Are you in a toxic relationship? This question is not one dimensional. There are often many layers to peel back before this question can be answered with honesty and truth. So let’s start by peeling some of those layers back in the hopes of finding some clarity.
Something to Ponder
If you are easily upset and constantly in a state of unrest with a loved one, you may be in an unhealthy relationship. Each of us, at some point in our lives, has been in a relationship with someone that really gets under our skin or makes us a little unsure about ourselves. Some of us may even have that person in our lives that makes us feel small and inferior. Whether it is an intimate relationship, a platonic relationship, or a relationship with your parent or adult children. No one is immune.
So think of that someone with whom you have had a difficult time with and ask yourself:
- How do I feel when I see ____________ on my caller id?
- What emotions do I have when ___________enters the room?
- What lingering feelings do I have when ___________ leaves the room?
- After spending time with ____________, am I exhausted, overwhelmed, or depleted?
- Do I generally feel horrible about myself when I am with ______________?
- Am I able to truly be myself with _____________?
- Do I walk on eggshells when I am with ____________?
What you love about that person who brings unrest into your life, may not actually be love. It could be your need to receive approval from them; approval that you somehow never seem to get. You may have placed yourself in a position of “seeker.” Seeking validation. Seeking acceptance. Seeking inclusion. Seeking to belong. Seeking to be loved. But this person may never be able to fill the emptiness you feel within yourself. Nor should that person have to.
Be aware of your needs. What did you not receive as a child? What is your inner need?
- A peaceful home
- A healthy parental figure
- Financial Stability
- Someone to make me feel okay with myself
- “If I can get someone to love me, THEN I can love myself.”
Now ask yourself:
Am I looking for that missing element in this toxic relationship?
Am I expecting this unhealthy relationship to attend to my needs when it doesn’t even bring me joy?
Engaging the Power of Thought
Identify YOUR true feelings. Is this relationship healthy for me? Should I allow that behavior in my life? Should I allow those words to be spoken to me? What do I truly get from having this person in my life?
Identify the pattern. Does conflict ensue whenever I need something from the relationship? Is there ever a time that I am celebrated in this relationship? When I am happy, this person reacts with _________.
Pay attention. If you think you are in a toxic relationship, become acutely aware of the nuances that grieve you and take note of your part. Again, identifying how you feel in that relationship will be the governing factors toward healthy connections with the people in your life.
Prepare for change. Make a list of the “pros” and “cons” of this relationship. What you provide, what they provide, what both walk away with. Take a moment to be still. Listen to your soul and begin processing what may need to happen for you to feel secure and loved in your personal relationships. You may find a similar pattern in quite a few relationships. If so, partnering with a mental health professional may prove beneficial. You deserve a life in which you feel strong, healthy, grateful, celebrated, and supported.
When Toxic Hurts
There are many forms of toxic and unhealthy relationships. It could be a best friend, a parent, an adult child, a close relative, a significant other, or a spouse. These relationships can work towards regaining a healthy perspective with patience, joint effort, and even with the assistance of professional help. However, there are those relationships that simply need to be terminated. Do not allow yourself to be abused by anyone. You are worthy of a peaceful existence.
If the results of your unhealthy relationship are physical, please do not delay in reaching out for help. No one deserves to be hit. Help is available for you. Here are some resources:
The Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Safe Harbor 1-804-287-7877