Relationships can be wonderful; they relieve loneliness, gives one satisfaction and creates this bond which one shares with the other. Nevertheless, all relationships have their rough patches where the couples argue and disagree, thus it is important to recognise a toxic relationship from a rough patch in the relationship. People may be incompatible because of cultural issues, values or simply due to different thoughts and opinions. Hence, even though there was the initial attraction and the relationship developed, one needs to gain insight regarding whether one should stay or leave that relationships.
There are a number of reasons why people decide to stay in a toxic relationship ranging from financial issues, fear of being lonely, fear of other’s perceptions regarding failed marriages and the idea that it is best for the children. Nevertheless, there are means to overcome these fears in order to safeguard oneself from staying in a relationship which might potentially be causing harm.
Signs of a toxic relationship
- One’s partner is constantly bringing one down – constantly criticises the other with no constructive feedback alters the mood of the other individual. Being in a relationship where one needs to ensure perfection or where one is not comfortable being oneself is one the signs that there is something wrong with the relationship (Ducharme, 2018).
- Unhappiness in the relationship – Being unhappy with one’s partner is another sign that there is something wrong. There are different reasons why one might be experiencing sadness. It might be related to a controlling partner where one feels trapped and unable to do things to one’s likings or it might simply be that one’s partner is not one’s ‘perfect match’. Nevertheless, feeling anxious and sad in the presence of one’s partner is an indication that the relationship is not working (Ducharme, 2018).
- Abuse and violence – the most obvious sign that something is wrong. Abuse can take different forms from physical to verbal and none of these should be accepted. Does the partner constantly batter one with spiteful words? Does one’s actions alter one’s self-esteem and impact one’s mental health? These are all signs that the relationship is toxic (Ducharme, 2018).
Toxic relationships take away one’s identity as the individual focuses on avoiding triggering behaviour. In the case of verbal and emotional abuse, one starts to believe that the words the partner says about oneself are true. Hence, having a severe impact o one’s self-esteem (“Introjection – GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog”, 2015). Therefore, if one feels that the relationship is toxic there are a number of things which can be done. In the case of physical abuse, it is advised to seek help from the authorities. This is to ensure one’s safety. On the other hand if the relationship is impacting one’s mental health it is advised to seek support. Consider whether there are problems in the relationship which one might want to work on and hence might consider couple’s therapy or whether the relationship is too far gone. In that instance, one might decide to work on oneself, to regain confidence, strength and happiness.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Yasmine Bonnici graduated in Nursing and also completed her Masters in Counselling. She has worked with victims of domestic violence, clients dealing with suicidal ideations, bereavement, separation and anxieties. She is currently working with Willingness Team as a counsellor seeing clients who would like to explore their own identity and deal with any surfacing issues.
Ducharme, J. (2018). How to Tell If You’re in a Toxic Relationship. Retrieved 18 May 2021, from https://time.com/5274206/toxic-relationship-signs-help/
Introjection – GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog. (2015). Retrieved 18 May 2021, from https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/introjection