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What is a toxic relationship and how to end it: 5 signs and instructions from a psychologist

Date: July 13, 2024 Time: 19:07:14

Systemic family therapist, expert in the online school of psychological professions “Psychodemia”

“What is toxicity? Dictionaries and websites dedicated to biochemistry give us different definitions of this concept. If translated from Latin, toxicity is poison. And when we talk about such an impact, we mean the impact of toxic substances. If this chemical definition is applied to relationships, we will get a “toxic” form of interaction between people.”

When we talk about toxic substances, we immediately understand that they are harmful to the body. And from this analogy we can conclude that such relationships are equally dangerous for the well-being of both the union itself and the people who make it up. Because “poisoning” with threats, violence, aggression and other similar “poisons” prevents relationships from developing.

It is important to notice these toxic effects immediately before they begin to poison the body. Therefore, couples need to learn to reflect, look at difficult situations as from the outside and learn to notice what is happening in the relationship at the moment.

It is very important to look at the criteria by which partners can determine that their interaction is truly toxic and that it is not just periodic conflicts that are normal for any couple.

Signs of a toxic relationship

These are key indicators that a couple may notice their relationship is becoming toxic. How do we usually determine the toxicity of drugs or substances? As our condition becomes unhealthy, our well-being deteriorates, our perception weakens, our mood and energy level decrease.

Photo: skynesher / istockphoto.com

The same changes will be significant in relationships. If everyday life, routine affairs and interactions suddenly become different, you should be careful. Especially when you notice that they have started to get worse. In fact, all these points are very subjective. It’s hard to say exactly how a person can feel that something is wrong in a relationship. Therefore, it is advisable to study the list of more or less reliable factors that may be indicative.

1. Aggression

The first thing you should pay attention to is how frequent conflicts have become in your partner.

Do they quarrel every day, once a week, or do loud and noisy scandals happen every month? At the same time, pay attention to how each of your conflicts is going.

What causes these fights, the key indicator that they are starting to fight? These are small everyday difficulties, emotions or simple trifles, for which before you not only could not curse, but even laugh.

How is the conflict itself going? Do you make complaints to each other, agree on how you will resolve them, come up with a plan, and then make peace? Or do they unload all their emotions on each other, unleash aggression, do not resolve the conflict, and the subsequent resentment can last for several days? Maybe some of you even use physical or emotional abuse?

Relationships in which there is aggression are called toxic, when one or both members of the couple can allow themselves to vent anger on the other, use physical force, emotional violence, pressure, blackmail and manipulation.

Let’s understand the topic together with a Gestalt therapist:

Who is an abuser and how to recognize it: 12 markers that indicate a tendency to violence

2. Lack of trust

Pay attention to whether there are attacks of uncontrollable jealousy. Is it possible for one of the partners to limit the money, life, behavior, communication, interests of the other? Can you pick up your phone without asking, check correspondence, look at your browser history, check your financial accounts? Perhaps there is depreciation or criticism of someone else’s purchases, salaries or expenses.

In relationships where partners are equal, there is trust and a sense of security. If your partner does not have them (as evidenced by attacks of jealousy and control over each other’s lives), then this is the second important sign of a toxic relationship.

When couples come to me, I always ask them the same question: “Do you trust each other?” The answer is usually: “Yes.” But at this moment for me it is important not only to listen to him, but also to observe what happens in the couple.

Where there really is a toxic attitude and lack of trust, this response arises automatically. It is uttered to convey some socially approved construction. Most of the time, on one of the partners’ faces, I can see fear, shame, or anxiety that he is about to be disarmed and exposed. They will discover that he does not really trust his partner.

Photo: Dima Berlin / istockphoto.com

3. Emotional fusions

Furthermore, along with the lack of trust, I would highlight all types of dependencies. What does this mean? We are talking not only about chemical dependencies, but also emotional ones (codependencies) of the couple.

That is, these are situations in which physically, morally, mentally and emotionally you cannot even imagine existing without another person. Incapable of separating his hobbies from his. You can’t relax while taking time for yourself. You don’t know what interests you, what inspires you. The focus is only on the partner or partner.

Perhaps many will wonder what’s wrong with sharing a hobby or pastime? I will answer that there is nothing wrong with this. But an important sign that I pay attention to is whether the partner has his own time, which he wants and can dedicate only to himself. Do you have your own hobbies or for some reason are your partners afraid to have them? For example, so as not to deprive your other half of attention or not to disappoint you.

Let’s find out together with a psychologist:

3 signs that you are in a codependent relationship and instructions to get out of it

4. Frequent negative emotions

I would also pay attention to the negative feelings you feel when you are in a relationship. If shame and guilt prevail, you are constantly worried that the other person might think (see, feel) that something is wrong, and you are always in tension, trying to please them, I have bad news… This relationship is toxic for you.

Another “sensory” factor will be tranquility. Try to notice when it appears. In a toxic relationship, a sense of calm arises when the partner is not present. You go to work, meet friends, go on a business trip or, for example, sleep.

