For You to be a Happier Person
A toxic relationship is like fighting a battle you will never win. While you stay in that relationship with someone, you are never going to feel like the friendship is fulfilled. You might even feel a bit resentful. You are not in control in this relationship. And, as long as you are in it you will be emotionally battered, and drained. This doesn’t make for an overall happy person.
The reasons why we stay in toxic relationships are so complicated, and usually boil down to fear. Perhaps you don’t recognize that this is a bad relationship, but you know something isn’t right. If you find yourself in that position a simple question to ask yourself is: “Does this relationship serve anything of value to me?” But perhaps you can relate to some of the signs.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
Usually, when you think of a toxic relationship you think someone you are romantically involved in. Sometimes isn’t what you think it is. And if you are like me, maybe you are in denial that it is a toxic relationship. A few years ago, I found myself in a situation that ended a toxic relationship that I never suspected. Because, the person that I was in this poisonous relationship in was my little sister. And, I had always thought that what we had was normal. It wasn’t until this situation presented itself and communication was lost. It took me a full 6 months to realize our relationship was actually really bad. But looking back on it now, there were so many signs I wish I had paid attention to.
Some of the big red flags that went up (and I ignored – because it’s my little sister) that signaled our relationship was toxic were:
- Always feeling emotionally drained after a visit
- Constantly feeling like I am walking on egg shells around her
- Cut off from her life when I disagree
- Feeling like I had to cater to her needs
Generally, if you leave a visit with this person and you feel completely drained that is a pretty good indication the relationship isn’t good. I’m not going to lie, it sucks a lot when you come to this conclusion. It sucks even more when you walk away. The fall out can be brutal. But if you stick to your decision you come out on top. Your happiness is depending on you, and that is a very good reason to end a toxic relationship. However, I could list 7,000 reasons why you need to drop the toxic relationship. But, I have named some of the big ones in this post.
You Don’t Have Control
The biggest, most obvious underlying theme of a toxic relationship is power, and control. Your partner in this relationship dynamic wants to have power and control, and you are giving it to them. Some of the reasons why you give up your power and control could be so benign, and yet so damaging. An example of that is “just joking” comments. Do you know those back handed compliments made out to be a joke? But, they aren’t actually funny, and it is quite damaging in the end.
You take control back when you remove yourself from the relationship. Sometimes this means that you can keep them at an arms length
No Respect in a Toxic Relationship
The silent treatment is compensation for you setting boundaries. That is the definition of disrespectful behaviour, in my opinion. Your priorities in your life aren’t considered, and often they are flat out ignored. Or it could be as blatant as a demand for your respect, without ever giving you any. For example they might tell you outright that you aren’t being respectful of them. And in fact they are deflecting responsibility, and not owning their participation. This is not being respectful of you. First of all, respect is a mutual agreement in a healthy relationship. It flows to and from each party involved. Respect is not something that comes with conditions. Needless to say that relationship didn’t last long.
Respect lays the foundation for a healthy relationship (and some other important things like trust). When respect falls off the menu, pack up your dignity and get out. One example of disrespect that sticks out for me in my relationship with my sister was the abuse of my kindness. She would ask me to watch her kids time and time again, and then come get them hours after the time she said she would be back. If I called or text they went unanswered. You can imagine the sense of panic this would cause in me. Then, there was never an apology for running late. This total inconsideration of easing my mind, or of my time, was in a word disrespectful.
You Don’t Have a Voice
A relationship that is healthy is safe. You should be able to have a voice and an opinion that differs from the toxic partner. However, in my case, my own opinion was often penalized. I spoke up and then penalized with the silent treatment. And that is a very effective way to take someone’s voice away.
Like I said, I was always walking on egg shells around her. The end of our relationship always held over my head. Your relationship with should never be based on your loyalty to their opinion. Anything less than that is not worth sacrificing your beautiful self over.
You Aren’t Happy
Like I mentioned before, your happiness is dependent on you. You can’t be happy if you aren’t living your life to your standards. And you can’t live your life when someone else controls it. But most importantly, you can’t be happy in your own life if it is based off of keeping someone else happy.
The Fall Out of a Toxic Relationship
Maybe you have finally decided enough is enough, and you’ve let them know (most likely the toxic partner will flip the situation on you). There will be a fall out. It will probably be ugly. But remember this, the more you fight back the more power you are giving this toxic relationship. If you stop, eventually it will fizzle out.
Dealing with the fall out is probably the most difficult part of ending the relationship. There will be a lot of backlash to deal with because the person you are cutting out of your life is selfish. This means their concern is only that they are seen as the only one who is suffering through this. The hardest part of the fall out in my case was social media posts. Facebook was a great vehicle for my sister to post all kinds of slander. I was painted out to be unsupportive, selfish, disrespectful, etc. It hurt, especially since I am none of those. And it was hard to not fire back. The problem is that this feeds a fire if you go to their level. The best response will always be silence from you. After all, if you stop feeding a fire it will go out.
You may feel obligated to stay in a toxic relationship. Because you’ve been married for 10 years, or maybe it is a family member who you are in this relationship with. This was the case for me, and the belief was that no matter what family is family. When really it boiled down to that you could have a bad relationship with anyone really. And a toxic relationship is a toxic relationship, you don’t need to stay in it and sacrifice your happiness.
The Tidy Up
A toxic relationship can leave you emotionally and mentally drained. It can seep into other areas of your life and start to have a negative effect. Once you have made that final cut, and you have gone through the grieving process, as well as accepted your new reality, you can rebuild. Focus on yourself and take lots of time for self-care during this time.
I felt very lost when my relationship ended with my sister. We had been very close, or so I thought. It felt like a big piece of me was missing for a long time. But as time went on, my awareness of how toxic that relationship was grew. I became less emotionally invested and more willing to stand up for myself. The more I stand up for myself the more confident I feel.
Time went on and there are moments when I really miss my sister. But I know that the foundation of our relationship is crumbled, and it is better to rebuild somewhere else.
I hope you find it in yourself to walk away from the toxic relationships in your life. Your life will be happier, you will be free, and in the end, it might feel like your world is falling apart. But trust me, you will be okay.