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Toxic relationships

Addicted to the chaos?


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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What is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship is a relationship that is bad for you. Instead of bringing security, contentment and joy to your life, a toxic relationship brings you more sadness than happiness. A toxic relationship is also usually full of ups and downs. If you are in a toxic relationship, you may feel ecstatic and extremely happy one day and utterly devastated the next. 

Toxic relationships are marked by drama. There will be dramatic arguments (some over the smallest of things), passionate make-ups, tantrums, repeated apologies and in some cases violence. As well as loving your partner, you may also become addicted to the drama. The constant rollercoaster ride may feel heart breaking at times, but it can also feel very exciting. Most relationships on TV, in films and in books play out like this, so a relationship like this may be viewed as somewhat normal. In the long term, toxic relationships are bad for your mental and physical health.

Signs of a toxic relationship

  • You get pulled in and doted on one day and pushed away and ignored the next.
  • You feel emotionally unstable from the ups and downs of the relationship.
  • You feel that you bear all the responsibility for making the relationship work and for fixing things.
  • Your partner puts you down or you put your partner down.
  • Your gut instincts don’t let you fully trust your partner.
  • Your partner gets jealous of the time you spend with friends, family or even at work. They may text/phone obsessively.
  • Your partner may tell you that they love you, you are beautiful and wonderful etc. but their behaviour does not demonstrate this ‘love’.
  • You change yourself to please your partner more. This can mean anything from becoming quieter if they don't like your loud side, to losing or gaining weight and to dropping your hobbies if they are not into them.
  • You are afraid of your partner and feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them.
  • You lose confidence and have lower self-esteem than you used to.
  • Family and friends don’t approve of the relationship, so you keep your worries and fears hidden.
  • You lose yourself completely and feel like you could not survive without your partner.
  • You may develop depression or even become suicidal.

Why you might be drawn to a toxic relationship

  • People of any gender can end up in a toxic relationship.
  • You may think you don’t deserve much or can’t do better, so you take toxic love over nothing.
  • You may have put your partner up on a pedestal and when the relationship becomes toxic, you do not want to leave this person you basically idolise.

How to seek out a healthy relationship

  • Set boundaries with various people in your life. You may find it easier to stand up to your partner if you have had practice standing up to others in your life. Start small and try to increase your assertiveness bit by bit. 
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T yourself! Deep down, you know you deserve better. Don’t settle for less and put up with someone’s negativity and abuse. Just don’t.
  • Get busy being you. Work on your own life. Make time for your interests and hobbies, work hard at school/college or your job, spend time with friends and generally have a relationship with yourself first.
  • Surround yourself with friends who treat you like the star that you are. It will help you remember how you like to be treated and lessen your threshold for BS behaviour.
  • Look into therapy or counselling of some kind. Yes, it’s a cliché, but until you work out WHY you keep getting hooked into destructive relationships, you will keep repeating the pattern.
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Published January 23rd, 2013
Last updated April 11th, 2017
Tags relationships
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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