When it comes to relationships - whether it's romantic, platonic, family, or even work - it can be difficult to look past the potential and see the reality.
Often, we judge our relationships by what they could be rather than what they really are (which could explain all the times we find ourselves in relationships where we try to "fix" or "help" the other person).
While these traits can be a positive, helpful, and healing experience in a healthy relationship, the same does not apply if your dynamic is harmful.
These could be our relationships to our bosses, our best friend, our parent, or our partner. It can be hard to spot, but a helpful quote to remember is: "The moment that you start to wonder if you deserve better, you do."
A toxic relationship can have a profound impact on our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. It can affect our self esteem, our lifestyle, and even our relationships with others.
That’s why it's essential to recognise the signs of a toxic relationship early on so you can make the necessary changes to protect yourself. This can be as simple as setting stronger boundaries, creating distance, or removing yourself from that relationship permanently.
We've created The Toxicity Test, a series of 7 questions to help you identify a potentially poisonous relationship you may have in your life.
Ask yourself the following questions, and answer as honestly as possible:
Do I find myself in a constant state of conflict or turmoil, or feel like I am always walking on eggshells?
Is my partner constantly criticising me, either directly or indirectly? This type of behaviour can erode your self-esteem and leave you feeling unsupported and unloved.
Does my partner try to control my actions, decisions, or thoughts? Do they use guilt or manipulation tactics to get their way?
Does my partner respect my boundaries or dismiss my feelings? A healthy relationship requires mutual respect and understanding.
Is there physical, emotional, or psychological abuse? This is one of the clearest indicators of a dangerous relationship. Ask yourself, does my partner use physical violence, or engage in emotional or psychological abuse, such as gas-lighting or intimidation? If yes, it's essential to seek help immediately.
Do I feel like I can't function or make decisions without my partner's approval? Do I find myself constantly sacrificing my own needs and wants?
Do I feel like I can't leave the relationship? Do I fear the consequences of ending it?
If you recognise any of these signs in your relationship, it's important to seek support and help. While it can be helpful to reach out to a trusted friend or family member, the most impactful approach to navigating complicated relationship dynamics is through the help of a licensed therapist, counsellor, or social worker. You can book your free 15 minute consultation with our expert here.
Alternatively, you can find free resources on this topic and others at The Project Of You.
Remember: It's never too late to make a change and reclaim your happiness.
If we look at quotes from the experts, recognising the signs of a toxic relationship is the first step towards a final goodbye to abuse, breaking free from it. By being aware of the warning signs, you can protect yourself and seek the help you need to build a healthy and fulfilling relationship.