In a healthy relationship, you may find that most things just work – of course, you have your ups and downs, but overall you manage to figure things out together.
In toxic relationships, things can often seem more difficult than they actually are, due to several reasons, one of which may be a lack of compromise. This often results in resentment and dishonesty becoming part of your day-to-day, which adds to your feelings of unhappiness. What’s more, toxic relationships can often make you feel drained and powerless.
It’s important to realise that these kinds of relationships aren’t necessarily created by individuals who are “bad” people, rather any relationship can become toxic when the dynamics and interactions between partners change toward the negative. A person may not even realise that they are behaving in a toxic way until it is pointed out to them. This, of course, is not an excuse for their behaviour, but rather a starting point for them to realise where their (re)actions are unhealthy and damaging their relationship.
What makes a relationship toxic?
There are many different factors that can make a relationship toxic. Some of the most common traits include constantly being undermined, feeling controlled and that all the work and compromise are one-sided.
Other warning signs may include:
- Any form of violence, physical or verbal abuse
- Lack of trust
- Neglecting self-care routines
- Feeling anxious or nervous, particularly when around your partner
- Decreased levels of self-esteem, making you feel less and less worthy
- Being dismissive/dismissed and caring little about the other’s point of view
- Excessive jealousy
- Being controlled or manipulated
- Changes in your other relationships, especially if you find yourself feeling bad about taking time to see other friends
Can you fix a toxic relationship?
Some toxic relationships can’t be saved, particularly when physical or verbal abuse is present. If, at any point, you feel like you could be in physical danger, contact your local authorities and seek out official guidance on what to do. Your safety comes first.
Other toxic relationships don’t have to end in a break-up and can be “fixed” if both partners are willing to change. Self-reflection, accepting responsibility for your own actions and putting in the effort to make it work are some of the many ways of building a healthy relationship.
Outside help, whether through involving a professional therapist or simply talking to a friend can also shed some light on how to improve your relationship for any healing to take place. Additionally, having patience and compassion for each other, good communication and putting the past behind you, are great stepping stones to helping you improve your relationship.
Factors to keep in mind
Any relationship, whether that be an intimate or platonic relationship should, generally speaking, make you feel supported, nourished and happy. Though you may experience occasional rough patches, the overall feeling and dynamic within your relationship should be positive.
Remember that even healthy relationships can become toxic when individuals start acting in a toxic manner. What may start off as a relationship can become toxic with time as individuals and circumstances change.
Sometimes, it may take you a long time to realise that you’re in a toxic relationship as the warning signs may be subtle and easily overlooked.
Leaving or ending any relationship is never easy, even when the relationship has become toxic, but being able to identify the common traits that are often associated with toxic relationships will allow you to become more aware and potentially change the situation you’re in.
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