The stress caused by a toxic relationship is tough to fathom for somebody who hasn’t experienced one. But chances are, we all have had at least one toxic relationship in our lives, romantic or platonic. And the worst part is, you can fall into the grips of a toxic relationship, even if you’re strong, healthy, and independent. Also, while most do, not every single toxic relationship starts off on a bad note. Humans evolve and so do our relationships. We love the idea of love and often give in to it so strongly, that all else ceases to make sense. When the hot pursuit of love turns out to be blinding, the lines of healthy vs. unhealthy attraction and love blur. And sometimes, it’s not until it’s too late, that people realize they never saw the signs of a toxic relationship.
Here’s us dissecting two very important questions when it comes to being in unhealthy relationships.
Are there any signs of a toxic relationship?
A relationship that makes you feel like your self-esteem and your idea of happiness are completely bruised, is essentially a toxic relationship.
Being able to tell if you’re in a toxic relationship also takes a lot of strength. And almost no toxic relationships make the leaving part easy. But being aware of the signs of a toxic relationship is an excellent way of equipping yourself, and allowing yourself to analyze your situation. And then move on to finding effective ways of addressing the situation, and getting yourself out of it.
Of course, not all unhealthy relationships will display all the signs of a toxic relationship that will be mentioned below, but that doesn’t make them any less toxic. An unhealthy relationship is defined by consistency, and the intensity of the damage being caused.
Here are some of the major signs of a toxic relationship:
Sometimes you see the toxicity coming, sometimes you don’t.
Being in a toxic and unhealthy relationship feels like a car ride you’re constantly holding the seat belt for. You know something could go wrong, you just don’t know when, and you’re constantly braced for some reason.
And what follows is a series of blaming aimed towards you that just ends with one conclusion: you’re not good enough.
Happiness is an ideal your relationship feels like it wasn’t made for.
You just can’t get yourself to relate to other couples who are happy, in love. And your justification always ends up being, life isn’t like the movies.
The truth is, that kind of love happens for some people, especially those who are open to receiving it. Leaving a toxic relationship is never easy, but staying in one for long periods ensures that all strength and confidence in you is diminished.
You’re never admitting your needs to yourself or your partner.
We all have needs that only certain relationships can fulfill. Some of the most common ones include validation, appreciation, love, sex, connection, and affection. When those needs become the cause of our mockery, or worse, are ignored and unacknowledged, there seems no hope in even addressing those needs.
Say your attempts to talk about what you need normally end in a fight. Or you’re faced with empty promises, accusations of neediness, insecurity, jealousy, or madness. It’s time to admit that this relationship is toxic.
There’s a scorecard ruling your relationship.
We’re human, and humans err. It’s the most human thing we do, and that’s our way of learning, growing, and evolving. It’s also our way of finding what we like and don’t like. And this applies to people too.
But in a classic toxic relationship, your mistakes will be brought up by your partner over and over again. And they become a reason for them to go on and do things to hurt you, instead of talking through them and helping you and your relationship.
It just never feels like you and your partner are a team. And before you know it, you’re both resorting to passive-aggressive behavior. And nothing ever gets resolved.
How do you get out of a toxic relationship?
There’s a high chance that the toxic behavior of your partner comes from other people treating them similarly. Toxic people notoriously get attached to people with open hearts, who are less likely to fight and abandon them.
And as we mentioned before, toxic relationships don’t have to be just romantic. Toxic families are a whole other kind of pain and need years of unlearning and therapy to process.
But for every disempowering lesson, there is one of empowerment, strength and growth that exists with it.
Once you know you’re in a toxic relationship, you have to consciously choose something better for yourself. And then act on it.
Here’s what we suggest doing:
- Do not make excuses for your partner or family member’s toxic behavior.
- Limit the time you spend with them, however, and whenever possible. This might also enable you to process your feelings justly. And take the necessary action required.
- Keep a journal! This won’t just help you track patterns that you might otherwise forget. It will also help you process your thoughts better!
- Seek support from family members, friends, and licensed professionals. You can also seek help once you’re out of a toxic relationship.
- Find alternative sources of happiness and wholeness for yourself. Do things to relax, reward yourself, and learn new things about yourself. Find ways to make yourself happy and keep yourself engaged. And actively work on undoing your dependency on this person.
Most toxic relationships can be left safely, but for those that can’t, there’s help available.
The emotions involved in leaving a toxic relationship can be manifold. And range from anywhere between sadness, confusion to even anger and rage.
If you no longer feel safe in a relationship because of history of trauma, or violence, we implore you to seek the help of authorities, friends, and professionals.
Here are some helpline numbers that can help you leave your toxic relationship safely:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE(7233) – 1.800.787.3224 (TTY)
- National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE(7233) – 1.800.787.3224 (TTY)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673)
D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers find their way of toxic relationships? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match! Download the app here and hop on the easiest ride home, ever!