Toxic Relationships. Signs & How to Handle them.
By Anastasia Mouzina
It is human nature to want to be loved, cherished, and happy in our relationships. This is, after all, the purpose of entering into relationships. Sadly, not all relationships are a source of love, support, and joy for the participants. In some, unfortunate, instances, you can find yourself in a toxic relationship.
What is a Toxic Relationship?
A toxic relationship is the kind of relationship that is characterized by negative behaviors. These behaviors may be observed in one, or both of the partners.
People in a relationship can be toxic to each other.
The cardinal aspects of a toxic relationship are dominance, insecurity, control, and self-centeredness. These aspects can be damaging both physically and emotionally to the people involved. Human relationships form a significant part of the human experience. This is because human beings are designed to want physical and emotional attachment. For most of us, life appears to be better when shared.
As human beings, we are far from being perfect; and even the best relationships require work. You and your partner must strive to create the relationship you desire. Towards these ends, you must know how to accommodate and adapt to your partner’s quirks, moods, and faults. Similarly, they must learn how to do the same for you. This is the foundation of a healthy and lasting relationship. In this article, I will be discussing how you can identify a toxic relationship and how you can avoid one.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
Unfortunately, it is tough to change your partner. This is one of the most significant challenges relationships go through. People rarely change. Some people delude themselves that their partners will change over time. In most cases, this does not happen. However, if you change your behavior, you can influence your partner positively. Toxic behavior/s should be confronted in a calm but firm manner. You can do this by identifying the toxic behavior with your partner; afterward, you must make them understand that the behavior is not tolerable. In this section, I will highlight a number of sure-fire signs that show you are in a toxic relationship. They include:
1. Your partner erodes your self-esteem
Relationships we enter into can affect our self-esteem either positively or negatively. A toxic partner will always make statements aimed at diminishing your self-worth. For example, they will downplay your efforts, choices, and intelligence. This may be done at home or in public. A partner who takes deliberate steps to humiliate you is toxic. However, you must learn to differentiate between malice and constructive criticism. Statements that lower your esteem lead you to doubt your capabilities and judgment. You continuously find yourself second-guessing every move you make.
2. There is an imbalance of power
Equality is the word. In a healthy relationship, no partner is superior to the other regardless of the circumstances. You must ask yourself who has the most power in the relationship. If your answer is too clear cut, your relationship has a problem. A relationship should be a union between equals. However, not all aspects of the relationship will depict a perfect balance of power. Even so, the overall power dynamics of a healthy relationship should balance out.
3. Your partner is excessively jealous and controlling
We tend to be possessive of those we love. A bit of jealousy, at times, spices up the relationship. It shows that you do not want to lose your partner to another person and that you care for them. A reasonable degree of control is essential in a healthy relationship. It can be used by the partners to focus more on their relationship goals. For example, if you are married, you cannot go out to the club and spend all your earnings without expecting to be held accountable.
If your partner freaks out whenever you engage another person, this is a cause for concern. Similarly, if you have a partner who always insists on being hyper-close to you all time; you may be in a toxic relationship. You should, therefore, rethink your relationship.
4. You no longer practice self-care
Your behavior patterns may be the cause of toxicity in your relationship. The signs of a toxic relationship are not only based on your partner’s behavior. A relationship turns toxic when you quit engaging in self-care. Self-care is a vital ingredient for any healthy relationship. This is effective in keeping toxicity out of the relationship. When you fail to engage in self-care, you fail to present your best self to the relationship. You should never neglect yourself. If your partner is excessively needy, or you drop your routine in favor of your partner regularly, this is a sign of toxicity.
5. You keep waiting for change
As I had said earlier, people rarely change. Most behaviors that are witnessed in toxic relationships, automatically, kill healthy relationships. If you notice your partner has toxic behaviors, this should serve as a deal-breaker. According to psychologists, for a relationship to turn toxic, it is usually a combination of toxic behaviors, and a willingness to stay. The desire to stay is spurred by the hope that the wayward partner will change at some point. Toxic relationships cloud your better judgment. The change that you seek may never come. Just because the relationship has positive attributes, you should not stay in it if it turns toxic.
In a healthy relationship, partners complement each other. They bring out the best in each other. The same cannot be said for a toxic relationship. In a healthy relationship, partners always assure each other of their love and commitment. In a toxic relationship, partners feel insecure about their status. They are always in a constant state of insecurity, even when they are around each other. This is not a healthy relationship. Insecurity propagates distrust and conflict.
When you enter a relationship, it is advisable that you should look out for red flags. The above-mentioned signs are some of the red flags that should be considered. Once you take note of the signs of toxicity, you may decide to either end the relationship, or engage a professional. Whatever your decision, toxicity should never be condoned. It is better to be alone than to feel lonely and dejected in the company of someone you love. Toxic relationships affect the quality of your life drastically. My advice to you is always to choose happiness because life is too short.
“Don’t settle for a relationship that won’t let you be Yourself ”
How to Handle Toxic Relationships?
Being in a toxic relationship is one of the worst situations you can find yourself. Those who have experienced this kind of relationship will tell you that they are pretty bad and draining. A toxic relationship is capable of draining you physically and emotionally. The question that you need to ask yourself is whether that needs to happen. My age-old advice to everyone is to put your happiness first. I will not deny the fact that it is hard to let go of a relationship that you have invested yourself into. Sometimes, you have to let go of the dead weight in your life to move forward.
