"Toxic relationship" is a buzzword we've been hearing a lot lately. Dr. Lillian Glass, a California-based communication and psychology expert who says she coined the term in her 1995 book Toxic People, defines a toxic relationship as “any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness.”
From the name alone, you can presume it's something you should run away from ASAP, right? Not necessarily. In fact, sometimes a toxic relationship is actually WORTH saving.
"Relationships end too soon because people stop putting in the same effort to keep you, as they did to win you."
Most Toxic relationships don't start out that way. They're the result of a relationship dynamic that has a fatal flaw both partners are unaware of: Both believe that in a relationship, one person can be responsible for the other person's emotions.
Before you attempt to confront a toxic partner, make sure your self-esteem and self-confidence are good enough for you to know that you will be alright if they end the relationship, or if you end up having to end it with them.
We've all heard about Derrick Jaxn a relationship guru with 1.3 million Instagram followers. He recently confessed to having multiple affairs. Monday Derrick appeared in a video with his wife, Da’Naia Jackson as she held her husband's hand in support of his cheating confession. Jaxn originally claimed he and his wife were separated at the time of the affair, and posted and deleted a video stating he didn’t cheat on her. This was a lie. HE CHEATED. This a great example of dysfunction.
WARNING SIGNS OF TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS
The most serious warning signs include any form of violence, abuse, or harassment, which should be dealt with immediately. If you feel that you’re in physical danger, these next steps ARE NOT for you. Contact the authorities IMMEDIATELY and remove yourself from any harmful situation.
In many cases, the indicators of a toxic relationship are very subtle. These include persistent unhappiness, (the relationship stops bringing joy), which consistently makes you feel sad, angry, or anxious. You may notice a negative shift in your mental health, personality, or self-esteem. These changes could range from clinically diagnosable conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or eating disorders, to constantly feeling nervous or uncomfortable — especially around your partner. Feeling like you can’t talk with or voice concerns to your significant other is another sign that something is off.
HOW DO YOU FIX A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP?
WHY DO YOU WANT TO FIX A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP? Can we begin with this question? Then we can explore the thought of “fixing” a toxic relationship.
Relationships require work from both people. Therefore, when I talk about fixing a relationship, you must understand that this requires working together as a team. Toxic relationships are fixable if both parties are prepared to do the work.
Both partners should be equally committed to overcoming the adversities with lots of open communication, honesty, self-reflection, and possibly professional help, individually and together. Here are four ways to fix a toxic relationship:
Be prepared for discomfort. You will be required to have tough conversations. Effective Communication can take you a long way.
Explore healthier ways for criticism. Often we find the blame game in toxic relationships. Constructive criticism can be a healthy expression in all contexts of a relationship. Too often we focus on right or wrong, good or bad. Healthy conversations are more about clarity and understanding each other.
Learn to honor your needs. Hold space for yourself. Relationships should never be one-sided.
Self-Awareness is golden. Don't be afraid to acknowledge your own faults.
"The moment that you start to wonder if you deserve better, YOU DO!"
Fixing a toxic relationship will require each of you to examine your actions and do inner work. If you or your partner is not willing to truly put in the effort, the relationship will not change and should be ended.
Remember, you deserve to be in a healthy, happy relationship that makes you feel good. Don't settle for anything less.
"Happiness is an inside job. Don't assign anyone else that much power over your life."
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About the Author
Speaker, Author & Certified Life Coach
I have had the privilege to work with women from all over the world who are ready to change their stories. Our goals are accomplished in a transparent environment of safety and accountability.