“Letting toxic people go is not an act of cruelty, its an act of self-care”
We hear the term toxic relationship in our society but what does that phrase really mean? The truth is, toxic relationships come in many forms and can be applied to friends, family members and lovers. For the purpose of simplicity, we’d like to isolate the phrase “toxic relationship” and laser in on it through the lens of romantic love. So today I’m sharing with you a post about people you need to drop in your life. These are people who are toxic for you. They are not good for your physical health, emotional health and psychological health. I mean why hold on to something that is killing you slowly all in the name of love? If it is destroying you, then it is not worth holding on to. The fear of being alone makes us stay in toxic relationships even when we know it is not good for us. I know this because I’ve been there before.
Signs that you’re in a toxic relationship
- It Involves Physical, Sexual, or Verbal Abuse- If you’re in a relationship where your partner physically harms you (e.g. pushing, punching, pulling hair, grabbing your arm, etc.), this is abuse. Examples of abuse also include sexual violence or threats of violence, as well as put-downs and name calling. Not only does this type of abuse break the foundations of trust on which a healthy relationship is built, it puts your life at risk.
- Possessiveness- Socializing is key. However you may begin to push friends and family away. Sometimes people can manipulate you into only spending time with them.
- Changing who you are- The best part of being in a relationship is feeling comfortable and secure. If you feel yourself altering your personality to suit your partner and treading on egg shells then you’re not comfortable.
- It’s All About Them- It’s normal to become infatuated with a new relationship, whether it’s a friendship or a love affair. For a while you might bail on other plans in order to spend time with this new person. But after that initial period of time has passed, if you find that you are still constantly putting your own plans and needs aside to be with this person, take some time to reflect on whether that is what you really want from your relationship. A healthy relationship involves reciprocity and balance. A supportive partner or friend will encourage you to invest in yourself and to spend time with other people on a regular basis. You have feelings, too, but the other person won’t hear them. You’re unable to have a two-sided conversation where your opinion is heard, considered and respected. Instead of acknowledging your feelings, they battle with you until they get the last word.
- They don’t like to see you succeed- If they can’t enjoy seeing you succeed, or they always need to bring you down a peg, there’s a good chance this is a toxic relationship. They should be your greatest supporter, and want what’s best for you in the long-term. When either of you win, you both win. That’s how a great relationship works.
- You can’t enjoy moments with this person- Every day brings another challenge. It seems as though they are always raising gripes about you. Their attempt to control your behavior is an attempt to control your happiness.
- You’re uncomfortable being yourself around them- You don’t feel free to speak your mind. You have to put on a different face just to be accepted by that person. You realize you don’t even recognize yourself anymore, and neither do your closest friends and family.
- When you’re apart, you feel anxious- When you’re together, it feels enthralling and intoxicating: You desire nothing else than to be with your toxic partner. However, you experience a crushing anxiety when every outing is over. You are left feeling insecure because you are so invested in a person who never gives you definite dates or follows through with plans for your next date. You are left with self-doubt, second-guessing your appearance, your personality, and your actions. You question the status of the relationship and become jealous of others whom your toxic partner may see. It’s important to recognize that you are never truly at peace or able to feel at ease and consistently secure with your partner.
- When you confront your partner about your upset, he or she turns the tables and blames you- Every now and again, you freak out and give your toxic partner a piece of your mind. Or you let them know how insecure and anxious you feel, and demand answers about whether they are really committed to your relationship. But no matter what you say, how you say it, or when you say it, your partner turns the tables on you and tells you all that you are doing wrong in the relationship. By the end of the conversation, you feel as if you are the bad partner, or that you have done things to cause your partner to mistreat you. Recognize that turning the tables in this way is a strategy your toxic partner uses in order to never have to take responsibility for how his or her behavior impacts you.
- Every time you hang out, something negative comes up- This might be coincidence, or it might be something else. You might not know until the bullet you’re potentially dodging is dodged. Either way, do you really want to risk it?
- You’re not allowed to grow and change- Whenever you aim to grow and improve yourself, the other person responds with mockery and disbelief. There is no encouragement or support for your efforts. Instead, they keep you stuck in old judgments insisting that you will never be any different than you are now.
- Your Partner Goes Through Your Phone- If you don’t have mutual trust and respect, your relationship will never last. If your partner goes through your phone or reads your e-mails, that is not OK. It’s an invasion of privacy and a sign of a controlling partner who neither trusts your or respects you.
