We have books on marriage and love giving us a context of how they should be. But when it comes to actually handling the nitty-gritty of real-life relationships we often find ourselves at a loss. There is something called a toxic relationship that constitutes psychological and even physical abuse that many people endure all their life. But don’t let a toxic relationship spoil your marriage you could opt for affordable counselling and discard the toxicity from your relationship.
Relationships are like a lifelong trial-and-error project, and if you are like most normal people then you too might be doing a few things wrong in handling them. We worship the popular notion of romantic love and there lies the problem. It’s a problem because the popular notion of ‘romantic love’ comes with many unhealthy relationship habits that were culturally ingrained into us since forever.
What Is A Toxic Relationship?
You know the irrational, discriminating and objectifying love that we were told is normal and rather endearing. The idea of ‘romantic love’ that makes us break the vase into the wall in a fit of angry tears says it’s okay to manipulate the partner because that doesn’t align with your sense of practicality. As a result, more often than not we tend to behave in ugly ways in the relationship, that we think are normal or romantic, but in reality, it is killing the partnership bit by bit.
In order to explain a toxic relationship we have to explain a healthy relationship first. In a healthy relationship there is sharing and caring and there is a sense of well being and happiness in the other partner’s achievements. There is communication on an equal footing, understanding and an attitude to handle differences amicably. You bloom in a healthy relationship but in a toxic relationship you always feel drained, scared and even feel a loss of self-esteem.
In a toxic relationship one person dominates by emotional manipulation like gaslighting, by inducing guilt and by flying into a temper that could lead to physical abuse. The dominating partner could be over possessive, jealous and could be manipulating you in the name of love and concern.
5 Toxic Things You Should Discard From Your Relationship
Sometimes both partners start doing things that leads to toxicity in the relationship. They end up being aggressive towards each other, bring up old issues in a fight and try to achieve dominance in the relationship by seeking vengeance in the slightest opportunity.
Here are the top 5 most common toxic relationship practices that we indulge in and that we should definitely avoid.
1. Stop keeping score
OK, so he acted like an insensitive little moron at your friend’s birthday party 3 years back, but was it really that big a life-shattering, heart-wrenching event to remind him of that every week since then? Then perhaps one day he sees one of your flirtatious text messages that immediately evokes your right to be mad at him because now he is going to bring that up at every silly little fight to manipulate you too.
Do you see the problem? Keeping score in relationships makes every argument a battle that you try to win by digging the past mistakes. You must stop doing it now.
To avoid toxicity step back
To avoid getting into battle every time you fight till the win, you could do this:
- Step back when in an argument.
- Turn your partner’s attention to other things.
- Stop bringing up past issues.
2. Stop emotional blackmailing
What are the symptoms of a toxic relationship? Emotional blackmail is definitely one. If you are someone who tends to look at every relationship problem as a commitment crisis and brings unnecessary drama then you must take a good look at what you are doing to your partner.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t communicate negative thoughts or concerns to them, but don’t resort to emotional blackmailing to counter every little criticism and complain. Express honestly why you are feeling upset without judgement and threats. It’s a human feeling, no need to bring melodrama in it. This is one of the biggest signs of a toxic relationship.
How to stop emotional blackmail
- It is unfair to curb your partner’s feelings and freedom by always telling them how emotionally upset you are because they are doing this.
- If your partner is emotionally blackmailing you the best way to deal with it is ignore it.
- There is always a manipulative pattern in emotional blackmail that you could gauge and act accordingly.
Related reading: What are the signs that you are in an abusive relationship?
3. Stop holding the other responsible for your emotional state
So you have had a pathetic day at work and all you want to do is come back home and cuddle with your partner. But they have made plans with friends and have gone out. Now, you have not exactly told your partner what you were expecting or feeling, yet assumed that they will magically read your state of mind and will be super-sympathetic to fix your mood.
So the blame game starts. Your partner is not responsible for how you feel all the time and vice versa. It’s a classic example of being in a co-dependent relationship and even all the crappy self-help books say it’s very toxic to be in one.
Own up to your feelings
- Instead of blaming your partner ask yourself why are you feeling this way.
- Depending on your partner for all your emotional needs is a sign of a toxic relationship.
- Have your own emotional outlets. Hit the gym, play sport and have your own circle of friends.
4. Stop displaying jealousy as an act of love
What are the symptoms of a toxic relationship? When you are trying to justify your jealousy as love then it is indeed a toxic relationship. When in a grown-up relationship start acting like a grown-up and realize that jealousy is really not that cute after all.
When your partner talks to, smiles at, touches lightly or even sneezes at any person of the opposite sex and you lash out at them to control their behaviour, it doesn’t show the intensity of your love. It just makes you a crazy person who doesn’t have enough trust in the relationship and likes to invite unnecessary fights to manipulate the other-half.
Don’t let jealousy kill a relationship
- If you cannot control your own jealousy then you are controlling your partner with it.
- A jealous partner will only push away the other partner and make the relationship toxic.
- Build trust and security and if need be seek counselling to deal with your jealousy.
Related reading: How jealousy killed the love which no conspiracy or distance could
5. Stop compensating relationship problems with materialistic happiness
If you tend to make up for a nasty fight by indulging in shopping extravaganza or taking an expensive trip together etc. then you must stop it right now. In real-world, real relationship problems cannot be compensated with superficial pleasures.
Sure an over-the-top gift makes us happy – for like 10 minutes. If it’s a big solitaire then maybe for an hour. But what thereafter? Covering the real issue under the rug doesn’t make the problem go away. Talk it out, instead. Deal with the problem head-on and work towards rebuilding the relationship.
Confront the issues
- Gifting is a way of dealing with emotions in a toxic relationship.
- Communicate your feelings and if your partner is saying they hate your domination take it into account and act accordingly.
- Both partners should see what’s going wrong in the relationship and men their own ways.
So if you think you are doing one or more of these toxic things in your relationship, it’s time to stop doing it before the poison spreads too far.