Why You Are Stuck in Toxic Relationships and How to Get Out
Sometimes, you can be so blinded by love it is hard to see the true toxicity of your relationship. On the other hand, you may know your relationship is toxic, but you are unsure of how to end the relationship. Either way, in order to stop yourself from entering a continuous cycle of toxic relationships, you must first understand why you are stuck in toxic relationships and how to get out of them. Below, we will dive into the psychology behind toxic relationships and how to put yourself in the best position to leave a toxic relationship and thrive.
Signs You Are In a Toxic Relationship
Signs of toxicity in relationships can be subtle or highly obvious. It is also important to note, you may recognize some of these signs in yourself, your partner, or the relationship itself.
First, if there is relentless jealousy and passive-aggressive behaviors in your relationship this may be the first sign it is toxic. To clarify, there is nothing innately wrong or toxic about feeling jealous. We are all human and bound to feel jealous at some point. However, if it has come to the point where you, or your partner, insist on always being together, or either of you are constantly monitoring or questioning the other’s whereabouts and intentions, you have a problem. For example, if your partner is checking your phone or emails behind your back, is always questioning who you are with, or is telling you what you can and can’t do, there is an unhealthy amount of jealousy and controlling behaviors in your relationship.
Furthermore, if either of you are acting passive-aggressive due to jealousy, this is also an issue. Saying something such as, “I’ll just stay at home, then,” is an example of passive-aggressive behavior that manipulates the other partner into feeling bad or in the wrong.
Next, if dishonesty and resentment plague your relationship, it’s probably toxic. Holding on to grudges can cause your intimacy as a couple to quickly fade. Additionally, dishonesty can chip away at a couples intimacy because it destroys the trust between two people. If you or your partner are constantly lying to one another, the foundation of your relationship is no longer stable or able to support a strong, healthy relationship. Also, with unhealthy amounts of resentment and dishonesty, you are bound to feel a constant stress surrounding your relationship. Ongoing stress can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health.
You may feel worse when you are with your partner, or you dread spending time together. In a healthy relationship, you should enjoy each other’s company and it should not feel draining to be together. This is not to say there won’t be bad days, every relationship has ups and downs. However, it should not feel like you constantly have to walk on eggshells. If you cannot bring up your worries or issues, for fear of provoking extreme tension, you and your partner will never be able to work through these things together to come out better on the other side.
Lastly, if your partner is always criticizing you, ignoring your needs, or disrespecting your time consider all of these red flags. Ideally, your partner should inspire you to be the best version of yourself. While some constructive criticism can be helpful in highlighting areas you can improve on, no one wants to be constantly criticized, especially by someone they love. A healthy relationship will be built on mutual support, kindness, and love for one another, regardless of flaws. Mutual support includes respecting each other’s time and energy. If your partner is always “forgetting” events or leaving you hanging, they do not respect your time. Moreover, if you simply go along with what your partner wants to do, even when it goes against your wishes, this is a sure sign of toxicity. Both partners’ needs are important and valid, they should never be ignored.
While these are not all the signs of a toxic relationship, they are some of the major signs you should look out for. Again, it can be difficult to separate toxic signs from the good aspects of your relationship, thus why so many of us get stuck in toxic relationships.
Why So Many of Us Get Stuck in Toxic Relationships
You may feel like your connection to your partner is like none other. Perhaps you feel like you will never find a connection like this again, thus letting go of the intense passion and connection in front of you would be a big waste. While the love you feel for your partner may be very real and strong, it is not the ‘ultimate’ connection, and letting go doesn’t mean you will never find a strong connection again. In fact, when you let go of a toxic relationship, you are way more likely to find a deeper connection even more genuine and loving. Letting go of toxic love is a crucial step to building a happy life filled with undisputed love.
Before you can find a healthy, loving relationship, you have to lose the fear of being alone. If you are scared of being alone, you are more likely to cling to any connection you can. As a human, it is natural to want a partner, but to base your happiness and worth off someone else is a recipe for disaster. You must be able to find happiness within yourself and not depend on others to provide happiness for you. This leads us to the issue of poor self-esteem. Poor self-esteem can stem from a number of reasons, such as past relationship experiences or traumatic childhood experiences. Poor self-esteem is one of the major reasons we get stuck in relationships that do not suit us. It is imperative that you identify the reason behind your low self-esteem and work to correct it and build up your self-esteem in order to thrive.
Finally, you must be willing to break the cycle of toxicity. Humans are creatures of habit, therefore we often stay in toxic relationships because they also provide us with a sense of familiarity and comfort. The unknown can feel overwhelming and scary, it can be easier to just let your body go into autopilot and not assess the effectiveness of our routines or relationships. Just because we routinely do something though, doesn’t mean it is right or good for us. There may be a better way of doing something, or a better relationship out there for you, but you must be willing to break free of your routines and explore the unknown to find out.
Steps to End a Toxic Relationship
The first step in ending a toxic relationship is recognizing, and no longer denying, you are in a toxic relationship. Then, make a decision about what you are going to do and stick to that decision. Can you discuss your concerns with your partner and potentially come to the agreement to seek professional help in order to repair your toxic relationship? If not, it is time to stop fighting for the relationship and let go. Again, do not go back and forth on your decision. It is normal to miss someone after making the decision to leave, but do not let that pull you back in. Remember, your decision to leave was made to better you and your life.
Next, it is important to surround yourself with positivity. Spend time with people who make you feel good and do the things that bring you joy. Practicing self-care after leaving a toxic relationship is key to rebuilding yourself. Repeat kind affirmations to yourself daily. Also, do not try to pack your days too full, allow time for rest because it takes a lot of energy to go through the withdrawals of leaving a toxic relationship. It is helpful to lean on your support system during this time. Have a friend or family member that you trust keep you accountable and help support you when you are down. It may help to cut ties with your former partner completely, at least while you are healing. This will lessen the temptation of running back to your toxic relationship. Speaking with a professional can also help you heal.
How Therapy Can Help
Seeing a professional who specializes in relationship therapy can help you in a variety of ways. A therapist will help you develop healthier relationship patterns and work through the grieving process after leaving a toxic relationship. They may also bring clarity to your current relationship and help develop a personalized plan to remove yourself from toxicity. At Life Balance Therapy, Chriselda Santos is dedicated to building upon your strengths and capabilities to help you foster healthy change and growth. She understands the effects a toxic relationship can have on someone and the hardships you may face after deciding to leave. If you are interested in booking an appointment, or wish to learn more about Chriselda’s therapy techniques, visit her website.