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Identifying Toxic Relationships

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A person’s relationships greatly influence their daily life. Supportive relationships with friends and family can help people tackle many stresses and challenges. Doing so provides them with feelings of kinship, trust, and a sense of belonging that carries them over each hurdle. 

Although, toxic relationships can have the opposite effect as these unhealthy relationships take an emotional toll and compromise an individual’s mental and emotional health. Identifying the signs of toxic relationships can empower individuals to distance themselves from these relationships and the unhealthy mental states and self-destructive behaviors they create. 

What Are Toxic Relationships?

Toxic relationships take many forms, and each relationship dynamic will have its own nuance. While the way toxic relationships look will vary, they are all detrimental to an individual’s emotional and mental health. Toxic relationships are any kind of relationship that causes an individual to feel lesser, unvalued, or worse than they otherwise would. These relationships actively detract from a person’s emotional health and can be both mentally and even physically damaging.

Identifying the signs and effects of toxicity in a person’s relationships can best inform them when to distance themselves from these unhealthy situations. Pursuing professional help to navigate the emotional impact of toxic relationships. A therapist can help those coming out of a toxic relationship identify self-destructive beliefs or behaviors that may have arisen in an attempt to self-medicate or cope with these difficult relationships. 

Identifying the Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Identifying the signs of toxicity in any relationship can be challenging. Those engaged in toxic relationships may not be fully aware of its effects on their health, allowing these relationships to continue to be destructive. While the exact way in which a person’s relationship may be toxic can vary, identifying specific signs is the first crucial step towards a healthier future. 

Difficulty Garnering Support

Support is crucial in any kind of healthy relationship. Whether a person is celebrating their accomplishments or navigating difficulties, feeling supported by others is essential. This key part of a healthy relationship may be lacking in toxic relationships. 

For some, the lack of support can come in the form of feeling alone in their struggles or that their needs are somehow less important than another’s. Others may feel that feelings of support are being pushed aside to create an unnecessarily competitive atmosphere. They may find that accomplishments that should be celebrated turn into destructive comparisons. 

Deterioration of Trust

Trust is essential for any healthy relationship but can also be very fragile. Toxic relationships often center around a lack of trust. First, a lack of trust can develop from a toxic relationship through lying – from lying about larger things to even smaller lies that may seem inconsequential. Even small lies make it difficult to trust another, compromising the relationship and casting doubt over every conversation. 

Others may experience a lack of trust from their partner in the relationship. In this situation, a toxic relationship may adopt a controlling atmosphere where a person is not trusted to conduct their own lives or act with their own freedom. This kind of lack of trust can be equally as damaging to a person’s emotional health. It can develop into unjust and intense jealous behavior that creates an even more controlling dynamic. 

Active and Passive Disrespect

Disrespect takes many forms. Overt forms of disrespect can come verbally, such as one person dismissing another’s ideas or the use of belittling language or insults. Disrespect can also manifest as constantly being late to appointments or meetings, and not reciprocating contact. These can all create a difficult dynamic in a relationship where one individual feels disrespected or otherwise “lesser.” 

Communication Difficulties

Communication is the cornerstone of relationships. Toxic relationships often suffer from inconsistent or unhealthy communication. For some, this can be a lack of communication or dialogue that is plagued with sarcasm, dismissive attitudes, or talking over an individual to control the conversation and take away from any serious dialogue. A person may also find themselves dodging calls or texts. They may find themselves avoiding conversations entirely out of a fear that they will devolve into an argument or that they will not be listened to. 

The Effects of Toxic Relationships

The emotional stress of toxic relationships can feel all-encompassing, and it is common to attempt to self-medicate these stresses as a result. The use of drugs or alcohol may be used to process these stresses, while others may develop other self-destructive behaviors like shopping, overeating, or self-isolation

An individual may also compromise their own self-care routines. They may find themselves feeling guilty or embarrassed for pursuing their own interests. Others may adopt self-destructive beliefs, such as a compromised sense of self-worth or self-image. Anxiety, stress, and depression are all common as a result of toxic relationships. While some symptoms of toxicity can be dealt with through conversation, others may need professional assistance to address the emotional traumas left by a toxic relationship and the self-destructive beliefs and coping strategies that developed as a result. 

Toxic relationships take a toll on your mental and emotional health, and identifying the signs and symptoms of a toxic relationship can be challenging. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, located in Santa Ana, CA, we are prepared to help you address the traumas and self-destructive behaviors that manifest as a result of toxic relationships, all while helping you cope with the substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and more that may have developed as a result. From creating personalized recovery strategies to ongoing support, we are committed to helping you embrace a new perspective, filled with genuine support and healthy daily practices to improve your feelings of self-worth and identity. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, or to learn more about the comprehensive programs and recovery options available, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today at (949) 426-7962.


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