From my experience with people who have gone through toxic relationships, walking away from a toxic relationship is easier said than done. When you are involved in a toxic relationship, you can lose your faculties. I have met people who have forgotten who they are or what they want in life due to their involvement in toxic relationships. In this article, I will be looking at ways in which you can handle a toxic relationship. Some of the things I will be suggesting are bitter truths that must be swallowed.
Coping with a Toxic Relationship
Anyone can be in a toxic relationship. At times, you may be part of a toxic relationship without knowing. Toxic relationships undermine the quality of life you lead. In the wise words of Marilyn Monroe, sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall back together. You might wonder love hurts so badly. If you are in love and your relationship turns toxic, you must pull the plug on that relationship. Do not agree to go down with that ship. The cost of remaining in a lousy relationship outweighs the benefits of staying. There is no need for you to spend sleepless nights replaying fights, or crying yourself to sleep.
If you find yourself continually crying because of your relationship, you must ask yourself whether you are in a relationship with a human being or an onion. Only onions should make you cry whenever you come into contact with them.
Below are several things you can do to handle a toxic relationship effectively:
“Relationships end, but they don’t end your life” -Steve Martin
Learn to let go
As I said, some of these suggestions are easier said than done. However, your happiness is critical. Part of being an adult is accepting that some things are not meant to be, and that forms part and parcel of life. You need to ask yourself whether what you are going through is worth the pain. No one knows you’re your situation better than you. If you find that the relationship causes you more pain than happiness, the writing is on the wall. I always chose happiness from misery. The process of letting go may be complicated, and often, you may find yourself wanting to go back to your partner. Find people to support you during this time and remember, like all other things that too shall pass.
You deserve better
Sometimes giving someone your love is not enough. A relationship is a two-way street. You have to give to receive. Once again, you must realize that not all relationships are meant to last. Some relationships exist to provide you with a valuable life lesson. Once you learn your experience, you must get on your way.
Some situations, although unfortunate, make you realize your true worth. Once you know that you are getting shortchanged, you must take your value somewhere else. The time you spend waiting for the wrong person to change prevents you from meeting the right person. The worst thing about toxic relationships is that they make you doubt yourself. They make you undervalue yourself. When you underestimate yourself, it is hard for you to believe that you can do better. The thing is that you first need to let go, and the right person will come into your life. You have to take a leap of faith because you do not know who the right person is or where they are, but they do exist.
Stop waiting to change
Have you ever heard of the old saying, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? This is the greatest mistake we all make. We choose to stay in bad relationships hoping that our partners will change. In this world, the only thing you are capable of controlling is yourself. You cannot even control your children after a certain age. The notion that you can change your partner is somewhat naïve. Unless your partner wants to change, staying in that relationship is inviting misery to yourself.
If your partner does not keep his or her promises, you should believe them when they tell you that they will change. Change comes from the inside; you cannot force change. Sometimes our good nature gets into the way of our decision-making abilities. We choose to look at our partners with flowery colored lenses. By doing this, we ignore their negative traits with the hope that they will change. Sometimes we stay around because we are afraid to be alone in this cold and unforgiving world.
Leaving will be hurtful
You have to put your happiness first. Walking away from your partner may hurt terribly, but you will heal with time. You will miss being wanted and desired. You will find yourself missing everything about your partner. My advice during this trying and hurtful period is to remember that your relationship was a nightmare dressed like a daydream. If you take time and analyses why you abandoned that relationship, you will realize that you are doing well in life. Once you get over the discomfort of being alone, you will be able to figure out your next step in regards to relationships.
Take time off to recollect yourself
Pulling the plug on your relationship will, at some point, feel like the end of the world. Your mind will try to convince you that you may never be happy again. Time is usually the best cure for all things, including pain. Take this time to rest your mind, body, and soul. Take this time to pursue the things that you love doing. This will help you focus on yourself more and not your situation. As you continue doing this, each day becomes more relaxed. You will realize that life can be enjoyed even if your relationship failed.
If you are in a toxic relationship, you can be helped. However, for this to work, the decision must come from you. You need to realize that life exists outside your relationship. Do not wallow in misery just because you are afraid to make a hard decision. Your physical and mental health should come first. If a relationship is detrimental to your well-being, you should abandon that relationship. When you do so, you must not feel guilty. You must endeavor to be happy every single day of your life.
Your Life by design 💃
Hey! This is Anastasia!
Founder & CEO of Goddess World LLC DBA Goddess Society
My greatest passion in life is women’s empowerment. I do this to ensure women acquire control over their lives and destinies. By doing this, women will be able to participate in all spheres of life, including relationships and leadership fully.
My goal as a coach is to help women realize their purpose, power, and equality in a world where the odds are against them. A woman’s daily life is full of challenges that only a fellow woman can relate to; I look to inspire all women to rise above patriarchy’s constraints to a meaningful life filled with joy, passion, fulfillment, success, and dignity. The value of understanding who you truly are
As a woman, understanding who you are offers you a roadmap to empowerment and all the tools you need to achieve it.
The current state of our planet begs a feminine touch. This is a call to action for women to rise to the occasion and secure the stability and progress of society. They will achieve this by fulfilling their roles as entrepreneurs, educators, mothers, caregivers, farmers, and conscience. The widespread socio-economic and political challenges we are going through are a result of ignoring feminine values.
Women across the world are working tirelessly to cultivate the feminine into cultures. Through their feminine gifts, women counter men’s undesirable impulses. If women fail to use their
gifts to make their societies better, they are equally to blame.
Ignorance is not an option.
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