When you are in a toxic relationship, it basically means that you will stop doing the things you love doing, and focus all your energy on making your partner happy. You could argue that everyone does that in a relationship, but the main difference is whether you give your time and energy up to hurtful and harmful things.
When you are in a healthy relationship, being with your partner will lift your spirits, and you will help each other grow. In a toxic relationship, however, no normal role is involved. Your partner could depend on you too much, or, on the contrary, he (or she) could be making sure you feel like everything is your fault. And then there is a case of mental and physical abuse.
Either way, a toxic relationship is when you have an unhealthy bond with your partner, and the relationship doesn’t give you a plus and a boost of energy, but instead it takes everything you have. And that includes your self-worth, your confidence, and sometimes even your livelihood. You stop loving yourself and caring for yourself, which sends you down a slippery road towards self-destruction.
How is a toxic relationship affecting me?
Even if you are the most mentally stable person on Earth, a toxic relationship will have a negative effect on your life, and depending on the damage caused, it could cause lasting damage, even long after the relationship is done and dusted.
A toxic relationship affects you physically, mentally and spiritually as well. Some people stop eating, because their partner is putting them under too much stress, while others binge-eat for the same reason. You might find that there are days when you don’t even want to get out of bed, because, well, what’s the point?
This is how it’s always been, this is all you know, so what will be different if you do get up? The same drama, just a different day, right? A toxic relationship can quickly and easily escalate and cause depression, anxiety, even panic attacks. You think that there are things it can’t take away from you, but there aren’t any left by the time you realize you are in a toxic relationship.
The saddest part is that most people don’t even realize that their partner is toxic, because that’s a normal relationship for them. Think about it. If you have always been afraid of spiders, because they are scary and ugly monsters, it doesn’t matter how many people tell you that they are actually cuddly teddy bears. You won’t believe them, because your experience is different.
The same goes for relationships. If all you had all your life was one toxic relationship after another, then you won’t know what the healthy relationship would look like, probably even when you get into one. In many cases, because of the past trauma, you might end up being the toxic partner this time around, creating a vicious circle that’s almost impossible to get out of.
The good news is that the emphasis is on the almost. As difficult and heartbreaking it sounds, but there is a way out of a toxic relationship. But first, you need to start with the first step, which is realising that your relationship is toxic and it’s slowly bringing you down.
So, how do I know if I am in a toxic relationship?
You can decide whether your relationship is healthy or toxic by having a look at several factors. Firstly, how do you feel when your partner is around, and, maybe even more importantly, when he (or she) isn’t? Do you want to spend every minute of every day with them, or do you feel like you can finally breathe when they go to the grocery store, leaving you alone for a few minutes?
If you have butterflies in your belly, and you are filled with a genuine warmth, laughing and full of energy every time you are together, then your relationship is a healthy one. Of course, having said that, even a healthy relationship isn’t always butterflies and rainbows. But having a bad day or an argument once in a while is completely different than being in a toxic relationship.
There are three major types of a toxic partner, and fortunately, all three come with many warning signs. However, it’s easier to spot these from the outside than from within the relationship. So, next time your aunt is telling you that that guy (or girl) isn’t good for you, ask them why. It won’t be easy, but there needs to be some kind of trigger to start the thought process. And it’s always better (even if not easier) to spot these signs before more damage is done.
What are the types of toxic partners and how to spot them?
The first type of toxic partner is the clingy or overdependent one, who relies entirely on you, meaning that he (or she) is with you because they expect something in return. They might have lost or left their job recently, claiming that they couldn’t cope with all that stress – thus putting more stress on you, since you became the sole breadwinner in the relationship. They might try to find a solution at first, but a few weeks or months down the line, they are quick to accept that all the stress is on you now. They wash their hands, having nothing to do with it anymore.
They rely on you in many ways. You seemingly make decisions for them, but they control you from the background. The sad thing about it is that although you might not realize that you are in a toxic relationship, most often your partner does. Or even if they don’t realize what the yare doing, when you confront them, you end up being the inconsiderate one (at least in their eyes).
The second type is the ill-tempered one, but that’s putting it lightly. Sure enough, their temper might only get triggered every once in a while to begin with, but in time, those triggers will be easier, faster, and more frequent. They might not hit you as such, but you never know where you stand with them.
They blame you for literally everything, and God help if you make the tiniest mistake. What makes it even worse is the fact that they blame you for things they do wrong, too. They couldn’t do their work they brought home, because they were too lazy? No worries, they have you to blame. You must have made some noise to disturb them, right? Wrong.
