Signs Of a Toxic Relationship: The term ‘toxicity’ has gained a common parlance in reference to a negative and harmful relationship. An admirable relationship is certainly what all persons desire to have, but not all persons are fortunate to have one. Relationship has to do with managing the interests of two adults in such a manner that conflict is reduced to its barest minimum.
Most often, you get to know more about someone when you have close dealings with them. Relationship is one of such close dealings that get you to see all aspects of a person. Things are usually smooth and sweet at the initial stage. It is certain, however, that a number of things may go sour in the long run, thereby testing compatibility of the partners through their ability to manage their interests.
At what point can it then be said that a relationship has become toxic? Toxicity can arise from either of the parties to a relationship. The paramount way of curbing toxicity is by realizing and accepting the fact that toxicity can come from you. In other words, you too can become toxic. This will enable you become self-aware and intentional about avoiding acts that may constitute toxicity. Toxicity can even arise from passive acts and honest omissions from either or both of the parties. Toxicity can also be faulted from both partners, and not necessarily one of them.
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Top 12 Signs That Your Relationship Is Toxic
1. Persistent criticism: Criticisms can be positive or negative. Even a constructive criticism can be negative too; and when it is negative it simply translate to toxicity. Relationship is an avenue for the partners to encourage themselves and bring out the best in each other.
While criticisms are allowed, normally, persistent criticism is not encouraged for it tends to kill self-worth of the person being persistently criticized. One may choose to refer to this as nagging. It also follows, for when one continuously complain annoyingly about insignificant things, it may translate to toxicity. This is however, not a way of excusing or disregarding the impact of little things in a relationship. A thin line therefore exists here.
2. Domineering attitude: In relationships, partners are to be seen as equal. Neither of the parties should have possessive attitude unto the other. Both parties should be seen and be heard, and not to be placed underneath the other. That is the beauty of relationship.
When either of the partners has domineering tendencies and actually does exert such possessiveness on the other, it is a clear sign of toxicity. One ought not to be enslaved or be denied of his or her liberty and right to make choices because he or she is in a relationship. Being conditioned in such circumstance is a clear sign of possessiveness, which translates to the fact that the domineering person does not want the other to grow and have an independent life.
3. Jealously: While jealousy is inevitable in a relationship usually because of fear of losing a partner to another, it is a very swift way of somersaulting into toxicity. It is also a direct ticket to possessiveness. Jealousy entails the feeling manifested through acts of suspiciously guarding towards a lover or spouse from fears of infidelity.
It also entails the feeling of resentment towards someone for a perceived advantage or superiority which they hold. To be in check, one must always be reminded that his or her partner has an independent life outside the relationship. Jealousy is a toxic trait and can lead to an end of a good relationship.
4. Silent treatment: Misunderstandings and uncertainties will always occur between partners in a relationship. Of all coping mechanisms one may resort to, giving your partner silent treatment should be out of the box. Silent treatment is a selfish act.
It is in fact toxicity simplified. One would realize that the more silent treatment is being dished out, the more the relationship tears apart.
5. Distrust: It is imperative to point out that you have no reason being in a relationship with someone you do not trust. Absence of trust is toxicity defined. It simply translates to the fact that you desire to keep someone who you never stand any chance of trusting beside you for an undefined time. Put in another way, that your partner stands in as a continuous threat to you and as such, remains a suspect in all ramifications.
That’s not love, for love embodies trust. Of course, this is not to disregard the fact that most often, people are not trusted due to their own cause. But having a habit of not trusting your partner, ordinarily, is a sign of toxicity. On the other hand, when your partner does not trust you, it could equally be a sign of toxicity from your own side. Whichever be the case, it depends.
6. Emotional manipulation: Emotional manipulation can come in various ways, such as using your partner’s guilt against him, exploiting his or her weaknesses, and so on, in order to exert control on the person.
The height of toxicity about emotional manipulation is that the victim is uncertain about whether it is right or wrong, and even when there is certainty, the victim is compounded by circumstance and power because he or she has been confined to a disadvantaged position with little or no bargaining power.
7. Physical or verbal abuse: Abuse; be it physical or verbal should have no place in a relationship in the first place. Relationships ought not to be draining. It rather ought to be an arena of strength for both parties.
Both physical and verbal abuse leads to emotional breakdown and poses the risk of loss of life to the victim. The toxicity here is clear and not farfetched, although sometimes, the victims wait to hear directly from heaven (or after their death) before they can walk away.
8. Secrecy: It may be tantamount to toxicity if your partner has the habit of being secretive to you. It simply implies that either or both of the partners are not being open or even real to themselves.
This fans the ember of distrust in a relationship.
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9. One-sided relationship: It is a toxic sign for a relationship to be one-sided and the fault is traceable to your side.
Being one-sided could be in terms of love and affection, willingness and ability to compromise, communication, and so on. One-sided relationship is a no relationship at all.
10. Disrespect, lying and cheating: Relationships are avenues for lovers to treat each other with utmost respect. The absence of respect on either or both parties’ side is toxicity defined.
On the other hand, a lover who lies to the other is completely toxic; same can be said for a cheat.
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11. Avoidance: When a relationship gets to the level where either or both lovers avoid all means of being each other, by giving unfounded excuses and/or a busy attitude, toxicity has ensued.
It simply shows that the partner no longer cares. One would always make out time for the things that matter to him. This is also a sign that the relationship is draining and had gone sour. In such a case, love may be found wanting and nothing is there again to keep the relationship propelling.
12. Not taking responsibility for actions: This can be likened to emotional manipulation although it clearly stands independently. One who is not bold enough to take responsibilities for actions and/or omissions has no business being in a relationship.
This is usually manifested by the act of proving right all the time, persistently making excuses and justifications, and pushing blames on others.
Not every wrong in a relationship constitutes toxicity. In fact, it seems that the threshold for determining toxicity is the degree and frequency at which the acts complained of occur. The above list is not exhaustive but does in one way cut across various links which may amount to toxic behaviours in a relationship.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.