If the feeling of satisfaction and relaxation appears only when you are alone, and when you are alone anxiety increases, this is a clear sign that you do not feel good in your relationship.

5. Social isolation

In addition to internal emotional and sensory factors, you can also consider social ones. What are the markers of toxic behavior in a couple?

For example, there is a ban on seeing friends. Think about it: Compared to the past, how often do you meet with them? How closely do you communicate? Can you share your most secret secret? Or do your meetings follow a simple script: “Hi, how are you? What’s new?” They take some photos together and go their separate ways…

Photo: Ivan Pantic / istockphoto.com

Can you take a business trip without scandals? Is it realistic to go sing karaoke with your colleagues after work? Can your family come visit you? Are there fewer social contacts?

If, after answering these questions, you realized that you now seem to be isolated from others (you communicate and interact with them less), then this is also one of the signs of a toxic relationship.

Consequences of a toxic relationship

Toxic relationships have two types of consequences. The first is for a couple. The second is for each of its members. If we talk about the consequences for a couple, it is always a deterioration in the relationship, scandals, resentments. Possibly financial or domestic losses.

If there is a child in the family, this entails negative consequences, including for his psyche.

The couple stops growing, developing, loving each other and living the happiest moments. People hurt each other.

If we talk about each of the partners, then the consequences of a toxic relationship are always a psychological or emotional disorder. A person begins to feel anxious, helpless, sad and sad more often. It requires a lot of energy and causes pain. The person is stuck.

Photo: EmirMemedovski / istockphoto.com

After a toxic relationship, people go to the psychologist with problems such as loss of self-esteem and confidence. And indeed it is. In fact, in a toxic relationship, when one of the members of the couple negatively affects the other, tools such as devaluation, aggression, ridicule and shame are used more frequently. All of this comes from a loved one we trust. Therefore, we begin to doubt ourselves and our successes. We feel unworthy.

Naturally, these negative emotional experiences cannot but affect physical health.

A person begins to sleep less and worry more. He doesn’t take time for himself. Activities that previously brought pleasure and filled you with energy are abandoned. There is stagnation at work. A person cannot take on complex projects, fail to develop, and thus lose not only the trust of the manager, but also his income.

The negative consequences of toxic relationships also include the restriction of personal freedom. When the will is repressed, it is very difficult for us to understand where our desires are sincere and where they are imposed by our partner. Therefore, it is very difficult for people leaving a toxic relationship to generate internal support. They have to relearn to listen to themselves, their emotions, their desires. It is very difficult for them to understand what they really want now, because most of the time their desires have been devalued.

If you seem to attract unpleasant people, you should pay attention to yourself:

The psychologist told him how to determine his level of toxicity.

How to get out of a toxic relationship?

Unfortunately, people who have been in toxic relationships for a long time rarely seek help for themselves. Because? In a relationship with a toxic person, it’s hard to see the big picture and admit that there really is a problem.

Most often, help is sought when a relationship has ended and people find themselves with broken self-esteem, poor physical and emotional well-being, and a complete lack of understanding about what to do next.

If you are currently in a relationship and have discovered the first signs of toxicity in it, I recommend following the following steps.

First step – Realize that there really is such a problem in your life. It is real to see that the relationship now is not the same as the one you initially entered into, which causes you pain, anxiety and inconvenience. It is very important to admit that this is not your imagination and it is not just about “your partner’s bad mood” or other temporary circumstances. The truth is that the relationship itself makes you unhappy.

Photo: David-Prado / istockphoto.com

Second step — build personal boundaries with another person. What are we talking about? In simple terms, personal boundaries are how we should not be treated.

For example, you don’t allow yourself to raise your voice or use certain words. They can’t blackmail you, devalue you, ridicule you. We are talking about the limit of actions in your direction that you consider acceptable. When a couple is just starting a relationship or has been in a relationship for a long time, but now another crisis has arrived, it is very important to set these boundaries. It is necessary to discuss the rules of communication and establish norms of interaction between them. It is important to do it calmly, peacefully and respectfully.

And there is another very simple, functional, but at the same time laborious tool: communication. It is important that partners talk and be able to tell each other what worries them and what they want.

If the previous methods did not work, you can get out of a toxic relationship by contacting a specialist. A family psychologist will help you see the key points of pain from the outside and identify discordances. He is also capable of becoming a kind of conditional translator as a couple. Help us listen to each other.

Most of us want peace, comfort, tenderness, trust, love, warmth and growth in relationships. These are some of the most common reasons why people get married. To ensure this need is met, it is important to learn how to build healthy, supportive relationships. Like when we don’t experience fear, sadness, sadness or anxiety for our partner. When we can be ourselves, show our vulnerability, relax, trust and receive that same emotional charge.

To find her, don’t be afraid to talk to her and make a lasting impression:

How to meet a girl: 5-step instructions from a psychologist

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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