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08 Dec, 2023
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toxic relationship

Toxic Relationship by Alvira Diwan

Toxic Relationship: Is Your Relationship Toxic?

A healthy relationship involves mutual care, respect and compassion, an interest in our partner’s welfare and growth, and the ability to share control and decision-making, in short, a shared desire for each other’s happiness. A healthy relationship is a safe relationship, where we can be ourselves without fear, a place where we feel comfortable and secure. A toxic relationship, on the other hand, is an unsafe place. It is characterized by insecurity, self-centeredness, dominance and control. We risk our mental health and well being by staying in such a relationship. To say that a toxic relationship is dysfunctional is, to be honest, an understatement.

We’ve all had our fair share of toxicity in life! Courtesy to the people who like to spread their negativity all around. Toxic people are those who get jealous of your achievements, those who fake concern, often are abusive or critical of everyone or everything around you. I’m sure someone just crossed your mind!

Toxic people spread their unhappiness and personal suffering to people around them. They ultimately poison things they come in touch with: other people, careers, businesses, marriages, and especially their children. I’m not mentioning people with criminal personalities, but the people who live and work with us every day.

Toxic people can negatively influence others by manipulating them to do things. They tend to create chaos through negative habits: using, lying, stealing, controlling, criticizing, bullying, manipulating, creating drama, etc.

If you’re in a toxic relationship, you may recognize some of these signs in yourself, your partner or the relationship itself:

Lack of Support
Your time together has stopped being positive or you don’t feel like they have your back.

Toxic Communication
Instead of treating each other with kindness, most of your conversations are filled with sarcasm, criticism, or overt hostility. You may even start avoiding talking to each other.

While it’s normal to experience jealousy from time to time, it can become an issue if you can’t get yourself to think or feel positively about your partner’s success.

Controlling Behaviours
Questioning where you are all the time or becoming overly upset when you don’t immediately answer texts are both signs of controlling behaviour, which can contribute to toxicity in a relationship.

You find yourself constantly making up lies about your whereabouts or who you meet up with to avoid spending time with your partner.

Patterns of Disrespect
Being chronically late, casually “forgetting” events and other behaviours that show disrespect for your time and choices are vital signs to look out for.

Negative Financial Behaviours
Your partner might make financial decisions, including purchasing big items or withdrawing large sums of money, without consulting you or considering your opinion.

Constant Stress
A normal amount of tension runs through every relationship, but finding yourself constantly on edge is an indicator that something’s off. This stress can take a toll on your physical and emotional health.

Ignoring Your Needs
Going along with whatever your partner wants to do, even when it goes against your wishes or comfort level, is a sure sign of toxicity. For example, you might agree to a vacation they planned, either intentionally or unintentionally, for dates that aren’t convenient for you.

Lost Relationships
You’ve stopped spending time with friends and family, either to avoid conflict with your partner or to get around having to explain what’s happening in your relationship.

Lack of Self-care
In a toxic relationship, you might let go of the usual self-care habits, you might withdraw from hobbies you once loved, neglect your health and sacrifice your free time.

Hoping for Change
You might stay in the relationship because you see the other person’s potential or think that if you just change yourself and your actions, they’ll change as well.

Walking on Eggshells
You worry that by bringing up problems, you’ll provoke extreme tension, so you become conflict-avoidant and keep any issues to yourself.

You may have experienced some of these behaviours, if not all, occasionally in your relationships. In a toxic relationship, these behaviours are normal, not something that is an exception. Most of us manipulate others, once, in a while, we play helpless, induce guilt, etc. We as individuals are not perfect neither our relationships can be. What distinguishes a toxic relationship from a healthy one is, both the severity of these behaviours and how frequently they occur.

So why do people behave in toxic ways and why do others put up with such behaviours? The answer is the same for both individuals: poor self-esteem is rooted in underlying insecurity. Toxic individuals behave the way they do because, at some level, they don’t believe they are lovable and/or that anyone would really willingly want to meet their needs. Their partners stay with them (toxic individuals) because they too believe they are unlovable and that no one would willingly meet their needs.

The best way of saving yourself is less contact or NO contact at all depending upon the proximity of your relationship with them. Removing them from your life is only the first part of winning the battle of overcoming your helplessness. You will have to be kind to yourself and give yourself enough time to heal. Stop blaming yourself and overcome the feeling of being used or manipulated. Learn from your experiences and try being independent in taking your decisions without seeking validation. The first one being, ending this abusive relationship!

New Year Gift Ideas by Alvira Diwan

Toxic RelationshipAlvira Diwan
Masters in Clinical Psychology
PsychWorks Clinic