We are a society who has become consumed with green living, organic eating, meditation, yoga and there is even this new tiny house movement that has been said to simplify living and reduce stress. While all of those things are great, we often forget about one thing when it comes to attempting to live a healthier, less stressful, simplified life and that’s our relationships. We don’t nurture enough of the right ones and spend too much time hanging on and being loyal to those who are literally affecting our health. Did you know that toxic relationships can lead to stress, anxiety, depression and even medical problems? I was going to quote some fancy article or study to back up this point, but I think many of us can just use our own lives as an example.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]The problem is that we either don’t take enough time to really evaluate the investment and return on investment in our relationships, or we excuse away toxic behavior because it’s often coming from family or who we consider our friends.[/clickandtweet]
Personally, I’m getting so much better at recognizing the toxic relationships in my life and effectively handling them. One of the first steps to effectively handling toxic relationships is to actually recognize when you’re in one. This can be challenging because we often examine the person and not the behavior itself. So, let’s take a moment to look at the symptoms of the toxic relationship disease.
Symptoms of Toxic Relationship Disease
Drama-Filled: You know those relationships that are filled with some kind of constant drama? It might not even be your drama, but somehow you’re always pulled into it. It drains you and you spend most of the relationship being an Olivia Pope fixer than you do actually enjoying the person you’re in the relationship with. This is a symptom of toxic relationship disease.
Can’t Express Yourself: If you’re in a relationship where you can’t seem to ever express your feelings or concerns without that person getting defensive or shutting you down altogether, you’re in a toxic relationship. Healthy communication, especially when it comes to conflict, is an essential part of a healthy relationship.
Always About Them: I’ve definitely been in relationships with friends where everything is always about them. You can’t get a word in edge wise. They never ask about what’s going on in your life and how you’re feeling. When you do happen to get one word in, they find some way to make it about them.
Their Way Or The Highway: A toxic person will often want things to be their way or not at all. They will fight, blame, complain and control to get it, too. Toxic people find it very difficult to compromise.
Say They’re Lifting You Up By Putting You Down: Have you ever heard the infamous words, “I’m just trying to help”? However, it’s often following an insult of some sort or a tantrum because that person isn’t getting his or her way.
No Concept of Loyalty: You never know which way the pendulum swings with this person. He or she may feel like they have great intentions, but always trying to figure out when that proverbial shoe will drop with this person can be mentally and physically exhausting.
Overall, toxic relationships are the exact opposite of healthy relationships. Instead of security, compromise, loyalty and mutual benefit being at the center of the relationship, toxic relationships are filled with insecurity, mistrust, and lack of effective communication. This can lead to anxiety and depression because often times the people we are in toxic relationships with are people who are closest to us. It leaves us feeling like we just have to endure because that’s what we are supposed to do, or we hang on because we fear that letting go means we no longer love them. The truth is you have every right to decide not to endure a negative environment for the sake of your health and sometimes it’s better for you to learn to love from a distance. In my next post, I’ll explain what I do to effectively handle toxic relationships. Until then…