Toxic love: what are the signs? What to do?

What is a toxic relationship?

It’s a relationship where one of the three main pillars of a healthy relationship damaged. What are these pillars?

  • trust and mutual respect among colleagues;
  • the feeling of being loved for who we are, in a real and sincere way;
  • the feeling of freedom and self within a relationship.

So if you don’t feel confident, respected, loved, or free, there’s a problem.

It is also a relationship where one of five reasons for the couple’s happiness severely neglected or destroyed:

  • communication and expression of emotions;
  • the union between two partners in all its forms;
  • the level and quality of psychic and physical intimacy;
  • sexuality and intimacy of the couple;
  • the idea of ​​commitment and investment in the couple

Once again, if these healthy standards of balance are damaged, the relationship can become unusable, unbalanced, and can be toxic.

To note: marital difficulties and problems usually begin within the first six months of the relationship and then develop over time if they are not regulated, for example in the context of individual psychotherapy and/or torque.

Recognize the signs of a toxic relationship

Dominant/dominated relationship : among the behaviors that manifest this unbalanced relationship, we often find dominance, submission, emotional dependence or persecution. These reports gradually settle down to become almost constant. One of the two spouses takes over the power of the other, sometimes it is invisible. Thus he will impose his view of things, his choices, ignoring the desires of others, to fulfill his different and varied needs.

The constant decline in the value of the partner : in private and/or public places, the toxic partner can be harmful and degrading. His words, taunts, and other insults become more frequent and can be harassment.

Jealousy and control : Over time, the relationship can become very strained and troubled. A form of pathological jealousy can be seen: one of the partners will always ask his partner about his actions. The spouse’s private life is compromised, as we want to remove him or her from all of his or her life and personal relationship. The toxic partner can also control the appearance and choice of clothing of another person.

Emotional Blackmail and Loneliness : Gradually, a partner may become isolated from his or her partner’s social circle. The latter often uses maneuvering by pretending to be a victim to justify this desired isolation. This solitude strategy aims to increase the restraint of the other. The toxic partner will create a system of emotional blackmail, by imposing a form of threat on the other (reminder: separation, suicide, etc.). Fearing the consequences, the victim was detained. He no longer dares to have personal space, is alone with himself, shuts himself off and always feels the need to do things to avoid his partner’s problems.

Almost permanent stress, anxiety and depression : Over time, the victim will lose self-confidence. Having lower self-esteem, he will feel stress almost permanently, suffer from anxiety, even depression in the long term. Unfortunately, these behavioral symptoms are common in people who have experienced a toxic relationship in their love life.

Spousal abuse : of course, most of the signs of a toxic relationship are part of a violent relationship, whether in psychological or emotional form (verbal, psychological, economic violence), or even physical (beating, sexual violence) …

Editor’s note: I will add the repeated lie. Because it’s one of the ways to break one of the most important pillars of a healthy couple: trust.

Also note that you don’t have to fit all of these criteria to judge a harmful relationship, just one is enough! When taking stock, you can Ask the “violence meter”: this barometer of the well-being of a relationship can help you detect bad behavior.

Identify the 4 recurring stages of the toxic pattern

Within toxic love, a typical pattern repeats itself. It usually has four stages: tension, aggression, justice and reconciliation. This process has been very well described and documented in several studies (source 1).

Why do we stay in toxic relationships?

The victim may remain in this destructive romantic relationship because they are in control. In fact, even when everyone indicates it’s time to end this romantic relationship, some people struggle to get out of this breakdown because often the toxic relationship slowly and deceptively creates a bond of trust. in emotion.

there habituation : about how he knows this relationship is problematic and toxic, but one refuses to take it; process similar to addiction.

The fear of emptiness : the toxic relationship is experienced and very tiring. But when it stops, the person feels emptiness, emptiness (i). Sometimes he would tell himself that he would rather live in a toxic relationship than be alone.

Refusal : We often think that the situation will improve over time, or our partner will change. That rarely happens, actually.

It is for the wrong reasons that we remain in a toxic relationship and it usually takes some pre-breakup stages between the two members of the couple for the person to suffer this type of relationship. to be able to completely get out of this situation, which, more than toxic, can be dramatic (note: as evidence of the number of women who still die under the beating of their partners.).

Stop thinking that someone else will change : Despite all the signals mentioned and somewhat revealing, sometimes we continue to think that someone else will change thanks to his love. But again, this is very rare. You never change people.

Face your fear of emptiness and suffering : of course, very difficult, but to manage to leave or to say “no” even once, is to allow yourself to (re) find the courage to leave for good when the situation l ‘necessary. Pride and self-confidence are increased when we leave a situation that we know will hurt us.

Keep in touch with those around you : most of the time, it is usually thanks to close entourage, family, friends, and with the help of a professional, that people are able to free themselves from this toxic sentimental relationship.

Ask for help : especially when talking to a therapist. It can help to speed up this process of getting out of the vicious circle, and especially to find a personal balance.

In short: feeling unwell, lack of trust in others, fear (of another or of oneself)… All of this is not normal. And while toxicity can have many faces, and despite the appearance of an angel, your little inner voice always knows where the truth is. So listen to yourself, believe (in) yourself and ask for help when needed.

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