There is an interesting thing about toxic relationships that can help explain the signs associated with them. A toxic relationship often has to do with adrenaline. When two people have a tense, strained relationship with extreme highs and lows, it can create a rush that can become addictive. It’s a strange concept, but think if it as a cyclical thing. Intense, eruptive fights are followed by passionate make-ups, and the emotions associated with the “making up” can get a person hooked. The problem, of course, is that you need to have a big fight in order to have that emotional make up… and this is one of the main causes of toxic relationships. The result is that despite what you might think, you aren’t addicted to your partner you’re addicted to the rush that the situation gives you.
This is often when I see people mistake toxicity for passion in a relationship. They think that the high highs and the low lows are a sign of passion and true love when in reality, they’re signs of a toxic relationship. Healthy relationships are created on a solid foundation where there are trust and balance… But more on that later.
Let’s look at what makes a relationship toxic.
The biggest examples of toxic relationships
A toxic relationship is one in which your boundaries are not being respected by your partner. It can also be a situation in which you aren’t respecting your partner’s boundaries. Remember, it only takes one person to make a relationship toxic! This includes violating or threatening one another’s privacy and speaking to each other in a way that makes you feel threatened emotionally and/or physically.
When it comes to the most common examples of toxic relationships, another one that I see all the time is when one person asks their partner to stop doing something that is hurting them, but their partner refuses to do so. The relationship is toxic if your partner ignores your cries for help or for change, and this is especially true if they try to gaslight you. Gaslighting someone is trying to make them feel crazy for expressing what they truly feel, and therefore wiggling out from underneath any responsibilities. Toxicity can also be seen when one person tries to control the other, and limits how they spend their time or who they spend it with. There are so many elements at play in toxic relationships, so it’s important to analyze the details of your specific situation.
So if you’re wondering, “Is my relationship toxic,” I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:
Does your partner constantly make you feel worse about yourself?
Does all the love and compromise ALWAYS come from you?
Do you feel like you’re always walking on eggshells but are blamed for everything anyway?
Are you two always threatening to leave each other?
In my experience, in the majority of cases, when a person was wondering if their relationship was toxic, it was because it was. Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t exceptions to the rule. In some other cases, a person can be blaming their partner for unresolved emotional trauma or because they aren’t where they want to be in life. So they take it out on their relationship. If you have a feeling that this might be the case for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or a member of my team for one on one guidance by clicking here.
How do I know if I’m in a toxic relationship: What to keep an eye out for
When it comes to identifying a toxic relationship, it’s extremely important to pay attention to your gut feeling. In addition to the points I went over above, like the feeling that all the compromise comes from you, you’re always walking on eggshells, you’re always being blamed for everything, and you’re always being made to feel small, there are a few more things to pay attention to.
A toxic relationship will have a profound impact on your self-love and your self-respect. A toxic partner will make you doubt yourself, your abilities, and your lovability. In the most extreme cases, this is a manipulative tactic that makes you feel like you have to rely on your toxic partner for validation. They’ll make you feel small and your sense of self-worth has been so broken down by them that they’re the only ones who could make you feel worthy. It becomes a cyclical thing that sends you straight into the arms of emotional dependency. Emotional dependency within a toxic relationship is very dangerous and it goes hand in hand with emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse is something very hard to recognize because it plays on our own self-doubt. The characteristics of it are being made to feel “less-than” in the relationship, like you’re 100% responsible for all the bad in this relationship, like you’re crazy for feeling the way that you genuinely do (gaslighting). It is when you’re constantly insulted or criticized. It is when your partner incessantly threatens to leave the relationship every time there is an argument. It is when your well being, safety, or security is threatened. It can also be seen when your character is being defamed to your friends and family.