SIGNS OF A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP
Is your relationship mediocre or toxic? Many people know when their relationship isn’t as good as they would like. They realize there’s something missing, yet they think most relationships are missing something. Where people get stuck is in realizing when a relationship isn’t ideal versus when a relationship is toxic. Here’s a quick list of signs that your relationship may be toxic:
1. There is any type of physical abuse going on in the relationship. If there is any physical abuse going on (hitting, pinching, pushing, pulling hair, slapping, etc.) then your relationship is toxic. This is true even if the abuse happens only twice a year. What you need to know about this is that abusers will abuse no matter who they are with—it’s not about you. It’s about the abuser. The bottom line is that abusers rely on others to allow their abuse.
2. One partner is having an affair (or multiple affairs) and is not willing to give it up. When you stay with a partner who’s having an ongoing affair, it is toxic to your system. You start questioning your own attractiveness, you begin to hate the fact that you “can’t” seem to leave and you begin to cling to your partner out of desperation. Your fear of losing your partner results in your accepting all sorts of unacceptable behavior. The ripple effect of your staying in this situation is self esteem issues, depression, lack of self respect and even physical/health problems.
3. One person has an active addiction that s/he is unwilling to address. If your partner is an addict, they are not home. You cannot have a relationship with someone who is never emotionally present. When someone is always high or drunk, they are not present. Get yourself to Al-Anon.
4. One partner is a rager. If your partner frequently explodes when they don’t like something, they are toxic--even if there is no physical violence occurring. Being in a relationship with a rager is like living in a war zone. You become hyper-vigilant to their moods so you can manage your behavior in a way that won’t set them off. Your heart rate speeds up, you become anxious and you often live in fear of the next blow up. This is trauma, not a relationship.
5. Your partner often speaks to you with contempt, judgment and disdain. If you’re in a relationship with someone who dismisses what you say, talks down to you and seldom takes responsibility for their actions—you’re in a toxic relationship. If you often feel small, less than, dumb or inconsequential in their presence, yet you don’t normally feel these things in the presence of others, it’s likely you’re in a toxic relationship.
If any of the issues above are happening in your relationship, your relationship is not just mediocre, it is toxic. Either address the issue head on and insist your partner get help or move on if they refuse. Living in a toxic relationship will chip away at your life and your health one day at a time. No-one and nothing is worth that. Don’t ask your partner to get help, tell them that if they don’t, you can’t stay. Then you get help yourself to see why you’ve stayed in a toxic relationship for so long and to ensure you don’t repeat the same mistake in the future.
CHALLENGE: If any of the above behaviors are going on in your relationship, realize that you do have the power to create change—by yourself. Step in and address the issues directly. There are a number of services available to help you through this toxicity. If you choose not to use them, realize that any excuse you give for not making changes, is just that—an excuse. Good luck and know that you deserve to be in loving relationships that fuels you. Get out of the toxicity!!!