Every now and again you meet a person you want to get to know better. You pursue the relationship and end up involved, only to discover that the relationship brings negativity. This may happen with a close friendship or love relationship.
How can you tell you’re in a toxic relationship? If you realize you’re in a relationship that’s poisoning you, what will you do?
Here are some tips for handling such difficult relationships.
Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship
1. You question your own feelings. You second-guess yourself about how to act and what to say.
2. You experience signs of physical and emotional upset. When you’re with the person, you feel anxious or have stomach upset.
3. You’re confused. You’re unsure about what’s going on with you. Sometimes, you feel you don’t know which end is up when it comes to your relationship.
4. The relationship is negatively unpredictable. For example, you thought your friend would be happy you arrived early to go shopping but instead, she was irritated.
5. One or both of you consistently say hurtful things. It’s like an emotional roller coaster. There have been too many damaging and angry words exchanged such that constant ups and downs are getting harder to tolerate.
6. You’ve had an angry physical exchange with the person. This could include pushing, throwing your cell phone, etc. This kind of aggression is very harmful to a relationship.
7. When with the person, you engage in unhealthy behaviors. This may include drinking too much or shopping more than you should. Whatever the case, you realize that your association with the person is pulling you down.
If you’re experiencing any of these situations, you’re in a relationship that’s having some pretty devastating effects. What can you do about it?
What To Do if You Believe You’re in a Toxic Relationship
1. Give yourself some time away to focus. Take at least two days without having any contact with the person. How do you feel? Do you feel like an important part of your life is missing or are you relieved to be free of the drama?
2. Have confidence. Remember that you’ve had tough times before and worked through them one way or the other.
3. Decide whether you still want the person in your life. Have things between the two of you gone so far that they can’t be corrected? What is the person contributing to your life? Is h/she enhancing your life?
4. Write down the top three issues that trouble you. Doing so will help you be clear with yourself about what is discouraging about the relationship. Getting your thoughts and ideas in order will lift the fog of confusion and bring you clarity and confidence.
5. Examine your own actions. What are you doing to perpetuate the difficulties? Be brutally honest with yourself about what part you play in the relationship. Allow yourself to be introspective and realize your own unhealthy behaviors. Vow to work on your own issues to get them resolved.
6. If you believe the relationship can change, talk directly with the other person about the issues that upset you. Be specific. Use a neutral tone of voice.
• For example, say something like, “I’ve realized that it hurts my feelings whenever you stand me up when we have plans, like last Wednesday. It’s happened several times and in the future, I want you to call me if you’re not going to show up.”
• If the person lashes back at you for telling him/her your feelings, you have a good reason to question how much the person values your feelings.
7. Seek professional help. If you’re unable to resolve the challenges on your own, you might want to consult a mental health professional. They can help you clarify your feelings and enable you to overcome the toxicity.
You don’t have to be stuck in a toxic relationship. It’s a tough decision that takes some bravery to walk away from a relationship that you know is damaging. The first brave step is acknowledging the toxicity. You also need to accept responsibility for your contribution then purpose to change yourself and walk away from the negativity.