Have you ever been in a toxic relationship? No matter how rational you might be, or how highly you value your principles, everyone can find themselves in a situation where infatuation with a person can put everything we’ve ever stood for at risk.
More often than not, our defense mechanisms are adept enough to identify the culprit endangering our core values. However, it can happen that someone who we believe is special gets past our defense and engages us in a vicious cycle of manipulative behavior that we then find difficult to break out of.
Such relationships are extremely dangerous for our emotional and psychological well-being. The first step towards returning to your true self is becoming aware that you’ve found yourself in one.
Read up on the seven typical scenarios of a toxic relationship and make sure you stop it before it turns into an abusive one.
1. You “Understand”
You are the epitome of tolerance and understanding. But is it worth it when your tolerance has been constantly undermined?
If you feel like you’ve been putting up with anything and that your standards about things like showing respect, punctuality and honesty are constantly challenged, your understanding is probably being abused.
No reply for a week? That’s fine. Two hours late to dinner? He must have had a reason. He forgot our anniversary? It’s wasn’t important anyway. Turning the other cheek might be your way of not dealing with being disrespected.
2. Your honesty is always taken tongue-in-cheek
Do you often find yourself sending sincere messages or signals, and receiving sarcastic, disrespectful replies? Does this make you feel rejected and sorry for yourself?
If the answer is ‘yes’, then you definitely are in a toxic relationship. Don’t fool yourself that he doesn’t know what he is doing: this is a manipulative way of keeping you submissive.
3. You always have a ready excuse for them
When your friends or family worriedly question your decision regarding your partner, you always feel the need to defend them:
- “It’s not their fault. They’ve had a lot on their plate lately.”
- “He/she didn’t show up, so what? He/she doesn’t know anyone here.”
- “They want to change but they can’t help it. This is who they are.”
The excuses are endless. The brutal truth is that you are willing to put up with anything to salvage this toxic bond, although you might not want to admit this to yourself.
4. You hold back your true feelings
If their behavior often offends or hurts you, but you always find a way to avoid a confrontation by all means necessary, this is slowly but surely poisoning you.
Far from a fight needing to become a standard dispute-resolving strategy, the other extreme is an equal indicator of the toxicity of your relationship.
5. You often compromise your values
While growing up into adults most human beings adopt a set of moral values that they then use as a blueprint to navigate the rest of their lives.
In toxic relationships, this moral compass goes out the window. If you are doing it, you will inevitably end up finding it difficult looking at yourself in the mirror.
If you are a feminist who finds it acceptable to laugh at a sexist joke or a pacifist who ends up not standing up to violence, you need to break out of this vicious cycle immediately.
6. Nothing is on your own terms
Your whole relationship revolves around your partner, his wants and needs.
The places you go to, the things you do together, the time when you meet up and the people you hang out with are all determined by them. You are a passive participant acting out what you believe is your own life.
7. They are a priority overshadowing everyone and everything else
You often jeopardize the other connections and marginalize other people in your life to provide your partner with exactly what they want.
This often manifests itself through anti-social behavior such as ignoring friends while you are supposed to be spending time with them, canceling already arranged meetings, even making out in the presence of others.
This will invariably lead to social isolation and alienation of the important people in your life.