“Trading your happiness for love isn’t a good transaction…”
Most people unfortunately experience a toxic relationship at some point in their life and when you do, it is not fun. When you are in a toxic relationship, it can be extremely hard to see the signs and know that you are in one. There are some behaviors that definitely cross a line such as physical, emotional, verbal, or even financial abuse and most of the time, those are easier to pinpoint, but there are some subtle signs of a toxic relationship (that are harder to see when you are in that relationship) that can be just as problematic.
Toxic relationships do not just happen in romantic relationships either. They can happen in friendships, between family members, and in other types of relationships, as well. Romantic relationships are definitely the hardest relationships when it comes to noticing that they are toxic, but family relationships are harder to put a stop to, even if you are trying your best to avoid them. Although there are many different types of relationships that have the potential to become toxic, I want to talk specifically about romantic relationships today. Here are a few signs that you are in a toxic relationship and also a few tips on how to stop the toxicity or avoid it all together:
Signs That You Are In A Toxic Relationship
You Are Always Making Excuses For Your Significant Other
Have you ever made an excuse for your partner’s bad behavior? Maybe it is lack of support, being obnoxious, having little to no empathy, emotional unavailability, or not showing up for you when you need him or her to, that’s an issue. Of course, we all have days and weeks where we are not at our best, but if you find yourself constantly making excuses for them because of their actions, maybe it’s not the most healthy relationship for you… Everyone makes mistakes, but in a healthy relationship, both parties should be able to learn from those mistakes and improve your relationship because of it/them.
You Keep Making Excuses for Your Unhappiness
No relationship is perfect but the good should outweigh the bad. If you find yourself searching for reasons to stay because deep down, you’re not happy at all, then you’re in a toxic relationship. Too many times, people get so caught up in love that they forget to check if they are actually happy. Trading your happiness for love isn’t a good transaction. They should both go hand and hand. If your relationship began in turmoil and it has continued in that same turmoil and you’re just holding on because you don’t want to be alone, then it is toxic. Being alone may seem sucky at the beginning but it’s better than being unhappily in love.
You Are Not Doing What You Love
This is a huge one. Do you mind that you have stopped doing what you love? Maybe you put your friendships on the back burner and only focus on your significant other and his/her friends, or maybe you stopped doing a hobby that you absolutely loved to do before you got into your relationship. Signs of toxic relationships are not all about your partner’s behavior. Sometimes, your own behaviors are red flags, as well. Self-care is extremely important for every relationship, in order to keep toxicity out. If you are neglecting yourself and your needs, in order to make your significant other happy, maybe it is time to take a step back and ask yourself why you are doing that.
They Don’t Take Responsibility
Nobody is perfect and no relationship is perfect, but in a healthy relationship, each person will take responsibility for their actions. If this is not happening, you are more than likely in a relationship that is very toxic. If you are in a healthy relationship, you should be able to bring something up, have a calm discussion about it, and then course correct based on your feedback. On the other hand, in a toxic relationship, instead of having a calm discussion and trying to work on your actions going forward, the toxic partner might come back and blame you for the fact that they did whatever it was.
You Have Lost Yourself
Before this relationship, you had a great sense of what you liked and didn’t like, what sort of things you enjoyed doing, and even things you refused to put up with. Now, you’ve spent so much time compromising to make your partner happy that you’ve compromised your complete identity. In every relationship, you will have some things that your partner may ask you to change to have a healthier functioning relationship but those things should never consist of your identity. Healthy compromising involves things like agreeing to not use your phone during quality time or letting your mate know when you’re going out so they know you’re safe. Unhealthy compromising is your mate telling you what to wear, who you can and can’t be friends with, or where you can or can’t go. When you no longer have your own identity because you’ve sacrificed it to keep your partner happy then this is a toxic relationship.
You’re Afraid to Tell Your Friends
No, your friends won’t know every single detail about your relationship. They actually shouldn’t because some things should remain between the two of you. But when you are intentionally hiding certain aspects of your relationship from your close, trusted friends, then that is a problem. If you have real friends who want the best for you then you become afraid to tell them because you know they will tell you to leave. Deep down, you know that is what you should do but you don’t want to hear it so you opt to hide it from the people close to you in order to avoid the reality of your toxic relationship.
How To Stop or Avoid Toxic Relationships
Now that you know a few signs of toxic relationships, let’s talk about how to stop or avoid toxic relationships.
Know Your Worth
First and foremost, know your worth. Know that you do not have to be in a relationship and that you are strong on your own. Create goals for yourself, surround yourself with people who bring you up, love yourself and the people around you, and make sure you are always sticking true to yourself, no matter what. These simple tips are just a few things that you can do consistently to know your worth.
Listen To Others
Always listen to others. If people are warning you that you are in a toxic relationship, listen to them and do not just make up excuses and defend your partner. Most of the time, people are just trying to help you out and you should take the time to at least step back and evaluate your relationship.
Last but not least, if you find yourself in a toxic relationship, it can be very hard to get out of it on your own. Lean on your friends and family, but it also might be very beneficial to talk with a counselor or therapist, as well. Counselors such as Ray of Hope Counseling Services can help you heal and strengthen yourself as you overcome life changes. One great aspect of Ray of Hope Counseling Services is that they not only have seven convenient locations around the Georgia area, but they also offer online counseling for those who are too busy to actually go into an office. With online counseling, you do not have to worry about a waiting room, traffic, or travel time at all. Sit in your home (in your PJ’s, if you’d like) and have your therapy session while you are comfortable and stress-free.
Work On Your Overall Health
Your overall is of utmost importance now and especially when you get into a relationship. Make sure you are focusing on not only your physical health, but also your mental health, as well. For example, stress and unhealthy mind games (such as jealousy) definitely has the potential to ruin a great relationship. Learning about how you can manage your stress levels is very important when it comes to life in general, as well as relationship building.
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