9 Ways to Identify And Deal With A Toxic Relationship
There are many relationships we carry forward which are doing harm to our self-esteem, peace of mind and happiness in general. These are people who are part of our lives but are making a negative, in fact, toxic contribution to it. Being in such an association for too long could be detrimental to our mental health. It is sad, but required, to identify such associations and weed them out.
The first step is to identify such people and evaluate the nature of your interaction with them. You will notice that there is an emerging pattern in all such negative associations – that they deplete you of your positive energy and vigor.
Here are some signals to watch out for:
- Your needs are not the focus – it is always about them and their needs. You are made to feel less important all the time.
- Insincerity in the behavior – when you share something funny, or emotional or happy, you get an inadequate and insincere response to it. For funny things, only a polite laugh, for emotional matters maybe a quick line to stop you from speaking more about it, and for happy things, a very pessimistic comment that saps your enthusiasm.
- Consuming your time disproportionately – you may be required to put aside even important chores to listen to them or entertain them. Their otherwise minor issues burden you because of long conversations and phone calls.
- You are always at fault – no matter what happens to them, it is somehow always your doing. It could be true for certain occasions, but never always!
- Presenting unacceptable or intimidating propositions – forcing you to compromise under an emotional threat or blackmail so that they can have their way.
- You are never at the receiving end – though you keep giving ever more, it is never sufficient. And there is very little in the name of reciprocation.
- Abnormally possessive – whatever activity you do outside them is viewed as unimportant, or with suspicion, even ridicule at times. Basically, you have no rights outside them.
- Your thoughts and opinions are belittled – you feel stupid for your ideas as they are never appreciated. Your strengths, talents and accomplishments never feature in the relationship. You feel inadequate.
- You find your behavior changing for the worst with some people – in order to cope with such a demeaning arrangement, though it may be very covert, you end up behaving less dignified and immature around them.
- Evaluate your self
What you do around people gives them the courage and the idea of how to use the association with you to their advantage. You must accept that there are mistakes of oversight on your part as well due to which the toxic relation around you engulf you. Watch what you say and watch what you do. Be cautious and do not let people get a chance. If we wish to set things right around you, it has to begin from setting thing right within yourself.
- Evaluate the people in your life objectively
You should never feel the burden of a relationship. And if something causes you to feel that way, it is the unnecessary pressure exerted on you by them. List out all the people you interact with on an average week. Make a note of what good vibrations they bring with them and their limitations.
- Weed out the negative
Now that you have mapped the strengths and a weakness of each of your associations, this step is a natural progression. You must remove the people from your life who lower your self-esteem, disrespect you and in general, do not make you happy. There can be very little reason for you to maintain such relationships. Find ways to gradually cut off ties with such people.
- Reduce your involvement and investment
Since what you have invested in the relationship is not reciprocated, it is natural that you would feel sad about it. What you can immediately do to come out of the feeling is, to stop investing your energy. If you presented a lavish meal every time your associate came in, stop. Order food if completely necessary. If it was long phone calls, tell clearly you have to do something more important. If you needed to accompany them to their place of interest, say you have another engagement.
- Be in control of your emotions
The top method used by toxic people is manipulation. They are quick to identify your emotional needs, weaknesses and insecurities. This is their chief tool. When they see a weak spot in your emotional orientation, they feed their selfish interests upon it. What you can do to prevent yourself from being abused in this manner is by remaining in control of yourself at all times. Do not confide and do not share any information sensitive to you.
- Learn to be with yourself
In addition to being in greater emotional control; another very significant factor you must cultivate is to know how to be happy and content with yourself. Often times, people are restless when on their own. They would rather seek a
dysfunctional association than enjoy the time they have for themselves. They feel being on your own is a stigma which reduces your social acceptance. Basically, they want to be with ‘someone’ regardless of his/her compatibility and eligibility because they do not know how to be with themselves! Forging a relationship under such circumstances leads you to accept a great deal of undeserved negativity in an association. It is far better to be on your own than to demean yourself by pursuing such an association.
- Break the pattern
It does not matter how long you have been in that sort of arrangement where you have made endless sacrifices. You can choose to change it all by changing how you respond. Begin with simple things like choosing your own food, clothes, and watch the movie which you like. If you have always remained quiet for the fear of hurting, respond in a short sentence, express yourself. By all means, do what it takes to not allow the previous pattern to continue.
- Learn to say no
In the beginning, before you realize it is a toxic relationship, you are likely to maintain a very agreeable and adjusting approach. You may be giving, or giving in for the sake of the happiness of the other. You may be yielding to demands which are gradually increasing your inconvenience and lowering your self-respect. Learn to speak up. Learn to say no. Do not allow yourself to be taken for granted.
- Make new associations
Probably the reason we continue in a toxic relationship is because we do not allow ourselves an alternative to choose from. We allow ourselves to be stuck with someone negatively oriented, and consequently we are responsible for creating our own misery. Do not fear that you will not know how to deal with breaking such a relationship. Go out and actively seek new friends. And do so in positive and healthy environments. There is plenty to choose from, for example, join a book club – it will help you bond with people of refined taste and at the same time you gain from reading books. You could reap the benefit of healthy association by simply stepping out in the morning and joining a jogger’s group. This will detoxify you and rebuilds your esteem to help you cope with the situation in a better way. Read more about how to deal with broken relationships.
Simple ways to help you to help yourself:
About The Author
Think Inc. is a leading name in the field of corporate trainings and publication of books on self management, how to keep your family happy, selling & customer service skills.