How can you tell if you are in a toxic relationship? Here are some clues:
- Your partner puts you down (verbally) in front of others
- While your partner says they love you, their actions don’t back it up.
- Your partner is controlling ñ reading your mail or “showing up” at places you are just to “check up” on you.
- Your partner tries to make you dependent on them.
- You have changed things about yourself to please them.
Toxic people make you feel ill just being around them. So, why would anyone end up in a toxic relationship? Why would anyone want to be with someone who makes them feel emotionally or physically harmed?
A toxic relationship has a cycle. There’s a honeymoon period, followed by a blow up, followed by a reconciliation ñ at which point the cycle begins anew.
When you first meet a new partner, you are obviously in the honeymoon stage. It is not until they’ve sucked you in further that you realize that you are in a toxic relationship. At that point, it is difficult to get out.
One reason is that many people in toxic relationships grow up in toxic homes. As a result, they replicate the patterns of their childhood without even knowing they’re doing it. And, they may not know any better. Others believe they do not deserve happiness. Still others find that they enjoy taking care of people.
But the first step in getting out and staying out of toxic relationships is to realize that you do have choices. Often people who stay in these couples have low self esteem or suffer from depression.
Once you realize that you have choices, the next step is to start standing up for yourself. In most toxic relationships, the toxic partner has taught you that it is all your fault. Once you buy into this, it can be very difficult to either walk away from the relationship or set new limits that can heal the relationship.
For some people, working in therapy groups can help them either get out of or redefine these horrible relationships.
The good news is that some people are able to break the cycles of toxic relationships. Some of them leave the relationship and form new, healthier bonds.
But others are actually able to repair their relationship and stay in it.
The truth is that most relationships are able to be salvaged. Sometimes it takes a little space. Other times, it takes coaching. But if both partners make an attempt, it is possible to renew the bonds in a healthy way.
The first thing you need to decide is that the relationship must improve or you’re willing to walk away. If you aren’t willing to walk away, you’ll never be able to heal that which divides you.
Once you have liberated yourself from the dependency that is at the core of a toxic relationship, you can start to assert what you need from the connection. Don’t nag the other person. Simply say “I need your support,” “I need your love,” or “I need your truthful opinion.”
If you don’t get what you need, the other person should know that you’re prepared to walk.
A healthy relationship is a two way street. In a toxic relationship, the street is only going one way. You have the power to change that, but you must take the power into your own hands.