A toxic relationships occurs when one or two persons struggle with unhealthy attachment, coping method, thought process, and behaviors.
"Everyone has “unhealthy” behaviors and things they can improve on."
I don’t usually label people as toxic because a good person in a loving relationship can present toxic traits. A healthy relationships is a bond with two people, that may have flaws, but are committed to growing and fixing their behaviors. On the other hand, a toxic relationship is a bond where one out of the two people in the relationship are “unaware” or “unwilling” to acknowledge their flaws, which results in them refusing to change.
What is a toxic person?
Everyone experiences pain and develops ways too avoid or numb the unbearable feelings. Toxic traits are developed to cope with painful experiences. A person that gossips is usually trying to soothe their irritation or distract themselves from other life stressors. Similarly, a person that manipulates is trying to control the issue because they have very real fears. To heal toxic traits we must learn to do healthy things when we are feeling pain, shame, and emotional.
A person with toxic coping mechanisms has a lack of awareness or refuses to grow in dysfunctional areas. In the toxic relationship, the unhealthy person or persons refuse to take the steps necessary to become healthier people. This can result from different things.
Lack of Awareness. Lack of awareness of what they are doing wrong. For example, a codependent might not know what codependent means or how that contributes to them being in an abusive relationships.
Refusal To Change. Some people know that they are doing something wrong even if they can’t pinpoint it. However, toxic relationships occur when at least one person refuses to truly accept personal responsibility for bad behavior and they won’t change. They may also “fake” change and commit to “short-term” changes to convince you that they are trying to grow.
Learn more about toxic relationships: What is a toxic relationship? What causes toxic relationships?
Am I In a Toxic Relationship?
You are probably in a toxic relationship if you went searching to find out. Toxic relationships are emotionally and/or physically abusive. The relationship leaves you insecure, weak, vulnerable, and unsure of yourself. You can take a Toxic Relationship Quiz and test what type of relationship you’re in!
Am I the toxic person in the relationship?
Curious? You can take the AM I TOXIC Quiz! Usually we attract dysfunctional people because we have our own toxic traits such as people pleasing, enabling, codependence, passiveness, and lack of boundaries.
You can take this quiz to figure out why you are dating the wrong men: Why am I dating the wrong men? It will reveal areas to avoid toxic romantic relationships. Also, I explain how to find the right relationships in 4 Ways To Attract Mr. Right.
If you want help navigating this sign up for your First 20 Minutes Free: 1:1 Empowerment Coaching!
12 Characteristic Traits in a Toxic Relationship:
1. Something doesn’t feel right. Trust Your Gut.
I believe that God speaks with us through our instincts. If you feel something is wrong, there is probably something wrong. Talk to someone or a counselor to get insight into the issue. This will help you to pinpoint what you are feeling and identify the red-flags of a toxic relationship.
2. You are scared to share your thoughts and feelings.
A tell-tale sign you are in an abusive relationship is fear to vocalize your needs, thoughts, and feelings. The abuser will use different techniques to make you less vocal. He may beat you. He may manipulate you into thinking you understood the situation wrong. He may yell at you. He may accuse you of criticizing him. He make speak unkindly to you and make you feel like crap about yourself.
The abusive strategies may be different but the overall goal is to intimidate you into being quiet and conforming to what the abuser wants you to do.
Related Article: Why Don’t People Change? 6 Ways To Manage Self-Hate!
3. The abuser is perfect. You are flawed. You become more concerned with what they think.
Another tell-tale sign is that the person with toxic behaviors is always right. Every time you vocalize a concern they echo the following in different words and actions: You’re crazy and it’s all in your imagination. You eventually start to take on their perspectives and thoughts to keep the peace.
The victim wants to keep the peace so they will fix themselves hoping that the situation will be fixed. The situation seems to be fixed because the abuser got exactly what they wanted – Control and to be right. Overall, the victim continues to lose themselves to please the abuser. The abuser got what they wanted: An obedient servant that will think and do what they want you to do.
4. You’re the only one fixing yourself and growing.
You are constantly growing and becoming a better person, but your partner has admitted to no flaws. In a healthy relationship, the focus isn’t about being “right” or “wrong.” The focus is understanding each other and making changes to strengthen the relationship.
For instance, John realizes that Suzie is suspicious of him cheating. Suzie is often passively accusing him of things. John chooses to address the situation kindly. He talks to Suzie and lets her know he feels like he is walking on egg shells… What can they both do to work on her feeling more secure. Suzie agrees to go to counseling and John agrees to changing certain behaviors that leave Suzie guessing. In this example, John didn’t yell at Suzie and make her feel horrible… He was focused on “growing” and not pointing fingers. He wanted to build the relationship rather than destroy it.
5. It hurts.
If the relationships hurts emotionally and physically there is something wrong. No one should purposely hurt you with body parts, objects, actions, or words. Can the other purpose own up to what they have done? Most likely not. The abuser doesn’t apologize for wrongs and/or finds a way to shift responsibility for their actions. The abuser will try to blame it on you, on their childhood, their day, etc.
Related Article: Why Don’t People Change? 6 Ways To Manage Self-Hate!
But, the abuser won’t say they did it and just apologize. If they do apologize it is a manipulation trick to get you to trust them but they will more than likely repeat the bad behavior. I strongly suggest talking to a counselor, visit the Advice Cafe, or a friend to evaluate what constitutes abuse. Most abuse victims are so use to making excuses that they stay in the cycle for too long thinking they deserve it or that they will be harmed if they leave.
6. They don’t respect your boundaries.
The abuser will force you to engage in activities that you don’t want to. This includes emotional conversations and physical interactions that you have said no to. No, means No. If you are not allowed to say No this is a red flag. Even if your partner doesn’t like your response, if they are healthy they will allow you to space when you ask for it.
The abuser might also tell you what you are thinking… They may try to define who you are, even when you are explaining that you don’t feel that or think that way.
7. You feel confused and fear
8. You need the other person for happiness and love
9. There is emotional and physical abuse present
10. You or your partner are not growth oriented
11. You argue about the same thing over and over
12. You argue about the same things over and over