Certain behaviors are incompatible with a healthy relationship, be it a friendship or romantic. Relationships that are the most debilitating and unhealthy give you the feeling that you’re not being taken care of spiritually, mentally, or physically. At least, not in the ways you should.
I think we’ve probably all been in those relationships where we just don’t feel like ourselves. It’s almost like your authentic self is withering away while you try to appease the other person with a faux version of you. We give away our power to other people sometimes, and becoming someone another person wants us to be rather than the person we are is giving them ALL the power.
The word “toxic” means something drains the life and energy from someone. When you’re in a toxic relationship, you grow weaker and more feeble as you subject yourself to the whim of the person you’ve given your power. That desire to be agreeable is actually suffocating the real you!
All relationships can open our eyes to new perspectives and expand our awareness of society, but some relationships simply shut you in and hinder your development. Certain people are not assets in your life; some are liabilities. Your intuition tells you this, but we don’t always listen, do we? Sometimes the voice inside our head saying change and growth is good can be stifled by self-judgment and fear instilled by those in our lives. It is when you realize this voice is a good thing, however, that you also recognize that you cannot develop healthy relationships before first cutting off these unhealthy ones.
Now there are a few signs to decide whether or not your relationship with another person is toxic. The obvious signs are physical, emotional, or verbal abuse, cheating, lying, and stealing. However, a toxic relationship is any one which causes you to feel isolated, sad, trapped, criticized, or afraid.
Sometimes this means that you feel you can never do anything right. Your friend or partner constantly put you down as not good enough. This sort of treatment might even lead you to begin acting the judging person and acting in ways not true to your character. Or you may simply go into a shell and try to hide the personality traits being mocked and become only part of the person you truly are.
Another sign is when you feel uncomfortable simply being yourself around the other person. You can’t speak your mind, you can’t participate in the things you love, you can’t go to the places you love, you can’t chew the type of gum you like, etc. When you have to put on a different face just to be accepted by this person, then something in the relationship is wrong.
The biggest sign to me is when everything is about the other person, and never about you. Have you ever heard the song “I Wanna Talk About Me” by Toby Keith? Yeah, it’s great to talk about other people and learn what’s going on in their lives, but you have feelings too! Listen to the conversations you have with this person. If the conversation is completely one-sided — meaning your opinions are not being heard, considered, or respected — then the other person does not care about your side. If they don’t inquire about you and your life, then why keep caring about theirs? This behavior just leaves you feeling isolated.
The reason a toxic relationship is not ideal for anyone is because it does not allow you to grow or change. Is the other person encouraging and supporting your efforts to grow and improve yourself? Evaluate the relationship and be honest — what is the worth of this relationship to you?
Embrace the answers that come from your intuition. Your own conscience is going to want what’s best for you, unlike the friend or partner of your toxic relationship. Don’t sit in an uncomfortable or unsettling relationship until the effects of isolation and sadness push you into a depression. Take deliberate action according to your gut feeling. You won’t be sorry.