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You may find yourself in a relationship that doesn’t feel quite right in some ways. But, How do you know what’s wrong? And What can you do about it?
A toxic relationships is detrimental to your life and well-being. When you start a romantic relationship you want to be with someone who contributes to your life in many different ways. A healthy relationship involves knowing yourself. Then, getting to know your partner and having good communication to solve the challenges you face along the way. It’s difficult to be aware of all the problems as they arise. Unresolved problems accumulate over time, which leads to arguments, fights and eventually a toxic relationship.
In this article, you will learn how to avoid your relationship becoming toxic. You will see what it takes to have a healthy relationship where you can address your issues before they turn into problems.
What Is a Toxic Relationship?
To understand what a toxic relationship is, let’s have a look at how toxic is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary:
1: containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation
2: exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis
3: extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful
4: relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market
When it comes to a relationship, toxic essentially means unhealthy and damaging to your well-being.
What Do Toxic Relationships Look Like?
An unhealthy relationship is a relationship that doesn’t work but could be better. A toxic relationship is an unhealthy relationship that has continue for a long time where a couple didn’t address or resolve their issues.
You and your partner can improve an unhealthy relationship. Provided you have willingness, understanding and tools to do so.
Couples that are in toxic relationships tend to feel miserable, and at the same time powerless to do anything about their situation. Couples that are in toxic relationships and want to save it will need professional help.
Characteristics of a Toxic Relationship
- A toxic relationship is an unhealthy relationship that last a long time
- Partners remain together despite the accumulation of unresolved problems
- You have constant misunderstandings and arguments
- There is no willingness to understand each other
- You sacrifice and compromise your personal preferences
- You stay together even if you no longer have romantic feelings for each other
- Your relationship is bringing you more suffering than joy
- You constantly bickering each other
Example of a Toxic Relationship
You were happy to start a relationship with someone because you believe you can make a great couple together. But, over time you find yourself having disagreements, not knowing how to deal with them in a healthy way.
This leads to unresolved problems that accumulated over time leading to unfulfilled needs, negative feelings and resentment.
Healthy vs Toxic Relationships
A healthy relationship is a relationship that contributes to your life and well-being. It’s a relationship based on trust and understanding. In a healthy relationship, partners have common interests to have fun together and great communication to discuss interesting topics. As well as the ability to resolve their differences in a healthy way.
A toxic relationship is a relationship that negatively impacts your life and well-being. While there are many reasons that lead to a toxic relationship, bad communication and lack of understanding are by far the biggest cause.
In a healthy relationship you support each other’s personal development. While in a toxic relationship you fight with each other trying to impose your point of view with an idea of trying to be heard and understood.
A healthy relationship should contribute to your overall state of health. For example, overeating could be a sign of emotional distress, and it could be linked to your relationship.
To maintain an emotional connection with your partner, you need to have effective communication. It means talking about interesting and meaningful things, while avoiding excessive communication (i.e. talking too much about nothing).
If you don’t talk enough, you will loo
se emotional connection, your feelings will fade, and you will drift apart. If you talk too much, your conversations can become tedious, having the risk of your partner not listening to what you say.
If your conversations become regularly dull, you may lose interest in your relationship.
Causes of a Toxic Relationship
- Unresolved issues
- Blaming each other
- Controlling behaviours by one or both partners
- Unwillingness to hear each other
- Feeling disconnected from your partner
- Feeling annoyed and frustrated in your relationship
Effects of a Toxic Relationship
Toxic relationship negatively impact in your life and well-being. You know your relationship is toxic when it becomes a struggle that brings you more sorrow than happiness. Some couples try to stay together even when their relationship doesn’t work.
Trying to survive a relationship can be a sign of commitment. But is it worth committing to an unhealthy relationship that’s toxic to your personal life?
If your relationship doesn’t work and you are choosing to keep it going, ask yourself: What is keeping you in a relationship that is toxic and unhealthy?
