What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is one where you’re unable to have a meaningful and positive connection with the other person. This can often leave you questioning yourself, your relationship and your life.
What are the red flags?
Emotional manipulation, guilt-tripping, and constant criticism are three key signs to look our for.
Toxic relationships often also go through destructive patterns, where one person gives and gives, and the other doesn’t give back, or worse, doesn’t show any gratitude for what you do.
“You can get exhausted, always trying to save or rescue the other person. You neglect your own emotional needs because the focus is always on them,” says Ms Needleman.
What are the consequences of staying in a toxic relationship for too long?
The health impacts of a toxic relationship should not be underestimated.
They can affect your sense of self and identity, damage your self-esteem, and even lead to feelings of depression and/or anxiety.
You can be left feeling inadequate, or somehow flawed, like who you are and what you do is never enough.
What to do about it: Step 1
First, work out what you’re feeling.
You need to be intuitive.
Separate yourself from the relationship and identify what emotions you have and how they’re being triggered.
What to do about it: Step 2
Second, establish your ground rules. Decide what behaviour and actions you’re prepared to accept and what you’re not.
For example, Ms Needleman says, “To a spouse who always makes you feel that you are never doing enough, work out what you think is reasonable, and become aware of the ways they make you feel inadequate. At these times, roll out a prepared response, or just remind yourself that you are good enough!”
What to do about it: Step 3
Lastly, protect your boundaries.
“You can do this by either practising it yourself and sticking within them, or by stating it to other person in the relationship. You could say to them: ‘I’m not letting you put me down anymore’.”