Relationships exist in every facet of life and hence have a profound impact on our mental health. Toxicity in relationships can be defined as a combination of behaviours that stems from and results in toxic emotions and toxic thinking. Toxic relationships trap both the victim and the perpetrator in a vicious cycle of stress and negativity in which the victim finds it difficult to extricate from the challenging situation. People with mental health disorders are particularly prone to developing toxic relationships with others since they might be more sensitive to emotional fluctuations.
Toxic relationships are not only limited to romantic relationships as they also exist among friend groups, workplace and families. The perpetrators may be unaware of the detrimental effects they have caused to others simply because they do not acknowledge a healthier way of getting along with others. Under other circumstances, the perpetrator may be deliberately or intentionally hurtful, causing another party to feel singled out and to suffer from a lower self-worth and poorer mental health.
Here are some signs of a toxic relationship, which may be helpful in determining whether you are in a toxic relationship.
- You feel tired and helpless about the relationship.
- You feel like the relationship has taken a toll on your self-worth.
- You feel like you have no time to cater for your own emotions.
- You spent a considerable amount of time trying to change the person or cheer them up.
- You feel irritated, upset or angry after communicating with the person.
- You are not the best self when you are with them.
If these signs are applicable to any of your relationships, you may want to evaluate your relationship with the person. Here are some ways for you to cope with a toxic relationship.
- Change your attitude towards toxic people by realising they are unable to be changed.
- Discuss with the perpetrator about the problem and try to compromise between the needs of both parties. Begin a sentence with ‘I feel’ so the perpetrator will feel less offensive when you speak to them.
- Limit the time spent or the interactions made with the perpetrator.
- Seek help from other friends and family members, and professionals if necessary.