What is a Toxic Relationship?
A “Toxic relationship” is a love relationship where your entire physical, emotional, and mental well-being is disturbed. This relationship can be defined through the experience of “walking on eggshells” or describing your partner as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” – you never know who you’re going to get! Dr. Jekyll is charming, fun and outgoing to the community, and Mr. Hyde is the hidden, angry, destructive personality type you have to deal with behind closed doors. If you have intense fear, anxiety or depression when your partner drinks alcohol, ignores you, screams or lashes out in anger to control you, criticizes or blames you; then this is a toxic relationship.
Negative stress over time releases toxins throughout our bodies. When we are being abused, our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode. Eventually, the immune system wears down, making it difficult to fight colds, flu, and other diseases; often bringing imbedded viruses to the surface, or even create new ones – such as Epstein Barr Virus (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
Other physical ailments can include migraines, stomachaches, and extreme fatigue. You could suffer with symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, emotional withdrawal, and low self-esteem. These issues then affect your ability to perform intellectually, socially, and professionally.
Another form of conflicting relationships is one with a commitment-phobe. Initially very charming, romantic, and pleasing, the moment you get too connected, this person panics and either starts sabotaging the relationship with irrational fighting, destructive actions, or flees altogether. He soon resurfaces and begs for forgiveness using the cheap dramatics of tears, flowers, or other niceties to win you back. It is a vicious, toxic cycle. The emotionally healthy partner often becomes consumed by analyzing what she did wrong, how to improve herself or make her emotionally manipulative partner less angry.
Can this be fixed? My new book, LOVE Beyond your Dreams – Break Free of Toxic Relationships to Have the Love you Deserve, is due out late fall and goes into the toxic personality types and explains the behaviors that are red flags early on that you need to watch before getting too involved with someone. It later explains whether your relationship dynamic can be fixed, how to heal from toxic love, and finally, how to find an emotionally healthy, evolved partner. Creating an evolved relationship with your partner is covered in my current book, Live Beyond Your Dreams – from Fear and Doubt to Personal Power, Purpose and Success, now available at Barnes and Noble and on www.amazon.com.
Each person brings into a relationship his dynamics from the past; how his parents raised him, if he was a child of an addicted parent, or he was emotionally, verbally or physically abused or neglected/abandoned – they all play a part. The abusive partner must enter into psychotherapy to examine his past and what he must do to fix his dysfunctional habits. However, often the toxic partner refuses counseling because he doesn’t think he does anything wrong. This denial is extremely strong and can last throughout his life. He may enter counseling briefly just to “win the partner back” after an affair or other grave miss-justice. Rarely does the partner change his basic abusive tendencies, and the dysfunction is bound to cycle again.
The emotionally healthy partner has two choices – either enter into therapy herself to learn appropriate ways to deal with the abusive partner, or ideally, to become strong enough to move on to a new, healthier, more peaceful and loving relationship.
An ideal relationship is one where both partners have a full life of his own; one is not overly dependent on the other for his source of happiness. When you become codependent on another person, you want him to make you happy. Happiness and a sense of self-esteem can only come from within; when you develop and nurture your spiritual purpose for being here in this world, and you do some type of work to perpetuate that purpose.
It is important to be one another’s best friend to share our hopes and dreams, to celebrate our accomplishments, and discuss our fears during the tough times. But, you are NOT looking to him to solve your troubles, take away your challenges, control your decisions, tell you what you can or cannot do, or to rescue you from your daily unhappiness. That is YOUR responsibility, and if you need help from a Coach, get it.
The bottom line is, do not suffer in a Toxic Relationship! You Must Love Yourself More and break free from Toxic relationships to have the love you deserve!