When you notice signs of a toxic and unhealthy relationship, it’s time to reassess. If this happens, you have two options: try to fix your relationship or let it go.
Here are some effects that a toxic relationship can have on you:
- It keeps you away from your goals
- Makes your life miserable
- You feel dissatisfied and unhappy
- You feel alone, ignored, misunderstood, not cared for, not valued, lost and confused
- You are depressed
- It’s detrimental to your self-value
- It takes away from family and friends
- You feel stress and anxious most of the time
- You have sleep disturbances
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
- Having constant misunderstandings and arguments that remain unresolved
- Poor communication
- Feeling sad and frustrated more often than happy and fulfilled
- Feeling jealous and insecure for no reason
- Compromising and sacrificing your needs more often than not for the greater good of your relationship
- Wanting to be with other people but feeling forced to stay in this relationship
- Compromising your personal life and spending this time with your partner because of guilt
- You don’t feel valued and appreciated in your relationship
- You are constantly giving up on your goals and aspirations because your partner or your relationship come first
- You feel annoyed, or get angry quite easily by your partner
- You are stress and anxious like walking on eggshells when you are around your partner
- You end up apologising most of the time to avoid further conflict, even when you consider you did nothing wrong
- You feel unsupported and unloved in your relationship
- You or your partner have controlling and manipulative tendencies
What Are Red Flags in a Relationship?
There are some behaviours that you or your partner have that when present most of the time are a warning sign that toxicity is building up in.
- Negative thoughts
- Being judgemental
- Being confrontational
- Your arguments and fights are turning more heated every time
Can a Toxic Relationship Be Fixed?
To fix a toxic your relationship, both you and your partner need to have the willingness to do so.
It’s easy to get confused and misunderstand each other in a relationship. While a misunderstanding can destroy your relationship, there’s a good chance that you can work it out.
Sometimes a relationship is full of negative emotions that developed over a long time. Strong emotions can often cloud your judgment, making it challenging to recognise the real cause of your relationship problems. On such occasions, a relationship coach can give you guidance and an unbiased opinion on your situation.
You can never expect that two people in a relationship will have the same preferences all the time; it just doesn’t happen. The difference between having a fight and resolving a disagreement depends on your ability to handle conflicts.
You can fix most problems when you and your partner are willing to hear each other’s point of view and work out your issues together.
How to Fix a Toxic Relationship
Suppose your relationship has become toxic because your feelings change or you’ve had enough. In that case, taking a break could be a way forward.
- Express yourself
- Hear your partner’s point of view
- Set clear boundaries
- Maintain an emotional connection with your partner
- Handle disagreements the right way. Disagreements are inevitable because every person has their preferences
- If you struggle to improve your relationship, get professional help
Ending a Toxic Relationship
Ending a toxic relationship is quite simple, but it’s not easy. It’s simple because you are already feeling the lack of emotional connection and in your mind you know it is best for both of you. But, taking the step to separate is not an easy thing to do.
Most relationships deteriorate slowly over time. So it can be hard to pinpoint the exact moment that tells you it’s time to break up. If you are choosing to stay in a toxic relationship, it comes down to how much suffering are you willing to tolerate.
Partners in an unhealthy relationship tend to compromise and suppress their feelings or they may lash out at every opportunity.
Seemingly small compromises accumulate over time and poison the relationship. Before you know it, the joy of being in a relationship turns into a struggle.
Should you find yourself unhappy in your relationship, take the time to explore what’s working and what isn’t.
If you feel that the only way forward is to end your relationship, do so, but not before you talk to your partner.
As long as you are in a relationship, you ought to respect yourself and the person you are with.
The last thing you want to do is to end your relationship and inform your partner afterwards.
Breakups are hard for everyone involved. Still, you should find a way to do it with dignity and understanding.
