Toxic relationships can be tricky and challenging.
They can sneak up on you or you could know that you’ve been in one for quite a while. Whichever the case, toxic relationships can cause plenty of suffering to you and the ones closest to you.
They can breed hatred, grudges, and negativity to your world, which can influence whether you will live a happy life or not.
Toxic relationships are common. One definition is:
any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness. - Dr. Lillian Glass, psychology expert
It may be the friend that always asks you to do things for them, but never returns the favor. Or perhaps it’s the family member that blames all their problems on you, even though you do your best to help them.
Or maybe it’s the partner that controls and dominates the relationship, causing everyone to walk on eggshells.
Having been in a toxic relationship and educating myself on the topic, I understand the chaos and pain an unhealthy relationship can bring into your life.
After all, the honeymoon period is a time where we all tend to overlook red flags that come back to haunt later. Sure, ups and downs occur in relationships, but there are signs that there may be some toxicity or codependency going on at the root.
Experts state that the root of a toxic relationship may be old, unresolved childhood or adult trauma, abuse, or neglect. The pain we experienced unconsciously sends us out seeking people who will ultimately fulfill those self-defeating beliefs we hold about ourselves.
For example, if you were neglected as a child, you may struggle with the fear of being abandoned. If you’ve never really dealt with and healed that old wound, you may unconsciously choose a lover who will not be emotionally present for you.
You may even choose a very selfish or narcissistic person unknowingly.
Here are 6 warning signs your relationship may be toxic.
If you and your partner are always together and have a difficult time doing anything without each other, this could be toxic. This also goes for those who aren’t allowed to have friends due to an insecure or controlling partner.
This doesn’t always mean the relationship is toxic, especially if you’re both introverts and simply choose to be alone most of the time. Or, if you’re busy raising kids and time for outside connections is limited. However, healthy relationships typically involve each partner having a separate identity and being interdependent on each other at least sometimes.
Read this next: 21 Signs You're Dealing With a Fake and Toxic Friend
How many of these questions would you answer yes to?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be in a toxic relationship.
Another sign you are in a toxic relationship is if you are constantly monitoring your own feelings to not risk a reaction from the other person. Do any of these situations ring true to you?
When you and your partner get into an argument, do you or both of you revert back to your childhood stage?
Do you spew hateful words? Slam doors? Pout? Give the silent treatment?
Jealousy is a sign of insecurity, and it can destroy relationships.
Are you or your partner jealous much of the time? Is there control going on because of it? Do you feel like you have to lie about what you’re doing or who you’re doing it with because you don’t want to be accused of going outside the relationship?
If you constantly feel like your needs are not important, or the other person is putting you down for no reason, that's another sign of a toxic relationship.
If you see yourself in some of those characteristics, you could be in a toxic relationship.
To begin to heal this type of relating, you must first accept the fact that the relationship you are in is toxic and brings negativity. It can be hard to accept, as with anything negative, but it’s helpful if you ever want a positive resolution.
If you feel that you are constantly being put down, are not good enough for the other person, or are putting a happy face on when they are nearby because you do not want to start an argument, you are in a toxic relationship.
If you are in a toxic relationship, you are obviously staying in that negativity for a reason.
In order to better yourself, try to figure out why you are staying. Does the other person make you feel special, sexy, attractive, or needed once in a while? Are you relying on them financially? Are you afraid to leave?
You do not need to be in a toxic relationship or a negative environment to make you feel good, as there are plenty of other, healthier ways to feel good about yourself.
This means that if you’re resting all your hopes on your partner making you feel happy, you’re in for some disappointment. Your happiness level rests solely on you, so find other ways to bring happiness to your life.
Sure, partners can add joy to our life, but we are responsible for our own level of happiness. What brings you joy? Do more of that.
If you simply want out of a toxic relationship, that’s understandable. If you’d tried and tried to resolve the issues, but couldn’t, breaking ties may be the best option. It can be challenging to end a toxic relationship, but sometimes it just needs to be done.
Sit down with the person that you are in the toxic relationship with and have an honest heart to heart. Tell them your concerns. Let them know that you think it’s best if you both go your separate ways. Be polite and follow through with your decision.
If you’re not sure you can end the relationship for one reason or another, consider spending time with a professional therapist for support.
You may even want to attend couples counseling if your partner is willing. You can learn a lot about yourself, relationships, boundaries, and even how to end a relationship when you open up to a counselor.
If you have codependent tendencies and you are in a toxic relationship, join a support group to help you learn how you can change yourself and your relationship.
Codependent’s Anonymous is a wonderful support group that will help you learn how to have a healthy relationship. If your partner is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, you can try the support groups Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.
You deserve a healthy relationship with yourself and your loved ones. Repairing toxic relationships in your life is a step in the right direction. Surround yourself with positive people who can help you on your journey of bettering your life.
Remember that you are worthy of peace, joy, and harmonious relationships.