Toxic relationships are more prevalent than you may think. The thing is, most people in such relationships do not know the red flags to alert them. The common refrain is that the fights, arguments, and other bumps on the road are common in every relationship. However, there is a line that is often crossed in such relationships. Here is a more detailed look at toxic relationships, including what you should know and how to avoid them. Take a look!
What Are Toxic Relationships?
A toxic relationship is a term coined to describe a union characterized by a constant undermining of one party, abuse, disrespect, and lack of cohesiveness. These are some of the many warning signs of toxicity.
Although every relationship is tested, resulting in its ups and downs, the downs seem to be more in such a relationship. Depending on its nature, the signs of toxicity may be subtle or highly evident.
Some of the signs that are very hard to miss are:
Lack Of Support
No relationship can flourish without support from both parties. Whether or not you are going through tough times, you must support your better half. The support reduces stress and increases the level of happiness in your relationship. Unfortunately, this is missing in a toxic relationship.
Effective communication is crucial for a healthy relationship. However, when the relationship is toxic, communication is filled with yelling, criticism, name-calling, sarcasm, force, and physical intimidation (1).
Some people mistake control for jealousy. While it is normal to experience jealousy once in a while, controlling behaviors are unacceptable. Controlling behaviors include threats of children’s custody, killing you, or taking away various resources like money.
These behaviors also include telling you what is right, acting like you do not know what you are doing or saying, managing your money, or secluding you from your loved ones. They strike fear and reduce the levels of happiness and content in relationships.
Walking On Eggshells
Walking on eggshells means you are afraid to upset or offend your partner. It makes you fearful of doing things because, at the back of your mind, you are scared of provoking them and awakening their demons. So, your best bet is to walk on eggshells to avoid conflicts.
Resentment in any relationship is poison. It will be the end of your relationship if you do not find a way of dealing with it. Sadly, this vice is never addressed in toxic relationships.
Making Excuses For Your Partner’s Behavior
You might be in a toxic relationship if you constantly find the need to make excuses for your partner’s appalling behavior. You cannot make excuses for someone who always puts you down, threatens, or abuses you.
Forget the line, “You do not know them as I do,” as it is one way of justifying their behavior, yet you know better. Sometimes, you need an outside perspective to help you see your partner’s negative traits (1).
How To Avoid A Toxic Relationship?
The easiest way to evade the trauma and associated problems of a toxic relationship are knowing how to avoid such a relationship.
Here are tips to help you avoid falling headfirst into one:
Determine Your Attachment Style
We tend to be attracted to a certain caliber of men or women because of our romantic attachment style. Unfortunately, some of us are drawn to Mr. or Ms. Toxic. It would help if you went back to the drawing board to understand better why you are attracted to the individual in question.
It will require deep searching and may entail self-reflection, therapy, and journaling. The insight you acquire will help you know how you can move forward.
Determine What Truly Satisfies You
It would help if you also dug deep to understand what satisfies you in your current relationship. To get this insight, you have to assess the time you spend together with your partner and communication and problem-solving skills. Also, evaluate how you handle finance and money, intimacy, and family matters. They all have to balance for a healthy relationship (2).
Set Healthy Boundaries
After doing so much soul-searching, you now have to set healthy boundaries. These are vital as they help protect your space and allow you to speak up if they are crossed (2). Speaking up then helps avoid bottling up emotions and promotes effective communication.
With boundaries, your emotional needs become a priority, allowing your partner to be empathetic. All these help create a model of a healthy and lasting relationship.
Red Flags Mean Stop!
Unfortunately, most of us overlook numerous red flags hoping that our supposed “better-half” will change. But, take it from relationship gurus– red flags are early warning flags, and they only worsen down the line. So, you must be brave and move away early.
Can You Save A Toxic Relationship?
Some can be fixed if both parties are committed to the course. However, do not try to force your partner into working things out if they are disinterested. Some people do so for fear of being single. Well, relationship gurus reveal that coercing your unwilling partner to such only intensifies their bad behavior.
How To Move Forward?
If both of you are committed to building a healthy relationship, then you can work on moving forward. But be warned, though, the journey will not be smooth. It will need a lot of patience, dedication, and time.
Here are some tips to help you move forward:
- Focus on the future and avoid dwelling in the past.
- Seek therapy for more help moving forward.
- Heal individually and determine or reset your boundaries.
- Work together and accept that change won’t happen overnight.
The Bottom Line
A toxic relationship is the extreme opposite of a healthy relationship. It is characterized by controlling behaviors, threats, resentment, lack of support, hostile communication, and many more negative traits.
You can avoid such relationships by doing some soul searching, determining what satisfies you plus your romantic attachment style, and setting healthy boundaries. If you are already in such a relationship, it is possible to save it if both of you put in the work. Otherwise, it is best if you part ways.
Your happiness and peace come first, and we wish you nothing but a healthy relationship. So, get the help you require. All the best!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 7 tell-tale signs of a toxic relationship and how to fix it, according to couple therapists (2021, insider.com)
- Toxic Relationships and How to Avoid Harmful Love (2020, psychologytoday.com)