- Your Partner Tells You How To Dress- your partner doesn’t like the way you dress, do your makeup or wear your hair and they let you know it, thats a sign you’re in a toxic relationship. It’s not up to them to decide. Dress for yourself and don’t let anyone take away your self-confidence.
- Your Partner Doesn’t Let You See Your Friends- If your partner gets angry or guilt trips you every time you mention you have plans to hang out with a friend, that’s a sign you shouldn’t ignore. In a healthy relationship, your partner would never pull you away from your family and friends. If you realize you can’t spend time with your friends unless you bring your significant other along, that’s a warning sign.
- You’re Afraid To Say What You’re Thinking- If you are fearful in any way to be honest with your partner or say what’s on your mind, you’re probably in a toxic relationship. A healthy relationship should be based on trust, honesty and respect. You should never be afraid to be honest with the person you’re in a relationship with.
- Your Partner Insults You- If you’re with someone who truly loves you, they will build you up, not tear you down. If your partner has a habit of insulting you in any way you are in a toxic relationship. It’s important to know that you deserve someone who compliments you, makes you laugh and stands by your side through the rough times, not someone who criticizes you every chance they get.
- Extreme displays of anger- If the person is unable to adequately control their anger, this is a good indication additional problems may arise if you embark on a relationship. Anger management issues can easily escalate and become more violent when someone has difficulties calming themselves. Learning effective anger management techniques can be helpful for individuals who struggle with anger issues.
- There are momentary highs, but they are short lived- Toxic love feels like a roller coaster, with excitement and intrigue followed by insecurity and anxiety. If this is your world, you live for the highs, but you mostly experience the lows. You keep hope alive during those lows with glimmering expectations for what could happen when the next brush of attention comes. In a perverse way, it is the unpredictability of intense emotions that keeps a person stuck, like an unsuccessful gambler hoping that the next card will turn everything around. Recognizing this will help you step off the ride and stop the spinning in your head.
- You are consumed with this relationship- All you think about well, almost all is your toxic love relationship. You think about when you will see your partner next, how you can be more alluring, what you can say or wear to keep your toxic partner desiring you. You also spend a great amount of time filled with worry and self-doubt about whether the relationship is healthy, and if you will ever get what you need form your partner. If you are not with the person, you are lonely, and you have few other deep relationships to fill the void, because you have compartmentalized your life so as to not let friends or family know about your toxic union. You actually fear that your loved ones will tell you to end the relationship, and so you avoid getting deep with other people. You need to recognize that this relationship is taking over your entire identity.
- Your Partner Controls Your Finances- If your partner is controlling what you spend money on or how much money you spend, it might be a sign of a toxic relationship. What would you do if your partner has been controlling your finances for years and the relationship ends? As much as you might enjoy the feeling of being able to depend on someone else, it’s important to remain financially independent to protect yourself in case of a break-up.
If life was a storybook, the person we fall in love would not be the person who broke us. Sadly, we humans tend to be a bit more human than that. We fall in love, we commit, we get hurt over and over and we stay. People need people, but sometimes the cost is a heavy one. When it’s a toxic relationship, the breakage can be far-reaching. Love is addictive. So is the hope of love. All relationships can be likened to an addiction, but sometimes the power of this can be self-destructive. When relationships become loveless, hostile, stingy or dangerous, you would think they would be easy to leave, but they can be the hardest ones to walk away from.
How to walk away
- Seek help- People in toxic relationships need help from friends, family, and professionals to commit to change. Changing is a process and not simply a decision. People often return to a toxic relationship, sometimes because it is familiar and therefore comfortable. They know no other persona except their shattered self. Keep in mind that you may need to seek help multiple times or for an extensive period of time, and that is okay. People in toxic relationships need rehabilitation, a process that takes time. Find a supportive friend, family member, or professional to help you through the healing process. (But if you are being physically, verbally, or sexually abused in a relationship, you need to exit it immediately and seek help.)
