Just typing the words Toxic Relationships gives us the chills and not the “Oooooh Netflix just dropped the newest season of my favorite show” type of chills! It is the type of chills that comes from being either a survivor or a current victim and neither are cheer inducing. When you picture the word Toxic, what comes to mind? We picture trash, poison, the skull and crossbones image, and maybe chernobyl. Incidentally when we look back on our own toxic relationships, vastly the same images come to mind.
Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles, and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters.
-John Mark Green
What is a Toxic Relationship?
*Any relationship, both romantic or plutonic, that causes you to feel:
*That you are never good enough
*As if you are in a constant competition and can never win
Humans crave intimacy, it is science and biology at work, add to this the steady stream of Disney, Hollywood movies, TV shows and Romance Novels, we go out into the world expecting to find our perfect sidekick friend, a teacher that inspires our life, parents who love us no matter what (except if you are a step mother and then well…), siblings who are our best pals, a partner that adores us and a boss who mentors us and is slightly quirky.
What a bill of goods we have been sold! Maybe we should have watched more thrillers and horror movies because real life is nowhere near as perfect as we expected it to be! There are people out there who profess to love us and then when we are caught in their perfectly laid trap, their mask slips and we realize this relationship is far from healthy, in fact it might be, GASP, Toxic!
So maybe our first thought is to turn to Google, which might lead us to SupportGroups and we write a post:
My Best Friend for years always talks about herself and puts me down constantly, is this normal?
My partner seems like they never want me to succeed, when something bad does happen they are actually happy, is this something I should worry about?
My parents and siblings gang up on me, they belittle me, they are selfish and well I never thought this was abnormal until I spent a week with my friend’s family and they were so nice, they complimented, listened, they even asked my opinion, I wanted to cry! Why are my family not like them?
The answer to all of the above, not normal, yes you should worry and this is a toxic relationship.
Toxic relationships are much more common than we would like to think and when we were raised in a toxic environment our risk of continuing the cycle in adulthood is almost guaranteed, unless we actively do something to stop the cycle from repeating.
Just because someone is your family doesn’t mean you have to keep them around if they are toxic or abusive. Don’t let people guilt you.
In a perfect world, ending a Toxic Relationship would come about 5 seconds after you realize you are in one, but that isn’t realistic, especially when you are married or a child, or dependent on the job with the devil spawn boss.
This doesn’t mean you are without options, we would never leave hanging on by a thread of despair! Here are some realistic steps you can take to survive until you can safely walk away:
*Make your self care and mental health care a priority
*Find a good support group (here and/or elsewhere)
*Surround yourself with people who put you first and have your back
*Confide in a spiritual leader, friend or teacher you trust
*Discuss couples therapy if appropriate
*Walk away when you feel ready and feel safe doing so
Losing will not always amount to a loss, sometimes you have to lose those toxic relationships and bad habits to create a space for better things.
-Gift Gugu Mona
Just know that most of us have been in at least one Toxic Relationship in our lifetime. This is not your fault, you did not cause it, you are not the reason why they are like this and nothing you do or say EVER validates abuse.
You are amazing.
You deserve good things.
You deserve to be safe.
You deserve to be loved.
Wishing you support and boldness.