I know I used the words “emotionally draining”, but let’s call it what it is – toxic. And the best way to deal with it? Don’t.
I’ve certainly had experience with toxic relationships, both in friendships and romantic relationships. Or at least I believed it was toxic. I think it is safe to say that we’ve all endured the company of people who bring out the worst in us – people that don’t have our best interest at heart.
For me, the relationships that were the most draining, debilitating and unhealthy were the ones that made me feel bad about myself. Or even worse, demotivated to do what makes me happy. In these relationships I didn’t feel like myself, like I was compromising my life goals with each day I stayed around. My true self was withering away into someone I didn’t recognize—denying all that was natural for me. I wasn’t taking care of myself like I should. I was lacking spiritually, mentally, and physically. I wasn’t working as hard as I should. I wasn’t feeling as secure as I should. Overall, I just wasn’t a happy person.
As women, we have all been guilty of hanging around these types too long in an effort to do what was supposedly right by societal standards—fighting to stay in a toxic relationship instead of “giving up too soon.” Some of us fight because deep inside, we have love for that person. Some of us fight to stay because we have children with that person. Some of us fight to stay because we feel we have nothing else – no job, no education, no place to stay. But the truth is, none of those reasons are ever worth sacrificing your true happiness. Often our desire to be agreeable and accepted by others can suffocate what is right for us. Just keep in mind two separate but happy homes are always better than one united unhappy home.
I admit, some difficult relationships can open our eyes to new perspectives. When we turn into a person we don’t like and recognize it, we expand our awareness. We can become more mindful of how we are perceived by others and gain better control of our actions. We can grow. But then there are the difficult relationships that can completely shut us in, break us down and suppress our emotional development. That is when things start to get toxic.
Remember that when I say “toxic” it doesn’t only include obvious damage like physical abuse, name-calling or cheating. It also represents all the internal turmoil, the dread and emotional pain that results from an unhealthy relationship.
That being said, I’d like to share how I learned to recognize when I was in a relationship that was not right for me. And sometimes, you might find that you are the toxic one and don’t realize it. Either way, take a read and see if any of this applies to your relationship.
You can’t do anything right – ever
The other person constantly puts you down or makes you feel as though you are not good enough. They judge you, mock your personality, bring up things you told them in confidence against you, making you feel ashamed most of the time. They will blame you for their actions and reactions instead of being accountable. They always have an excuse, but you are never allowed to have one. They are hypocritical and rash, yet expect you to give them your all. And you only feel good when you take on the traits of the person doing the condemning or judging. And that’s not who you want to be.
It’s all about them
You have feelings, too, but the other person won’t hear them. You’re unable to have a two-sided conversation where your opinion is heard, considered and respected. The person gets defensive and angry instead of hearing you out. And if they don’t happen to agree with your opinions, they will run around in circles arguing why you shouldn’t feel that way. Instead of acknowledging your feelings or understanding where they are in the wrong, they will battle with you until they get the last word. Basically, the other person doesn’t think they have a problem.
You are unable to enjoy the good times
You think things are going great on your date night and then BOOM! Here comes the argument. Every day brings another challenge. It seems as though they are always complaining about you. They always find the negative in what you do. They can never just enjoy the good times and let the little things slide. They literally suck the fun out of the moment and – excuse my language – f*ck up the whole vibe. They attempt to control your behavior and end up controlling your happiness. And the last thing you want from a relationship is to be controlled.
You’re uncomfortable being yourself
You wake up with a feeling of dread, like a pit in your stomach. You don’t feel free to speak your mind. You feel like you can’t be who you really are because the other person will make you feel bad about it. You can’t talk to them. It’s almost like you have to put on a different face just to feel accepted by that person. You realize you don’t even recognize yourself anymore, and neither do your closest friends and family. And if you express your concern? Then you’re back at #1 on this list. Basically, you are suffocating yourself. Get out.
You’re not allowed to grow as a person
As you aim to grow and improve yourself, the other person responds with disbelief, mockery – or jealousy. There is no encouragement, no support and no sense of pride for your efforts. They may seem like they are behind you at first, but as you expand they show their true colors. The reality is, they are unhappy with where they are in their own life and have a hard time accepting your growth or success. Instead of being happy for you, they question you, talk about how it will effect them, and completely destroy your spirit by insisting that you will never be any different than you are now, no matter how hard you try.
Now I know that every relationship will have ups and downs. But if you’re experiencing even just one of these signs on a regular basis, take some time to reflect and see if the relationship is doing more damage than good. Evaluate the relationship and what it’s worth to you. Make sure you aren’t just dealing with it, resolve it. I hope this helps anyone who is in or knows someone who is in toxic relationship – friendship or romantic.
I want to hear from you. Do you find yourself in a toxic relationship? Are you afraid to leave a toxic relationship because you fear the repercussions? Have you left a toxic relationship and want to share how that decision has changed your life? Do you have a friend or family member who you feel is in a toxic relationship? Share your experience!