So, what is a Toxic Relationship? Various people have defined toxicity in a relationship in their own unique terms. Irrespective of the varying definitions, the primary meaning is always almost the same_a relationship where there is competition and disrespect.
My favorite definition is that of Dr. Lillian Glass, a California-based psychology expert. Here is what he says:
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.
In a toxic relationship, you usually feel bad, and the situation gradually degrades further. Even worse is the fact that you can’t get out of the partnership quite easily. You feel insecure, unsafe, your self-esteem starts to limp, while you feel completely stuck.
Please note that any of us can get upset, angry, or violent at some point. For a relationship to be termed toxic, these behaviors must be repetitive.
How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship?
The first step to breaking out of a toxic relationship is learning to recognize when behavior or actions are wrong. If one or both partners feel unhappy, uncomfortable, or anxious in the company of the other, it means that the relationship is unhealthy and something is wrong.
Of course, occasional arguments are normal in any relationship. However, if arguments occur frequently or if they cross certain boundaries, you must take action.
A relationship is toxic when it has one or more of the following characteristics:
- There is emotional dependence.
- Lack of respect and constant verbal aggression.
- Uncontrollable Jealousy.
- Your partner is possessive and controlling.
- The partner does not provide support, but detracts from and blocks your personal development.
- Constantly attacks your self-esteem.
- Uses emotional, economic, or family blackmail methods.
- The partner uses constant threats.
- There are recurring episodes of physical or psychological abuse.
- Privacy and social relationships are lost.
These individual behavioral characteristics have their definitions and details. If your partner displays any of the following 12 behaviors, your relationship is, unfortunately, a toxic one:
1. Violence, Insults, and Criticism
Violence can take any shape or form. It can be sexual, emotional, economic, or any fourth type. When he beats you, pokes you, pushes you, uses you to satisfy his sexual needs, completely disregards your refusals. When he calls you names, insults you, humiliates you, diminishes your value, constantly orders or criticizes you These are all unacceptable behaviors punishable by law.
2. Addictions and Emotional Instability
Any form of addiction like alcohol, gambling, pornography, shopping. In a relationship where one of the partners is addicted, certain pathological behaviors are born. These behaviors, in turn, lead to serious emotional states like anxiety, neurotic and depressive disorders that are destructive to the bond.
3. Manipulation, Emotional Blackmail
Constant trading of conditions like, for instance, I’ll go to your parents if you promise to do this. He may even be a little manipulative and may try emotional blackmail. For example, he may say if you love me, do that for me, etc. These are outright examples of emotional blackmail.
There are also much more subtle forms, such as playing on emotions (playing offended, crying), driving into a sense of guilt. For instance, he may say if you hadn’t gone there, I wouldn’t have felt like this, etc. Total manipulation, not worth the trouble!
4. Unpredictability and Volatility
Another obvious characteristic of a partner in a toxic relationship is the unpredictability of behavior. You don’t know how he will act, what mood he will have on a particular day.
If your partner is often indecisive, constantly changes his mind, has doubts about his feelings for you, you are in toxic waters. He may be doing all this unconsciously, but, this doesn’t matter at all. Because at the end of the day such behaviors are unacceptable in a healthy relationship.
5. Pathological Jealousy
Your partner may show symptoms of jealousy not only for your every acquaintance but also for your favorite hobbies. He suspects you of cheating, even though you don’t give him the slightest reason. He may try to get a clue by saying things like I want to have you all to myself, exclusively.
Your partner can take a step further and check where you are going, who you are meeting with, browse your phone and computer_typical in any toxic relationship.
6. Lies, Threats, and Promises
Your partner constantly cheats on you, lies, and hits your tender points. When you react, he threatens to leave. He may also constantly apologize, promise to improve while repeating the unwanted behavior.
There is the possibility that your partner is addicted, for example to sex, or has other mental disorders (there are pathological liars), but then he should be treated. If treatment options are not available or don’t work, you are going to be in trouble.
7. Lack of Attention, Repetitive Ignoring
Something is bothering you, something is hurting, that you don’t like. You tell him about it, but he doesn’t even pay any attention or simply ignores it. Even if your claims are justifiable, your partner does not even want to understand your position. He disregards your emotions and ignores you. He may reject your claims with arguments like “you exaggerate”, “what are you up to?”, “You whine “- worth reviewing the relationship!
8. Open Egocentrism
Each of us has moments when we only think about ourselves. But if your partner always focuses only on making himself feel good, is not willing to make concessions or compromises, is never able to do something exclusively for you, forces you to behave a certain way – then it’s time to seriously reconsider the relationship. This is nothing short of egoistic behavior.
9. Various Criteria For You
He leaves without a word or information. As for you, even if you don’t want you must always be ready. Because, ”God forbid”, he may have a bad day, you are not supposed to give him a reason.
Your partner may set certain criteria for you. If you are not perfectly doing what he wants you to, he will never miss a chance of finding an excuse. This type of behavior is also considered violent.
