What is a toxic relationship? I don’t have a good definition, but I think if you don’t feel happy, or you do feel diminished, powerless, cheated,… In other words, if you have negative feelings when you’re near the person who is close to you, it may be the sign the relationship is toxic.
Around me, some people told me they are not happy with their significant other. Yet, they are still with him/her. One of my coworkers often complains about her girlfriend, who is bipolar. “I have the feeling to be the one in charge of our relationship, but she’s difficult and don’t want to participate in the activities I offer her. Sometimes, I feel alone, even if she’s next to me” she said. One of my friends often complained about his unhappiness with his significant other. He said she was hysterical, aggressive, mean with his daughter, and unpredictable. He feared her. But even when they weren’t together, he said she intimated him. Eventually, he left her six months ago.
Of course, there are periods where you can feel unhappy because of your significant other. But if these periods begin to be permanent, it may be the warning sign the relationship is toxic.
My friend who left his relationship six months ago avoided her as much as he could by spending a lot of times at work or with his friends. As a result, she got angrier with him, to the point he collapsed after a petty fight with her. But he said he knew from the start the relationship would fail. Yet, he jumped into it. I can’t blame him. I did start relationships knowing it wouldn’t work. I thought love would be enough. What a mistake.
Another sign of a toxic relationship is codependency. if you feel you make a lot of sacrifices for your partner’s happiness, but not getting much in return, it’s the sign of a codependent relationship. The feeling you have the most in such a relationship is anxiety. Some people try to numb this feeling by drinking or taking drugs. “When I met her, she had a bulimia problem, inherited from a conflictual relationship she had with her parents. I thought I could save her” said one of my friends. But as he constantly tried to support her, he grew tired of the relationship, and resentful.
My coworker who complains a lot about her girlfriend will eventually grow tired of her relationship too. She supports her, financially and mentally speaking. As a result, she’s often broke when we go out to a restaurant with our other coworkers. Once, she told us why she was broke all of the time, because her girlfriend is currently unemployed, and she pays for all their expenses. My coworker is sometimes depressed by this. Lately, she’s been caught crying in the bathroom by some of us. I told her she looked unhappy, but she replied she loves her.
When do we need to leave a toxic relationship?
The best way to know is to listen to ourselves. If we try to avoid our partner, that’s a sign. If we keep on complaining about our unhappiness to our friends and family, that’s another sign. If we fear our partner, that’s another sign, and also a warning of an abusive relationship.