What are toxic relationships? Who defines the definition of toxicity for us? Toxicity is an arche type, the content of our collective unconscious. It is our unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way. The definition of toxic relationships are subjective, what is toxic for us might not necessarily be toxic for someone else. Relationships become toxic when your partner is causing mental stress and anxiety instead of promoting your ideologies and supporting your feelings. It's not the relationships that become toxic, it's the intentions and the mindset of the people in that relationship that leads to toxicity.
During your relationship have you ever listened to love songs and it made you cry? Have you questioned your opinions? Have you ever felt like you were not enough? Toxic relationships often result in deconstruction of one’s confidence, beliefs and the ability to trust someone.
Signs of toxic relationships
In general if you ask an individual they would consider these as the symptoms of toxic relationships
Lack of Respect
Having respect for your partner is imperative in a relationship. It is one of the greatest expressions of love.
When instead of growing together, the two individuals negate each other's dreams, ambitions, opinions. The differences in views lead to unsolvable arguments and instead of empathizing with your problems they dismiss them which makes you feel unheard or insignificant. It is a sign of disrespect.
When your partner gives you the bare minimum of their time, attention and leaves you hanging. When they fail to pull you up when you are low and make you question your own feelings.
When your partner makes you feel bad about your interest and gaslight about your hobbies and passion..
Disrespecting you about your body image is a major red flag. If your partner doesn't appreciate you for who you are as an individual and degrade and shame you for your appearance, it leads to future deep rooted insecurities and discontentment.
In a relationship no matter the dynamic that is shared between the two, the individuality should always persist.
It is seen that the boundaries in a relationship are often crossed when your partner “asks” you to behave in a certain manner. If they question what you wear, where you go, they do not factor in your sentiments. It often turns out to be poisonous for the receiver of this attitude.
Dreams, ambitions, and aspire to grow is everyone’s birthright. When your partner fails to acknowledge this, it is a major red flag. No one should stop an individual to act on what they most desire. Toxicity is often seen in the form when one of the partners orders another respective individual to maybe quit their job, or stops them to pursue their ambitions, just to feed their ego.
Lack of trust
Trust is the basic foundation to every relationship. Different degrees of trust determines the intensity of intimacy in a relationship
Having friends, acquaintances besides your partner is very important and normal. If your partner is cynical about whom you should go around with or constantly doubts your fidelity in the relationship, it forms cracks in the rock of the relationship. Justifying yourself constantly becomes tiresome, it should never become a routines activity.
Expectations is an emotion that has resulted in most of our disappointments. People have forgotten the concept of having expectations that aren't unrealistic. Hopes and prospects which are not superficial and humanistic in nature.
An illusion of a fairytale relationship, instills expectations which usually are not fulfilled. It is the cause of constant disappointment and dissatisfaction. People often become delusional and are in denial of all the toxic behavior that their partner showcases. It is maybe because of a traumatic childhood experience. Love languages of two people can be different. Like one of them is not very vocal about their feelings but the other individual has the need of constant reassurance. This expectation can sometimes lead to constant feuds and fights.
When your expectations are not met you often tend to become lethargic, your disappointment and aggression is seen as an outburst on your family members. It leads to mental stress not only to the individuals in the relationship but also the people around them.
Impractical expectations of the family members can also lead to toxicity in a relationship. It leads to hostility among the partners as they find themselves in a constant dilemma, as to whom they should prioritize.
How to help a friend who is going through a breakup
Breakups can be an emotional avalanche for a person, be it a breakup from a romantic relationship or platonic friendship. Helping a friend or an individual go through a breakup can sometimes become dilemmatic and conflicting. Here are some of the ways by which you can help your friend survive one of the most emotionally vulnerable phases of their lives.
Make sure you make them feel approachable and appreciated
Sometimes breakups from a relationship can lead a person to question whom to trust and whom to rely on with their feelings. It is your duty to make them feel like you are a non judgmental space and can truly connect and support them. This may be confessed by validating what they are feeling and not putting labels on their emotions but rather making them feel more accepted.
“Everything will be fine”
This is the most generic dialogue which we tend to say to people who confess their problems to us. Anyone should refrain from using this statement as it seems like an act of dismissal of their feelings. Helping them accept the emotions in the form of verbal appreciation and make them feel at peace with their doubts.
Buy them their comfort food
Food is a love language which everyone can relate to. It is often seen that comfort food often helps to reduce anxiety and helps to release the happy hormones ‘serotonins’.
Help them work on themselves
You can support your friend by helping them work on their insecurities. You can accompany them to walks or other physical activities to reduce stress and manage anxiety. You can help them reestablish their inhibitions and restore their mental peace in a healthy manner. Help them realize the importance of prioritizing their needs over anyone else’s. To have a healthy outlet of their emotions and indulge in self-care.
Sometimes it gets difficult to accept the fact that you are in a toxic relationship. The defense mechanism method of denial plays a major role in this. Our deep rooted insecurities and traumas from our past or our repressed experiences makes it tough for us to make peace with our situation.
In order to get out of the toxic relationship firstly, one must acknowledge the fact that their relationship is toxic.
Secondly, prioritize yourself over the views and expectations of any secondary individual.” ONLY YOUR OPINIONS MATTER”.
Thirdly, confide in a person whom you trust, discuss your emotions with them, which will give you clarity of your thoughts.
Lastly, the power anyone holds on you is what you allow them to have. Grab the veins of your power and channelize it to activities which will bring you long term peace and contentment.
-By Hunar Agarwal