By Sarah Webb
Don’t be upset if people prefer another to you, it’s difficult to convince a monkey that strawberries are sweeter than bananas. Anonymous
Are you in a relationship that is making you feel bad about yourself? Are you doubting yourself or finding you’re having paranoid thoughts about your actions and their impact? Do you find yourself acting out in ways that you never have before? Are you constantly distressed and not sure if you’re relationship is coming or going? Are you isolated from your loved ones or has your self-esteem plummeted due to continuing this relationship? I bet you can’t recognise yourself anymore too… DROP IT LIKE IT’S HOT!
We have all encountered toxic people in our life, but for those of us unlucky enough to experience a toxic relationship, you will understand how these feelings and symptoms mentioned above crept subtly into your relationship and started affecting it, and how painful it is to let the person go – particularly because you will generally love them and care for them that little bit extra because they have needed you and dragged you down at the same time.
Sometimes we need to love someone from a distance and unfortunately this means the process of detoxing yourself from them. If your partner is putting you down, crushing your spirit or you have found out that they are cheating on you, this blog is for you. Today we look at how you can release yourself from a toxic relationship and get on with a happier life – even if it means being alone.
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is one that makes you feel consistently bad about yourself. You may find yourself fending off subtle jabs or downright insults, dealing with unreliability or perhaps even deceit. A toxic relationship leaves you feeling anxious, unrewarded and unaccepted.
Still unsure? Check out this blog by Love Panky about the different types of toxic people and toxic-style relationships. In some cases, some of these can overlap, some people may check every box. As Natalie Avdeeva points out, the types of people who are toxic are:
– They put you down
– They cheat on you
– They lie to you (don’t put up with lies!)
– They’re abusive
– They blame you
– They are extremely insecure
– They’re demanding
– They’re over-the-top perfectionists
– They’re narcissistic
– They’re competitive
– They’re manipulative.
Here’s a checklist of symptoms of a toxic relationship:
– It feels as though no matter what you do or how hard you try, you can’t do anything right
– Are they constantly putting you down?
– Everything is about them and never about you, when you make it about you – they quickly manipulate it back to be about them again
– You find yourself unable to enjoy the good times
– Are you so emotionally dependant on each other that you can’t do anything alone?
– You’re uncomfortable being yourself (which is why you lose track of who you are!)
– They refuse to allow you to grow or change
– Is there a constant drama and it always feels so far out of your control?
– They start controlling you until you feel completely lost and confused.
If you answered ‘yes’ to two or more of these – these are your red flags … GET OUT NOW! GO!
Can you fix a toxic relationship?
Maybe … but at the time it is toxic, definitely not. You need to muster up all your courage and find a place to escape far away from the person. The following steps will hopefully lead you to a path where you’re feeling back on track rapidly. It is better to cut this person completely free from your life, and not consider any point of return, than to consider any kind of future with them. Whatever happens, do not encourage the bad behaviour. You deserve better!
What do I do if I suspect I’m in a toxic relationship but I’m not entirely sure?
Keep a diary – then no matter what they say, you can refer back and see what the reality was for yourself. By keeping a diary you will have a heap of evidence to validate your actions and words and it will help you to rebuild yourself quicker.
Throughout a toxic relationship, you’ll notice your self-esteem will plunge while the level of self-doubt rises so high that you feel like you’re drowning in it. Every time you’re left, you will hate yourself, blame yourself and become overwhelmed by guilt. By keeping a diary of how the person is making you feel, their actions and words, you can look back and go: “Hold up – no, the reality was this! Here’s what you said and did, here’s what I said and did.”
What if I stay?
The hard truth is: generally these relationships lead to the toxic person cheating on you. Talk about adding insult to injury! So after all the pain you’ve suffered as they’ve crushed your spirit, you also have the pain that you never truly had them to begin with. This is why it’s important that you acknowledge you’re in a toxic relationship and leave EARLY – to save yourself any further pain. Look out for the alarm bells and signs of a toxic relationship they come in all forms mentioned above.