10. Parent Addiction
When you marry someone, it is natural that your partner becomes an integral part of you with time. In such a serious relationship, it is important that you both sort out any outstanding issues together. Plan your events together, make major decisions together.
But if your partner is not willing to cooperate in any of these family affairs, it is totally unacceptable in a relationship. While he may not be engaged in family affairs with you, he may be doing all this with his parents. He may opt for advice for even the smallest of decisions from his father or mother.
If that’s what your partner is doing, he is already toxifying the relationship.
This may come as a surprise to you, but over-care is a form of control that can easily result in violence. A partner who does not allow you to go out with your friends to the city because he cares about you so much, a partner who makes you call him several times a day because he is so worried about whether everything is okay – he is definitely a misfit in the bond.
While this statement may look exaggerated, but it is true that an overly concerned partner thinks mainly about himself. This may include his fear of what may happen to him if you are not there anymore.
In such a relationship, you gradually feel stuck, tightened, and suffocated. The particular problem with this kind of relationship is, it is usually difficult to come out of because he thinks he just cares for your good.
You may think it’s a good thing that your partner appreciates you, considers you the best, and even declares you as the perfect woman he has ever seen. How on earth such a relationship can be toxic? you may say.
Well, there is a glitch in there. Imagine how would you feel doing something if you are looked upon as the perfect person, one who can’t make mistakes let alone blunders. You will definitely feel the burden of the unwanted idealization. This will put unnecessary strain on.
In the long run, this type of behavior is terribly straining and tiring. Studies have shown that such relationships don’t last long.
Why it is Hard to End a Toxic Relationship?
People who live in an abusive relationship are usually unaware of it. Although their family or friends try to tell them it’s not normal, the victim refuses to admit it or tries to justify their partner’s behavior in a thousand ways.
While there can be many obstacles in the way to getting out of this kind of relationship, below are some of the common ones:
- Your attachment and ”’love” make you believe that your partner can change his bad behavior or that it is only temporary.
- The victim gradually reaches a point of very low self-esteem and supports everything because they think no one else will accept them.
- The toxic partner manipulates and uses the other party’s weaknesses to justify their behavior.
- The fear of being alone creates an emotional dependency that prevents the victim from withdrawing from this toxic relationship.
- There is a fear of the other person’s reaction, especially when they have a tendency to react violently.
How to Come Out of a Toxic Relationship?
To get out of a toxic relationship, it’s important to accept the problem and seek emotional support from friends and family. In addition, you need to strengthen your self-esteem so as not to go through the cycle.
As well, it’s important to learn to identify these harmful behaviors that are damaging your well-being. While it is true that all couples go through moments of crisis, there are situations that definitely should not be tolerated.
The problem is that ending a relationship isn’t always easy as there are so many feelings involved that are actually often manipulated. In addition, idealizing the other person leads us to believe that their behavior is normal or that they can change.
But let’s face it, maintaining this kind of relationship only leads to emotional exhaustion that can have serious consequences. Therefore, although it hurts, it is best to take the courage to end the relationship and seek peace.
Hard but not impossible, here are some of the strategies you can implement to get rid of your toxic relationship:
1. Realize Your Relationship is Toxic
The first step for people in toxic relationships is to be aware of what’s going on. Knowing how to recognize a problem and admitting that a relationship is not bringing you happiness is a critical factor in making your final decision. Otherwise, a blindfold will prevent you from finding the right way.
2. Don’t Give in to Fear
Fear is one of the greatest barriers to getting out of a toxic relationship. A sense of fear of what might happen next causes the person to believe, at least for a moment, that it is better to continue this way. But while the future is uncertain, letting go of fear is the only way to overcome it.
4. Finish When the Moment is Right
When dialogue is possible, it is best to try to end the relationship without argument or aggression. There comes a period of “detoxification” in which all negative emotions must be avoided. When deciding to end a relationship, you should also avoid any kind of contact.
5. Seek Support Outside the Union
The constant support of family and friends is crucial when you come out of an abusive relationship. Feeling that other people around help you overcome fear, sadness, and all the confusion created by this situation.
6. Work on Your Self-esteem
Focusing on your own projects, exercising, and surrounding yourself with positive people are all ways to work on your self-esteem. Often after a toxic relationship, self-esteem and self-confidence are completely destroyed. Therefore, it is necessary to devote time to yourself.
7. Practice Meditation, Mindfulness
Relaxation techniques are very helpful in recovering from a toxic relationship. Breathing exercises, yoga, or massage help to control emotions such as nervousness, fear, and anxiety, which usually arise when we close a certain stage of life.
Finally, it is worth noting that, nobody has the right to steal your happiness. Every one of us is created as a free individual. We all deserve happiness, freedom, respect, and growth. A toxic relationship deprives you of all these beauties of life. End your toxic relationship without having the fear of what happens next. Rest assured that, what happens next will be far better than what you are already in. Stay Blessed!