Are you in a toxic relationship?
As we walk along the path that life paves for us we will meet many, different people and form many relationships with them. Not all relationships will be giving and growing and there will be a few people that you encounter who will drain you of all energy and lifeblood, you will feel like there is nothing special about your relationships with them and nothing positive will come about your interaction. These are toxic relationships – they are emotionally draining and extremely difficult but it is also easy to get caught in a cycle that doesn’t allow you to break out of them because of force of habit and a misplaced loyalty. Most often than not, unfortunately, such relationships exist between spouses.
It is important that you learn to recognise the signs of a harmful and toxic relationship – and get out of it before you do irreparable harm to your emotional health. These relationships can exist at all levels, they can be between a boss and an employee, between parents and children, spouses, friends – and they can be extremely harmful for a person’s wellbeing. There will be times when you will know that a person or persons is bad for you but you will not be able to do anything about it. In those times, it is a good idea to accept the fact that you are in a toxic relationship so that even if you cannot get out of it, you can at least handle it better.
Every relationship involves bickering, fighting and shouting – however, the alarm needs to go off if the fights and bickering go over the limit of what is acceptable. You know you are in a toxic relationship when:
You are a victim of mood swings: Toxic people have terrible mood swings – they can go from praising you to the skies to denouncing you to depths you never knew existed – all in the time frame of a few minutes. A toxic person will make you feel like you are inferior and do not possess any qualitative attributes, they will look down upon you, shame you and insult you. At times they may acknowledge that their behaviour is inappropriate but then they will never take the necessary steps to change their ways.
You feel controlled: Such people can control a person or a situation very well – they manipulate emotions and use their charm and relationship to keep the other person glued to the same vicious cycle they put them through day in and day out. If you feel yourself feeling tied down and denied of basic happiness by a friend, a spouse or a relative, know that you are tied into a toxic relationship and must find a way out.
Warning signs: There are common warning signs when a relationship is toxic. If a significant person in your life constantly puts you down in public, doesn’t appreciate your needs, puts themselves before you or isolates you from your friends and family intentionally, then these are signs of a relationship turning toxic. One generally feels afraid and unsafe in such relationships but will fear any encounters with the concerned person. Loss of self identity, dependence on a person even though they are a source of sarcastic and mean comments, inability to walk away from encounters etc. are all signs of a toxic relationship.
If you feel a relationship is toxic then seek help, especially if there is physical abuse. Opening up about this to friends or even a counsellor will help – because they can show you the best ways to leave such a relationship. Don’t lack confidence – that is what attracts toxic people – they see someone they can dominate over and they get their kicks from upsetting such people. By being hurtful, they feel that they are more superior and even more so when the person concerned does nothing about it. If you let them get away with it then they will feel all the more powerful and will continue to behave abhorrently throughout their lives. This can have a very bad effect on your professional life, especially if you are facing this problem with a boss, and your personal life, if the person concerned is a relative or your partner.
People balk at getting out of such relationships because they do not want the inevitable showdown that follows, or they are manipulated into staying with promises of change. Don’t wait around and hope that the person will change, you will only settle into a deep depression which will be another difficult cycle to get out of. Once you are free of such relationships, the world will be a better place.