When we think of a romantic relationship we think about the warm fuzzy feeling, butterflies in stomach, fairytale love story with a princess and a knight in shining armor where there is trust, a bond of friendship, loyalty, security and most importantly immense love. This is rare and very special but we hope we all find the one. We rarely think about the dark aspects of a relationship where there are walls of doubt, insecurity, hurt and pain
We equate love with a magical, pure emotion one that liberates us but a relationship with the wrong person can prove to be destructive, burdensome and suffocating. Such relationships are called toxic relationships.
A few signs of a toxic relationship-:
Insecurity– Jealousy is a common emotion that we feel when give a lot of importance and priority to a loved one but if the there is an unhealthy amount of insecurity which might manifest in the form of jealousy over one’s partners achievements, constant need for reassurance of love, then it is an indication that there’s trouble brewing.
Lack of space– As long as the partners show love in the form of care and concern that’s healthy but as soon as that concern takes the form of incessant calls or messages, disruption in various aspects of life like work, social engagements, other relationships then it becomes a suffocating cage. The partners in a romantic relationship need to have the space to pursue their separate social life, passions, hobbies and interests and have the space to grow as individuals. Any fulfilling relationship will not be limiting and would promote our development and make us better versions of ourselves.
Controlling behavior– It is an extension of insecurity. In a healthy relationship both partners are entitled to their opinions and decisions are taken mutually. The toxic partner starts exercising control and making decisions about every aspect of life be it social media use, plans with friends, choice of clothes etc.
Previous baggage– Unresolved issues from a previous relationship needs to be resolved before entering into a new relationship as they lead to a barrage of insecurity, control issues and lack of space. There might be relapses also if the person still hasn’t received closure from the past relationship.
Threats or acts of Self harm– A toxic partner might threaten or even attempt to harm themselves in case of arguments or disagreements, out of fear of losing the partner, in order to gain the partner’s attention, loyalty or make the other person give in to their demands. If this happens even once then there is need for professional assistance as it might indicate to an underlying, deep rooted concern.
Narcissism– One of the red flags of a toxic relationship is narcissism. A narcissistic person would always put their needs & desires first. Their concept of give and take is skewed with more emphasis on take and if their need for attention, care and appreciation are not fulfilled then they might take it quite personally and start displaying passive aggressive behavior or power struggle.
Manipulation– A toxic partner will never shoulder the blame for their mistakes and will end up making their partner feel guilty and miserable about themselves by attacking their self esteem pointing out their flaws and bringing up past issues. Arguments with them become dramatic and emotionally draining.
Infidelity- A toxic partner might cheat and leave the other partner hanging for days without any form of communication then suddenly out of the blue come back with sincere apologies. This disrupts the basic foundation of trust in the relationship which might not be easy to recover.
Lack of respect– The toxic partner takes the other for granted. It’s either their way or the highway. Things need to be done according to their wishes and nothing is open for discussion. Their words might become hurtful, condescending and contemptuous if they feel that their decisions are being questioned.
Apologies without change– In an unhealthy relationship there is a pattern that can be identified. The toxic partner might have episodes where they use abusive language or call the other person a cheat, liar and project their own feelings on their partner or behave in an inappropriate manner. In extreme cases it might even end in physical abuse followed by seemingly sincere apologies and feelings of guilt and shame for their behavior which is a harbinger of trouble. We need to remember that the best apology is always a changed behavior.
Get out of a Toxic Relationship?
It is tough to break away from any relationship because we so desperately want to make it work especially if we focus on the good moments and hope that there might be a chance that the situation might get better. It is important in such situations to comprehend that love alone won’t suffice in any relationship and won’t be enough to weather through the damage of such relationships.
Relationship is a part of life, not life itself. Sometimes a relationship runs its course due to unhappiness, lack of trust, distance and other factors. It may seem difficult to end at once but we can plan gradually for it by building our support system and preparing for life beyond our partner. This also helps us to take to be absolutely sure about the decision and not rush into anything as for some; a sudden end could lead to getting back together or a rebound subsequently.time
Self Confidence-It is very important to build on our confidence and self esteem so that we do not tolerate anything that tears us down or anyone who doesn’t regard us with respect and we have the courage to remove the shackles that chain us to such people.
Support system– It is also very important to have a strong support system of people who love us and appreciate us for our own strengths, –quirks and flaws.
Putting ourselves first– Unhealthy relationships never end happily which should make us take a hard long look at the path which we should choose. At the end of the day in any crisis or emergency we are advised to put our oxygen masks first before helping others to put theirs on so it is crucial to think about ourselves and take decisions that are best for our physical and mental well being.
Rational approach– We let our emotions prevail over better judgment and allow ourselves to believe the lies that are told to us to so that we could hold on to the last shred of hope as we believe that love will prevail in the end and that is why many people are not able to break away from a toxic relationship but in the end holding on might cause more damage and hurt than letting go. In instances of relationships that do not serve us or make us happy, the best remedy is to walk away.
In case of a toxic relationship, an ideal story should end like this:
And they lived happily ever after…..Separately!