How to Know if Your Relationship is Toxic

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A toxic relationship is painful, eats away at your confidence and self-esteem and can ultimately turn you into a dark, hollow shadow of your happier self. Toxic relationships are typically thought of in relation to a spouse or significant other, but a relationship with a friend, co-worker or relative can also be toxic.

Are you wondering how to know if relationship is toxic? By the time the toxicity becomes obvious to the person involved (other people have probably been telling you it’s bad news for a while), it’s common to feel overwhelmed. If there are children involved, it’s very difficult.

You Feel Worthless

In the beginning, the relationship was great. Then, disapproval of your actions becomes more and more frequent. Seeking their approval becomes your life. They might demand that you change your clothing style, wear your hair differently and lose weight. You don’t know enough to conduct a conversation. Disapproval can be shown as snide comments, coldness, indifference or anger. If they put you down in public, that’s a very strong indicator of a toxic relationship.

In a good relationship, people support each other. Flaws are accepted by both parties. Sincere compliments in public and private are hallmarks of a strong relationship.

You’re Anxious Most of the Time

In a toxic relationship, fights and angry comments can be triggered by nothing. The most meaningless comment can start an argument. Over time, there’s less and less communication. Saying nothing seems safer. This is no way to live.

In a good relationship, you’re free to be yourself and not think twice about every word you speak. You can talk with each other as equals about almost everything.

Ugly Fights

All couples fight. Some battles are significant, others mean little. In a toxic relationship, couples try to inflict pain, saying things that they know will hurt. There’s no attempt to communicate when both people are yelling or one is yelling and one is withdrawn.

In a good relationship, couples stop short of saying things that really hurt and you can’t come back from. Over time, they work out ways to resolve conflicts, maybe with a cooling off period. Only fight on something really important and agree to disagree on the rest.

Can toxic relationships be fixed? It’s possible, but far from easy. Unless both parties sincerely want to make it work, it won’t. Ending the relationship is usually the best option.