A toxic relationship involves behaviours on the part of the toxic partner that are mentally, emotionally and physically damaging to their partner. A toxic relationship is characterized by insecurity, self-centeredness, dominance, control. Signs of a toxic relationship Isolation the toxic person attempts to isolate the partner from family and friends to limit support and to increase dependence on the relationship. This is a way to gain control over their partner's life. Toxic communication Communication in a relationship is essential in a relationship, however, if a partner ever feels like they are walking on eggshells when communicating this may show signs of toxicity. This often occurs when they are unstable in their moods and behaviours. When walking on eggshells you are often afraid of your partner's response to your situation. This can be denial and gaslighting. A toxic person is unable or unwilling to see their impact on the other person. They deny the problem, attempt to gaslight, manipulate events, or attempt to recreate history to put themselves in the best light. Jealousy & Dishonesty A toxic relationship is often one of accusing a partner of flirting, dating, or even having a sexual relationship with someone outside of the relationship. At the same time, the controlling or toxic person may actively and openly engage in these same behaviours. Behaviours would involve a partner constantly making up lies about what they are doing, whom they are seeing and where they are to avoid spending time with their partner. Patterns of disrespect This includes: Casually “forgetting” events negative financial behaviours such as when your partner makes financial decisions, including purchasing expensive items or withdrawing large sums of money, without consulting you. Giving in on everything If your partner is ignoring your needs and you are going along with whatever your partner wants to do, even when it goes against your comfort level. This is a red flag of a toxic relationship Even though it is important to be willing to give and take, compromise, or even do what the other partner wants, this is expected behaviour in a toxic relationship. If you find you are giving into everything, even things you find morally, personally, or ethically objectionable just to keep the other person happy, you are in a toxic relationship. Ongoing disagreements This can cause ongoing stress and anxiety, it is common for people dating and in relationships to have minor disagreements, but toxic relationships are primarily based on arguments and negativity. The controlling partner is always berating, belittling, and putting down the other person or criticizing their attempts to do anything positive or independent. If disagreements result in any sort of violence or abuse please contact a helpline or 000. Lack of self-care Everybody needs their own alone time and space, if a partner has to withdraw from their hobbies, they once loved, neglect their health, and sacrifice most of their free time for their partner it can mean that the relationship is unhealthy. This does not mean we do not spend time with our partners. There should be a balance for quality time for each other and individually. Hoping for changes 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. Unfortunately, hoping for changes in a relationship can spiral into negative behaviours and can be threatening to your mental health. As mentioned in Psychology Today, Just Hoping for Change Might Keep You Stuck Ways to overcome a toxic relationship 1. Admit that the relationship is toxic It can be difficult to accept that the relationship is truly toxic. You will be in a state of denial despite all the signs given in the circumstances. At one moment, you feel revulsion; at another, you justify your partner’s intolerable behaviour. We, humans, are taught to forgive and accept others. That is a great value to hold, however, your partner should do the same for you with respect. There are certain things that a person should never ignore in a relationship. No matter what circumstances it is toxic if your partner is dishonest, humiliates, exploits you for resources, or emotionally or physically abuses you. If your partner does not hold his actions accountable and continues to hurt you, it is time for you to move on. 2. Stop believing this relationship is the best you can do. If you are in a toxic relationship, you may feel that your toxic partner is the only person who will ever understand and love you. You may withdraw from others and avoiding face-to-face intimate interactions with your close friends and family. However, this reinforces the idea that you will never be known or cared for by anyone other than your toxic partner. It keeps you in a panic-like state of thinking you will find yourself alone. This desperation will prevent you from drawing boundaries and wholeheartedly holding your partner accountable. Before doing anything, work to build up your support system: Join a gym, participate in a hiking or book club, start a new hobby, meet friends to exercise, eat with different acquaintances. You need to start letting others get close to you so that you no longer feel as if your orbit will collapse without this toxic partner at the centre of your life. 3. Detox You may believe that you can somehow still keep in touch or have a phone relationship with a toxic ex-partner. These people have a way of manipulating and getting others to feel sorry for them. If you keep the connection, then you enable this individual an opportunity to draw you back towards them. The only realistic way out is to stop all contact so that you can start anew. Also, time away helps positively enhance perspective. 4. Move on & pursue self-growth. As a saying goes, “time will heal”. As a self-reflection use your energy and time to pursue self-growth. Start meditating or journaling, read self-help books or take up weekly psychotherapy. During this period, give yourself time to reflect before moving on to a new relationship. Get to know yourself such as what you want and don’t want in a relationship. List down the values and qualities you want in a future partner. A strong, immediate attraction can sometimes mean trouble ahead for a relationship. Hold back and wait for a few beats. This allows you to avoid another disappointing relationship.
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