Let’s talk about toxic relationships. No doubt you have an idea of what they are. It’s even possible that you’ve experienced more than one in your life, so you know the enormous emotional cost and wear on your health it brings when you get involved with someone who prioritizes their needs over yours.
Nevertheless, there’s always something strange that happens with respect to toxic relationships: you know what they are, but you can’t see it when you’re involved in one. Why not? You’re too emotionally involved. Love and affection can sometimes be like wearing a blindfold, keeping you from seeing the real truth of a situation.
That’s why today we want to talk about six types of toxic relationships that everyone should be able to identify in order to avoid them and set the boundaries they need to protect themselves. We should also take care to mention that when discussing this kind of problem, we’re not only talking about romantic relationships: you can have toxic friends and even toxic family members, as well.
Let’s get started.
1. Relationships where only one person is in controlSometimes it’s easiest to get carried away in the moment and let your partner make the important decisions – they get to be responsible for the things you do. You believe they’re taking good care of you. But proceed with caution. If you let someone else be in control all the time, there will come a day when they’ll start making decisions for you.
Don’t let this happen, whether it’s in a relationship with a partner or a friend. You should always have a balance of interests and personal investments. Once one of you starts to do more than the other or begins to make decisions for the both of you, problems can start to arise.
2. People who put their needs before yours“It’s just that I prefer things this way – this is what I like – I need – I hope that you..” People who constantly insert the personal pronoun “I” into their sentences can undoubtedly be the most damaging of personality types, leading to a classic example of toxic relationships.
Those who are incapable of seeing beyond their own little world can never bring another person genuine happiness. Nor can they offer the respect you deserve. Remember this!
3. Those who cannot trustPeople who lack trust or understanding are also lacking the emotional openness to show another person respect, compassion, and empathy. Relationships that are founded in distrust will always result in jealousy and misunderstandings that manifest in constant arguing, which eventually wears down your self-esteem day after day. It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s not worth staying in.
4. Relationships based on coercion“After everything I’ve done for you, now you refuse to do this for me?” “If you really loved me, you’d be with me right now – so you must hate me.” If you’ve ever heard such a phrase, no doubt you know how awful it feels, how much it hurts to hear those words coming from the mouth of the person who supposedly loves you.
But don’t be fooled. People who rely on manipulation and coercion, who use the kind of techniques above to abuse their relationship don’t truly feel love, nor do they respect or understand you. It’s a clear sign of a toxic relationship.
5. Relationships based on liesSome people lie in a pathological way. They do so to achieve their goals, to completely control the world they’ve constructed around them, and to always have the upper hand in their relationship that is based on deception.
They might say that they love you, that you’re the best thing that could happen to their life. But far from showing you that love they behave in a way that’s harmful and humiliating, leaving you behind. Their lies will eventually be exposed, and you might forgive some of them. But in the long run it will destroy you from the inside. Don’t let this happen to you.
6. Relationships based on victimizationThis is a very common kind of toxic relationship, both for romantic partners and family members. By playing the victim a person can claim a lot of benefits – for example, winning back your attention or making you feel guilty in order to strengthen their dominance over you.
“You always leave me when I need you the most.” “This weekend I’ve been sick and you haven’t even called – obviously you have other priorities.” If you’ve been through a situation like this you know how painful those feelings are and how they inspire a mix of anger, shame, and fear.
To conclude, while we all know that toxic relationships exist, they are still common in today’s society. How can you best defend yourself from these types of behaviors?
Be sure to set clear boundaries for yourself. Articulate what your needs are and how much another person can expect from you. They need to understand that your love isn’t something that can be forced from you, nor will you only put their needs above your own. To love is to respect and understand.
If you find that you recognize some of these signs in your relationship and your partner is still behaving the same way, maybe it’s time to put a little distance between you. Do it for your physical and emotional health.