You can google for days searching signs of a bad relationship. You may fit a few of the criteria. And then you rationalise that it might be okay because you don’t fit them all. I know, because I do it too.
If you find yourself asking any question along the lines of is my relationship toxic? then you are experiencing a pretty bad situation.
The problem is, when you find yourself in a bad situation, it is nearly impossible to see clearly. It isn’t just that your partner is toxic; it is that the entire environment in which you exist has become toxic. It affects your ability to think clearly; it affects your self-esteem and your life begins to shrink as you hide the truth from friends and family out of sheer embarrassment over the truth of your relationship.
Watch: Relationship deal breakers. Post continues below.
What toxic really means.
Relationships are by definition, the way in which two people are connected to one another. When it becomes toxic, two people have become dependent on one another for how they feel.
Instead of being self-sufficient and finding their value in the world by what they contribute, they depend on their partner to make them feel good.
In place of a genuine connection between partners, you find manufactured drama. By fighting, toxic partners can feel some emotion for each other by fearing loss of the relationship. This descends into a cycle of bickering and disagreement followed by making up, maybe followed by great sex. Then, just for a moment the relationship feels like true love.
But it never was.
So how do you know if it’s toxic?
Because it happens again. And again.
A relationship that requires an injection of drama to feel connected is a relationship that has no connection. You find yourself trying to calculate what you can do to keep the other person happy. It is a downward spiral where you constantly feel in the wrong.
And in an effort to keep the relationship, you lose more and more of yourself. Your passions disappear. Your sense of self starts to evaporate. Life becomes an anxious, depressing effort and you have no idea how you got there.