Malice, betrayal, abuse, and such dysfunctionalities turn a relationship toxic. If you are in a relationship that is robbing you of your peace and happiness, you must be struggling to deduce what is a toxic relationship and how to cope with it. Then this article is for you.
A toxic relationship is one that takes more from you than it gives. Signs of a toxic relationship are not confined to romantic dynamics but can be found in all aspects of human bondings. Toxic relationships are taxing and can wreak havoc on one’s mental health and overall well-being.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about a toxic relationship, including signs of a toxic relationship, various kinds of toxic relationships, and how to cope with these dysfunctional relationship dynamics.
What Is A Toxic Relationship?
A toxic relationship makes you feel unhappy, emotionally drained, and unsupported. It might even threaten your physical safety, emotional well-being, and social reputation. Any relationship that makes you miserable and takes away your power is a toxic relationship.
A toxic relationship can exist between romantic partners, between a parent and child, between co-workers, or even between friends. Sometimes the red flags are easy to spot but other times the lies and emotional abuse can be covert and subtle. It, therefore, becomes imperative to identify the signs of a toxic relationship and make necessary adjustments to safeguard one’s emotional health.
What Makes A Relationship Toxic?
It is not necessary that both parties involved in a relationship are responsible for the relationship to turn toxic. It can be so that one of them bears the traits of a narcissist or a sociopath and is solely responsible for the poor status of their dysfunctional relationship.
People who do not have narcissistic or sociopathic personality disorders can also be toxic. They have the capability to sap the positivity out of a person in several ways such as, by continuously complaining, making rude comments, belittling others, and in general being obnoxious and negative. They have no idea how off-putting their nature can be, and sometimes they lack social skills, like empathy or emotional intelligence.
Read: What Is Narcissism?
Now Let’s Have A Look At The Different Types Of A Toxic Relationship Dynamics:
- Co-Workers who try to sabotage each other’s career prospects.
- Parents who abuse or neglect their young children.
- Adult children of toxic parents whose lives are still influenced by their dysfunctional families.
- Couples who are in a co-dependent or abusive relationship.
- Friends who secretly envy each other and try to put each other down.
Differences Between A Toxic Relationship and A Healthy Relationship:
A Healthy Relationship –
- Offers security
- Thrives on love and care
- Promotes positive self-image and overall healthy outlook
- Based on self-less giving not ego-based demanding
- Encourages and boosts confidence
- Mutual respect is values
- Trust and faithfulness are upheld from both ends
A Toxic Relationship–
- Promotes insecurity
- Jealousy is a constant theme
- Results in an overall negative outlook
- At least one of the parties is self-centered
- Criticism and belittling attitude is a norm
- Respect is demanded but not reciprocated
- Visible lack of trust
- Physical and/or mental abuse is normalized
What Are The Signs Of A Toxic Relationship?
No relationship is all rainbow and stars; every relationship goes through phases of ups and downs, but that being said, a toxic relationship can be marked as one, where the bad outweighs the good. The followings are some common signs of a toxic relationship:
1. Lack Of A Support System
You never feel the other person has your back. They never support you in any difficult time or situation of your life.
2. Negative Exchanges
All your communications are negative and leave you feeling scared, upset, angry, or irritated. You rarely feel good after talking to them and more often than not, dread communicating with them.
3. Lack Of Trust
What is the one main thing that makes a relationship toxic? It is trust. In toxic relationships, either one or both parties fail to have faith in the other. If you feel you are always put under a scanner, you can be in a toxic relationship.
4. Controlling Nature
One of the glaring signs of a toxic relationship is that one person would always want to dominate and control the other either through direct coercion or covert manipulation, such as gaslighting or threats of self-harm. Watch out if you are being micro-manipulated.
It is often seen in toxic relationships that one person always tries to keep up their end of the bargain by remaining honest to the other, while the one who tends to doubt the integrity of the other, turns out to be the dishonest one.
Mutual respect is never valued in a toxic relationship. If you continuously feel to be belittled and insulted in a relationship, you are most definitely in a toxic one.
Do you harbor resentment towards each other, instead of love and care? Do they blame you for everything that goes wrong in their life? These are signs of a toxic relationship.
8. Unhealthy Financial Behavior
In a toxic relationship, one can take unfair advantage of the other’s finances in ways such as mooching off of them, stealing their credit cards details, demanding to be bailed out of sticky situations, and so on.
What is the hallmark sign of a toxic relationship? Stress! If you find yourself perennially stressed out of your mind due to a specific relationship, then be sure it is a toxic one.
10. Ignoring Attitude
If you are in a toxic relationship dynamic, your needs and wishes will always be overlooked and discounted. You will feel you don’t matter to them or that you are not good enough.
11. Negative Impact On Other Relationships
A toxic relationship will have detrimental effects on your other relationships. A toxic person may influence or force you to cut off ties with your friends or other well-wishers so that you are alienated from everyone and remain under their sole control.
12. Poor Self-image
In a toxic relationship, you will stop feeling good about yourself and if it is a romantic relationship, you will eventually stop taking care of your appearance and your health.
A toxic relationship can have the potential to instill a deep sense of fear in you. If the other person threatens you or actually carries out their threat of physical violence, you will leave in the constant grip of fear.
14. Unrealistic Expectations
Hopefully, by now you have found the answer to your question, “what is a toxic relationship?” If you have identified the characteristics with one of your troubled relationships, and yet decide to hold on to an unrealistic hope that someday they will change, then you must take this as another of the signs of a toxic relationship.
Healing A Toxic Relationship
It is not impossible to heal a toxic relationship if both parties agree to take responsibility for their actions and work together to repair the dysfunctionalities of their relationship. Seeing a relationship counselor or therapist can prove to be effective.
Here Are Some Helpful Tips To Manage A Toxic Relationship:
1. Talk It Out
Talk to the person who is causing you pain and discuss how you can work on your relationship.
2. Re-evaluate The Relationship
Think about what is a toxic relationship to you, and how do you weigh the pros and cons of your situation.
3. Limit Interactions
If the toxic person belongs to your family or friends group, you might want to limit the time you spend with them with fewer interactions.
Accept when the person is unwilling or unable to change their toxic behavior, and come to a decision about whether or not you want to keep the relationship alive.
A Final Word On Toxic Relationships
A caveat from our end would be that, if you are being abused and taken advantage of in any of your relationships, don’t take the bait of future faking or false promises, which will never materialize into anything. Prioritize your safety, talk to your trusted friends or concerned authorities, and move on with your life.
If you found our article “What Is A Toxic Relationship?” helpful, please let us know by commenting below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a bad relationship force someone to acquire narcissistic qualities?
In a way, yes, narcissistic traits can be acquired. People often acquire this pathological condition from abusive or controlling parents, bullying peers, or other toxic relationships.
How do I guide my daughter who is in an abusive relationship?
Offer your support but resist your impulse to interfere in the relationship unless your daughter asks for your help. Listen to her and help her rebuild her self-esteem gradually.
What are the four impacts of toxic relationships on setting life goals?
Toxic relationships ruin your sense of self, drains your energy, makes you negative toward all other relationships, and give rise to stress.
Why do some people have a bad relationship with almost everyone is that karma?
If someone feels that all of their relationships are toxic or unhealthy, they must introspect and resolve any unhealed trauma that might be breeding toxic patterns.
How to get your teenage daughter out of a bad relationship when she doesn’t see it that way?
Listen to her and don’t be judgmental. Be supportive, discuss the toxic behavioral pattern, and avoid discussing their partner. Don’t resort to threats. Tell her that you’re with her in this.