Regardless of the environment in which it takes place (as a couple, family, friendship, work, etc.), toxic relationships are those in which one of the parties ends up emotionally affected .
If you sometimes want to not be with that person because it makes you feel bad, but it is very difficult to end the relationship, then you find yourself in a toxic relationship.
A relationship should mean pleasure, happiness and well-being. In toxic relationships, one or both parties feel unhappy, sad, or anxious most of the time they spend with the other person . This suffering causes great emotional exhaustion .
To avoid confrontations, the person stops expressing the discomfort that certain situations generate. In this way he tries to accommodate the other and little by little he distorts reality.
Everything seems blurred in a thick fog of confusion: you don’t understand how you got to that point, why you feel so bad, at which bend or at which fork you missed the steps and deviated from the path, to end up lost in a landscape arid that you do not recognize as familiar. Excerpt from the book by Lucía Etxebarría «Your heart is not right gives head: How I got out of a toxic relationship»
What traits do people in toxic relationships have in common?
Although each person and each relationship has its peculiarities, we find common aspects in people who maintain toxic relationships. They can be summarized in two: low self-esteem and emotional dependence.
People who are in toxic relationships have a negative perception and assessment of themselves. They have the idea that they cannot continue their life without the other. They underestimate themselves and wonder “who is going to love me?”, “Who is going to take care of me?” All these factors increase the difficulty of forgetting the former partner once the relationship is over.
In this type of relationship, they try to make up for emotional deficiencies, demanding love in an almost addictive way. Expressions such as “I cannot live without you” appear , “without you I am nothing .” Love becomes suffering when it is transformed into need.
In these types of situations, people feel alone and need to have a partner: they are afraid of being alone and of what is to come. Sometimes, out of fear of being alone, we tolerate any relationship, even if it makes us feel bad.
Why are toxic relationships maintained?
First, out of necessity, out of dependency and out of habit. Because that relationship has become our comfort zone. Although unpleasant events take place in it, they are predictable events. Much more than those that could take place if we broke up with our partner. Laziness can get us. Better known bad than good to know.
Also out of fear. To loneliness (remember that, surely, our social ties have weakened considerably). Fear of what they will say, of not finding another person who falls in love with us. We must not forget that toxic relationships can destroy the self-esteem of their members.
Authentic love will grow properly if we show ourselves as we are and accept the other as they are.
This does not mean that we should stay by the side of a person whose personality we do not like. It means that we must be with that person whose way of being we like and we do not want to change.
Toxic Relationship Example: Relationships Influenced By Romantic Love
An example of toxic relationships are those in which there is any type of violence, both physical and psychological . Many people who are immersed in these relationships hide symptoms and this makes it difficult to detect abuse.
In the case of psychological violence , the perception of certain behaviors as abusive can be complicated even for those who are suffering them. This is explained because these behaviors are sustained in culturally accepted aspects: characteristic elements of traditional romantic love.
What is romantic love?
It is that ideal of unconditional love, wonderful and with a happy ending. We have always seen it in literature and in the cinema. We have ended up internalizing it as the perfect love.
Romantic love is characterized by the following points:
1. The relationship is monogamous
In romantic love there is no room for doubts or affection towards third parties. The romantic love is exclusive between two and only two members of the couple.
2. Jealousy is welcome
Jealousy is understood as a sign of true love. The belief lies in thinking that if a person loves us, they have to be concerned with other possible suitors. Including here those who were part of the past. Jealousy begins to lay the groundwork for what will become a toxic relationship.
3. A possessive attitude is established
Either by one or both members of the couple. The other is understood as a private property that can be owned. Many songs are full of examples that give meaning to this characteristic: “that girl is mine”, “I’m only yours” and so on.
The idea that lovers live for each other can lead to isolation. Time with family or friends is reduced by wanting to be with your partner all the time.
Isolation becomes a vicious circle since, once a toxic relationship is detected, the absence of ties outside the couple makes the break even more difficult.
5. Romantic love is unconditional
As I mentioned before, romantic love is unconditional . No matter what the other person does, everything is acceptable and forgivable. Love is above all.
6. Stereotypical relationship
The relationship (when heterosexual) is strongly stereotyped. Men are to behave like gentlemen, open the car door and pay for dinner.
Women have to be docile, fragile and delicate, purely feminine. When one of the two doesn’t live up to the stereotype, romantic love falters. This type of love is based on the permanence of unequal roles for each of its members.
A person who really loves will be willing to change for the other person. As well as giving up his essence and personality to satisfy the wishes of the other. Provided, of course, the other does the same. Once again we find the germ of toxic relationships.
8. The false happy ending
It’s that movie ending, especially an animated movie, that ends in a wedding. As if the wedding were the key point that would ensure the happiness of the couple forever.
9. Love at first sight
And, in addition to all this, love at first sight . It is about that attraction that two people feel as soon as they see each other or shortly after they meet. That infatuation that, erroneously, is classified as love for a person about whom we hardly know anything.
Bottom line: romantic love can be harmful
This ideal of romantic love does not contemplate the need to know the other before starting a relationship. He does not consider the importance of falling in love with a person as he is. Accepting it with its strengths and weaknesses, without pretending to change it.
Thinking that this type of love is the ideal leads us to pretend that we are otherwise. We try to adjust to what the other person expects. Over time this turns against us. We can’t pretend anymore and we show ourselves as we are. We also discovered that our partner was not what we thought. Problems arise.
The romantic love can be very harmful . It can cause us unnecessary suffering when love should be a source of permanent joy.
How to get out of toxic relationships?
Although it is not an easy road, you can get out of toxic relationships. It’s difficult but not impossible.
“The time has come for you to take charge of your life again. You will often feel lonely, sometimes scared, but no price is too high for the privilege of being yourself again. Because to love is not to depend, or to suffer, or to immolate oneself. ” Excerpt from the book by Lucía Etxebarría «Your heart is not right gives head: How I got out of a toxic relationship»
The first thing to keep in mind is that love has limits. The respect and love for oneself should be foremost in any relationship. This is the key.
A good assessment of yourself will allow you to establish healthy relationships on an emotional level . Depending on how I value myself, this is how I will build my relationship with others.
We must bear in mind that nothing binds us to anyone. No one loses anyone because no one owns anyone. The decision to be free is up to us. We decide who we want to be with.
It is important to clarify that freedom implies independence but not indifference. It is a healthy way of relating to others, making those decisions that are more in line with our well-being.
We must also bear in mind that the basis of a relationship is communication . If we can’t tell the other person what we dislike or feel bad about, we can’t maintain a healthy relationship. This communication must always be assertive, respecting the other but also oneself, defending our tastes and opinions.
In a healthy relationship, both parties enrich and grow together, from freedom and independence.
Therefore, the key to getting out of toxic relationships is self-esteem and self-confidence ; that is to say: not forgetting oneself.
The first step in the process is to break with the false security that the relationship makes us feel. We should not be afraid of change. What costs is to take the first step, the others come later.
And remember: healthy relationships are built from the freedom of each of the parties. If you feel that your emotions and feelings depend on what the other person does or says, it is not freedom or love. Getting out of a toxic relationship is something that is in your hands.