What does toxic mean in a relationship? That’s what we gonna be talking about today. We gonna give you 10 red flags to recognize and four ways to detox the relationship.
This information is not just for your relationship with your partner. It could be anyone with whom you’re close and who takes up space in your life. A boyfriend, sister, mother, and, since we all have faults, how can you tell when you need to accept someone’s flaws or when you’re overlooking a serious issue?
People do change after all as they mature. So, it’s not completely unreasonable to think that someone can change their behavior. But there are some behaviors and attitudes that just don’t change much with time (at least not without professional help) because they’re a part of the person’s personality.
The definition of toxic in a relationship and the list
Toxic in a relationship means every relationship between persons who are not mutually supportive when conflict exists and attempts to undermine others. And also, these are not transient behaviors that only pop up when someone’s going through a bad patch. These are behaviors or attitudes that persist over time, regardless of the circumstances.
So, here is a list of some behaviors that I think you should not overlook or ignore and just think that they’ll go away with time.
The anger can take the form of blow-ups, irritability, moodiness, and this is not just due to depression or anxiety. In this case, the person uses anger to control.
So you find yourself tiptoeing around their anger and you measure what you do because you don’t wanna make them angry.
This is really just a disguised form of anger.
And this is similar to sarcasm. Sarcasm is wit with bitterness behind it. And here, the person is always putting something or someone down, but in a joking way.
Having a punitive mindset.
Feeling as though people deserve the bad things that happened to them or idiots deserve to lose.
Here’s another example.
Suppose I blow up at you and call you a this or that, and then you get upset, and then I say,
“well, sorry, I hurt your feelings, but you push my buttons. You shouldn’t push my buttons.”
That’s not an apology, because what I’m really saying is, “I’m not- I mean, yeah, I don’t like that you got upset, sort of, but you deserved my wrath for being stupid.” That’s a punitive mindset.
A controlling nature.
Here’s an example of this. Suppose I tell you, “I don’t think you look good in purple.”
And then I see you out somewhere and you’re wearing purple, and I get angry, Because, after all, if you really cared about me, you wouldn’t wear purple, because I told you you don’t look good in it.
So, wearing that shirt means that you don’t value my opinion and you don’t really care about me at all. And your response is, “well, of course I care about you! I won’t wear the shirt again, I’m so sorry!”
Now, you have to think twice every morning when you look in your closet
To make sure you’re not gonna put on something that I said I didn’t like, and that invalidates me. That’s controlling.
Read also: What Causes Possessiveness In A Relationship
This is where the person needs you to reassure them constantly.
They can also need you to agree with them, do what they say, do it their way, etc,
Because if you don’t, then they don’t feel good about themselves and they’ll blame you for that.
And this is a disguised form of someone judgmental, and usually with judgment comes criticism.
And how do they do this? They may use guilt to make you do things by using a lot of “if, then” statements.
So if, as I used in the previous example, “if you really cared about me, then you’d do this.”
If you hear them using a lot of “if, thens”, that’s an indication or sign that they’re trying to manipulate you.
They also don’t take no for an answer, and they try and get you to change your mind a lot.
A subtle way they can try and get you to change your mind is by making the same request of you over and over and asking why.
So, you’ve already told them no, you don’t wanna do something they want you to do. They keep asking you, “so, why don’t you wanna do this?”
So as an example, let’s say, I tell you, “I’d like you to move in with me.” and you don’t want to, you’ve already told me no.
And then I get my place together. “well, why won’t you move in with me?”
And you say, “oh, I just… I don’t wanna shack. I don’t believe in shacking.”
“shacking, where did you get that from? That’s your parents talking, that’s not you.” and I say all these things that shoot down your reasoning.
That conversation goes away, we have some conversation, I bring it up again,
“oh, why won’t you- I got this nice place, why won’t you move in with me? Come on, move in with me.”
And then, after a while, it just gets to where you feel like you gotta re-craft your answer over and over, you don’t have another way of saying it.
