It’s hard to avoid toxic relationships when you consider that more than 30% of the population has serious emotional issues.
I’m talking about such reactions as anxiety, anger, depression, self-doubt, moodiness, loneliness, obsessive thoughts, fears, envy, guilt, jealousy, and the like.
Of course, most people experience those symptoms from time to time, but 1 out of 3 people have one or more of those reactions strongly and frequently.
Now imagine living with a person like that! Maybe you already know how that can be a living hell.
A partner who is toxic with these traits can cause you to question your own stability and rationality. Toxic people are often very skilled at projecting their beliefs on others to the point where their perception of what has happened is contrary to facts. You might conclude you are the one distorting reality and not them.
When you are in toxic relationships what do you do?
First of all let’s look at how
toxic relationships affect you…
You probably have toxic relationships if you regularly experience any of the following:
1. Walking on eggshells – you have to be very careful about not triggering your partner. They can get upset easily and often. This can be nerve-racking because it is difficult to anticipate when they will over-react. You have to guard what you say as they can be strongly defensive of their beliefs if you express a different view.
2. Being Used and Taken Advantage Of – You can be exploited and used for your partner’s needs above your own. This can be financial, sexual, demanding of your time, projecting guilt on you for not doing enough, disapproving of your friendships, hobbies, or other interests. This results in you sublimating your interests or even avoiding what you prefer, and feeling forced to agree with them. Not going along with them leads to conflict, rejection, and blame.
3. Getting Pulled into Stories and Drama. Toxic relationship people can drain you emotionally and cause you to feel moody or depressed yourself as they try to pull you into their negative outlook. They live under a pessimistic cloud that seems to attract adverse conditions. They often have a need to tell you how they have been victimized and treated unfairly.
4. They’re Not There When You Need Them. They are incapable or unwilling to be understanding and supportive when you need your partner to be there. You can’t rely on them to “share the load” with you or “pick up the slack” when needed. They don’t cooperate with “pulling their own weight.”
5. They Don’t Respect You. They seem to take enjoyment at pointing out your flaws and shortcomings. They regularly find things about you they are critical of. They may throw slur words and names at you to undermine you. They may be passively aggressive or overtly angry with you and brooding, or project snide remarks, put downs, sarcasm, condescending comments, eye rolls, pouting, and other undercurrents of disagreement and disapproval.
6. You Can’t Trust Them. You are never fully sure of their intentions or truthfulness. They may intentionally try to deceive you and “turn the tables” on you to divert you from probing for the truth. It is difficult to find a common ground with them as they justify themselves.
7. The Relationship Revolves Around Them. They consistently put their needs and wants front and center. They want you to be dedicated to supporting their desires and goals even to the point of demeaning your needs. They want to be in control and try a variety of manipulation tactics to get what they want.
8. You Question Yourself. You find yourself feeling inadequate, not enough, and flawed when it comes to relationships. Your partner reminds you of what you’ve done wrong, why you’ve made poor decisions, and how you have failed. As a result you feel “less than” and question your own stability and self-worth.
If any of the above 8 signs of toxic relationships are present in your relationship you need to take some action. Toxic relationships can be repaired but they need motivation from both parties to address the issues.
Are You In Toxic Relationships?
To help you further determine if you are in toxic relationships or not ask yourself the following: Are you in your relationship because…
I don’t want to be alone.
This is the best I can do
I feel stuck and trapped in my relationship
I must stay because of our children, our house, our family
I live in hope my relationship will get better
I’m scared of what will happen if I end my relationship
The more you answer “true,” the more likely you’re in a toxic relationship
And also ask yourself these questions…
Does my partner respect me?
Do I feel comfortable talking about my concerns with my partner?
Does my partner ever take responsibility for hurtful words or actions?
Am I able to trust and rely on my partner?
Do I feel like I am growing in my relationship?
Does my partner honor, respect, and love me?
Is my relationship nurturing and nourishing me?
Is my partner willing to work on our relationship?
The more you answer “no,” the more likely you’re in a toxic relationship
Can You Repair Toxic Relationships?
Healing the relationship must start with healing the individuals. Most issues stem from the way each person was treated in the past. So conditions in your home life when you were a child is a good place to start as abuse, trauma, and other childhood wounds form a toxic foundation for future relationships.
Most relationships have challenges as time passes and most do not have sufficient communication skills to adequately address and resolve the shortcomings. Therefore one or both partners don’t know how to handle conflicts, opposing interests, wants, or beliefs.
