Sometimes it’s hard to spot signs of toxic behaviour since they are engraved into our society as something acceptable and normal. This is partly due to the fact that long-term relationships are a thing we strive for in a majority and being single has its baggage and condemnation. So, lots of people tend to normalize toxic traits that occur all too often in a relationship.
We all have the tendency to forget just how much work even healthy relationships take. Heck, we’re not even talking about just romantic ones. The bond you have with friends, parents, siblings – they all require effort, mending, time. We need to utilize the power of compromise in all of them, and balance it out with a sense of self-love and dignity.
Unfortunately, not all relationships take this healthy amount of work. We as a society worship romanticism – the fairytale one, ridden with irrationality and one that justifies breaking china plates in a fit of rage. We shun unconventional sexual behaviour. We objectify one another and view each other as prizes rather as viewing each other as mutual emotional support. But let’s try to define more precisely what is a toxic relationship.
A toxic relationship happens when one side or both sides put love above things that are necessary for a healthy relationship: respect, trust, and affection. In other words, love is absolutely not the sole reason to stay in a relationship, especially since it can cloud your rationality.
In this article, we will discuss types of toxic behavior and how to counteract such events.
There are too many partners who don’t say what’s on their mind loud and clear, rather preferring to nudge their partner into the right direction. In the end, both sides end up tired and pissed off at each other.
This shows that you are not able to communicate normally with one another. This is telling about our relationship – it means you’re not comfortable with being honest about what you feel. Instead, say loud and clear what’s on your mind and underline when the person is not directly responsible for those feelings. Rather, explain why you are in the state you are and that support and/or mending of the other person’s behaviour would mean a lot to you. If your partner is acting of age, they will understand. If not… Well, that brings us to number two.
Unfortunately, there are heaps of people that not only can’t take criticism, they feel attacked even when someone brings up the slightest of situations. These people position themselves as victims far too often, debilitating the other side and making it difficult to bring up true feelings and situations, even those that would in other instances be resolved quickly and painlessly.
Control in these relationships is exercised via inducing the feeling of guilt in the other person. They will be disappointed in you, they will tell you you make them feel like they are a bad person out to hurt you. You will be rendered ‘selfish’ for stating something out loud. The problem is, they will ‘reward’ you if you glaze over the roots of your feelings. They will show affection then, thus addicting you to such patterns of behavior. But make no mistake, the only thing a person like this wants in a relationship is NO compromise – just happiness on their own accord and principles.
The sad thing is that most of us dealt with this type of person. They get angry at the slightest interaction with another person. This could be an innocent chit-chat, hangout, touch, whatever – they make you pay by ignoring you, taking out their anger by yelling at you, etc. Worst of all, it can lead to disrespecting privacy and boundaries – a partner could start checking out the other one’s messages, endlessly scrolling through texts and barging into the room and yelling on their partner. Some people view this toxicity as nothing more than affection, saying that love is enough of an explanation and validation for such moves.
If you see yourself as falling into this rabbit hole, you need to step back and let go of the reigns. TRUST your partner. Sure, some jealousy is expected. But being excessive and controlling is actually telling of your feelings of self-worth. This is something that you need to deal with, not your poor partner. If you truly love someone, fix this, because you’ll be in the danger of pushing your partner away.
THE ‘INDEPENDENT’ PARTNER, A.K.A. THE NON-DEPENDABLE
These ‘free birds’ like to flaunt their independence. They love to talk about how no one can control them. The problem is, they exaggerate their need for independence in long-term relationships that require the need of safety and stability. They are difficult when it comes to staying true to their word and keeping you on ice, since there is no telling what they’ll do next.
They will tell you the two of you will go on a trip in a month, or that they’ll call you in the evening and then… crickets. Afterwards come the excuses and explanations – something always comes up. Sure, there could be a ring of truth to these excuses, but this doesn’t change the fact that you can’t count on them. They control the relationship with the simple fact that you cannot plan a number of things, since you are always waiting for them. The thing you could do is just start making plans without them, and tell them the reason openly – no matter what the outcome.
There are a billion different human characteristics and emotions. This is just a glimpse into one aspect of our behavior. Still, it’s a good start in noticing and combating toxic traits. Because always remember – no matter how much you love someone, loving yourself is more important and a precursive for a healthy relationship.