10 Signs You’re In A Toxic Relationship [Let’s Discuss]
Toxic relationships are like a virus. Once infected, you become sicker and sicker until you are prescribed a cure. Usually that prescription is to leave the relationship behind.
A friend of mine described a toxic relationship like that scene in Alien where the guy doesn’t realise he’s carrying a parasite, starts feeling unwell and then BOOM!, an alien baby pops out of his stomach. Ideally we’d like to avoid that unpleasant sensation, and I think in order to do that we need to have open and honest conversations about what constitutes a toxic relationship and what the warning signs are.
Toxic relationships don’t only exist between romantic partners; they can also be between friends, parents and children, and pretty much any other type of close or dependent relationship. The thing about toxic relationships is that they become vicious cycles. When one person starts displaying toxic behaviours, it tends to lead the other party to display toxic behaviours of their own until neither one is happy with themselves or happy in the relationship. Toxic relationships can be emotionally abusive when one person wants power over the other. There are different forms of these types of relationships, but here are a couple of behaviours to look out for:
1. Purposely making the other person jealous
When someone in the relationship consciously takes action to make their partner jealous. This could be by flirting with other people, or worse, actually cheating to get attention from them – it creates a really unhealthy atmosphere. An individual shouldn’t want attention from their partner because of a negative emotion. In a healthy relationship there is trust, and each person lifts the other up.
2. Putting down the other person’s friends and family
This type of behaviour is often used when someone is trying to isolate a person in order to be the only one they depend on.
3. Body shaming
It’s unhealthy to remain in any type of relationship with someone who is always making negative comments about your body or making you feel bad about yourself in any way. Friendships and relationships should help to cure, not increase insecurities.
4. Holding the relationship hostage
Threatening to leave the relationship in order to win an argument or disagreement takes value away from the relationship and the person in it. For example “You have to pick between me and football”, is not productive and not a way to maintain a healthy relationship.
5. Using gifts as a way to “fix” issues
Instead of communicating about a problem, in a toxic relationship, someone may use gifts and dates as a way to create a happier atmosphere, but it’s really only a Band-aid and the good feelings are only temporary. Eventually it just makes the problems worse.
6. Constantly splitting up and getting back together or having big fights followed by grand apologies
On and off again relationships that repeat these same patterns are a dangerous and an emotional roller coaster for the people involved.
7. Shutting the other person out/the silent treatment
Behaviour like this is isolating one person and creates unnecessary tension in the relationship.
8. Ignoring the big differences in what you both want from the relationship
For example, if one person wants commitment and titles and the other person does not, they are going to bury their frustrated, hurt, jealous feelings until they burst (that’s when the Alien scene happens).
9. Consciously inducing guilt onto the other person
Similar to purposely making a partner jealous, purposely making them feel guilty about things that they shouldn’t have to is controlling and manipulative.
10. Creating a dynamic where one person’s interests/accomplishments/plans are more important
There shouldn’t be a hierarchy in adult relationships, each person should respect each other equally, making sure one persons needs are eclipsing the others.
When researching and preparing for this piece, I began to realise that I myself have been guilty of some of these toxic behaviours and have also been victim to them. Some of the behaviours are deal breakers, but others can be faced head on and dealt with as part of a healthy relationship.
Generally speaking, toxic behaviour encompasses more than just one of these points. It’s important to note that displaying these behaviours in a relationships doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means the relationship needs to some reevaluation and, possibly, to be stepped away from.
Have you ever been in a toxic relationship? How did you deal with it? Let us know at @EatMoreCakeUK.