, to protect your nervous system by saying a firm “no,” and to become physically separated, is a tough decision when the toxic person is someone dear, and you have been together for many years. But it is essential to understand that it is your future and your ability to interact with the world that is on the chopping block. Saying “no” today will make you stronger as a person and will open the doors for a qualitatively new interaction with other people and a happy life without tears.