Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Humans are social animals. Most of us live and breathe for our connections. But how do you draw the line between being tolerant and protecting your well-being and health? That can be more clearly defined when you are in an abusive relationship or involved with people with addictions. Outside of things like that, it may not be as easy to determine when a relationship is not working for you.
You can identify a toxic relationship by comparing it to those interactions you have that leave you feeling good, where the person cares about you, and they show you compassion and respect. Ideally, you feel warm fuzzies in their presence because you share decision-making, communicate freely, and feel safe there.
When we hear the term toxic relationship, we often think of romantic partnerships that involve control, jealousy, passive-aggressive manipulation, dishonesty, and other troubling behaviors.
But what about your friends, what about the people you spend a lot of time with, what about family? Can these also be toxic?
Of course, they can! But how do you recognize relationships that are detrimental to your well-being, and what do you do about it?
First, ask yourself if the dysfunctional treatment you are receiving is ongoing or if it rarely happens because no one is perfect and everyone acts poorly at times. But does someone consistently put you down, use you as an outlet for their repressed anger, abuse you in some way, or try to possess you? These are toxic traits.
Toxic relationships can be two-sided, or there can be one culprit. Is your concern for someone one-sided, based on need, and feel like an addiction? That is often termed codependency, is not healthy, is draining, and impacts your self-esteem. It is up to you to seek help to get out of those negative relationships and change your codependent mindset.