When to End a Toxic Relationship
If you find yourself in a toxic relationship, which is beyond unhealthy, means you are encountering problems that are beyond your ability to resolve them. In this case, your options are to get help from a professional (i.e. Relationship coach) or end your relationship.
How to End a Toxic Relationship
- Identify that you are in a toxic relationship
- Try to address the problems provided you and your partner have the willingness and emotional capacity to do so
- If you are finding challenging to have a conversation without arguments take some time apart to have some personal space and reflect on your relationship
- Try to find all the ways that you, yourself have contributed to this relationship becoming toxic. It will help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future
- If you discover you are better off apart, you can end this relationship. Even if you do, it doesn’t mean you need to carry negative emotions about each other and that you cannot find the way to communicate.
Moving on from a Toxic Relationship
- Focus on yourself, re-discover yourself
- Acknowledge all the emotions that you are experiencing and let them be
- Take some some for yourself (as much as you need) before you get into a new romantic relationship
- Reflect on what worked and what didn’t in your relationship and try to be objective on what your contribution was to the toxicity of that relationship
- If you have difficulty to move on from a toxic relationship, consider professional help.
While a healthy relationship can contribute to your life and make it more wonderful in many ways. A toxic relationship can certainly bring a lot of struggle and misery.
Nobody aims to have a toxic relationship, yet many people end up in one. So, how do you get from courting someone and putting in so much time, effort and energy on connecting with them, to staying with that person out of duty and obligation. And have all those times of enjoyment replaced by conflicts and arguments?
If you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship, your main focus should be an understanding of what is not working and finding a way to get your relationship back on track. If you find yourself in a toxic relationship, you need to talk to your partner to find a way to fix your relationship or let it go.
To fix a toxic relationship, you and your partner need to be willing to hear each other out. Once you can see each other’s point of view, you can find the actual cause of your issues. With effective communication, you can work out your differences and find a way forward.
When a relationship does’t work, it might be better to end it. Particularly, if your feelings faded away and you drifted apart. Before you make any final decisions, talk to your partner, express your concerns, and make a decision together.
I hope this article gave you an insight into what a toxic relationship looks like. All relationships have problems, but the difference between a toxic and a healthy relationship is how partners handle those problems.
Getting Help with a Toxic Relationship
Tips on How to Deal with a Toxic in Your Relationship
- Reflect on why you are in this relationship
- Make a list of things on how this relationship contributes to your life
- Write a list of things you don’t like about this relationship and how would you like them to be different
- Check with your partner to see if there’s is room to fixing your relationship practically and emotionally
- Consider having some time apart to have some personal space. Have some emotional balance and to get a fresh perspective on your relationship
If you don’t know how to deal with toxic and you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are toxic relationships romanticised?
Because of the idea of showing love through struggle and sacrifice. The problem is most people don’t know what love really means nor how to maintain a healthy relationship.
How relationships become toxic?
Toxic relationships develop over time. Unhealthy behaviours by both partners and their interaction causes the relationship to deteriorate.
How to handle a toxic relationship?
First of all, recognise that your relationship is toxic. Identify the problematic areas and try to address them with your partner. If you struggle to find a way to communicate in a healthy and objective manner consider getting professional help.
Can toxic relationships be healed?
Healing a toxic relationship is only possible if you can have an open, honest and objective communication with your partner. Another essential aspect is your and your partner’s willingness to take responsibility for your part in this relationship.
What to do when you are in a toxic relationship?
One thing you don’t want to do is to carry on with this relationship as it is. Depending on how toxic it is, you may try to find a way to fix it or you may need to end it. If you struggling to decide getting professional help can go a long way.
Why do toxic relationships last so long?
• Low self-value
• Disregarding your own feelings and preferences
• The idea of sacrifice
What toxic relationships teach you?
It teaches you that ignoring your feelings, preferences, needs and values is unhealthy. It also teaches you that sacrifice does not lead to fulfilment and satisfaction. Understanding this can help you have healthier relationships in the future.