You’ve been in toxic relationships without even realizing it.
I have too. I believed love was meant to be painful, sacrificial, something that will often make you cry into your pillow late at night. That’s what the movies told you anyway.
Compromise, re-adjust your needs, think twice before speaking, say no to things you desperately want to say yes to. I did all of it in my toxic relationships. You do it too.
Here’s the thing, though; it doesn’t have to be like that. Love shouldn’t have to be painful. While you should be open to healthy compromise, constantly going out of your way for another person while sacrificing your own happiness is not part of the deal.
Here are a few ways to tell if you’re in a toxic relationship. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s high time to make some changes.
. . .
“You should break up with me.”
After arguments, disagreements, they always hit you with the, “you should break up with me,” or worst, they threaten you and say, “I’m going to break up with you.”
If they truly love you and want to be with you, why would they even bring that up? Psychologist Darlene M. Corbett says in Bustle,
Comments like this one are a manipulation tactic meant to slowly erode your sense of security and self-esteem.
If you’re in a relationship where your partner always brings up breaking up or threatens you with leaving, that is a one-way street to disaster.
Not only will you constantly live in fear that your partner will leave you, but you’ll always feel insecure about the status of your relationship. Everything you do will make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells.
“If I say this, will they think it’s an insult? Will they end it?”
“If I say I want to have a night with my friends, are they going to feel like I’m choosing someone else over them? Will it make them angry? Will that result in them leaving?”
“If I admit something they’ve been saying to me has been bothering me, will they yell at me?”
When I was a lot younger, I dated a guy who made me think about each of those thoughts. I was young. I wanted a boyfriend.
The guy I met seemed nice and was extremely attractive. He devoted all of his attention to me initially, which didn’t happen often. I wanted to make it work, I really did. This is why I stayed despite how often he would threaten to leave.
I constantly felt emotionally drained after spending time with him. There were times he would say things that were so rude that it made me feel like the gum you stepped in on the sidewalk.
It’s literally impossible for anything positive to come out of a relationship that drains you and is so negative. If you feel like you’re in the same boat, it’s time to re-evaluate.
It’s better to be alone than be with someone who makes you feel alone.
. . .
They’ll skip plans, cancel plans, fail to return calls/texts; who knows when you’ll hear from them again.
We’ve all dated people who are bad texters or are simply bad at getting back to us. That’s okay, it happens, text or call me when you’re free.
We’ve also dated people who will, every now and then, cancel plans out of nowhere. It’s alright; maybe something popped up. It happens, raincheck.
The problem is when it starts to happen frequently, and you’re sitting in your kitchen downing a bottle of wine, wondering what the heck your partner is up to and why they haven’t called you in three days.
We’re grown-ups; you don’t need to wait a certain period of time before texting them back. Life is too short, and if your partner is constantly skipping out on you, that’s just a sign that they’re not interested in you nor your feelings.
Their behavior is only making things worst for you because you end up being the one who ends up feeling sad, hurt, frustrated, and having to go to your local grocery for another bottle of wine at 11 pm.
It’s time to start choosing yourself, get rid of the people who make you question their feelings towards you.
There’s someone out there who will always, without fail, choose you and make you feel seen and wanted.
. . .
“I acted this way because you made me mad.”
I’m sorry, what?
You’re a grown adult; you are in full control of your reactions, and to claim otherwise is silly.
Picture this: Here you are, trying to resolve your problems with your partner, and before you know it, the conversation has escalated from you resolving it to you having to defend yourself because you made them upset.
Meanwhile, your initial problem is swept under the rug for another day and another time.
Blame is an extremely toxic thing in any sort of relationship; it can make you feel small and like nothing you do is ever good enough. Instead of blaming one another, you need to communicate why you felt a need to lash out.
When I was 17, I dated a guy who reminded me of my father. He had anger issues, was extremely insecure but was beautiful otherwise.
Anytime we would get into a disagreement, he would lash out in the most horrific of ways. I would constantly cry myself to sleep after reading the harmful texts he would send me, and then I would wake up to things like,
“I’m sorry. I acted this way because you made me mad.”
I get it, we were both young and incapable of controlling our emotions, but it’s really no excuse to belittle your partner and put the blame on them or anyone.
You’re in charge of yourself and your emotions, and allowing them to get out of hand is completely your own fault.
A good and healthy relationship improves the quality of your life; it’s not meant to make it feel more messy or painful.
Life already has enough problems on its own; you don’t need to add another one to the pile.
. . .
All relationships are challenging in their own ways.
The difference between a toxic and healthy relationship is that a toxic one will always blame you. It’ll belittle you. Make you feel less than.
A healthy relationship prioritizes each individual. Your needs are just as important as the other individuals.
You don’t sweep issues under the rug; you resolve them. You don’t bail the second something feels off; you address the issues as one.
If you find yourself experiencing anything mentioned above, it might be time to re-evaluate your relationship.
Staying in a toxic relationship isn’t worth your mental, emotional nor physical health. There are people out there who would jump at the opportunity to be with you.
It’s time to stop settling for less than you deserve.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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