I’ve talked you down every time you gave your answer.
So, at some point, you finally get to the place where you’re like, “well, I guess I don’t really have a good reason, okay.” and then I’ve won. That’s manipulation.
These are people who take more than they give, and they still may give, but only after they feel satisfied that their needs have been fully met before they give back to someone else.
And, even when they do give of themselves, it’s easy for them to feel like they’ve given too much. And then feel exploited and taken advantage of, and they’ll blame you for that.
So, sometimes it doesn’t even feel good to get something from this person, because you know there’s gonna be a price to pay on the back end when they blame you for taking advantage of them.
The number 10 and the last red, negative flag here is the need to always be on the offense.
They have a world view that people will always try and stick it to you unless you get yours first.
So, they always have to get over it in some way. For every transaction, they have to be on the upside.
If you grew up around someone who did these kinds of things, you may find yourself being attracted to similar people, even though you don’t like their behavior,
Because even objectionable behavior can feel familiar and comfortable at some level.
What if you’re already involved in a toxic relationship? Here are four suggestions on how to detox it.
Number one: take a break from your interactions with the person.
You need to give yourself time to reflect on what bothers you about the relationship.
How do you feel when you’re away from the person?
How much do you miss them?
What do you miss about the person?
Here you’re getting some clarity on the negatives and the positives of the relationship.
Number two: create emotional distance.
And this is really the key to disentangling from toxic relationships.
Think about how much closeness is necessary. Is this person in your life your spouse?
If so, then you should get professional help to help improve the relationship. But aside from that, you still need to pull back ever so slightly. And this isn’t to say that you should be cold to your spouse, but suppose your wife is cynical and critical and this has beaten you down over the years.
To protect your self-esteem, you’re gonna need to give her opinion less weight, so that you don’t internalize her every negative opinion of you. And even in the closest relationships, you still have to maintain your own thoughts and ideas and independence from your spouse.
Now, you may say, “I don’t wanna keep secrets from my husband.” this isn’t about keeping secrets.
Even though you’re married, you still have separate minds and it’s okay to have some thoughts that are your own and no one else’s.
Your thoughts don’t have to merge into one big thought bank and then both of you just dip out of the bank to know what’s going on.
But what if the person with whom you have this toxic relationship is your parent?
Then you have to come to grips and accept that you’re just not gonna have an intimate relationship with your parent.
And this is a hard pill to swallow. Everyone wants, at some base level, to have a close relationship with their parent.
But people are people, people are flawed individuals, and sometimes it’s just not possible to have that emotional intimacy,
At least at the level that you think you should, especially based on what we see in society, of kind of perfect relationships.
Once you come to that realization, you pull back as far as you need to maintain whatever relationship is logistically necessary.
You interact at a minimal level, so you don’t let their opinions define you.
Number three suggestion: look at your contribution.
What are you doing to keep the drama going?
Are you picking fights with your partner and provoking him to lose it? Are you treating your mom the same way she treats you, just to get back at her?
We usually stay in toxic relationships for a reason, even if it’s a twisted reason, and once you recognize how you’re perpetuating the problem, look to change the behavior and see how it impacts the relationship.
A lot of times, when you address your own issue within that relationship, things start to break down in the relationship naturally,
Because you’re a different person, and that dyad that kept going before isn’t clicking and working anymore, because you’re not playing your role anymore.
Number four: get professional help.
Serious marital and family problems usually call for some form of counseling.
You need an objective person to see both sides of the problem.
And if it’s a relationship outside of your marriage, then you work with your own therapist to see how you can recognize your blind spots and recognize your contribution to the problem.
Your personal therapist or coach can understand you and help give you some more specific information on how to handle the toxic relationship. It’s for some people. That seemed really long. It might just be because of talking about all that negativity. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and you don’t have to stay enmeshed in a negative relationship.
If you know someone who could use this information what does toxic mean in a relationship, please share. I’d like to hear your comments too. I do respond to comments.