Humans depend on relationships. We crave close relationships. We have our families, our friends, co-workers, etc. Relationships, for the most part, “make us feel secure, happy, cared for, respected, and free to be,” ourselves (Lolly Daskal, http://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/35-signs-youre-in-a-toxic-business-relationship.html). Yet, no relationship is perfect. Each one has their own flaws and challenges. They require effort (Thomas Cory, P.h.D., http://www.healthscopemag.com/health-scope/toxic-relationships/).
No human being is perfect. We each have our flaws and blessings. Therefore, all relationships are going to be fraught with some difficulties and require work. This is normal. But some relationships are more problematic and require a lot more work . Due to the importance of the relationship, such as the one with a parent, we are willing to tolerate more and put more work into maintaining it.
Then, there are the relationships that are extremely challenging and are at risk of being harmful to our mental health (possibly physical health too). We refer to these relationships as being toxic. What are toxic Relationships?
When I think of the term toxic, I think of something that is terribly harmful to my body…something that could make me sick or even kill me. Therefore, toxic relationships are those which “make you feel drained, depleted, and sometimes even distraught” (Daskal). Such relationships do damage to the way we feel about ourselves and leaves us feeling exhausted (Cory). It is not a “safe place.” Toxic relationships are “characterized by insecurity, self-centeredness, dominance,” and control. It is extremely dysfunctional. The negative, toxic behaviors occur on an ongoing, daily basis. Interestingly, outside of the relationship, the individual may behave okay.
What are some of the signs that you are in a toxic relationship (please note, as mentioned earlier, all relationships are flawed and will be stressful from time to time but, the negative behaviors in a toxic relationship take place most of the time; on a daily basis)? The following list is from Lolly Daskal’s article, “35 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship,” written for Inc. Magazine.
How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship
- All Take, No Give
- Feeling Drained
- Lack of Trust
- Hostile Atmosphere
- Occupied With Imbalance: A one-sided relationship
- Constant Judgment
- Persistent Unreliability: Reliability creates trust
- Nonstop Narcissism: The relationship is all about the other person
- Loaded with Negative Energy
- Lack of Communication
- Continuous Disrespect
- Mutual Avoidance
- Insufficient Support: Feeling you can’t turn to each other for support
- Ceaseless Control Issues
- Never-Ending Drama
- Persistent Self-Betrayal: Sacrificing your beliefs and opions
- Constant Challenges
- Feelings of Unworthiness: Feeling you don’t deserve better treatment
- Vibes of Entrapment: Is the other person a positive force in your life? Why are you staying in the relationship?
- Always Undermining
- Empty Pretense: Smiles don’t always mean everything is going okay
- Packed With Uncertainty
- Brimming With Envy
- Shortage of Autonomy: Feeling that you can’t say no
- Permeates Victimhood: Other person stuck in the past
- Diminishes Your Self-Worth
- Laced With Dishonesty
- Makes You Unhappy
- Feels Uncomfortable
- Lowers Your High Standards
- Senses Stagnant: Growth and learning are vital
- Cuts Corners
- Filled With Criticism
- Brings Out the Worst: You cannot be your best self if you are always being your worst
- Cannot Do Anything Right
The sad news to this is that you cannot change the other person. You can only change who you have control over, and that person is you. According to Dr. Cory, a change in the way you behave with the other person may motivate the other person to change their behavior (to be less toxic). But, what if the person doesn’t change?
Fixing or Ending Toxic Relationships will be Part 2 of this blog post and will be discussed tomorrow.
Are you, or have you ever been in a toxic relationship? Would you like to discuss it? If you would like to share privately, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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