WARNING: Toxic Relationships Do More Harm Than You Think!
In this article, I shed light on why so many of us end up (and stay in) toxic relationships, as well as the catastrophic impact these negative dynamics have on our very essence.
I also provide strategies on how to finally jump out of the inferno and into bliss!
By definition, toxic relationships occur when one or more people display unhealthy behavior and lack mutual respect for each other.
Extreme toxic relationships can be emotionally, mentally, and physically harmful, but not all toxic relationships are abusive.
There are so many types of relationships we form throughout our lives from romantic to business to friends, family, and so on.
In this article, I focus on how to identify a toxic romantic relationship and what to do in order to turn things around!
So, what about LOVE? And, how can that possibly exist within a toxic relationship?
ANSWER: We often confuse love with infatuation.
We’ve all been there, right?
We say to ourselves and those around us how in love we are. Yet, we know deep down (on the subconscious level) that something is amiss. And yet, we continue down this path which can lead to very unhealthy dynamics and prevent us from ever experiencing what love really is.
Now, love most certainly comes in all forms and means something different to each and every one of us.
However, it is HOW we LOVE and ALLOW OURSELVES to be LOVED that are the key differentiators between a toxic relationship and a healthy one.
OK, Let’s Dive In!
Relationships are actually very simple, as much as they are complex.
What do I mean by this?
Well, it’s simple when we have the awareness and tools to navigate each other’s needs and desires.
And on the contrary, it’s complex when we don’t have a basic awareness and understanding of self and of our partner.
You know, when we’re both so buried in insecurities, fear, or self-doubt that we can’t even see the forest for the trees.
Yes when this is present in the relationship, you better believe it becomes extremely complicated to navigate a healthy relationship.
So, how do you know if you’re in a healthy or toxic relationship?
In most cases, it’s pretty obvious when we’re in a toxic relationship, while other times it can totally sneak up on us.
The Sneak Attack!
Or worse yet, the ‘denial (toxic) relationship’. AKA, ‘the disconnect’!
You know, the one where we run (far) from addressing the elephant in the room and as a result have fallen into a really unhealthy partnership full of resent, self-doubt, and passive aggressive rants.
This negative mentality perpetuates this cyclical behavior. And over time, this will cause catastrophic harm to our mental, emotional, and even our physical health. Yes physical. Stress is a killer!
Hence, Toxic Relationships Cause More Harm Than You Think!
To give you a better idea of a toxic relationship, here are some signs (RED FLAGS) for you to check in with yourself and see if any of these resonate with you.
20 Red Flags to gauge your relationship toxicity-level based on experiencing:
2. Negative Energy
3. Passive Aggressive Behavior
4. Consistent Hurt
5. Play the Blame Game Often
6. Feel Stuck
8. Lie about your relationship to others
9. Infidelity (either side or both)
10. Feel Rejected (emotionally, physically or both)
11. Lack of Communication
12. Feel Bad About Yourself
13. Daily Fear
14. Control Issues
15. Empty Promises
16. Feel Undervalued and Underappreciated
17. Self Esteem depleted
18. Feel Unsafe
19. Feel like the parent in the relationship
20. Avoid Each Other (includes physically or verbally)
OK. Here’s the deal— I’ve totally been there! I’ve experienced at least 18 (if not all) of the above listed at some point!
How about you?
However, unbeknownst to me at the time I didn’t realize how each (red flag) was fueling an unhealthy relationship. And in turn, depleting my soul tank. In hindsight, the red flags also served another purpose— Adrenaline Rush!
And, I can tell you that the excitement of the unknown from the other person was a major driving force. Yes, to stay with someone who actually wasn’t good for me.
It was exciting and never boring— I was always kept on my toes!
Can you relate?
However, along with being on my toes, my stomach was always up and down. Which was a horrible feeling. And, I had so much anxiety every day. But, I thought all of that was worth the price to pay so as not to be ‘bored’ in a relationship.
OMG. Did I have it ALL WRONG!
These should have all been deal breakers. But instead, I kept finding myself in the same situations. Over and over again.
Until I realized that in order for change to occur, I needed to change!
And, so I did! And, I know you can too! Actually, the fact that you are even reading this article is proof to yourself that you are ready! Readiness comes from awareness.
I repeat, READINESS COMES FROM AWARENESS.
The fact that you searched for this topic online shows that you are aware. So, harness your awareness to go deep within.
#1: Ask yourself:
1. What do I truly want from my current relationship?
2. Do I feel I deserve my desired needs?
3. Is this attainable?
#2: Toxic Relationship Barometers:
1. Frequency (of unhealthy behavior)
2. Level (of unhealthy behavior)
These 2 assessments along with the 20 Red Flags above, are the foundation for your Relationship Self-Check In. Now, if you experience a majority of the 20 red flags, you may want to reevaluate your current relationship. Be truthful with yourself. Sometimes it takes reading the list a few times to open up to the possibility of an alternate reality in your relationship (other than the one you have painted).
Ultimately decide if you’re ready to move on so that you can create “space” for a more satisfying and healthy partnership.
Either way, the ONE KEY COMPONENT to understand in any relationship is that you cannot change the other person.
We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, right?
The question is— why do we have a tendency to stay in these relationships that are so toxic for us?
Fear of being— Alone. Judged. Or, letting the other person down.
And, then there’s GUILT. Please don’t allow that emotional monster to manipulate you and trick you into thinking less of yourself.
When, in reality we all deserve to be in a mutually respected and honored relationships. Now, in order to be in a mutually (deserving) healthy relationship, you must have of a strong sense of self. This includes Self-Love and Self-Worth. It’s actually as simple as— you get what you put into it. So practice self care in order to be your best self for your partner. This can be tricky, as we often have fear around setting boundaries because we don’t want to lose the person.
But, the reality is when we don’t set those boundaries we lose ourselves.
SO, HOW DO WE CHANGE IT UP?
ANSWER: Start with SELF!
It’s time to finally jump off of the toxic merry go round!
3 Steps to go from
Crash & Burn to Learn & Grow!
Realize all the possibilities for your relationship based on your mutual needs. Consider how different behaviors on both ends can transform your dynamic.
Set boundaries with each other by being non-judgmental, communicate honest and openly, and get on the same page from an expectation standpoint.
Rewrite your relationship script. Practice accountability and realign as needed. Yes! Each person must take responsibility for their actions.
I know the above practice can be hard (at first). But you owe it to yourself to push through the fear or uncertainty.
Since I’ve been there and have completely changed my relationship dynamics, I have made it one of my missions to help others take the appropriate steps to get out of toxic relationships.
If you’d like to learn more on how I can help you, please CLICK HERE to apply for a free 15-minute exploration call.
If you’d like to read more on this topic, head over to Solancha Magazine where I’m a contributing writer.