Some Toxic Relationships Aren’t Fixable
If both parties are psychologically stable and mature and are wanting to enrich the relationship, but simply need help with communication skills, then they can create a healthy relationship.
If one of the partners has a psychological pathology such as being a psychopath or borderline personality disorder it can be very unlikely or very difficult to resolve and would require professional help.
If you’re with a normal person who doesn’t know how to communicate properly, that can be resolved through methods such as Imago relationship therapy. This type of therapy is unlike other forms of relationship therapy in that it utilizes a very specific type of dialog with your partner under the guidance of a trained specialist. There are books on the subject, but to get the most effective results you need to have a therapist guide you and walk you through the process.
If the underlying cause of a toxic relationship is rooted in childhood abuse, trauma, or wounds, that can be resolved through inner child healing work.
Yet, because as a child you experienced being told you were wrong, you made mistakes, sometimes you were rejected, maybe you failed at something, or perhaps you were even punished, to heal from that now requires that you address the way you were treated.
You, of course, know that the past won’t be changed, but that doesn’t mean you have to hold on to the pain and wounds attached to those memories.
If the memories of pain, struggle, and lack are not addressed they will play in the background of your mind like a song that repeats over and over. They won’t go away by themselves or automatically.
Memories and the emotional pain attached to them are housed in your subconscious mind, and therefore need to be addressed at that level for complete healing to take place.
Because it is difficult if not impossible to give others what you, yourself, have not received, the same is true of those who raised you. You’ll find more on your inner child in this article: Help! My Inner Child Hurts.
Why Stay in Toxic Relationships?
Of course, your first reaction on what to do with your relationship is to try to fix it. This is especially true for a relationship that has years invested in it. In order to do so, however, both parties much be working toward that goal.
So a good place to start is to ask yourself if your relationship has the potential to be positive, loving, and supportive. If you can answer yes, there is a great potential for having an enriching relationship.
If your toxic relationship is due primarily to communication problems, misunderstandings, or hurt feelings, it can be not only resolved but enriched.
How to Save Toxic Relationships...
1. Go to Imago relationship counseling
2. Go to Imago relationship counseling
3. Go to Imago relationship counseling
4. Find mutual interests you can do together
5. Set aside time to be together expressing affection
It is natural to acclimate to negative conditions because they are familiar, and the future can feel uncertain. This can cause people to stay in a toxic relationship that “eats away at them.”
Of course, starting over can seem difficult, but staying in toxic relationships can be far worse. If you have done your best to heal your relationship to no avail, then you need face reality, recognize the relationship has run its course, take a deep breath and take steps to bring it to a conclusion.
If you are the only one wanting to put in the effort to save your relationship, you must be willing to face the fact that it may not be salvageable.
How to End Your Relationship
1. Don’t Weaken to Their Manipulations – Sometimes a toxic partner will try to talk you out of ending the relationship. They may make hollow and empty promises to change but don’t follow through. They may attempt to guilt you into staying.
This behavior is likely driven by their fears and loss of control so they project their desperation through every means they can. They may cleverly try to project the problems on you and make you question your own sanity, and wonder if they might be right.
It is helpful for you to write down your feelings and memories of what has taken place, and choose a trusted friend to confide in as well as work with a professional therapist.
2. Get Support. If you don’t have a friend or therapist try an online group for relationship support, divorce support, or abuse survivors. Ending a toxic relationship requires you get support such as talking to someone on a mental health hotline.
3. Make Your Plans – Make a list of all you need to do and make arrangements of where you will go. Where will you stay? What happens with the children? Secure your bank account. Will you need a restraining order if you are concerned about your safety?
4. What Will Your Life Be Like a Year From Now – Thinking about your future can provide you with an incentive to start your exit. There will need to be adjustments and there could be emotional turmoil as you go through the legalities of the separation.
5. Think of What Your Life Can Be – Compare what your life is now to what it can be in a year or two. Be kind to yourself. Nurture yourself. Take care of yourself.
I have several audio programs that can be very helpful in supporting your relationship goals. You’ll find them on my website under the category: Create a Positive & Happy Life.
You’ll find titles such as: Be Happy and Optimistic, Take Control of Your Life, Break Free from Codependency, Fulfilling Relationships, Create Intimacy, Grow Through Divorce, Heal from Past Relationships, and others.