How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship
How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship. Relationships can be amazing! When they work, they work. It’s like music to your ears and everything seems to fall into place with that person. But when things aren’t working it can be hard to pinpoint what is going on and where are things getting stuck before it’s too late. When you’re in a toxic relationship it can be hard to see. It is hard to be objective and take a step back and examine what is going on. You may feel drained or unhappy after spending time with this person and begin to engage in behaviors you haven’t done before. This is done in an attempt to maintain the relationship. It’s hard to see when you fall into the pattern of everyday life and routine.
Here are some signs of toxicity in a relationship and some things you can do if you recognize these signs in any of your current relationships. These signs can be very obvious. They also can be quite subtle. All should be examined, including any signs of toxicity that you may recognize in yourself as well. Learn how to recognize a toxic relationship.
How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship
1. Lack of Support.
Time together no longer feels helpful or productive. You don’t feel like this person has your back. You may feel that they have even been talking “bad” about you or sharing instances where you have done some things wrong or made things look worse than they were.
2. Toxic Communication
This is when kindness is not used when speaking to or about one another. Name calling, sarcasm, being highly critical of each other, not “fighting fair”, or using silence as a punishment can all be signs that your communication with this person has become toxic.
Jealousy is a normal emotion to experience from time to time. It becomes toxic when you cannot feel positive or happy for successes or accomplishments others make or when one person is trying to isolate the other from additional supports.
4. Controlling behaviors
Sometimes it can seem sweet or endearing when a friend or significant other texts you all the time or when they want to know when you get home. It’s not okay when you don’t text or call, and the other person becomes irate or angry at your behaviors. This can be controlling behaviors that can be a red flag for other abusive behaviors. It’s one thing to care about each other. It’s other to want to control where they are or when you communicate with them.
Holding grudges and letting things simmer under the surface is not healthy. This does not add to intimacy. It will rather continues to distant you from the relationship. Not addressing things that bother you ultimately will lead to resentment and likely toxic interactions.
If you make up lies or are dishonest about things to avoid arguments, disagreements, or fights this could be a sign that your relationship is toxic. Not wanting to spend time with that person or concealing the time you spend with others should be a warning sign that the relationship is struggling.
7. Shifting the Blame
Shrugging off responsibility and blaming others for your behaviors. It’s not okay to blame others or to be blamed for someone else’s behaviors. If you find yourself often saying “you did this”, rather than reflecting on what your role was in the interaction this should be a warning for you.
8. Loss of Relationships
You’ve stopped spending time maintaining other relationships. You might be solely focused on the relationship that is toxic. This could be to avoid conflict or address issues that others see.
9. Ignoring your needs
Your needs are important. When you’re placing the needs of everyone else before you this should be an indicator that you should be paying more attention to what is going on with you. If you find yourself not engaging in your normal routine, not doing things that you used to enjoy doing, or are canceling events and outings take note on what is going on that you would be changing up your schedule. In toxic relationships you stop some of your usual self-care habits. You could be neglecting your health and well-being.
10. Walking on eggshells
This means you avoid conflict, bringing up problems, or just keeping issues to yourself to not have extreme reactions. Feeling like you cannot open up or be honest about what is going on with one another.
If a relationship is toxic, does that mean you have to cut that person off? Not necessarily. The deciding factor whether a relationship can be salvaged or “saved” is if both people in the relationship are willing to change. Really change.
1. Willingness to change patterns of behaviors. Both individuals must be willing to examine patterns of thoughts and behaviors and seek to build new patterns. Behavior change does not happen overnight, and it needs repetition and practice.
2. Accept responsibility for your behaviors. It is important that individuals can accept responsibility for their feelings and behaviors. This is way easier said than done. It’s easy to point fingers about how you reached or why something happened rather than saying “yes I did that, I accept responsibility, and this is how I plan to do different”. And then do just that.
3. Shift blame to understanding. Both individuals need to shift the conversations and interactions from blaming to learning. Learning what the other is experiencing and learning how to see things from other points of view. Any point of view to see that it can be perceived in different ways.
4. Be willing to examine your thoughts and how these can be leading to unwanted or hurtful behaviors to each other. Thoughts lead to feelings and behaviors. Examining your thought process and expressing empathy for others in situations can assist with making different behavioral changes.
5. Be open to outside help. This is the biggest one. It can be intimidating to ask for outside help, especially from someone that you don’t know. But what better way to work on behavioral change than from someone that is a neutral party. Therapy can help get a relationship back on track or work towards setting appropriate boundaries.
Seek Help For A Toxic Relationship
If you would like to learn more about how to recognize toxic relationships, and create healthy ones now is the time. Break out of potentially toxic relationship patterns, we have multiple highly effective therapists that can guide you through this process. Reach out and contact us at 407-967-1327.