If a relationship in any form or setting such as romance or friendship does not make you feel safe and always leaves you drained, devalued, and unhappy throughout its course, then it can be identified as a toxic relationship.
Toxic relationships contaminate you and depending on how long you continue to stay in one, it continues to steal large parts of your happiness, creates an atmosphere of fear, and leaves you with little or no belief in yourself. Sometimes, they do not start as toxic, they come in the best possible form until the polluting begins and bad feelings fester.
If the thought of the relationship, the prospect of seeing that person the next day or all week creates a sad feeling in your heart, haunts you and affects your mind, rather of the expected feeling of happiness and productivity, you need to ask yourself why you react that way.
Mutual exchange of care, love, and support is important, you show up for them but there is persistent unreliability on their part to show up for you. In a relationship, compromises are not supposed to come from one person. If you are the one who takes this burden, it can get pretty lonely and exhausting.
These are red flags and should be instant deal-breakers. Understand that abuse can either be physical or verbal or both. They create a hostile environment where you feel scared and threatened to speak your mind, to say no. Abuse should never be excused or taken lightly, your life and mental health might be at risk.
We do not like to admit that we are being taken advantage of. We also feel ashamed sometimes because we weren’t aware enough to see through a situation. The first step to leaving a toxic relationship is admitting you are in one, that the person checks off all the red flags and invokes demeaning feelings in you.
When leaving a toxic relationship, you need help from friends, families, and professionals to see you through and commit you to make that change. Surround yourself with the right kind of friends, the ones that are empathetic towards your situation, and are committed to their personal development just as you are.
Sometimes, leaving a toxic relationship starts with telling the person that they are indeed toxic and you would like to break things off. This provides a clear and clean cutoff. However, I do not recommend this in verbal and physical abuse situations.
Repeat affirmations to yourself as you take steps to leave a toxic relationship. Agree that you are amazing and you also deserve just as much time, care, love support, and attention that you have been given.