- Stop all possible contact- If you really want out, then contact with your about-to-be ex needs to be very tightly managed. Strive for no contact. Most highly toxic partners have softer sides and this can hold strong allure. If you are feeling vulnerable, you will likely be at risk to go back to your toxic ex if you reengage contact with him or her.Stop contacting them COMPLETELY. Cut them off. Do not enable them to contact you again. Block them out of your life completely. Do whatever you have to do. I know I shouldn’t encourage you to fight fire with fire, but sometimes, particularly when we’re hurting, if you do it respectfully it can bring us a sense of power. So, if you can’t be blunt to them about it or you’re having trouble ending it, then turn it around and push it until you have manipulated them into saying it. If they’re toxic and intentionally hurting you, trust me, it won’t take long until they make the threat – and then go with it, stick with it and don’t look back. Hit that accelerator and go go go!
- Surround yourself with positive people- Now is the time to resurface and rekindle with other people. Exercise, make hobbies, travel, or join a club to open your horizon. Do things that make you feel good, and socialize with people that enourage you to a positive life.
- Be honest with yourself- Allow yourself to be entirely disgusted with this person for treating you the way they have. Cry – trust me, you will cry A LOT! Don’t blame yourself – you’ve been through enough pain now and you’re probably feeling quite exhausted. Tell yourself that you’re leaving for your own wellbeing – in order to truly love yourself, realise that self-preservation means severing these ties.
- Prepare to become super-human- You won’t eat, you won’t sleep, you may take time off work to deal with things, you’ll cry yourself into a world of dehydration. There’s nothing you can do about any of this except ride it out until it’s over with.
- DO NOT worry about their feelings- Toxic people don’t have feelings! Well … they do, but as far as you’re concerned from now, they don’t! Consider them narcissists, which means they don’t have feelings, but they will pretend they do, if that helps. Think about how long they’ve overlooked your feelings. So, trust me – just tell yourself they don’t! Why? Because it’s when we consider their feelings that we continue our self-doubt and we start to go back. If you find yourself with any level of concern for someone who is hurting you, stop yourself right there and tell yourself that you deserve better than your current circumstances. Trust the universe to lead you to a better reality – it may mean sitting with the pain for some time, but it will be worth it. Anything is better than going back and suffering at the hands of the toxic relationship again. In fact, I read a quote recently that said: “Sometimes giving a person a second chance is like giving them an extra bullet for their gun because they missed you the first time” … what about once you have given them a hundred chances? Trust me, if you haven’t made this mistake yourself, it makes you feel as though you handed them a machine gun and it’s not worth it!
- Don’t try to replace the person- They say the fastest way over someone is to find someone new. This is not the case when you’re recovering from a toxic relationship. When you’re recovering from a toxic relationship, unfortunately you are exceptionally vulnerable, more than if you’re just recovering from a standard relationship break up. The chances that you will entice another toxic person into your life are extremely high. Don’t go with it. Take comfort in knowing that if this person has left you for someone else, the chances that they are truly happy or will be happy long-term are exceptionally slim. And you would have left them anyway because the relationship was toxic … so don’t worry!
- Quit asking yourself why and trying to figure out what was real- You’ve been stripped of your dignity, you’re hurting to capacity and now you’re finding yourself torturing yourself with a million questions: WHY WHY WHY! These questions are better left unanswered – and sometimes they don’t even come with answers – so instead of asking, accept the situation for what it is.
- Stick with your decision- Often after leaving someone, you begin to miss the person. That is normal. It’s easy for our brain to remember the good times and forget the bad parts of a relationship. It can be tempting to want the person to be back in your life, but remember that you came to this decision after a long, thoughtful process. Stick to your decision and remember that it was made to better you and your life. It may be helpful to have your supportive friend, family member, or professional keep you accountable.
- Remember to love yourself- You come first, because you are born alone and you die alone. You deserve to be happy and enjoy life. Have a happy life by surrounding yourself with people and things you love.
it is going to be difficult and Unfortunately there is no way to fast-track your way through dealing with the pain. There’s no potion to take it all away. Take every positive distraction possible. Chat to people, you’ll be surprised about how much support you receive. You need to sit with this incredible feeling of loneliness, it’s hurtful if they’ve left for someone else because your thoughts tell you they’re cosy, warm and feeling loved, while you’re left out in the cold, but don’t forget the truth: long-term, this relationship will not last either and if it does, it’ll never be the same. There will always be discomfort, pain and mistrust. Consider your situation the lucky escape! well done, you’ve dodged a bullet:)
This is a deep and serious topic to talk about, hopefully you find this post helpful and if you know anyone suffering from a toxic relationship you give them the right advice and support they need.
Thanks for reading,