The third type of toxic partner is slightly related to the ill-tempered one. They are the belittling ones, who do everything they can to bring your self-worth down. Some of them believe that if you don’t have any self-confidence, you won’t look elsewhere and stay with them forever.
Others simply do it because that’s what makes them feel like they are bigger and more important people. You see, when someone doesn’t have any sense of self-worth, sometimes it’s easier for them to destroy the quality in others, instead of trying to build up their own.
No matter which group your toxic partner belongs to, once the signs are there in front of you, screaming at you loud and clear, you have a decision to make. But how do you make that decision, when you love them and you don’t love yourself?
Do you love yourself when you are in a toxic relationship?
The short answer is no. Purely because you are staying in something you know is bad for you. What happens when we want to lose weight, but we haven’t eaten all day and we want that piece of cake so much it hurts? Are you a bad person for giving in to temptation?
You see, the issue is that with toxic relationships, the more you give in, the less confidence you will have to get out of it. It truly is a vicious circle. A toxic relationship robs you of everything you thought could never be taken away. It deprives you of your pride, your self-confidence, and eventually, your sanity.
When you love someone, of course, whether they are toxic or not, you put them first. And that’s okay to a certain extent. But losing yourself in the process, and stopping caring for yourself is a dangerous road that doesn’t lead to anything good. It leads to depression, anxiety, panic attacks and addiction.
And we are not only talking about being addicted to alcohol or drugs here. A toxic relationship is addictive, too. Sometimes it’s easier to just go with the flow, accept that this is how things are and that you can’t change them, so why bother? Well, here’s the thing: you are the only one who can change things, but only if you somehow manage to get rid of this type of thinking – and that’s the hardest.
The idea that you should get out of it is there, but the way you execute it still seems to be out of your league. And because you don’t have any confidence in yourself and the universe, you end up questioning your reasons for wanting to get better. But that’s okay. Just like everything else, getting out of a toxic relationship has stages you need to go through, too. Try to let all the things you are feeling sink in, and then you will be able to decide what your next step is going to be.
How to say enough is enough?
It’s great if you are at the stage of wanting to break up and have a better life altogether. You have identified the issue, and you also realized the problem doesn’t lie within yourself. You will probably still blame yourself for many things for a while, but that’s part of the natural process. Asking yourself whether you could have done anything to save the relationship is okay, too.
But you need to understand that you are doing the right thing for yourself, and that’s all that matters. You might say that it sounds selfish, but what does being selfish even mean? Looking after yourself, making sure you get the best of everything. Now, that’s something you neglected ever since you were in this toxic relationship, and the same goes here as everywhere else.
If you don’t eat enough fruits for a week, or you don’t do enough work, but you have a deadline, it means that the next day you try to catch up, right? You need to do the same with self-care. You need to love yourself enough again to be able to say enough is enough.
Try distancing yourself from the person, as if he (or she) wasn’t affecting you anymore. Pretend that you are already living the life you want, and that doesn’t involve living with them. Find those old hobbies, find something new that you always wanted to try. Make yourself smile, because you will need that. You need a glimpse of how life could be without having to worry about your toxic partner.
You need a taste to want to have it all. And when you do, by that time you will have built up enough confidence to put a stop to it all.
How to find yourself after breaking up with a toxic partner?
Congratulations, you have done it! You ended a toxic relationship, and now your life after can begin. So, what now?
You might feel lost, confused, and you might even have a nagging feeling that you need to go back to your partner. They were toxic and they weren’t good for you, but that’s all you knew and being in this world on your own is scary, lonely and painful.
Give yourself time. You might feel like that’s something you don’t have, but think about it this way: the longer you would have stayed in the toxic relationship, the less time you would have, right? So, in effect, every minute you spend without is a blessing and brings you closer to where you should be.
You see, when you are in a toxic relationship, your aura and vibrations are so low that all you attract is negative energy. But when you get out of that toxic relationship and breathe in fresh air again, the new, higher levels of vibration can be scary, too. Happiness is always frightening for those who never experienced it before.
Just remember that whatever you are going through, you are never alone. There is someone out there who went through the same things, or who is going through them right now. No person is an island, and that means that your feelings aren’t ones that nobody felt before. You might deal with them differently though, and that’s what makes you special. But you aren’t alone with your problems.
Especially when the last thing you want to do is talk to someone, that might be the only way to gain enough strength to find yourself again. Talking about how the break up and the relationship makes you feel is among the first steps towards healing.
There are many support groups out there who help during and after the break up. Just because you chose the wrong partner (or partners), it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be happy. On the contrary. There is someone out there who can help you heal from the wounds you suffered. But before you can find that person, you need to find yourself. Don’t worry. You have already made the most important step. From there, everything will get easier with time.