It's a very common refrain: human relationships are "hard work". Misunderstandings are normal and there can be clashes that are more or less difficult to overcome. However, there may be cases, in a person's social and couple life, in which it is necessary to understand whether a relationship has become - or has always been - toxic. Time magazine interviewed two experts in the sector: here, according to them, is what is important to know about toxic relationships and how to understand if you are in one of them.
In this article
- What is a toxic relationship?
- What makes a relationship toxic?
- What are the warning signs of a toxic relationship?
- What to do if you realize you are in a toxic relationship?
What is a toxic relationship?
The doctor Lillian Glass, a California-based communications and psychology expert, claims to have used the term "toxic relationship" in her 1995 book, Toxic People. For Glass "toxic is any relationship between people who do not support each other, where there is conflict and one tries to weaken the other, where there is competition, where there is disrespect and lack of cohesion ". According to the scholar, a toxic relationship is very unpleasant for the people inside it, to the point that the discomfort and negative moments definitely outweigh the positive and joyful moments.
Plus, the doctor Kristen fuller, a California-based mental health physician, argues that toxic relationships are mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically harmful to one or both participants.
And these relationships don't have to be a couple: even friendly, family and professional relationships can be toxic.Read also: Life as a couple, 11 tips from a dad to his son
What makes a relationship toxic?
Fuller makes it clear that people who cause harm to their partner - intentionally or unintentionally - often have a motivation for their behavior, even if it's subconscious. "Maybe they were in a toxic relationship in the past, either as a couple or as a child. Maybe they didn't have a tender and loving upbringing. They were probably bullied at school or maybe suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness, such as depression. anxiety, bipolar disorder or an eating problem. In short, any form of trauma ".
Read also: What to do if you are dealing with a narcissist
What are the warning signs of a toxic relationship?
The more serious warning signs include any form of violence, abuse or harassment: these should be addressed immediately. But, in many cases, the indicators of a toxic relationship are more "subtle".
"The first, and the simplest, is theunhappiness persistent, "Glass says. If a relationship stops bringing joy and instead makes you feel sad, angry, anxious, or resigned, it could be toxic. You could also find yourself very envious of happy couples.
Even negative changes in mental health, personality or self-esteem are all "red flags" according to Fuller. These changes could be identifiable in clinically diagnosable conditions (depression, anxiety or eating disorders) or in nervousness and in discomfort, especially when you are with your partner.
"You might also feel uncomfortable doing things in your spare time, because you feel like you have to take care of your partner all the time," says Fuller. "You cross the line when you no longer have your individual self and offer everything to your partner."
Finally, Dr. Fuller also states that the concerns of family or friends they should be taken seriously, especially since people who are in toxic relationships are often the last to realize this.Read also: How not to hate your husband after children: 10 very useful tips
What to do if you realize you are in a toxic relationship?
If any of those "red flags" seem familiar to you, it's time to act! If you believe you are in physical danger, please contact police.
Whether the damage is emotional or mental, you need to understand and decide if the problem can be solved. If the underlying triggers (depression or trauma) are affecting one or both of the behaviors of the individuals in the couple, know that the therapeutic or medical treatments they can help.
Dr. Glass says that getting to the root of the problem is important, but sometimes that's just the answer to end the relationship and to walk away. "I strongly believe that we need to try to resolve and understand why the person is toxic. You may be able to live with it, but it is also possible that this is not feasible," says Lillian Glass. "If this is not possible, it is necessary to get out of the relationship".
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Questions and answers
What makes a relationship toxic?
Toxic is any relationship between people who do not support each other, where there is conflict and one tries to weaken the other, where there is competition, where there is disrespect and lack of cohesion.
What's the first sign of a toxic relationship?
The first, and the simplest, is persistent unhappiness. If a relationship stops bringing joy and instead makes you feel sad, angry, anxious, or resigned, it could be toxic.
Updated on 28.08.2022TAG:
- couple relationships
- toxic relationships
- toxic people