When I publicly posted a question on what people think about toxic relationships and friendships, the number of replies I got regarding the same made me sad, when it was supposed to help me get a perspective in the first place. Let alone the fact that I related my experiences with most of what others told me, there were a variety of answers and that simply meant the different kinds of toxic behavior these people had come across. Most importantly, it gave me a reality check on some of the toxic traits that I possessed. I’m sure that anyone reading this will realize how this is a repetition of what we’ve been reading and listening to all the time. But, I have to do this for me at least.
Since there is no better way than laying down my points without making it sound like I am the only victim here, I’m going to give you a number of pointers to identify a toxic relationship/friendship :
- Forced Consent
When you know you don’t agree to do something that the person you are dating wants you to do, be it accepting gifts, spending money on you or getting into a physical activity, but you have to say YES for their sake, you should know that it is nothing but a forced consent. If it doesn’t take you more than a second to say NO to something, and unless you choose to change your mind without having persuaded to, then you’re not actually agreeing to do whatever your partner wants you to agree to. Sometime you choose to give in to what your partner wants when the relationship is new and you don’t want to disappoint them. But remember, FORCED CONSENT is the first among many signs of a toxic relationship. Learn to say NO before it is too late.
- Ignorance, Non responsiveness, Undermine your problems
When you feel choked from all that you’ve been carrying within yourself because whenever you tried to open up with your partner, they either ignored you or were not responsive enough to what you wish to share with them. Being self occupied and busy is understandable, but it is not impossible to make time for your loved ones if they need you badly. Very often they may undermine your problems and make it look like what they are dealing with is much greater than what you have to deal with. Individual struggles are common but invalidating one person’s struggle just because your problems feel bigger than theirs is TOXIC. Remember, if one person is drowning in a pool and another one in a sea, it doesn’t really make a difference at the end.
The definition of Gaslighting is as follows :-
“Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem. “
This is often adopted when your partner wants to get out of the relationship, but in order to make it look like it’s your fault that the relationship fell apart, they manipulate you into questioning your own sanity. Blaming you for your mental health and making almost everything look like your fault. It may not always be used to end the relationship, but also as an escape reason when they mess things up. You may end up feeling like you are walking on eggshells when you’re with them and try your best to restrict yourself and your feelings for the uncertainty in your partner’s reaction.
Remember, your mental health should be your priority and anyone who fails to help you through your mental struggles and instead blames it on you is not worth your time or energy.
- Physical Abuse
The first and the only time I had to face physical abuse was three years ago. It was the only time it happened, but it still is no excuse to how mad that person was at me.
Very often, I’ve seen people tolerating being beaten up, scratched or bitten by their partner in various circumstances. It makes me feel uncomfortable how one person thinks they have the privilege to physically harm another person in the name of love!
This topic is a very sensitive one. I know how hard it is to put it into words because of the trauma it left in me. It gets worse when your abuser openly denies that they tried to harm you. Over and over again.
There is no excuse to tolerating physical abuse. Report it. The sooner the better.
- Lack of Privacy , Trust Issues
“ It’s basically like an adult supervision on an adult”
If you are an adult and are capable of making your own decisions in life, you absolutely DO NOT need another adult supervising you or wanting to know anything and everything about your life. If you choose to set a password for your mobile phone, and if you don’t wish to share it with anyone, your partner cannot demand you to share your password with them. Nor can they go through your personal chats, photographs or emails against your will just because they don’t trust you. If the person doesn’t trust you with your friends (be it same or opposite gender, depending on your sexuality) and finds ways to keep you from them, do not discard this kind of behavior by convincing yourself that them being jealous is cute!
The right person will make sure you never feel detached from your close friends and will communicate with you in a healthy manner if at all they feel insecure.
Now that a big load is off my chest, I feel lighter and I hope this helps someone out there too. I may not have covered all the points, but again, talk to your close ones if you feel like there’s something wrong with the people in your life or the way they treat you. Try your best not to bottle up everything because honestly, when the jar breaks it’s going to hurt you more than anything.
Credits : To all those who helped me look at various perspectives. To all those who helped me with these points. To all those who decided to open up and to all those who were there to listen when my voice needed to be heard ❤