Toxic Relationships: Escaping With Your Soul
Previously, we talked about how important relationships are. However not all relationships are beneficial to us. At some point we all have to deal with toxic relationships in our lives. As beneficial as healthy relationships are in our lives, toxic relationships are that detrimental to us.
Toxic relationships are not limited to just romantic relationships. Relationships between friends, family, or romantic partners can all become toxic.
What Makes a Relationship Toxic?
A toxic relationship is any relationship that is detrimental to at least one of the parties involved. This often comes in the form of abuse, either physical or emotional. Codependency, narcissism, addiction, neglect, jealousy, and passive-aggression are just a few of the things that lead to toxic relationships. All of these traits are harmful to a relationship if either partner displays them.
Toxic relationships often seem one-sided. One partner dominates the relationship while the other is subservient to their wants.
How to Get Out of a Toxic Relationship
There are two ways to end a toxic relationship: counseling or escape.
A toxic relationship can only be saved if both parties realize that there are issues and that they need help to overcome them. This often involves some type of counseling. In instances of physical abuse and drug dependencies, it may involve rehabilitation to resolve the issues in the abusive party’s life.
Many times toxic relationships can only be ended by escape. Typically, when the abused person realizes that they deserve better treatment, their abuser will deny that they have an issue while trying to keep control over their victim. The only recourse is to end the relationship, and sometimes escape from the relationship is a literal escape.
Why Do People Fall Into Toxic Relationships?
In dealing with my own toxic relationships and talking to other people about their’s, there is a commonality that I have seen. People on the outside tend to react in two different ways. They are either supportive of the person whose toxic relationship is killing them, or they are incredulous as to how someone can end up in that situation in the first place.
It is easy to be critical of someone’s actions when they are in a toxic relationship. This is especially true of people who have never experienced one first hand. It is easy to critically judge someone when you haven’t lived in their shoes.
As someone who has been in a few toxic relationships, when I see or hear other people’s experiences, I am sympathetic. Even though a lot of people see certain events unfold like a cliché in a horror movie, when you are living it you don’t see it that way. Often, people in toxic relationships have blinders on, preventing them from seeing how their relationship is killing them. Often these blinders are in the form of insecurities, low self-esteem, and fear of loneliness.
Both people in a toxic relationship may very well see their actions as actions of love. Maybe one person’s love or fear of loneliness or low self-esteem keeps them with someone who is abusive or narcissistic or passive-aggressive. Often the victim in those circumstances rationalizes their partner’s actions. The abusive partner’s actions may very well act to reinforce those fears.
How Do Relationships Grow Toxic?
There are many scenarios that can cause a relationship to become toxic. I’ve used the terms abuser and victim, but this may not always be how the roles play out in a toxic relationship. Yes, there are times where one person is fully responsible. But many times, both people are at fault, as the victim often is an enabler for their partner’s behavior.
This is why both people need to seek help if they want to detoxify a relationship. Where the faults of an abuser or addict are obvious, the enabler or codependent partner’s issues are not always apparent. Both individuals should work to resolve their own issues. Even if the relationship does not survive the rehabilitation, at least both people can walk away knowing that they tried their best and that their future relationships will be better for it.
Teaser: Next time we’ll talk about getting physical.