Have you ever found yourself involved in a toxic relationship? Do you tend to get involved in toxic relationships?
We think that toxic relationships are limited to romantic relationships, but this is not the case. A person could have a toxic relationship with a friend, co-worker or even a family member.
Toxic relationships are not limited to women. It’s just as common for a man to be on the receiving end of a toxic relationship as it is a woman. Isn’t about gender, it’s about an unhealthy dynamic that two people are participating in.
There is a fairly long list of the dynamics that make a relationship toxic. Here’s a short list of the main characteristics of what it feels like to have a toxic relationship with someone (remember, this can apply to any kind of relationship, including friendships, family members, co-workers, etc):
· They regularly put you down with negative labels and speak to you from a place of assumed superiority and condescension to you.
· They interpret things you say as an attack on them, even if what you’re saying is neutral, positive or has nothing to do with them whatsoever.
· When arguing with you, they pile on by saying that other people agree with them and that your viewpoint is “wrong” or “bad”.
· They diminish things you say, enjoy or have in your life. They put down everything you like: your friends, your tastes, your preferences, the things you enjoy doing, your views, your accomplishments, your contributions… to the point where you don’t want to share anything that you are happy about with them because you know they’ll find a way to diminish it and try to make you feel bad about it.
· You want to avoid conflict, but somehow you consistently end up in conflict with them.
· You want to be “good enough” for them to approve of you, but no matter how much you try to accommodate what they say they want, you never measure up… you always feel like they see you in a negative light and not “good enough” for them.
· You consistently notice that if you’re happy or excited about something, you always feel like crap after bringing it up with them.
· Overall, you feel like you’re walking on eggshells with them and that a potential conflict is always just around the corner, no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
This is in general what it feels like being in a toxic relationship with someone.
Toxic relationships are tricky because they’re never clear, black-and-white cases of things being “bad”. You wouldn’t be internally conflicted if there wasn’t a mixture of good and bad in your current relationship. When you read such a description on a page, though, it’s hard not to ask, “Why would anyone ever want to be in a relationship like this? And if someone is in one, why in the world would they stay in it if it’s so clearly bad?”
Good question, and a very important thing to be clear on if you’re in a toxic relationship… There are a number of reasons people unconsciously choose to stay in a toxic relationship. And by the time the unconscious becomes conscious, so as for them to be able to take the next step of fixing the relationship, I would like to focus a little on a relatively little highlighted strategy of getting out or fixing a toxic relationship. That of self-growth.
Fixing a toxic relationship is a long and difficult process. It takes a lot of conscious mutual effort and no doubt the co-operation of the two parties involved is necessary. So, change will not be instant. So, instead of spending all that time trying to better understand your toxic partner, or to fix the flawed relationship, just invest in yourself. Use your energy to pursue self-growth. Start meditating or journaling, read self-help books, or take up weekly psychotherapy. Knowledge is power, and self-knowledge is self-empowerment. The more you learn about yourself, about how you function as personality, the more you can take control of your choices and your life. Your environment, your life itself is a mirror, a reflection of your internal reality. When you do date, thoughtfully consider those you have gone for before, and work to engage new and different types of personalities. A strong, immediate attraction can sometimes mean trouble ahead for a relationship. Hold back and wait a few beats. This tactic will help you avoid another disappointing relationship. Change starts after you start asking questions. Questions about the reasons why things happen as they do, not the belief that you already have the answer, can lead to something new. To a different reality. Our questions are a window to the new...
Finally, take into serious consideration the wisdom of your body. "Your body is smart," says relationship expert Sofia Milan. "If you were to eat poison, your body would immediately try to throw it up. If you get something in your eye, your eye starts tearing." Stressed? Your hair will fall out. Get it? So if you’re having physical issues like ulcers, throwing up, dizziness/passing out, chest pains, or new skin flare-ups, your body may be trying to get your attention. Milan says to ask yourself, what is the root cause of these ill feelings? They might be symptoms of garden-variety stress, but "if your partner, a friend, or co-worker is the person that comes to mind first, that is a sign that you need to give someone the boot or begin a conversation to mend the problem.”
If you are experiencing a toxic relationship, then you likely move in and out of a state of denial about how unhealthy it truly is. Most people will let certain issues go from time to time in long-term romantic relationships, or relationships with significant others, and it is important to be willing to accept the other person as they are. But if this is not possible, then considering starting from yourself with a personal development project might be a really good option.