It’s often hard to tell whether you are in a toxic relationship, especially when you are in love with the other person.
However, a toxic relationship affects your health, your happiness, and your overall wellbeing. There are signs to look out for in your relationships that can tell you if you are in a toxic relationship.
Dr. Kelly Campbell (Ph.D.), associate professor of Psychology and Human Development at California State University, San Bernardino, has some advice of what to look out or in a relationship, what you can do about it, as well as some aftercare:
LOOK FOR THE RED FLAGS
• You feel like you’re always watching what you say, or instead not saying anything in the hope of avoiding a fight because your other half is easily upset and prone to exploding at unexpected times.
• You are always giving everything you can to them, while they only take what you offer and do not give anything in return. “Healthy relationships should not be one-sided,” states Campbell.
• They are competitive, jealous of your success or unhappy whenever you succeed in some way.
• You have no independence, “If your partner needs to know where you are at all times, goes through your phone or computer, and manages and restricts your finances, the relationship is likely toxic,” says Campbell.
• They are abusive towards you, whether emotional or physical.
• You start to feel negative towards each other, you dislike the other person and no longer trust them, you begin to wonder why you ever thought the two of you were a good match.
• You realize they have been lying to you, they are making you feel like you’re going insane, or you find out they have been cheating on you.
• You realize you have begun to see yourself as worthless, or less worthy in any sense.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
• Depending on the severity of your situation, talk to your other half about what is bothering you. If that is not an option, seek immediate help and guidance from a trained professional.
• If you are planning to leave them, talk to your family or a close friend for support, you will need it.
• Do things you love so you can gain back your self-esteem, or exercise to make you feel better about yourself.
• Open a savings account. “Try to put away as much money as possible to prepare for the eventual end of the relationship,” says Campbell.
• Very important – keep records of any violence or threats they might have made towards you.
Once you leave the toxic relationship, you need to reinforce your boundaries and put your happiness first.
Do not communicate with them, and distance yourself as far as possible.
“Spend time with people who love you and who build you up rather than tear you down. You can also spend time with animals since they provide a good model of unconditional love and help alleviate loneliness,” suggests Campbell.
Finally find some hobbies, things you have always wanted to do or try, and just focus on yourself before going into a new relationship.
Dawson, K., 2019. Exactly How to Leave a Toxic Relationship – a Psychology Expert Explains.