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How to recognize a toxic relationship?

Everyone is looking for their other half to feel complete. We desire intimacy with another person, also mutual support and understanding. For the relationship to be long lasting and stable, both partners need to be equally emotionally involved. If such balance is upset and only one of the partners devotes their time and energy to please the other, it can be a situation where one party benefits and has some kind of control over their partner. A toxic relationship – what is it and how to recognize it.

You must, I don’t have to. What is a toxic relationship?

Talking about toxic relationships, we do not have in mind one specific template of a situation. Above all, in a healthy relationship, we should expect mutual respect and equal involvement ina shared life. Sometimes the balance is upset. We have a feeling that the relationship takes more from usthan we get in return. If, in return for our efforts, we don’t hear words of gratitude, our self-esteem suffers and our sense of self-worth decreases. A toxic relationship manifests itself in a lack of support and even ignoring the needs of another person. 

Behaviours of our partner can be subtle. At the beginning of the relationship often we do not know ‘what we get ourselves into’. Particularly a toxic person can hide well their true colours, which become apparent only after some time. Gradual growing of attachment increases with the violation of physical and psychological boundaries of the other person. It can grow to such an extent that even despite of being tired of the situation, we cannot leave a toxic partner who has gained total control over us.

toxic relationship - how to recognize it?

A toxic relationship and how to recognize you are in one?

Realising we are in a toxic relationship sometimes requires a lot of time. It may seem that the situation is maybe temporary, and that things will improve, especially if at the beginning of the relationship it was better. We realise, sometimes by ourselves, sometimes with the help of the people close to us, that the relationship takes away a part of us. Repeating situations of humiliation, accusations or ignoring our needs may cause you to feel depressed and your self-worth suffers. Sometimes we are even willing to believe that all problems in the relationship are caused by us, and our lowered mood is not our partner’s fault. With the help of a psychotherapist, we can come to the realisation that all this time we have been in a toxic relationship. Only after some time has passed, we start to notice the toxic behaviour of our partner – selfishness, sick jealousy, ignoring us or critical approach to everything we do.

What can I do?

A toxic relationship is not good for anyone. If we do not feel happy and safe in our relationship, it makes sense to work on it. You can start by talking with your partner, however, remember that some toxic people do not want to change their behaviour, because they benefit from it. Appointments with a psychologist and starting psychotherapy will help. Such forms of help will teach you assertiveness and create healthy boundaries in your relationship. Thanks to it, you will be able to improve your life with your currentpartner or start a new, healthy relationship.

In IN-MED clinic we provide individual therapy as well as couples’ and marriage therapy.  There is also a couples’ communication workshop available.