“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.” ~Billy Wilder
I’ve had my share of toxic relationships. Is it fair to say you have too? My guess is that we’ve all endured the company of people who weren’t rooting for our highest good.
As for me, the relationships that were the most debilitating and unhealthy gave me the feeling that I wasn’t taking care of myself spiritually, mentally, or physically.
I felt like less than myself, like I was compromising my life goals with each second I stayed around those people. Mind you, these were both friendships and romantic relationships.
I call these relationships toxic because my authentic self withered away into someone I didn’t recognize as I denied all that was natural for me.
The label “toxic” means something that drains life and energy. Before I knew it, I was weak and feeble, subject to the whim of the person to whom I’d given my power.
I hung around those people too long in an effort to do what was supposedly right by societal standards—fighting to stay in a relationship instead of giving up “too soon.”
Little did I know that my desire to be agreeable and accepted was suffocating what was right for me.
Why did I have to sacrifice my happiness for what society says is right? I was living stifled in self-judgment and fear, and I’m sure society couldn’t have cared less!
While some difficult relationships can open our eyes to new perspectives and expand our awareness, some obviously shut us in and hinder our development. Our intuition will alert us one way or the other. It tells us change and growth should feel good!
When I was in my toxic relationships, I ignored my intuition in favor of my logical mind, which told me that losing that person was worse than having him/her around.
But our intuition knows best. Unlike our mind, its only motive is our happiness.
“Toxic” doesn’t only entail obvious damage like physical abuse, stealing, or name-calling. It also represents all the internal turmoil that results from an unhealthy relationship. I’d like to share how I learned to recognize when I was in a relationship that wasn’t suitable for me.
These are five signs that you are in a toxic relationship:
1. It seems like you can’t do anything right.
The other person constantly puts you down and treats you like you’re not good enough. They mock your personality, and you feel ashamed most of the time. You only feel pardoned when you take on the traits of the person doing the condemning or judging.
2. Everything is about them and never about you.
You have feelings, too, but the other person won’t hear them. You’re unable to have a two-sided conversation where your opinion is heard, considered, and respected. Instead of acknowledging your feelings, they battle with you until they get the last word.
3. You find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with this person.
Every day brings another challenge. It seems as though they are always raising gripes about you. Their attempt to control your behavior is an attempt to control your happiness.
4. You’re uncomfortable being yourself around that person.
You don’t feel free to speak your mind. You have to put on a different face just to be accepted by that person. You realize you don’t even recognize yourself anymore, and neither do your closest friends and family.
5. You’re not allowed to grow and change.
Whenever you aim to grow and improve yourself, the other person responds with mockery and disbelief. There is no encouragement or support for your efforts. Instead, they keep you stuck in old judgments insisting that you will never be any different than you are now.
If you’re experiencing even just one of these signs, check in with yourself to see if the relationship is doing more damage than good. Evaluate the relationship and what it’s worth to you.
Embrace the answers that come from your intuition, as it wants the best for you—and this relationship might not be it.
Take deliberate action according to your gut feeling. You won’t be sorry.
You may choose to talk about your feelings with the other person, or you may decide to put more space between the two of you.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsettled in the relationship, it’s important that you not wait around until the effects of the misery settle into depression. Taking any action is the best medicine.
Now it’s your turn: Without giving names, do you find yourself in a toxic relationship? Have you left a toxic relationship and want to share how that decision has changed your life? Or are you afraid to leave a toxic relationship because you fear the repercussions? Leave a comment and share your experience.
An added note: If you’re in a physically abusive relationship, get help today. Don’t wait.